Since it was first published in 2010 the AIM Economic Impact Toolkit has helped museums all around the UK demonstrate the value they bring to their local economies. Now it has been updated and re-launched for 2014 with the latest data and with more local information, where available.
With museums needing to make the case for their value in every way they can, the AIM Economic Toolkit has never been more needed. Created by DC Research (and updated by them in 2014 pro bono), it enables museums to assess the economic impact of their museum through tourism, employment and spend on goods and services. It has been used by Local Authority museums as well as by independent ones. In general, the approach taken to the assessment is adopted and adapted from the HM Treasury’s ‘Green Book’ approach, using English Partnership’s Additionality Guidance (3rd edition, 2008), and where relevant, Scottish Enterprise’s Additionality & Economic Impact Assessment Guidance Note (2008).
The report published in 2010, alongside the original toolkit, found that:
- Across the independent museum sector visitors (estimated to be over 9 million) represented around £364 million of gross visitor impacts.
- At least £124 million of direct, indirect and induced impacts as a result of spending on goods and services by independent museums (although impact may be as high as £394 million).
- At least 5,800 full time equivalent direct, indirect and induced jobs supported by the sector, equivalent to a further £122 million (although impact might be as high as 10,500 jobs, equivalent to £219 million.)
- Taken together, the total impact of the independent museum sector is estimated to be in the order of at least £610 million (although this could be as high as £930 million.
In many regions museums have grouped together to demonstrate their collective economic impact, often coordinated by Museum Development Officers (MDOs). In the Marches Network, MDOs transferred the regional information into a really simple spreadsheet which required no expertise to complete and was suitable for museums of any size. Since then they have supported individual museums to use the tool in order to make their case and are now updating their spreadsheet with 2014 data.