Museum partnership announced

Two of the region’s major museum groups have announced plans for greater co-operation.

Birmingham MuseumDiscussions have recently taken place between Birmingham Museums Trust and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the Arts Council England Major partner museums for the West Midlands. The two trusts have met together with Arts Council England to explore the delivery of support for the region’s museum sector and the audiences it serves. Following the announcement of the Renaissance Major partner museums in January 2012, Arts Council England have announced the recipients of the Strategic support fund for 2012/13.  This fund is expected to fill gaps in the portfolio of Major partner museums, and develop knowledge through research to address issues across the museums sector.

Major partner funding is supporting many of Ironbridge’s activities over the next three years, including several high-profile regional programmes. These include the development and expansion of its World Class Volunteering programme to embrace more museums and other cultural organisations. It will also allow Ironbridge to support museums seeking to develop income-generating activities or to benefit from local tourism initiatives and also to make more loans from its Nationally Designated collections. Ironbridge will also be specifically supporting museums and organisations with an industrial heritage focus to become more resilient in the long-term, including developing their volunteer programmes and by gaining increased access to training and external grants.

Renaissance funding from Arts Council England will enable Birmingham Museums Trust, the new charitable trust set up to govern and run nine museums in Birmingham, to build capacity, and to establish and reaffirm partnerships regionally, nationally and internationally. Birmingham’s key regional partnership is with the Marches Network. The partnership will enable delivery of Museums on the Move, a scheme whereby mobile museums can take outreach and education services to audiences across the West Midlands together with a programme of regional loans and touring exhibitions which will raise the profile of museums and collections and increase access to Birmingham’s Designated collections

The Develop Skills – Creating the Future Forum partnership is working together to develop skills across organisations and the sector through collaboration, innovation and efficient sharing of knowledge, expertise and joint purchasing power. In addition to Birmingham and Ironbridge this includes Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Ros Robins, Regional Director for Arts Council England said: “We are pleased to be working with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Birmingham Museums Trust to provide leadership for the sector and we are delighted that Renaissance funding will enable the delivery of some important projects and initiatives to the benefit of the audiences we serve.”

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