CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales
Museums Current Awareness Service - Bulletin 145
Information about the Museums Current Awareness Service can be found on CyMAL’s pages on the Welsh Government website.
Written Statement: Local Museum Provision in Wales - Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism
Local museums are an integral part of healthy and vibrant communities. They encourage active participation in culture, protect our heritage, provide educational opportunities and contribute to our tourism industry. Over eighty local museums in Wales, both public and third sector, participate in the UK Accreditation Scheme for Museums. They care for over a million objects and specimens, many of which have been donated by local people in the expectation that their gifts would be preserved and used to educate current and future generations.  The stories these gifts embody are unique and irreplaceable but the museums which care for them and make them accessible are vulnerable.
When the Welsh Government published the first Museums Strategy for Wales in 2010, it acknowledged that recovery from the global financial crisis would be difficult. I am keen to identify ways of ensuring that museum services continue to be provided at a local level. I have therefore commissioned an Expert Panel to review the impact of proposed funding and organisational changes by local authorities on local museums. Information will be sought from each local authority on the likely impact of proposed changes on Accredited museums.
Federation Small Grants Scheme - Round Ten 2014 is now available
The next round of the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales small grant scheme is now available to its members (grants to a maximum of 5,000 but priority to smaller applications). Full details available and application forms should be completed and emailed to John Marjoram, Federation Development Officer, [log in to unmask]
More funds available through AIM Sustainability Grants
AIM is pleased to announce the re-launch of the AIM Sustainability Grants, funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The Sustainability Grants were first launched in 2006. Since then over 240 museums have benefited from grants of over 600,000 to help them improve their organisational sustainability. An independent evaluation of the programme earlier this year, found that in many areas there were no similar funding schemes available to museums and that there were over 300 eligible AIM members who had yet to benefit from a grant, indicating considerable, ongoing need for support.  In order to ensure the Sustainability Grants continue to meet museums’ needs their have been some amendments to the eligibility criteria, guidance notes and assessment criteria, which will apply from the next round of grants, the closing date for which is 15th January 2015. If you intend to apply please make sure you use the new application form and refer to the new guidance, which are available on the AIM website.
Wales’ Roman museum first in the world to trial iBeacons app
The National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon is the first Roman museum in the world to trial the new iBeacons app which will enable visitors to discover more about the collections on their mobile devices as they walk around the site. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru) is trialling the Culture and Heritage Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology (Apple iBeacon), in partnership with People’s Collection Wales and the Locly (app and platform) at the museum in Caerleon following the success of the first trial at the National Slate Musuem in Llanberis. The iBeacons technology was launched at the National Roman Legion Museum by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates AM.
#popupmuseum - How did it all go?
The pop-up museum was created over two days at the Wales Millennium Centre as part of the Welsh Museums Festival and the Museums Association conference. We set up the cases, table, boxes, screen and various cardboard structures on the Thursday before the conference. It looked great, but we were all quite nervous. Would anyone turn up? Would people bring an object in response to our call outs on social media? Would people participate and share their Cardiff stories and memories? Would the huge table at its centre attract visitors or put them off?  Would Billy the Seal arrive safely? We were about to find out if our experiment would work…….and thankfully it did!
Unearthing the past: Heritage Lottery grant supports new initiative to get the best from archaeological finds
Every year, metal detectorists, farmers and walkers discover archaeological finds that could have important stories to tell us about the past in Wales. But do we get the most out of these discoveries? Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in partnership with The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales has attracted a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to fulfil the exciting potential of new discoveries. The project Saving Treasures, Telling Stories has been awarded 349,000 to work with finders and communities and enhance the archaeology collections of national and local museums across Wales.
The Saving Treasures project will establish collecting networks across Wales, enabling museums to share skills, expertise and knowledge and offering training to interpret collections in new and strategic ways. It will also allow for targeted purchases of newly discovered artefacts to develop national and local collections over a four year period 2015-2019. This will involve discoveries covering many periods, from the Stone Age to Medieval times.
Behind Closed Doors: A mini toolkit to unlock an amazing stores experience
The Behind Closed Doors mini toolkit is here! This year the West Midlands Museum Development Programme has supported four museums to identify imaginative and creative ways to engage visitors in their stored collections; the Behind Closed Doors project. We commissioned Heritage Insider to coordinate the work and they created our mini toolkit as a project legacy. It showcases some of the impressive work around the country to open museum stores up to the public. Heritage Insider visited some of the most forward thinking centres and has uncovered some simple ideas that could transform your stores experience. Through their research they discovered the diversity of stores experiences, which are engaging a variety of people through some exciting methodologies. Download the toolkit now to uncover a wealth of ideas, tips and resources to help your museum improve access to its stored collections.
Digital Past 2015 - Swansea, 11-12 February
Digital Past is a two day conference which showcases innovative digital technologies for data capture, interpretation and dissemination of heritage sites and artefacts. The event will offer a combination of papers, seminars and hands-on workshops and demonstrations to investigate the latest technical survey and interpretation techniques and their practical application in heritage interpretation, education and conservation.
Icon Conservation Awards
The Icon Conservation Awards celebrate the highest standards of conservation skills, innovation, research and collections care within the UK arts and heritage sector. The awards programme celebrates the work of over 4,000 professional conservators and excellence from across the heritage sector from a community of students, volunteers and special interest groups, all passionate about the restoration and conservation of movable heritage. The 2015 Awards Programme invites projects to apply that help showcase the remarkable achievements of the diverse people behind the projects, and the passion for long-term preservation and conservation of UK heritage.
Making the most of digital donations: A practical guide to selecting and using online giving platforms
Online giving platforms have been in existence for over a decade and there are now a large number of operators offering a range of services. As charity supporters have become increasingly familiar with digital financial transactions, taking donations online has become essential. Making the most of digital donations: A practical guide to selecting and using online giving platforms offers organisations a strategic approach when choosing a provider and will be a valuable resource for all charities that are looking at how they can maximise their fundraising presence online by working with online giving platforms. The guide will also be particularly useful for smaller charities that may be less sure about how online giving platforms work or what they need to do when working with different partners.
British Science Week at your Museum?
Your group could be eligible for a grant of 500. Plus you can receive free support, resources and activity ideas to help celebrate British Science Week 2015 (BSW), 13-22 March 2015. The grant is aimed to engage audiences who are traditionally hard to reach with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activity. As such, we hope this grant will inspire groups and organisations who do not traditionally run STEM events to try something new for British Science Week.
Local authorities must find new ways to champion the arts & culture
Local authority funding for the arts and culture has fallen by 19 per cent* in the last 3 years and organisations around the country are feeling the effects. Local authorities must consider alternative ways of sustaining local culture, NLGN warns in its report, The Arts Council England On with the Show: Supporting Local Arts and Culture. NLGN recommend that local authorities embed the arts and culture within their corporate strategy and use their role of local leadership to bring together residents and partners around their vision and strategy. The report details a number of alternative models of support that can mobilise this strategy. Findings in the report show that despite the cuts, local authorities still recognise and champion the value of arts and culture to their local communities but struggle to do so via the traditional grant giving channels.
Exceptions to copyright: Libraries, archives and museums
This guidance leaflet sets out the exceptions applicable to libraries, archives and museums. This is relevant to anyone who works in or with libraries, archives or museums, or copyright owners whose content is held by such institutions. The law has changed to make it easier and cheaper for cultural institutions like libraries, archives, and museums to use, share and preserve their collections. There are two significant changes which will affect libraries, archives and museums. The first relates to making copies of works to preserve them for future generations. The second allows greater freedom to copy works for those carrying out non-commercial research and private study (PDF)
Orphan works diligent search guidance for applicants
Orphan works are copyright works where one or more right holder is unknown or cannot be located. These guides will be helpful if you decide to apply for a licence under the orphan works licensing scheme, which requires a diligent search to be completed. They include details on the sources that applicants must consult and a non exhaustive list of additional sources which might be helpful. They have been developed through working with professionals in the relevant sectors. Checklists to show that you have completed a diligent search have also been published, which may be used in the application process.
Heritage and Community
The following articles selected from Routledge journals examine a number of the ways in which heritage and community interact, including; the role of heritage in creating and preserving a sense of community; recording the history of distinctive communities; and how communities can be involved in heritage preservation.
Funding cuts prompts Wales' museums' review
The impact of public funding cuts on museums is to be reviewed by experts appointed by the Welsh government. Wales has over 80 museums which are run by councils and other groups holding more than one million artefacts. However, their council funding is not guaranteed as museums are among non-statutory services. The review has been welcomed in Wrexham where councillors are considering what to do with the museum service as their authority faces 45m budget cuts. Museums are "particularly at risk to cuts and closure in current economic circumstances", according to Deputy Culture Minister Ken Skates. "I am keen to identify ways of ensuring that museum services continue to be provided at a local level," he said. "I have, therefore, commissioned an expert panel to review the impact of proposed funding and organisational changes by local authorities on local museums."
Museum trawl unveils two headed lambs and holy rhubarb
Welsh museums possess some of the finest natural history exhibits outside of London - but where are they all? That is what a 100,000 project by the Welsh Museums Federation is aiming to find out. Linking Natural Collections is trawling the country to find hidden gems and bring them together for the first time in a virtual history museum. A two-head lamb and a tropical swordfish bill were amongst the more unusual items uncovered.
Llys Rhosyr medieval court to be rebuilt at St Fagans
Work to reconstruct one of the medieval courts of the Princes of Gwynedd has begun at St Fagans National History Museum, near Cardiff. Rebuilding the great hall from Llys Rhosyr on Anglesey will be one of the most challenging archaeological projects in Wales, said the museum. It will see the building's nine-metre high (29.5 ft) stone walls and thatched roof rebuilt. It is part of wider renovations of St Fagans.
New hope for future restoration of Newport's medieval ship
A new home could soon be found for Newport's medieval ship, safeguarding its future restoration. The Welsh government has agreed to pay 20,000-a-year for three years for a site to store the 15th Century vessel discovered in 2002. It comes after Newport council said it planned to stop its funding due to budget cuts. The new site will allow freeze-drying of the ship's remaining timbers to continue, completing its conservation. Supporters of the Newport Ship raised concerns about its future in August when it emerged there was no plan in place for an alternative home after the lease on its current building expires in October.
Sekhemka statue sale: Northampton Council 'violated trust'
A council's decision to sell an ancient Egyptian statue for nearly 16m was a "clear violation of public trust", the Museums Association has said. Northampton Borough Council sold the 4,000-year-old Sekhemka statue in July, partly to help fund the expansion of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. A hearing of the Museums Association has decided to ban the council from membership for five years. But the authority said it had already decided to resign its membership
British Museum to be digitally recreated in Minecraft
The British Museum in London - complete with all of its exhibits - is to be recreated in the video game Minecraft. The project is part of the Museum of the Future scheme, which aims to expand the institution's appeal. Many real-life organisations have been recreated in the Minecraft universe, including Ordnance Survey and the Danish government, who aim to make young people more aware of their work. A spokeswoman for the museum emphasised that the project was still at "an early planning stage", and the "build" had not yet begun. She added that the organisation was intending to recruit members of the public to help with the "construction".
Elizabeth Bennett & Carol Whittaker
Current Awareness Service
Inclusion of third party information in the Museums Current Awareness Service does not constitute an endorsement by CyMAL. CyMAL takes no responsibility for the quality of third party events, products or services featured in this Newsletter. Whilst every care is taken to provide accurate information, neither CyMAL nor the editor undertakes any liability for any error or omission.
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Elizabeth Bennett
CyMAL: Amgueddfeydd Archifau a Llyfrgelloedd Cymru - CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales
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