Open Access Government outlines how DCMS and the Museums Association help to encourage local communities to engage with the culture and heritage sector

Museums and galleries play an integral role in our local communities. As well as preserving local history and heritage, they also help to educate. Heritage and culture throughout the UK help also to encourage tourists to our shores. As a key component in the UK economy, tourism is vital for creating jobs and growth to local areas.

In July this year, the Prime Minister and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced a boost to tourism through a 5 point plan. The 5 key areas will focus on: (1)

  • A better-coordinated sector;
  • Skills and jobs: driving and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth;
  • Common sense regulation: reforming regulation sensibly to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors;
  • Transport: forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors travel outside of the capital;
  • An improved welcome: delivering a world-class welcome at the border.

Speaking about the announcement, Secretary of State for Culture, John Whittingdale, said: “Tourism is a vital industry that brings jobs and growth to local communities across Britain. There are so many world class things for people to do in the UK, and we need to make sure visitors are experiencing as many of them as possible.

“We want every visitor to the UK, whether from home or abroad, to have a brilliant experience and shout about it, encouraging even more tourists to choose Britain,” he said.

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), 3 of the world’s top 5 most-visited museums are in England. The UK’s national museums and galleries generate around 40 million visitors each year. National museums are funded directly by DCMS – the government department tasked with making Britain the world’s most creative and exciting place to live, visit and do business.

As well as national museums, England has a large network of specialist and regional museums that are run by charities, local authorities and educational establishments. Many of these receive public funding from the National Lottery.

In May this year, the government announced that 9 museums and heritage projects would receive a funding boost from National Lottery investment (2).

The projects, which included Jodrell Bank in Cheshire and Dorset County Museum, are to receive a share of £98m to help make a lasting difference to local areas. The funding hopes to also use culture to inspire young people to learn more about science and technology. “National Lottery money continues to make an absolutely vital contribution to our culture and heritage in the UK,” said Whittingdale. “I’m thrilled that 9 exciting projects across England and Scotland will benefit from this significant £98m investment.

“Whether it’s a new railway museum in Leicester, The Lovell Telescope at Cheshire’s Jodrell Bank or saving the UK’s most vulnerable sound recording at the British Library – these grants will not only make a lasting difference to local areas and the UK’s wider heritage, but will also use culture to inspire young people to learn more about science and technology for generations to come.”

The Museums Association aims to enhance the value of museums to society by sharing knowledge, developing skills, inspiring innovation and providing leadership. The ‘Museums Change Lives’ 3 campaign is the Association’s vision for the increased social impact of museums. The campaign explores the impact of museums under 3 areas: wellbeing; better places; and ideas and people.

The Museums Association said of the campaign: “As public expenditure continues to be cut, it is more important than ever to have a strong sense of social purpose. Funders and policymakers expect museums to achieve greater social outcomes and impact.

“Individuals and communities are under stress and every museum must play its part in improving lives, creating better places and helping to advance society, building on the traditional role of preserving collections and connecting audiences with them.”





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