A new video has been produced by the Cornwall Museums Partnership to help raise the profile of over seventy museums in the county and to highlight the positive impact they make. The video and accompanying infographic both explain how Cornish museums help learning, inspire people from all walks of life, provide employment and volunteering opportunities, add to the visitor economy and deliver value for money. We talked to Emmie Kell, CEO of the Cornwall Museums Partnership, to find out more about this work and to learn how other UK museums can tell their story too.
AIM: Hi Emmie, can you please tell us why the Cornwall Museums Partnership decided to create this video and infographic?
EK: We wanted to raise the profile of museums in Cornwall with key decision makers and the wider public. We set out to try and raise awareness ahead of the government’s decisions on public spending cuts which are due to be announced later this month. For us, this was about trying to explain the key impacts museums have for our communities and economy, in a way that people outside the sector would understand.
AIM: What do you hope the outcome of producing this work will be Emmie?
EK: We want to turn as many people as possible into advocates for museums and to really spell out the important role that large and small museums play. Whilst most of our museums are not wholly supported by local or central government funds, cuts to the Arts Council’s funding which result in a reduction in Museum Development support for instance, would affect a large number of them.
AIM: Why did you choose to use video rather than a standard written report to highlight Cornwall’s Museums?
EK: We wanted something which was easy to access. We looked at the Arts Council’s advocacy toolkit and we liked the way that they had chosen to publicise this via a short film. It seemed a good way for us to communicate quickly and easily with the people we wanted to reach. It is easy for people to share the film via social media and the advice we had from SEO experts was that video content will improve our search engine rankings. That said, this was a new departure for us and we wanted to test it out and see the reaction.
AIM: It is a brilliant way of engaging people and capturing interest – what would you say to encourage other museum networks across the UK to tell their story too?
EK: No one else is going to do this work on our behalf. I think it really is up to all of us in museums to stand up and make the case for them. I think we have all been a bit too modest in the past and now is the time to use all of the data which museums have been collecting to tell a compelling story about our sector’s impact.
AIM: Storytelling is a powerful way of getting crucial messages across to the wider public and politicians, how can independent museums do this?
EK: Independent museums in particular have a great story to tell– I would hope that, if they haven’t already, every museum in the country is busy contacting their local MP and councillors to set out the impact they have, to explain how they are funded and the great return on investment that they provide. The feedback we have had from our film has been overwhelmingly positive; it has helped to raise the profile of museums with a whole range of people in Cornwall and encouraged a productive dialogue with local decision makers. We learned a lot from the process of putting the film together – we did it in a very short time frame and the company we worked with www.becontent.co.uk did a great job. So much so that we are already planning the next one!
AIM: Thanks Emmie, is there anything else you would like to add?
EK: If any AIM members would like to find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org