Museum 'Renaissance' to be extended

Published: 17 years ago Author:

Regional and local museums received a boost today with the announcement of £17 million new funding for the Renaissance scheme, led by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

The announcement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will allow MLA to extend the scheme further across the country, bringing more regions in line with the North East, South West and West Midlands which are already receiving full Renaissance funding. But there is not yet enough funding to be able to implement the scheme nation-wide.

Museums currently in the scheme have achieved astonishing results in record time. In the first year alone, visits by school children rose by 28%, half of which were from schools in deprived areas where child poverty is high. Museums in those regions have doubled their work with community groups, exhibitions and displays have improved, visitor numbers have soared, and some £7 million is being spent on improving collections.

MLA Chair Mark Wood said: "New funding is always welcome news. But we are very disappointed that regional museums are still not receiving the support they need and that there is not enough in this settlement to roll out Renaissance nation-wide. We have already shown the enormous difference that this money can make in the pilot regions, where the teams have achieved amazing results in record time. This settlement will allow us to extend this success further, but it means that the inequality in museum services for people living in different regions will continue."

Mark Taylor, Director of the Museums Association said: "Any additional funding is obviously good news, but many people who care about museums will feel let down by this announcement. The Chancellor had stated very clearly that Renaissance in the Regions would be rolled out nation-wide. So we are obviously disappointed that the government has not found the money to fund the programme fully. The government has recognised that many major regional museums stand in need of additional investment, so why the half measures' When the government invests in museums, they deliver impressive results. So this settlement represents a real wasted opportunity."

As well as enabling the Renaissance scheme to be extended, today's funding announcement guarantees the future of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (www.finds.org.uk), the nation's largest community archaeology programme, which helps the public to record and find out about the hundreds of hidden treasures they unearth every year.

Mark Wood added: "We are pleased to have secured the future of the Portable Antiquities Scheme which has been an enormous success and has helped put countless priceless objects into the country's museums. The scheme enjoys huge popular support and provides a vital link between amateur archaeologists and metal detecting enthusiasts and the museums community."

Today's funding of £17 million comes on top of £70 million already allocated to Renaissance in 2002. It means that by 2008 the annual budget for the programme will be £45 million - still £15 million short of the total required.

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Notes to Editors:

Press enquiries:

Jo O'Driscoll, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, 020 7273 1450, 07802 181249

MLA

MLA is the national development agency for museums, libraries and archives, advising the government on policy and priorities for the sector. MLA's roles are to provide strategic leadership, to act as a powerful advocate, to develop capacity and to promote innovation and change.

Renaissance

Renaissance is MLA's groundbreaking scheme to transform England's regional museums. For the first time ever, investment from central government is enabling regional museums across the country to raise their standards and deliver real results in support of education, community development and economic regeneration.

For further information see http://www.mla.gov.uk/action/regional/00renaiss.asp, or request a briefing sheet from the MLA press office.

Funding requested

(£million)

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

Renaissance

 

Current funding

10

20

30

30

30

Additional requested

DCMS                             

   

0

15

30

Total

   

30

45

60

Funding received, December 2005

(£million)

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

2007/08

Current funding

10

20

30

30

30

Additional received

DCMS                 & nbsp;           

   

0

2

15

Total

   

30

32

45

Contact: Jo O'Driscoll

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