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Arts Council

Oxford University Museums Partnership receives approximately £1.5m per year from Arts Council England as one of 21 Major Partner Museum Services for the funding period from April 2015-March 2018.

Arts Council Investment in Museums 2015-2018

There are more than 2,000 museums in England, located in most towns and cities across the country. They are arguably the finest museums in the world, with extraordinary collections that tell stories that are more relevant today than ever before. Museum audiences have grown consistently over the last decade, and half of all adults visited a museum or gallery last year – that’s more than attendance at the football Premiership League plus the whole of the rest of league football, and more than the number of people who annually visit the West End and Broadway theatres combined.

Despite this success, many museums face difficult economic circumstances, with local authorities – the largest investor in regional museums – facing declining resources, added to reductions to our own funds and diminished National Lottery funding for museums.

Arts Council England’s funding plans for 2015-18 responds to this challenge with a focus on building the resilience of museums and on close partnerships with other funders and cross-sector bodies to make best use of the resources available.

Arts Council England funds museums in a number of ways and with differing timescales. Our Major partner museums lead wide programmes of work for schools, families and lifelong learning. They develop excellent care and conservation; demonstrate innovative and engaging interpretations of their Designated collections; they focus on becoming sustainable organisations through increasing earned income; and they improve staff development through workforce training programmes.

Selected through an open application programme, Arts Council provides project funding with a focus on building resilience in the sector. Priorities include encouraging new income streams and helping museums connect with their communities. A national network of museum development will continue with, and improve on, our current work, with a high quality, consistent offer across the country.

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