We have received a £121,760.00 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Travelling Together: Museum Journeys Towards Inclusion and Collaboration. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, together with Arts Council England funding, the project will help museums in the South West engage with a wider range of people in their organisations and across the communities they serve. The project will start in May 2023 and run until the end of March 2024 you can find out how to participate on our project page.  

We know that museums of all sizes have both the potential and appetite to put themselves at the heart of their communities, evidenced by our previous work including the Heritage Fund and Arts Council-supported ‘Rebuilding the Foundations: Gloucestershire’s Museums’ project. Building directly on this learning, Travelling Together will develop museums’ skills and confidence to listen and create change with their communities.      

A diverse and experienced steering group will be funded and will advise, provide challenge and bring new perspectives to longstanding museum sector barriers and challenges, particularly those experienced by groups with protected characteristics.  

Travelling Together will support at least 180 people working or volunteering in the region’s museums with capacity-building support from expert trainers, recruited using the project’s funding. A network of peer-led forums will reach at least 50 museums and provide opportunities for six champions to influence positively for greater inclusivity in museums.   

Ten museums will also pitch for cash funding to kick start activity which will make their structures, teams, collections and programmes more relevant and accessible to their communities.  

The programme will put in place e-learning and other online tools that can be used by the museum and heritage sector beyond the end of the project, ensuring lasting impact.  

We have put out tenders for two freelance opportunities to help us deliver this project, find out more on our vacancies page.

Rachel Bellamy, Community Heritage and Museum Development Officer at South West Heritage Trust delivers development support to museums. Rachel says:  

“This project will help museums to plan how they can remove barriers which may stop people from engaging with their collections and being involved in their organisations. I’m pleased that, thanks to the support of National Lottery Players, museums will be able to benefit from the Travelling Together project.”

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says:

“Inclusive heritage is very important to us at the Heritage Fund which is why we are proud to support South West Museum Development with this project. Making sure everyone feels like they are able to experience the heritage on their doorstep is important for people to feel connected to the place they call home and also to broaden understanding in the wider community.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England South West, adds:

“As the national development agency for creativity and culture, Arts Council England are pleased to support South West Museum Development. Our mission is to ensure that everyone in the country has access to a remarkable range of experiences, and they help us to achieve that goal by supporting 50 museums in the region.

Our investment of £540,204 has helped them secure further funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to expand their reach and deepen their engagement with 10 museums and make their collections more inclusive and relevant to their communities. We are excited to see the positive impacts of this project and how it will benefit communities by making these fantastic experiences more accessible.”