Cumbrian Attractions Combine Forces And #Mylocalmuseum Goes National

North West Museum collaboration on social media goes from strength to strength, recruiting national museums in a #MyLocalMuseum campaign.

Museums in Cumbria started a ‘#MyLocalMuseum’ social media campaign to showcase culture within the region. Initially, a week-long campaign was tested out in November with a small group of Museums to connect with the idea of supporting your local attractions. The project began with five north west museums working together; Tullie House Museum, Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life, Penrith & Eden Museum, Maryport Maritime Museum and Senhouse Roman Museum.

The initial campaign to raise awareness was taken up county-wide with a third lockdown closing heritage venues across Cumbria. Changing to a weekly themed virtual conversation, the #MyLocalMuseum campaign took shape and began to encompass Museums outside the County.

Museums across the country have been joining in each week and the numbers of people engaging is consistently growing. The project has changed the mindset of the museums from one of competition to one of cooperation, working together to build a community of people who enjoy visiting attraction-based organisations like museums, art galleries and gardens in Cumbria.

The Museums joined forces to showcase how culture can bring communities together, provide a sense of place and, in these uncertain times, celebrate a collective Cumbrian heritage. Now extending to south Cumbria with over 15 attractions taking part and over 65 participating museums across the whole country, the campaign showcases the unique and diverse heritage of Britain.

The campaign has provided shared support within the Museum community at a time when many staff members are operating from their own homes and missing face to face engagement with visitors. It has enabled individual organisations to showcase elements of their collections, make connections, and have a dialogue between Museums.

Kaye Hardyman, Museum Development North West said: “Not only has the campaign provided a coordinated approach for museums to engage with local communities whilst their doors are closed, it has given the wider museum sector a way to stay connected and share collective stories based on the amazing collections they look after.”

With the latest government announcement to reopen cultural organisations across the country in May the group are asking people to show their appreciation online by using the #mylocalmuseum to share why their local museums are special to them.

Anna Smalley, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery says: “We want to hear from you about what makes your local museum special. Do you have a favourite object, gallery or spot to sit in in their gardens? We want to celebrate the special place museums have at the heart of their communities.”

Many of the museums in the partnership have adapted their programmes to provide digital interaction and virtual opportunities alongside COVID-safe activities at their venues, from socially distanced family craft activities to external exhibitions. The #MyLocalMuseum campaign raises their profile and highlights their role within their community. As the country gradually prepares for returning to some sort of normality, Museums are keen to continue their engagement ready for when they re-open their doors in May.