MA calls on ACE to scrap core museums

Patrick Steel, 25.05.2011
Core museum model risky and untested, says MA
The Museums Association’s board has sent a 13 point proposal for the funding of non-national museums in England to senior staff at Arts Council England, calling for “something radically different that better meets the needs of audiences and of the whole sector”.

The document states: “We do not support the concept of a small number of ‘core’ museums. We do not believe there is widespread support in the sector for the idea of ‘core’ museums as described in the ‘New Renaissance’ proposal, which has not been widely discussed in the sector and is in fact rather little known.

“Furthermore, the core museum model is risky and untested. It was never piloted by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Association, as proposed in 2010.”

Maurice Davies, the MA’s head of policy and communications, said: “What we are saying is that ACE funding should be open to more museums rather than be restricted to a handful of core museums.

“We want a single, simple funding stream that every museum can apply for. We don’t need core museums or a separate Designation Challenge Fund.”

The proposal follows a series of meetings between the MA and ACE, and a meeting between Vivienne Bennett, ACE's director of visual arts, and the MA’s board to discuss the funding and development of museums under ACE.

As well as senior staff at ACE, the document is also being circulated to other organisations, including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

ACE’s external advisory group for museums and libraries, at which Davies represents the MA, meets this afternoon, and Davies has said he will be raising the points in the submission with the group.

Click here to read the full proposal (pdf)