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Art Fund launches crowdfunding campaign to raise £1 million for UK museums

Today we announce an appeal to the public for donations towards Together for Museums, a crowdfunding campaign to help museums come through the challenges of Covid-19 and shape a brighter future.

Museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK are facing a crisis due to the impact of Covid-19. Alongside the announcement today of our crowdfunding campaign, Together for Museums, we are releasing new research which shows the perilous position that the country’s beloved museums find themselves in.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the UK's museums were thriving: enriching lives and bringing people closer together. But today the future looks uncertain.

Visitor figures for October 2020 were just 25% of those in October last year, and 77% of organisations have reported a drastic decline in income. Six in ten surveyed are concerned about their survival, and 61% of museum workers are worried about losing their jobs.

The brilliant minds behind museums have been responding to the Covid-19 crisis with creativity and striving to keep serving their communities – but they need urgent help. Our campaign aims to raise £1 million directly for museums to adapt to today’s challenges and evolve.

Leading artists Lubaina Himid, Anish Kapoor, Michael Landy, Melanie Manchot, David Shrigley and Supermundane have lent their backing to the campaign, offering artworks and objects as rewards for donations starting at just £25.

Every donation, of any size, will go towards funding vital activity: from pioneering projects for schools, to taking collections out to the community; adapting spaces for visitors; digital engagement for those that can’t currently visit; and creating exhibitions for reopening.

The need for support

Over the last six months we have received applications totalling over £16.9m for our £2.25m emergency funding, which is now exhausted. In the first two rounds of this funding, we were only able to support 17% of applications.

Out of those successful applications have come some wonderful projects that demonstrate museums’ desire to adapt and innovate. New recipients announced today include:

  • The Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, to live-stream Roald Dahl’s amazing archive into classrooms around the UK and beyond

  • The Postal Museum, London, who have adapted their interactives, route and access resources to ensure an engaging experience despite Covid-19 restrictions

  • Lakeland Arts, Cumbria, for ‘Museum on the Move’, taking their collections out to people in the remote Cumbrian community

  • Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, to commission artists to engage with audiences both onsite and digitally

  • Salford Museum and Art Gallery, for a new blended learning programme enabling physical and digital engagement with their collections, expert educators, and unique learning experiences

The £1 million target for Together for Museums will enable so many more museums across the UK to come through this crisis and imagine a better future.

Jenny Waldman, Art Fund director, said: ‘Over the last six months it’s been hugely inspiring to see innovative ideas from museums to adapt and evolve, but heartbreaking that we cannot support them all. This terrible pandemic, which separates us from our loved ones but has brought us closer in support of our local communities, has taken museums to a make-or-break point. Single-handedly, we cannot solve this crisis – but together, we can make a huge impact. We are urging everyone who loves and uses museums to come together now, to help so many more museums thrive.’

Find out more about the campaign and donate at artfund.org/together.

Follow the campaign: @artfund #TogetherForMuseums

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