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Museums to take centre stage in Universities Week 2014

University museums will play a central role in next year’s Universities Week, planners of the event have said.

A celebration of university research at the National History Museum in London will be the national focal point for the week, which will run from June 9 to 15.

Meanwhile university museums up and down the country will showcase research and the educational and community programmes they and their partner HE institutions provide.

The news follows the publication of a report from the University Museums Group, which is involved in the Universities Week plans, and University Museums in Scotland, highlighting the contribution that university museums make to teaching, research and public engagement.

The report, Impact and Engagement: University museums for the 21st Century, points out that university museums now often provide the first contact with universities for children, helping to raise aspirations and widen access to HE.

Ian Morton, coordinator of Universities Week for Universities UK, said next year’s event will be the most ambitious yet in scale and impact.

He said: “We will be putting public engagement at the heart of this campaign by getting museums involved.

“The importance of universities as a public good is something that often goes under the radar for the media and key decision makers, with the focus of debate recently being largely on the individual benefits of going to university. In Universities Week 2014 we will focus on university research to shine a light on the significant contribution universities make to growth, wellbeing and prosperity at a local, national and international level.”

Regional activities and events organised for the week will reflect the overall approach and messages of the national campaign, allowing for local interpretation by individual institutions and museums. Funding will be available for a number of university/museum activities, along with other support such as public engagement training and marketing materials.