Oxford University Museums are pleased to announce that have been awarded £1.45 million per year by Arts Council England to support a wide range of exciting activities and programmes over the next three years.
Comprising the Ashmolean Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, the group is one of 21 Major Partner Museums across England to be granted funding from 2015 onwards under the Arts Council’s Renaissance programme. Offering free admission, the four museums together receive around 2 million visitors each year.
Renaissance has provided £22.6 million to groups of Major Partner Museums across the regions. At the Oxford University Museums the funding enables a rich programme of activities for the public, including educational visits for schools, activities for families and lifelong learners, and community outreach programmes. Last year the museums provided education sessions to almost 90,000 school students and engaged 40,000 children and 85,000 adults, both inside the museums and out in the community.
Arts Council funding also supports important behind-the-scenes activity that underpins the museums’ public work, including conservation, collections care, loans and technical services. In addition, it has enabled the development of digital resources that make the collections available to students, scholars and the public across the world.
Professor Paul Smith, Director of the Museum of Natural History at the University of Oxford, said: ’Over the years, Renaissance funding has transformed the way that the University museums interact with the public. The new funding will enable us to continue innovating and to provide exciting and novel programmes for visitors.’
As part of the Major Partner Museum portfolio, Oxford University Museums also provide leadership within the museum sector itself. Over the past three years the consortium has developed the Oxford ASPIRE programme, which runs training and knowledge-sharing events for museum professionals on topics including fundraising and philanthropy, commercial enterprise, digital development, and audience engagement. From March 2015, ASPIRE will pilot Oxford Cultural Leaders, a new international leadership programme for the sector.
Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Services and University Collections at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Arts Council England’s major grant will help ensure both that the galleries and the expertise of their curatorial staff are even better used by schools, and local, national and international visitors and colleagues, and that Oxford University Museums continue to play a significant leadership role in the sector’.
You can find our more about all of Arts Council's investment for 2015-18 on their website: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/our-investment-2015-18/major-partner-museums-15-18/