‘Members of the Bath Cultural Education Partnership steering group – House of Imagination, the egg theatre, Bath Festivals and The Holburne Museum – have been successful in their individual bids for emergency funding from Arts Council England.’
Bath, you have done it! After being closed for over two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Holburne Museum has now been saved.
After successful appeals by The Bath Preservation Trust, as well as crowdfunding led by the institution itself, The Holburne Museum – one of Bath’s best-loved small museums – has been saved amid a cultural crisis.
The museum, a part of Bath’s culture for over 130 years, declared its costs of opening and appealed to ‘those who valued art, creativity and culture’, openly stating their application for emergency funding from the Arts Council as part of the aim to save Bath’s independent museums.
Now no longer at risk of closure, the old master paintings and armorial porcelain at The Holburne Museum can continue to paint the vibrant picture of Bath’s heritage.
Other local independents have also been in favour of saving Bath’s culture. The vibrant boutique hotel, The Bird, launched its own ‘Takeaway Afternoon Tea’ campaign with all profits to be donated to The Holburne Museum and Bath Festivals. The Bath Preservation Trust has also been continuing to raise money, with the aim to collect £5,000 to help fund museums, campaigning work, educational capacity, and social media presence.
Bath’s community spirit has not been dampened by the pandemic and, instead, is feeling closer than ever. Yet without crowdfunding enabling independent funds to be raised and emergency appeals, the future of the nation’s cultural ecology is unclear.
In a survey by the Arts Council, culture was deemed as important as schools when deciding where to live: “Arts and culture were cited as an equal priority to ‘schools’ in people’s decision to move to or remain in an area. Some 44% of respondents that had remained in their area and 43 per cent of those who had moved into their area said that the local arts and cultural offer was either somewhat or very important to their decision.”
Whilst the nation recognises culture as vital, the UK’s smaller museums still face a devasting financial future. It is not only the culture of towns and cities at risk but the longstanding heritage of places such as Bath. The future of the nation’s cultural sites is unclear, with independent museums relying on summer revenue and emergency appeals. With over 1,000 smaller independent museums currently in the UK, with many turning to live classes with artists and online virtual tours, there will not be enough funds to save them all.
Are you interested in contributing to a fundraising appeal? Check out the full list of organisations in Bath who need your help here. To find out how you can contribute to saving Bath’s culture and get involved in community engagement click here.