GS introduced the three-day celebration of history, culture and arts in 2006 to offer museums a chance to develop their event planning, marketing and income generation skills. In the past 12 years, sector expertise in those areas has advanced considerably and MGS is now looking at new ways to support continued skills development and increase the impact of event funding for the sector.
Going forward, the £40k of funding that was previously allocated to supporting Festival of Museums events will be distributed through a new Regional Engagement Fund. Rather than limiting funded events to one weekend of the year, museums will be able to apply to MGS for funding to support involvement with local or regional festivals or tourism events. MGS plans to open the Regional Engagement Fund for applications later this year with the first awards being announced in spring 2019.
It is hoped that the new fund will allow museums to strengthen relationships with key organisations in their area and benefit from regionally coordinated audience development activity, replacing the blanket approach offered by the nationwide Festival of Museums. Event planning and management support will be offered though pre-application advice and webinars. MGS is also developing plans to continue to coordinate an annual celebratory, profile-raising opportunity for Scotland’s museums.
Since 2006, Festival of Museums has seen museums across Scotland host over 1000 events to showcase their unique collections and programmes. Museums of all sizes have embraced the opportunity to take risks and try something new, challenging preconceptions about what happens when you visit a museum. From late-night circus performances to vintage funfairs, museums have proved their potential as extraordinary event venues.
John McLeish, Interim CEO at Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Festival of Museums has achieved a lot over the past 12 years, thanks to the hard work and imagination of Scotland’s museums sector. I hope that the flexibility of this new fund will allow museums to be even more creative and ambitious with their event programming and to embed themselves more firmly in the cultural and social fabric of their local areas.”
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