On Friday Thames Valley Museums Group (TVMG), a new collaborative initiative for Galleries and Museums in the Thames Valley, was launched at the River & Rowing Museum, uniting over 70 museums within Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxford. The Thames Valley Museums Group’s break-through initiative showcases the rich museum offering within the Thames Valley and hopes to encourage visitors to museums to explore other heritage institutions in the area.
Announced by Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, the Thames Valley Museums Group brings together over 60 Museums within the three counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.
Many major museums including The Ashmolean, River & Rowing Museum, Didcot Railway Centre, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Oxford Castle Unlocked and Kelmscott Manor are included.
With over five million annual visitors to the museums within the three counties, the Thames Valley Museum Group’s cross-promotion aims to increase visitor numbers to each museum.
The Thames Valley boasts a greater concentration of museums than anywhere else in the UK outside the capital, making it an ideal destination for visitors wanting to combine exploring the lush English countryside as well as its rich heritage.
The National Trust is joining the project and six of their local properties will be featured on the website.
Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said, “I am delighted to be launching this excellent initiative. Using the power of cross marketing and the internet to increase attendance in a manner that benefits not just one but all is fantastic. Over five million people already visit these museums every year and it is exactly this sort of collaboration that will further increase visitor numbers, encourage greater opportunities for international tourists and showcase the sheer range of subjects these museums cover.
Regional museums reflect the very best of the UK’s rich and diverse heritage. It’s fitting we are launching this scheme here in the River & Rowing Museum, which has recently been recognised by The Times newspaper as one of the top 50 museums in the world and has a great reputation as a catalyst for new ideas.”
Paul Mainds, Chair of the Thames Valley Museums Group and Chief Executive of the River & Rowing Museum also said, “We are delighted to be launching the Thames Valley Museums Group’s new Marketing initiative today and we are grateful to both Ed Vaizey MP and Arts Council England for joining us today and their support.
With over 60 museums across the three counties, Buckinghamshre, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, we must have one of the greatest concentrations of museums anywhere in the world, certainly outside any major city. The challenge for us was to connect both existing visitors and tourists to the opportunities available.
With smart phones and tablets transforming the way in which people search for information we felt we needed one site to draw everything together. It is truly a portal with a double purpose – visitors benefit from easy access to the websites of all the museums in a specific area, and museums will benefit from increased visitors. This project is designed to make an interest in one museum lead to the discovery of another.
We are hugely grateful to Arts Council England for their support and above all to the individual museums that make up the Thames Valley Museums Group. It is great to have the combined expertise of so many colleagues working together on this project. Such collaborative working is a very positive sign, not only for the future of this initiative but also for other TVMG projects in the future. It is bringing their collections to a wider audience which is what this project is all about!”