Laura Pye, the chair of the Museums Taskforce (c) Phil Sayer

Museums Taskforce demands strategic approach to museum funding in England

Patrick Steel, 13.02.2017
Call for capital fund for repair of museums in historic buildings
The Museums Taskforce, convened by the Museums Association (MA) to investigate opportunities and challenges to UK museums, has called for a strategic approach to museums funding in England.

Responding to the government-led Museums Review, the taskforce has made a number of recommendations, including that a capital fund should be created for the repair of museums in historic buildings; lottery funding should be directed towards making the most of the museums and galleries that already exist; and local authority museums should be able to access reserves, opt out of central procurement and have control over their own websites and communications.

Laura Pye, the head of culture for Bristol and chair of the Museums Taskforce says: “The financial pressures local authorities are facing are well known but we believe we need a more strategic approach to ensure museums are protected and supported.

“We want to work with government, local authorities and other funders to protect the investments we have made into our museum sector and ensure they can thrive in the coming years.”

Sharon Heal, the MA’s director, says: “The MA convened this independent taskforce in response to demand from our members.

“It is clear that local museums in particular are under pressure and we want to make the best possible case for maintaining public funding and creating sustainable organisations for our communities.

“Museums are a success story and thanks to investment they have transformed themselves over the past decade to become dynamic organisations embedded in the heart of their communities.

“If this success is to continue we need as a sector to work in partnership with government, local authorities and other funders to find a sustainable way forward.”

The Museums Taskforce was established in 2016 and is made up of museum sector leaders from across the UK. The next meeting of the taskforce is in Edinburgh in March.

Future meetings will discuss statements for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and will consider collections and how museums can be more relevant in the 21st century.

Links and downloads

Museums Taskforce statement on museum funding


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Maurice Davies
Head of Collections, Royal Academy of Arts
16.02.2017, 20:46
I'm fascinated that the Taskforce is suggesting that museums should be able to 'monetise' their assets. One of the opportunities for many museums is that they might be revenue poor but they have substantial capital assets. It's a very brave statement and I hope the taskforce will put some flesh on the idea to, for example, explore what it means for the accreditation rules and for the treatment of heritage assets on balance sheets. It would also be useful to understand what it would mean for collection security when a museum becomes insolvent.