Going Further: The National Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries was launched in March 2012. The first of its kind in Scotland’s heritage sector, Going Further is still something of which we should all be proud – Scotland’s 400 museums and galleries united behind one shared vision:
Scotland’s museums and galleries will be ambitious, dynamic and sustainable enterprises: connecting people, places and collections inspiring, delighting and creating public value.
Many things have changed since March 2012, not least the financial situation of many of our museums and galleries. Shrinking budgets are now impacting the sector in ways that few of us imagined seven years ago. The development of the third Delivery Plan supporting Going Further intends to build on the excellent work of the sector, and capture both the concerns and ambitions of as many museums and galleries – and their dedicated staff and volunteers – as possible. In this way the delivery plan will allow Museums Galleries Scotland to support you over the next three years, developing a shared approach to the Strategy’s six aims.
Although many of us are undertaking a difficult journey, there is still much to celebrate. The evaluation of the second Delivery Plan, Realising the Vision: Delivering Public Value through Scotland’s Museums and Galleries 2015–2019, is highlighting the fantastic work that the sector is achieving. We are overwhelmed by examples of how we are all performing against the six aims. Museums and galleries, whether large or small, national, university, local authority or independent, urban or rural, have submitted case studies showing how their work impacts on their communities and visitors. We all need to acknowledge this, and work to show to our funders, communities and other stakeholders our impact. The economic impact toolkit on our website might also help here. Museums Galleries Scotland will continue to work with the sector, through events such as the Scottish Parliamentary reception, engagement with the Scottish Government, and through campaigns such as #MuseumsSparkJoy, to do this on your behalf at a national level.
We are holding consultation events across the country. Our first session is in Edinburgh, piloting our approach, but events are scheduled in Dumfries, Perth, and Inverness. We aim to ensure that the consultation is as inclusive as possible, and so for this, and many other aspects of our work, we are moving beyond the central belt to engage in areas which you can access more easily. We’d like to talk to you about the issues affecting you, your museums and the sector generally and discuss your ideas on how we can move forward together.
The online consultation is producing some interesting themes for further exploration. Staffing and knowledge gaps are a recurrent theme, as is conservation, training in professional skills and certified qualifications, support to evaluate, work with schools and engage diverse audiences. Support around digital collections and partnerships are also prominent in replies. Whether you agree with these areas, or would like to see your priorities reflected, there is still time to book onto a consultation event, or participate in the online survey. Your views count, so please do let us know how we can help and work together.
The third delivery plan needs to be for you, by you. Your input is vital to ensure that MGS supports all museums in Scotland to be ambitious, dynamic and sustainable, in whatever way is most valuable to you.