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Financial Resilience

£4 Million Announced to Support Independent Museums and Galleries

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) welcomes the announcement today from Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop of major investment to support Scotland’s museums and galleries.

The £4 million Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund will provide vital support to the independent museums sector following the severe financial and organisational impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The timing of the lockdown, coming at the lowest point in the financial year for some, has caused acute financial difficulties for the sector and independent museums have been particularly hard hit through loss of income. The new fund will support the resilience of the sector through the return of staff from furlough, the wider reopening of museums and galleries, and removing the threat of insolvency before March next year.

The fund is to be administered by MGS and will support Accredited and non-Accredited independent museums. MGS is working to launch the fund as soon as possible. Two funds are currently open to address the immediate needs of museums and galleries; the Urgent Response COVID-19 Fund and the COVID-19 Adaptation Fund.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Museums are the places where we hold memories of our people. They play a big role in delivering social impacts in education, health and wellbeing and also generate a considerable amount for the economy, with £1.04 billion directly attributable to heritage, tourism, rural employment and apprenticeships.

“Sadly, many of these wonderful institutions are now at a critical juncture in making decisions about whether they can afford to reopen, looking at possible redundancies, cancelling events and putting off critical repairs. I am pleased to announce this much needed support for the sector to help them get through the rest of the financial year.

“We all need to come together to support our local museums and galleries. As part of the campaign to encourage Scots to staycation this summer, I would encourage everyone to consider visiting their local museums, galleries and heritage attractions, if they are open. Scotland’s communities are relying on our continued support.”

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said:

“We warmly welcome this funding from the Scottish Government. The burden of uncertainty has been one of the hardest hitting consequences of this pandemic – affecting us all. This financial support will enable us to alleviate the intense pressures felt by our independent museums and heralds a precious opportunity for the passionate and skilled people working in this sector to plan, to collaborate and to deliver vital services with and within communities. Museums and galleries are a vital part of the fabric of our towns, cities and communities the length and breadth of this country and we welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition of their important role through this support.”

Mike Benson, Director of the Scottish Crannog Centre said:

“The funding announcement today is brilliant news for the independent sector. Museums such as the Scottish Crannog Centre are highly reliant on income from visitors and the impact of closure during lockdown has been tough, as it has been for everyone.

This support means we can stride into the future with confidence playing our part in Scotland’s economic and social wellbeing. But it is more than that, places like the Scottish Crannog Centre are about celebrating the human spirit, about community and place, about understanding better what is possible when we become part of something bigger than ourselves.

The Crannog Community 2020 will be opening the museum doors and welcoming visitors on the 1st of August. Together with our communities both near and far we will tell and re-tell the fantastic and inspirational stories of The Scottish Crannog Dwellers for generations to come.”

Deirdre Robertson, CEO of Dundee Heritage Trust said:

“Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent charity responsible for the care of two collections of national and international significance, including RRS Discovery and Verdant Works. In non COVID-19 times we are now 98.7% reliant on our own resources – usually a great strength but this has caused us to be particularly badly affected by COVID-19 through loss of income due to closure. The next few weeks will be critical for us and we are facing the prospect of some very difficult decisions. So, the news today that MGS has been allocated £4m in funding for the independent museum sector is incredibly welcome and we hope will make a material difference to our future.”

This new fund supports the independent museum sector who have faced the most immediate financial pressures. MGS is working with the wider sector, including local authority and ALEO museums who face future funding challenges, to determine and make the case for support needs.

The announcement from the Scottish Government is available here