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A woman's head seen from behind. She has braids pulled into a bun - the focus is on her hair

Support for new exhibitions touring network led by the Horniman

Art Fund has announced support for a new Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibitions Touring, led by the Horniman. The forthcoming display Hair, Untold Stories, will be the inaugural exhibition.

The £150,000 seed funding is being provided to the Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring (MAGNET) for the pilot of an ambitious new programme for museums to develop co curated, collections-based exhibitions designed to tour nationally.

The grant will support the collaborative project Hair, Untold Stories, an innovative exhibition exploring global hair cultures, to launch at the Horniman in October 2021, before touring to Museums Sheffield and Tullie House in Carlisle. The Horniman are the lead MAGNET partner.

The newly established MAGNET network of twelve museums and galleries aims to allow organisations to pool resources, develop curatorial expertise and share their collections with diverse national audiences.

Co-curated touring exhibitions are a powerful potential tool in helping the limited funds museums will have for exhibitions go further. They also respond to historic challenges faced by regional organisations including a lack of affordable quality touring exhibitions and budget cuts reducing the ability to generate exhibitions.

The partnership between Art Fund and MAGNET will develop a replicable and sustainable model for collaboration between regional museums that could create a long-term legacy for the sector and help bring regional collections to wider audiences.

Each museum in MAGNET has in its stored collections huge numbers of objects with a wealth of stories to tell, yet we each lack the resources to create new exhibitions to tell those stories.

By working together, we all have a chance to showcase our collections, share knowledge and resources, and bring to our visitors a series of new and relevant exhibitions for a fraction of the cost of buying them in or creating each one ourselves. This new collaborative way of working will be a powerful tool both in helping the limited funds museums have for exhibitions go further and in supporting our recovery in a post coronavirus world.
Nick Merriman, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens