Royal Armouries has been awarded a grant of £53,700 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to fund the development of the Royal Armouries Digital Vision for the Future.
The vision reflects the organisation’s ambitions to develop a digital offer in-keeping with a globally recognised museum, becoming a ‘fourth destination’ for visitors to sit alongside its existing sites at Leeds, Fort Nelson and the Tower of London.
As well as improving what the organisation can offer its visitors, it aspires to embed a “digital first” culture throughout the organisation to improve efficiency, increase access and remain up-to-date and relevant within its field.
In addition, the Royal Armouries recognises that in developing new digital thinking it will be able to identify value creation opportunities for digital stakeholders, adding to the ways in which it communicates with these groups and individuals.
Richard Williams, head of Interpretation at the Royal Armouries, said: “This strategy is about changing our thinking around digital engagement, and how we can better connect with both our virtual and physical visitors, customers and other users through digital media.”
The Royal Armouries team will be working on the development phase of the project over the next six months. A “stage two” application to National Lottery Heritage Fund will follow in September 2019, for the delivery phase of this project.
The project has been developed at a time when the National Lottery Heritage Fund has itself set out a vision and principles that will guide National Lottery investment for the next five years.
The new Strategic Funding Framework includes “Digital” as a key area of focus and has a commitment to support organisations “to embed digital thinking in every project to ensure that they can take full advantage of new technology to conserve heritage and to make it more inclusive”.
The Royal Armouries project is the first “digital only” project that the Yorkshire and Humber National Lottery Heritage team have funded and both the Royal Armouries and the National Lottery Heritage Fund are looking forward to fully exploring the potential benefits of the project and the learning and experience to be shared.
Siona Mackelworth, director of Public Engagement, Royal Armouries, said: “We are delighted to receive this vital funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
“The grant will allow us to further develop our digital offering across the organisation, allowing visitors, researchers and other users to further engage with our remarkable collection of arms and armour and the themes relating to this important area of study in new and innovative ways.
“As the first ‘digital only’ project funded by the Yorkshire and Humber National Lottery Heritage team, we hope we can set an example to other organisations in the region and across the country, showcasing the importance of digital media in heritage and the arts.”