The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has been awarded National Portfolio Organisation status by Arts Council England.
The Museum of East Anglian Life is one of 183 new organisations which has been welcomed into the portfolio of 831 arts and culture organisations. The National Portfolio includes organisations across England of all sizes and scales, with museums and libraries coming into the portfolio for the first time this year. Some organisations are well-established, like the Royal Shakespeare Company and DanceEast. Other portfolio organisations are just starting out. The Museum of East Anglian Life is one of 72 museums across England which have been awarded funding.
The Museum of East Anglian Life has been awarded £147,500 a year for four years. The funding will support three new programmes at the museum:
· ‘Becoming Local’ will create new contemporary exhibition programme at the museum, working with local people. It will explore contemporary issues and how the region has changed and is changing.
· ‘Golden Ticket’ will offer every 12-year-old in Mid Suffolk an experience day at the museum to try out a day of practical activities ranging from beekeeping to astronomy. Research suggests that getting involved in out-of-school activities makes a significant difference in individual achievement, and there is a link between having a hobby and good mental health later in life.
· ‘Wiki-thon’ will improve how East Anglia is represented on the web. Using our collections and history, we will train and work with volunteers to research and tell the story of the region online.
Jenny Cousins, Director of the Museum of East Anglian Life said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to join the National Porfolio. It’s a real vote of confidence in the museum and its potential to do exciting and innovative programming to get people involved with culture and heritage and experience the personal and community benefits that brings. The Museum of East Anglian Life is a showcase for the region and we want to involve as many people as possible in making it a place which celebrates the best of what East Anglia has to offer.’
Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley said: ‘This portfolio has emerged from an exhaustive and rigorous process, from initial consultations with the sector, through to the final balancing decisions. Up and down England there are organisations, villages, towns and cities that will benefit hugely from this investment. We have supported more organisations than ever before, but of course there have been hard decisions to make – often between applicants of great merit. We are fortunate to have such a variety and quantity of talent in our country.’
Tony Goldson, SCC Cabinet member with responsibility for arts and libraries said: ‘Suffolk County Council is delighted that Arts Council England is increasing its investment in Suffolk. We know that our Arts, Libraries and Museums are both locally cherished and nationally celebrated. We are proud to work closely with these organisations, to co-invest in them and to see their role in our communities’ well- being grow and flourish.’