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Six West Midlands museums benefit as development providers announced

  • Date: 23 May 2012
  • Area: Midlands

Arts Council England has announced that a West Midlands network of museums is one of the nine successful applicants to the Museum development fund, and is also opening the Subject specialist network fund to applications.

Both the Museum development fund and the Subject specialist network fund form part of the Renaissance programme - the Arts Council's framework of support for the development of English regional museums between 2012 and 2015. During this period, the Arts Council will invest £129 million in regional museums through Renaissance.

This is the first time Museum development funds have been awarded for just under a three year period (August 2012/13 - 2014/15) by Arts Council England.

Herefordshire Heritage Service will manage the Marches Network Museum Development on behalf of themselves and also Shropshire Council, Staffordshire County Council, Warwickshire County Council, Wolverhampton City Council and Worcestershire County Council.

The network has been awarded £832,000 from 2012 to 2015. The award will cover the whole of the West Midlands as the shire counties will cover their entire county area including unitary authorities.  The partnership has operated for 14 years.

The successful applicants to the Museum development fund will provide a national network of professional advice to all museums, particularly supporting smaller museums. Their priority will be to improve the sustainability and resilience of the museums sector, helping to maximise benefits to audiences and communities. 

Museum development funds will target areas of work that will increase the resilience and sustainability of these museums. Programmes of work will include business planning, workforce development, attracting new audiences and organisational improvement. The museum development providers will work closely with the roles supporting the Accreditation standard and the other elements of the Renaissance programme including the Major partner museums announced in January.

Together, these nine museum development providers will receive £8,071,077 between 2012 and 2015. With a museum development provider in each of the nine regions, support and expert advice will be available nationwide.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: "In revising the Renaissance programme following the Arts Council's assumption of responsibilities for the development of English regional museums, we consulted closely with museums and their stakeholders, and in doing so, recognised the high value that the sector puts on museum development and the essential role it plays in supporting the sector."

Ros Robins, West Midlands Director, Arts Council England, said: "We are delighted to make this award to this West Midlands network of museums which has been working effectively together for many years.  The award will go towards developing the skills of those working in the museums, increasing efficiency and sustainability and building new audiences."

Kate Andrew, chair of Marches Network and Principal Heritage Officer for Herefordshire Council (who will administer the money on behalf of the network) said: "Marches Network are absolutely delighted that our bid to continue to deliver Museums Development in the West Midlands, using the partnership approach we have developed over the last 14 years, has been successful.

"We look forward to working closely with the Arts Council and to supporting regional museums over the next three years."

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