David Livingstone Birthplace Secures New Grant for Developing Partnerships and Networks with Museums and Organisations in the African Countries

January 2020

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The David Livingstone Birthplace has secured a new grant of £39k from Museums Galleries Scotland for a project which will develop working partnerships and networks between the David Livingstone Birthplace and museums and organisations which hold collections relating to Livingstone in the African countries he explored.

The David Livingstone Birthplace, home to the history of Scotland’s famous explorer, is currently undergoing a £6.1 million transformation. This will see his birthplace redeveloped to provide a vibrant new museum, setting Scotland in a global context and celebrating the inspirational story of how a poor millworker became one of the most popular British heroes of the Victorian era and a well-known figure in some Sub-Saharan African countries today.

This new project, starting in May 2020, will benefit the increased understanding of Livingstone and give the museum to the opportunity to share its knowledge. Outputs will include a touring exhibition about Livingstone’s legacy, progress on furthering the knowledge of the African collection that the museum holds and increasing the accessibility to the collection by developing digital programmes.

Grant MacKenzie, Project Manager Activity Plan for the David Livingstone Trust, commented:

“David Livingstone was one of the foremost international travellers through his explorations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the trust is uniquely placed to foster contemporary international links with the countries that he visited. We are delighted that the Museums Galleries Scotland grant will enable us to work with museums in Malawi, Zambia and Botswana, developing knowledge of our collections, sharing best practice and then sharing this with Scotland’s heritage sector.”

The David Livingstone Trust project is supported by Museums Galleries Scotland’s Museums Development Fund and is one of nine projects by museums across Scotland to receive a share of just over £300K.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to award a Museums Development Grant to David Livingstone Birthplace to support this unique opportunity to learn from collaborative working with international partners. This project will enable them to strengthen their international relationships and promote their partnership activities.”

In Zambia the David Livingstone Birthplace will work with the National Museums Board and the Livingstone Museum on combined research activities to develop knowledge of Livingstone and artefacts there and at his birthplace in Blantyre. The project will improve interpretation at both museums and digitally, sharing best practice on collections management and supporting each organisation’s financial sustainability.

In Malawi the David Livingstone Birthplace will be working on developing its Legacy Exhibition, which is part of the new exhibition at the David Livingstone Birthplace, as a touring programme. Links with Malawian museums have also been instigated.

The David Livingstone Birthplace will be working with the British High Commission in Botswana to source host locations for a Legacy Exhibition in the country. This will widely broaden the reach of the museum and attract a much wider audience to learn about Livingstone’s life and legacy.

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