Over the last three years, Cambridge has made full use of previous Arts Council funding to transform the way its eight major museums work in partnership, and to unlock their world-class collections for both Cambridge and the wider world.
Major successes have included the Thresholds poetry project, curated by Carol Ann Duffy, and Discoveries at 2 Temple Place in London. Discoveries, now transferred to The Fitzwilliam Museum, is the first-ever joint exhibition to involve all University of Cambridge Museums.
And there was further good news as Kettle’s Yard received first-stage backing from Arts Council England to support the creation of a new Education Wing.
The Arts Council funding, totalling £3.5m, is a substantial step towards the campaign target of £8.7m. Arts Council England have also renewed Kettle’s Yard National Portfolio Organisation status and committed £446,271 funding for the next three years. Dr Jennifer Barnes, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy), and Chair of the General Board Museums Committee, said: “These significant awards announced on the same day, recognise the essential role museums and collections play in research, teaching and understanding. Each collection is of global significance, adding an extraordinary dimension to our university, community and region. Cambridge Museums, whether working as a single collection or together, demonstrate that curating the past is about understanding the present and creating new futures. These awards allow us to share that future with all who come to Cambridge, of all ages, whether as visitors, students or researchers.”
UCM plan to use the next round of Arts Council funding to consolidate ongoing progress into understanding, widening and diversifying its audience. Major steps to achieving this have already been undertaken with imaginative learning programmes, digital innovation and more.
Liz Hide, University of Cambridge Museums Officer, said: “Here in Cambridge we are lucky in having many exceptional museums, each of which contribute to the academic, social and community work of the University. Our ongoing goal now is to open up the cultural riches of Cambridge to as wide and diverse an audience as possible.”