Understanding emotional connections to museums – with Art Fund and the Association of Independent Museums

We are thrilled to announce that we are working with Art Fund and the Association of Independent Museums on an exciting new study to understand how people connect emotionally with museums and what can be done to support organisations to connect better with people in their local community.

Art Fund and the Association for Independent Museums (AIM) both work to support museums, galleries and associated organisations through championing their contribution, supporting them with development and training, advocating on their behalf and working to help them engage audiences better.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we saw many examples of passionate local people getting together to support and ‘save’ local museums or similar cultural or heritage assets. This research will seek to understand what drives people to take such actions, in order to support museums to better engage on an emotional level with communities moving forward and in a more consistent way.

We will be engaging with a range of stakeholders, particularly focusing on museums which have recent experience of engaging their communities to support them via funding, advocating, petitioning, volunteering or other contributions.

Elliot Simmonds, Client Solutions Director, will lead the project for M.E.L:
“This is an incredibly interesting and relatively untapped area of research and we are thrilled and privileged to have been asked to undertake this work on behalf of Art Fund and AIM. Museums and heritage assets represent many things to many different groups of people in communities.

They are places of education, family engagement, fun and enjoyment - and they are places of space and solitude, to think, to challenge and to reflect. As we move forward beyond COVID-19 it’s more important than ever that the sector is supported to engage audiences in the best possible way in order to create long-lasting, strong and impactful relationships between people and their local museums, and we’re very pleased to be able to do so via this research.”

If you would to know more about the research please contact Elliot directly, via Elliot.Simmonds@melresearch.co.uk


About the research sponsors

Founded in 1903, Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. We exist to help protect and enrich the UK’s museum and gallery collections and to ensure as many people as possible can access and enjoy them. Together with our supporters, donors, and 130,000 National Art Pass and Student Art Pass members, we help save important works of art and artefacts, fund professional development and widely promote the benefits of visiting museums to new audiences.

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) was established in 1977 to address the specific needs of the growing independent museum sector, creating a network for mutual help and support that would share good practice and provide a singular voice for the independents. Today AIM continues that work, supporting and championing independent museums, galleries and heritage organisations across the UK – helping them to achieve their purpose and ensuring their needs are recognised and addressed by policy makers, funders and other organisations working in the sector.