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The museum sector in England is vibrant and dynamic, and has an impact on a wide variety of social outcomes including education, health and wellbeing, community cohesion and social inclusion. Independent museums are an important and successful part of the museums sector: around half of the museums accredited by Arts Council England are independent. In addition, the Association of Independent Museums estimates that they are visited by over 9 million people annually.
Over the last ten years, museums have received over £800m annually from public sources. DCMS supports museums through Arts Council England, the museum sector development agency. Arts Council England funds some independent museums directly as National Portfolio Organisations, as well as supporting many projects run by them through its grants programmes and strategic funds. It also funds Sector Support Organisations and Museum
Development organisations which can also assist independent museums. Independent museums are eligible for other public funding such as capital grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and support for permanent and temporary exhibitions through the Museums and Galleries tax relief introduced in 2017. The £4m 2018-20 round of DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund awarded 40% of its funding to independent museums.