5.4The beneficial contribution of museums to tourism, the knowledge economy, regeneration, as well as social cohesion and education, arising from investment in the sector has been clearly articulated in many studies.
5.5While Northern Ireland’s museums have intrinsic and significant ‘economic value’, their full potential in contributing to the development of tourism in Northern Ireland has yet to be fully unlocked. The keys to this are ensuring a co-ordinated approach to raising the profile of museums both at home and abroad, developing the product base, and making sure that the services offered align with the needs and demands of local and international visitors. In addition, museums have a significant role to play in reshaping the image and enhancing the profile of Northern Ireland abroad.
5.6The goals for Developing Audiences (DA) are:
DA1.To increase the number and diversity of people visiting Northern Ireland’s museums.
DA2.To increase the number of people using the services provided by our museums.
DA3.To gain a better understanding and be responsive to the needs and wants of museum visitors and users.
DA4.To strengthen the position of museums as a key component of the tourism product of Northern Ireland.
DA5.To maximise the role of museums as cultural ambassadors abroad.
6.EDUCATION AND LEARNING
6.1Museums provide unique learning opportunities. They provide spaces and services that allow people to learn; be it the casual visitor who seeks enjoyment, or those engaged in formal educational study. They foster knowledge, develop skills, create awareness, stimulate lifelong interests, inspire change, challenge ideas and preconceptions, and instil an understanding of values.
6.2These elements are advanced by museums through engagement with their collections, with their events and activities, and in the outreach programmes they deliver. Museums contribute to the formal education curriculum, to life-long learning, personal development, and are a fundamental resource for the creative industries.