WFFM Annual Conference & AGM, 2018

The World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM)  promotes and spreads the idea of Friends of museums worldwide and represents about 2 million individual Friends of museums worldwide.   BAFM is an active member and has been associated with the Federation since its earliest days.  Rosemary Marsh, BAFM Vice President, Norah Dunbar, our International Representative and Alex Walker, Acting Chair travelled to Madeira to join delegates from all over the world for the 2018 Annual conference.   The AGM/Conference was held in Madeira on 10th to 13th May. The main event of the conference was the joint signing of the Declaration of Funchal between WFFM and ICOM Europe.  This document expresses the two organisations’ shared concerns and aspirations for museums and their users.  The key messages are that after years of budget cuts there should be improvement in the financial support for museums, the positive economic impact of museums should be recognised, there should be public recognition of the importance of cultural heritage, museums should increase public engagement and broader audience reach especially to young adults. It is intended that the individual European associations will sign with their country’s ICOM member. We are making arrangements for BAFM to sign a parallel document with ICOM UK. Full details of the declaration can be seen on  WFFM’s President, Dr. Ekkehard Nümann completed his 3 year term of office and has been succeeded by Mrs Carolyn Forster of the Australian Federation of Friends of Museums and former WFFM Vice President for Asia, Africa and Pacific. The Conference was also an opportunity to hear about Friends’ activities from delegates as far apart as South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Australia and a number of European countries.  Several told of the impacts the economic downturn has had on museums but others had encouraging news about major new developments and exciting ways in which Friends have contributed to audience development.   Delegates were able to discover the cultural riches of Madeira in Funchal and Calheta and visit the botanic gardens and the mountains. The 2019 WFFM will be held in Montreal from 23rd to 26th May 2019.  Full details will be shared as soon as available.  Any member of a Friends’ group is eligible to attend and is guaranteed to have a stimulating and enjoyable time.  The 2019 event coincides with Museums Day and will feature a rich programme of museum visits.