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New Renaissance National programmes to support regional museums

  • Date: 9 March 2012
  • Area: National

Details of a series of Renaissance National programmes offering wide-ranging support to regional museums have been announced today.

The programmes include Accreditation and Designation schemes; Subject specialist networks; national collections purchase programmes and other initiatives such as national campaigns to build new audiences and strategic digital support.

Approximately £2.5m of funding will be distributed through the programmes, which are one of the four parts to Renaissance, a £45m annual fund to support and develop regional museums.

One of the programmes, the PRISM fund, supports the acquisition and/or conservation of objects illustrating the history of any branch of science, industry or technology.  This fund has been increased to £250,000 in 2012-13 and is now open to applications for museums in both England and Wales. Organisations can apply to the fund on online.

The V&A Purchase Grant fund helps regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries to acquire objects relating to the arts, literature and history for their permanent collections. This public fund, administered by the V&A with a grants budget provided by the Arts Council, has also been increased, with funding now up to £750,000 in 2012-13.

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said:

'The Purchase Grant fund is a great scheme and it plays a vital role in promoting co-operation between national and regional museums in the UK.  The increase in value this year to £750,000 is tremendous news.'

A total of £700,000 Designation development funding will be available each year, with applications opening in late May 2012. This fund recognises the importance of maintaining excellent collections in museums, and will support projects that ensure the long term sustainability of these collections, share best practice, and maximise their public value.

Subject specialist networks exist to share specialist expertise in museums collections to ensure the nation's collections are fully understood, and are being put to the best public use.  A total of £150,000 in annual funding will be available for the development of these networks, with applications open from 1 May.

John Orna-Ornstein, Head of London and National Programmes, British Museum, said:

'Subject Specialist Networks are an important means of maintaining and developing skills and knowledge across the sector for public benefit. I am delighted that Arts Council England has made a positive decision to support such networks as part of a wider effort to ensure that the sector has access to the variety of expertise it needs.'

The Arts Council will also continue to fund the Collections Trust and Culture24 for their digital support to the museum sector, as well as Kids in Museums.

Althea Ethunshile, Chief Operating Officer, Arts Council England, said:

'We are confident that these various funding streams of the Renaissance programme will work together to provide a comprehensive package of support, driving excellence and delivering long term change in museums in England, with the aim of attracting more visitors to museums and enabling people to experience them in new and innovative ways.'

Renaissance is delivered in the context of the strategic goals set out in Culture, Knowledge and Understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone. Arts Council England continues to invite responses to this document, which can be done through contacting or .

To find out more about Renaissance, visit the funding section of our website.