The LGA calls on government to articulate the contribution of museums to the wider economy, and to invest in capacity building museums' staff to assist in, and accelerate the transformation process.
The LGA has responded to DCMS' review into the future of the museums sector.
The LGA surveyed all Heads of Cultural Services to inform this response, and identify the top three challenges and opportunities facing local museums.
The survey found that councils have been creative and innovative in responding to a changing market and difficult financial situation. They have adopted a number of solutions, which include:
- merging museum and archive provision
- employing apprentices and increasing the use of volunteers
- partnership working with other arts and community organisations
- increased fundraising
However, funding remains the biggest challenge facing the sector, with some specific concerns over the loss of European funding and difficulties in securing funding for capital repairs. Managing change with reduced resources was also identified as a challenge. While the shift to new governance models, such as trusts, or digitisation offer significant opportunities to the sector, services are finding it difficult to invest the time needed to properly develop these new approaches at a time when resources to maintain the existing service are dwindling. Lastly, there were also challenges about communicating the contribution that museums can offer to their local area, particularly around place-making and social cohesion.
Every challenge brings with it an opportunity, and the survey also revealed that services were considering opportunities to address all the issues, ranging from new fundraising strategies, community outreach programmes, and more effective use of digital resources and media.
The LGA's response calls on government to articulate the contribution of museums to the wider economy, and to invest in capacity building museums' staff to assist in, and accelerate the transformation process.