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We announce Renaissance Major partner museums and details of Museum Development fund

  • Date: 24 January 2012
  • Area: National

Today, Tuesday 24 January, the Arts Council has announced the 16 Major partner museums, as well as further details of the Museum Development fund.

The 16 Renaissance Major partners will together receive approximately £20 million a year in funding for the next three years as part of its Renaissance programme for regional museums. The Major partners - which include a diverse range of museums services including local authorities, university museums, independent trusts and consortia - are:

  • Beamish and Bowes Museum
  • Birmingham Museums Trust (Birmingham City Council, Thinktank)
  • Bristol City Council
  • Cumbria Museums Consortium (Tullie House, Wordsworth Trust, Lakeland Arts Trust)
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
  • Leeds Museums and Galleries
  • Manchester Partnership (Manchester City Galleries, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery)
  • Museum of London
  • Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service
  • Oxford University Museums and Oxfordshire County Museums Service
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter and Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
  • Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove
  • Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
  • University of Cambridge Museums
  • York Museums Trust

These awards follow the Arts Council's assumption of responsibilities for museum development from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2011.

This is the first time major Renaissance grants have been awarded for a three year period via an open application system against published criteria. The awards have also been made in the context of the strategic goals set out in Culture, Knowledge and Understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone.

The Arts Council received 29 eligible applications for Major partner funding, requesting a total of £116.4 million over three years. The 16 successful applicants requested £23.5 million a year against an annual budget of approximately £20 million. The exact amounts of each major partner's award will be finalised as part of the negotiations of their funding agreements and published in April.

One year's transitional funding will be available to unsuccessful applicants who currently receive support from the MLA Renaissance hub scheme, to help them adjust to these changes. Levels of transitional funding will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Museum Development fund

More details of the Renaissance Museum Development fund have also been announced today. This new fund will help to enhance the sustainability and resilience of the museums sector by enabling the sharing of expertise and knowledge, to maximize the benefits to audiences and communities.

Applicants will bid to deliver development support for museums through local museum networks. The Museums Development fund will open to applications on 7 February 2012 and close on 7 March 2012, with a total of £8 million available between 2012 and 2015.

Further support for museums

Details of the Renaissance Strategic support fund - anticipated to be around £15 million a year - will be announced in the autumn. Strategic support will complement Major partner and Museums development investment, and will focus on any gaps or development opportunities not addressed by the other funds.

The final part of the Arts Council's reworked Renaissance programme is the ongoing development of national programmes, including Accreditation, Designation, the VandA Purchase Grant Fund, the PRISM fund, support for national campaigns such as Kids in Museums and Museums at Night, and Subject Specialist Networks.

We are confident that the various funding streams of its 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.

Regional museums are also eligible for funding for arts-based activity through other Arts Council funds including Grants for the arts and the Strategic touring programme. A full list of available funds can be found on our Museums, galleries and libraries' eligibility for funding page.