Scotland’s Museums are Casting off for 2020: the Year of Coasts and Waters!*

Surfers with surf boards with #YCW2020 spelled across them
©Visit Scotland

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters officially launched on 13 November at the National Museum of Scotland, at an event attended by representatives from the tourism and cultural sectors, including Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Many of Scotland’s museums have heard the siren call to get involved with the year, diving into this great opportunity to highlight their collections and programming in a new way. Events and projects are running across the country as part of the Year, and MGS is excited to be supporting museums to participate as part of a number of our funding streams.

Dualchas na Mara, run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, will celebrate the maritime heritage of the Outer Hebrides through language and environment in locations across the islands. This bilingual outreach project will involve the development of themed loan boxes and school sessions, and will help build partnership with maritime groups across the islands.

The Scottish Maritime Museum will host a 3-day Victorian seaside festival in early August, complete with Punch & Judy performances, traditional refreshments, and—obviously— costumes to dress up in for photos! This event will be just a precursor to the larger Irvine Harbour festival, which will welcome thousands to the seaside town.

Elgin Museum will run a weekend event and series of coastal walks themed around their amazing fossils, one of Scotland’s Recognised Collections of National Significance. The museum will invite participants to bring their own fossils for professional identification, watch short films including highlights of the collection (as chosen by experts in the field), and offering a great opportunity to explore the incredible heritage and coastline of the local area.

If you aren’t yet involved: don’t worry, that ship has not yet sailed! Registration to be part of the Partner Programme is open to any relevant events running during 2020, and is a simple way to enable EventScotland and Visit Scotland to help you lure in potential visitors. The online process is easy, and can be found here. We would encourage you to nail your colours to the mast for this year: being part of the Partner programme has great benefits for museums, increasing the impact of their events, enabling them to reach new audiences, and connecting museums with potential partners for future events!

Our own funding streams can also help support events as part of the year. The Festivals Fund is expressly designed to tie into local events near you: MGS can fund up to £1500 for museums running events that tie into local festivals and initiatives. The next deadline for this funding is 6 February, with additional closing dates throughout the year: please see our website for further details.

We will also welcome applications for the Year of Coasts and Waters for our Small Project Fund and Museum Development Fund: the next rounds of these funds will close in February (SPF) and in April (MDF), and further information can be found on our website. As always, our Grants team will be happy to chat about any potential projects with you.

There are a range of resources that can help you to promote your events as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters. EventScotland has a range of marketing materials available for museums to use, which can be downloaded as part of their promotional material. Social Enterprise Network Scotland (SENScot) also has a guide to engaging with the Year of, which can offer some helpful tips for those embarking on themed Year participation for the first time.

And don’t forget—themed Years offer great opportunities to use social media to your advantage! The Year of Coasts and Waters is active on Twitter and Instagram, at @VisitScotland, @VisitScotNews, @EventScotNews Using the #YCW2020 and #VisitScotland #OnlyinScotland #ScotlandIsNow can help to connect you to those looking for events, and will help EventScotland and VisitScotland to connect your events, museums, collections, and programming to visitors from across the UK and beyond. Bon voyage!

 

* The author of this blog apologises for the horrendous array of puns. No, not really: it is December. Everyone is glad to read something that doesn’t tenuously tie different types of museum professionals to those present at the Nativity. (Development people are clearly Melchior, though)