“Small Change, Big Change” – new online publication by Museum Development North West

A new online publication produced by Museum Development North West showcases all of the projects funded by their Sustainable Improvement Fund during 2012-15. “Small Change, Big Change” documents how just over £200,000 was distributed to 39 projects in the North West during this period, the outcomes and outputs achieved and the longer term legacy of this funding that has proved so valuable to museums in the region.

The main themes of MDNW’s work have been based around Arts Council England’s five goals as set out in their ten-year strategic plan “Great Art and Culture for Everyone” and each SIF-funded project has had to demonstrate how it meets at least one of these five goals. In 2012-15 emphasis was placed on goals 1, 2 and 3.

Goal 1) Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries

Goal 2) Everyone has the opportunity to experience and to be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries

Goal 3) The arts, museums and libraries are resilient and environmentally sustainable

Goal 4) The leadership and workforce in the arts, museums and libraries are diverse and appropriately skilled

Goal 5) Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries


Lancashire Infantry Museum (Photo credit: Simon Critchley)


“Small Change, Big Change” thoroughly demonstrates how the Sustainable Improvement Fund has supported projects that have helped develop new ways of working, partnerships and business models as well as providing funding for simple or small-scale projects that made a big difference.

You can download “Small Change, Big Change” HERE

For further information on how to improve resilience and excellence at your museum or heritage site, please see the AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums

To help you understand and improve your overall visitor experience, identify any staff and volunteer training needs and ensure that young people are served by your museum, please see AIM Visitor Verdict. This is an online benchmarking service that is free for all AIM members until the end of September 2015. AIM Visitor Verdict

Introduction to “Small Change, Big Change” by Matthew Tanner MBE, Chairman, Association of Independent Museums (AIM)

No organisation can stand still in today’s world, and although museums are about preserving the past, they cannot be stuck in the past – even the recent past.

Those museums that have prospered over the past few years are the ones that have a positive attitude towards change. They welcome it as the evidence they are being successful in their ongoing efforts to innovate – to find ways of doing things better, or with fewer resources. They know that without change there can be no improvement.

This Sustainable Improvement Fund embraces innovation on a scale achievable by all and shows that in many instances small investments and small changes can be extremely significant and effective, in helping museums adapt and prosper –from Kendal Museum reaching new audiences by displaying a mammoth’s tooth in a dental surgery to Lancashire Infantry Museum creating “A Call to Arms”, an immersive First World War army recruitment experience for schools.

The Sustainable Improvement Fund gives museums the chance to experiment, try new ways of working and develop their skills. It supports them to be thriving organisations, delivering excellent experiences for the public, through the region’s diverse museums.

AIM extends its congratulations to all the museums that have taken up the opportunity offered by the Sustainable Improvement Fund to try something new and warmly welcomes this publication, summarising their achievements.

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