In 2016, Leicestershire County Council (LCC), in partnership with Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM), successfully secured an Arts Council Resilience Fund grant of £87,300 to establish the Market Town Museums’ Network. Initially comprising five museums, the Network has focussed on how small museums in market towns build sustainable relationships with their local communities. Each participating museum has received a grant to plan and deliver an audience development project, along with access to professional development opportunities and peer support. The member museums for the first phase of the Network have been: Melton Carnegie Museum, the Manor House Museum, Kettering, Mansfield Museum, Bassetlaw Museum and Newark Town Hall Museum.
The idea for the Network was sparked by Melton Carnegie Museum’s desire to review its purpose and relevance to local communities who weren’t engaging with the museum. Visitor numbers had been falling in recent years, and Melton Carnegie wanted to better understand why this was happening, develop their audience and strategies, and, crucially, create a peer network in order to support the team in doing this.
MDEM, hosted by Leicester County Council and funded by Arts Council to deliver support to accredited museums across the East Midlands, has been the Lead Partner in developing and delivering the infrastructure for the Network. Bright Culture Consultancy was commissioned to coordinate and facilitate the Network Meetings, provide ongoing support and mentoring to the museums in reviewing and connecting with their local communities, and to organise the programme of museum visits.
You can view a case study video of the project here:
Or download the PDF Case Study document here: MDEM Market Town Museums Case Study