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EXCLUSIVE: National Media Museum 2011-12 plans and future strategy revealed

BPH can reveal the strategic priorities and medium term plans for the National Media Museum (NMeM), Bradford. These are set within the context of a 15 per cent government grant-in-aid reduction for the period 2011–12 to 2014–15. This is alongside a capital allocation that has reduced by over 50% from the previous spending review period. Bradford and the expectation that external private funding will be much harder to secure. The impact of the closure of the UK Film Council is still to be gauged in relation to the NMeM.

As a result the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI), the parent body of the NMeM and the other constituent museums, has a programme of change aimed at reducing costs, increasing efficiency and increasing income which will inevitably impact on the NMeM and its activities.  Across NMSI Staff costs are due to be reduced by 10 per cent. On a positive note the development of the NMeM gallery, Media Space – formerly known as the London presence – in London, completing the Internet Gallery, and agreeing a plan for the longer-term development of the NMeM are all seen as NMSI priorities.

 

Action plan

The museum has redefined its objective which is now: to be the best museum in the world for inspiring people to learn about, engage with and create media

·         Collections care and management

 

The NMeM, as part of NMSI, has already started work on realising a number of objectives. It is in the process of relocating objects held in its Black Dyke Mills store, just outside of Bradford, to the NMSI’s high density store at Wroughton.  One of its 2011-12 deliverables it to ‘realise improvements in environmental standards at the NMeM main site, including the extension of conservation facilities’.  A conservator was recently appointed.

 

NMSI is also developing an archives management system aimed at presenting material in the collections online. Alongside this effort the NMeM is tasked with progressing ‘targeted strategic acquisitions at the NMeM and their links to programme revenue generation including photographic and film archives, gaming and animation, driven by brand essence and values’

 

·         Audience targets and context.

In 2010–11 the National Media Museum is on target to reach between 500,000 and 550,000 visitors – well below the historical average. Visitor numbers have declined for a second year after a previous period of significant growth. Although some factors influencing the numbers have been beyond the Museum’s control, the decline has brought into sharp relief the need to make urgent improvements to the visitor welcome and day-to-day programme delivery, to accelerate the refreshing of galleries and to convey a clear, confident and high-impact message about the Museum to the outside world.

In 2011–12 the visitor target is 575,000. It is believed that a brand awareness campaign, developments to the Museum’s on-going programme (including more live interpretation, the development of an evening offer for adults and a stronger exhibition programme) and the opening of the new city centre park can help deliver this target.

In line with physical visitors, online visitor numbers were also down in 2010–11. The 2011–12 online visitor target seeks to improve on 2010–11, with 772,000 online visitors, although this will remain below the 2009–10 high of 846,000. The launch of the Internet Gallery, coupled with regular content updates to the website and a more focused social media campaign, should mean this target is achievable.

 

2011–12 deliverables

·         Gallery developments

o   Complete and open the Internet Gallery

o   Carry out a series of short-term gallery improvements including the Magic Factory, Profiles, Kodak and Animation galleries and relocation of the Games Lounge

·         Exhibitions, programmes and displays

o   Deliver an enhanced temporary exhibitions programme and  associated web content including: The Lives of Great Photographers; David Spero: Churches; Donovan Wylie: Bradford Fellow; Daniel Meadows: Fieldwork

o   Cultural Olympiad exhibitions: In the Blink of an Eye: Studies in Time and Motion; Crossing Boundaries: Bodies in Motion

o   Design and deliver more daily live interpretation including live shows

o   Design and deliver themed programming with contemporary relevance six times a year, covering the main school holiday periods

o   Design and deliver a new evening adult programme

o   Deliver the new film strategy to achieve a higher profile for the cinema operation and financial breakeven

o   Continue to develop the touring exhibition programme

·         Learning

o   Support the creation and delivery of exhibitions, programmes and displays, especially through audience research and advocacy

o   Deliver training for volunteers, casuals and explainers to deliver learning programmes

o   Promote and disseminate the Anim8ed web resource to museums and schools throughout the UK

o   Deliver the Internet Gallery youth engagement programme

o   Increase visits from booked groups and associated income, including enhanced school programme packages generating revenue

o   Deliver collections-based programmes for booked HE photography groups along with an HE photography online resource on landscape

o   Deliver regular non-school group leader and teacher preview events

o   Deliver 60,500 booked educational visitors

o   Deliver 93,500 adult and child visitors participating in onsite and off-site organised activities

·         Digital

o   Develop a digital strategy

o   Support and promote the non-digital exhibitions, film and learning programme, repurposing content online where cost-effective, using experimental solutions where appropriate

o   Develop media ‘debate and share’ web presence

o   Continue curatorial and digitisation input of content into a newly redeveloped website

 

2012–13 to 2014–15 planning and deliverables

·         Media Space in partnership with the Science Museum (due to open in 2012)

·         Fully costed ten-year development plan for the galleries and other spaces, exploring additional affordable space through a joint redevelopment with the adjacent Bradford Central Library to include larger purpose-built and more efficient temporary exhibition and collections care and management spaces, improved group learning spaces, media training facilities and multipurpose spaces as well as improved catering and retail spaces

·         Explore whether any joint development with the library might also form part of a wider development with other organisations to help the regeneration of central Bradford

·         Deliver live programmes that inspire our audiences to learn about, engage with and create media to 130,000 visitors by 2015.

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