Historic Dockyard Chatham received HLF funding to restore museum buildings and display hidden collections. The MA would like to see more funding directed towards resilience and away from new construction projects.

MA calls for HLF to redirect funding

Patrick Steel, 16.11.2016
Grants should focus on existing museums rather than new construction projects
In its wide-ranging response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Review of Museums in England, the Museums Association (MA) has called for Heritage Lottery Fund money to be redirected from large construction projects towards “making the most of the museums and galleries that we already have”.

The MA is also recommending an extension of the ‘museum freedoms’ granted to national museums in 2013 that allowed them to access their reserves and opt out of procurement policy to make their own choices about key contracts, in order to allow local authority museums the same autonomy over their finance, contracts, and communications.

And the MA would like to see the DCMS engage with Treasury, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Local Government Association to ensure that existing tax rate reliefs for museums are maintained.

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, said: “The DCMS Review of Museums in England is the first time that the government has comprehensively reviewed museums provision across England. It is a huge opportunity for museums to set out how they can work with government in the years to come, and the MA has set out a range of practical recommendations on how to take this work forward.

“The MA believes that a new museums strategy must recognise the importance of museums to every region, and must respond to growing concerns about the inability of many local authorities to adequately fund cultural services.

“The introduction of a set of ‘museum freedoms’ for local authority museums and the simplification of business rates are among the key measures that we believe can help to make the sector more sustainable in the long term.

“The MA wants to see greater support from government for the sector’s potential to deliver social impact. We have highlighted the growing role of museums in health and wellbeing, place-making and education agendas, and have called for a new challenge fund to support work in these areas. We have also set out key sector priorities in collections care and storage, the diversification of museum workforces and audiences, and international partnerships.”

Links and downloads

MA response to DCMS Review of Museums in England (pdf)

Review of Museums in England


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23.11.2016, 19:05
Might there be some places where new standalone museum projects funded by the HLF are needed to help redress a funding deficit in cultural provision? Is Folkestone's new HLF funded museum a new standalone project as it's a completely different building to it's old long closed museum and is to be run by a different organisation. Would it not have been funded if HLF took this view?
Alistair Brown
Policy Officer, Museums Association
21.11.2016, 11:03
We're talking about the construction of new standalone museum projects here, rather than renovations or extensions.
19.11.2016, 18:23
First paragraph:please give examples of the "...large construction projects..." you have in mind.