MA positive action: securing a better future for museums
Posted on Jun 30, 2017
In May, the Museums Association released its manifesto for 2017. This short, but powerful document addresses the challenges faced by museums in a rapidly changing world, and reinforces the essential role that museums play in enhancing lives across every aspect of our culture and society.
In it, the MA outlines its aims to provide a sustainable financial future for museums – and with government support, outlines the need to provide enabling support to organisations to effectively diversify and expand their audiences, work more effectively with government and public bodies and achieve a range of goals across sectors including education, health and wellbeing, science and research, tourism, cultural diplomacy and social services. Ultimately, the document is a summary of how the sector can continue to survive and thrive in a post-Brexit UK. And as it asks for Government support to achieve these aims, the MA sets out its five key priorities for the future:
The highest priority – one that ensures museums are inclusive and accessible to all – is maintaining free entry to museums. This aim was echoed in the manifesto pledges of all the major political parties.
The MA urges the government to work with local authorities to sustain public investment and lessen the impact of cuts which have already taken place, by expanding the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio scheme funding so that more museums can benefit.
A Brexit deal that works for museums is called for by the MA. No additional obstacles to tourism from other EU member states, no restrictions on the sharing of expertise between UK and EU museum staff, no additional customs or tariffs on the exchange of museum specimens between the UK and other EU Member States.
The MA presses the government to deliver the museums review, which has been carried out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and urges the prompt publishing of a strategy for the museums sector in the new parliament.
The manifesto also urges the simplification of business rates, which have increased for many museums.
The MA’s manifesto aims is the political call to support the next phase (two) of its highly successful Museums Change Lives scheme.
With a clear focus on strategies for practical action, this is a toolkit designed to help museums make a difference to the wellbeing of individuals. Initiatives are already being rolled-out across the country to promote learning, inspire and delight.
The MA document describes one example of this, by The Royal Cornwall Museum who have reached out into the local community, presenting a weekly Life Long Learning workshop at a local care home. Reminiscence boxes and music have been especially helpful to those suffering with dementia.
People who otherwise may not have been physically able to visit the museum had a very positive experience using these resources.
The MA have galvanised the support of major partners across the UK, and the MA’s David Fleming, the director of National Museums Liverpool, and the MA's president, describes it as ‘a powerful statement of the difference that modern museums can make’.
Take part in positive action
Museums Change Lives is an inspiring rally-call for all museums – large or small – and at Modes, with your help, we’d like to champion the initiative too!
The Modes community are an essential part of the wider-UK museum community – so we’d love to hear your stories about positive action you’ve already taken, or plan to take in the future.
Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story to inspire the Modes community to join in…. positive change really can happen with the power of sharing.
You can read the lead article about this initiative on the MA website, and you can download the full document of Museums Change Lives on the same page. You can also watch a video clip that outlines the aims of phase two.