Market Town Museums’ Network

Bright Culture was commissioned in 2017 to develop and facilitate a new network for Market Town Museums in the East Midlands. The first phase of the Market Town Museums’ Network (MTMN) was funded through an Arts Council Resilience Grant to support museums to build stronger relationships with their local communities.

Red brick building behind some grass and a bush.

The Network was established in early 2017 with five member museums from across the East Midlands. The museums came together on a regular basis over 14 months to develop, deliver and reflect on their bespoke community engagement projects; to learn from each other and to provide peer support.

The members of the Network were: Melton Carnegie Museum, Manor House Museum, Kettering, Newark Town Hall Museum, Bassetlaw Museum and Mansfield Museum. Bright Culture organised the Network’s activity, including five group meetings, two visits to external museums, training opportunities and mentoring of individual staff members. In reviewing the first phase of the  Network, the members attributed its success to a number of factors including:

  • A tight timescale.
  • Support to experiment (which meant different things for each museum)
  • Peer support and learning from others across the sector.
  • Prioritising investment in people with a good budget for training.
  • A flexible approach to how you deliver ‘audience development’.

A full case study of the Network can be found on the Museums Development East Midlands website.

Phase 2 of the Network, supported by MDEM, is now underway, with an expanded membership, but the same core focus on Market Town Museums and their role within their local community.

 

Working with Bright Culture is a truly collaborative process. We initially commissioned them to run our Arts Council funded Market Town Museums’ Network and were inspired by their long sighted but adaptable approach. As a team they bring a wealth of experience to their work which shows in their ability to actively listen to both us the commissioner and in our case the 5 client museums. They ensured their delivery was structured but bespoke to everyone’s needs whilst delivering the overall ambitions and outcomes of the Network. Since our original project we have embarked on several work programmes with Bright Culture as we feel they add a great deal of diverse skills to our team and we look forward to our work together in the future.

Sarah Hartshorne, Museum Development Programme Officer   Museum Development East Midlands

Two girls sitting at a table painting.
Exploring Newark Town Hall Museum's collection through painting.