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AIM was established in 1977 to address the specific needs of the growing independent museum sector, creating a network for mutual help and support that would share good practice and provide a singular voice for the independents.
Today AIM continues that work, supporting and championing independent museums, galleries and heritage organisations across the UK – helping them to achieve their purpose and ensuring their needs are recognised and addressed by policy makers, funders and other organisations working in the sector.
AIM helps heritage organisations prosper, demonstrating the relevance and importance of our heritage to everyone so that it is preserved and inspires all our futures.
A registered charity and limited company, AIM is led by a Board of Trustees, with a staff team of seven .
Independent museums are long-standing, successful social enterprises run on a business-like basis. They play a valuable role in their communities, contributing to a sense of place and making up an important part of the tourism economy.
The UK’s 1,600 independent museums account for more than half of the UK’s museum sector and are the largest type of museum within that sector.
They cover a wide range of subject matter: two-thirds deal with specialist subjects and transport, military, industrial heritage, galleries and famous persons are the most numerous.
A third are more general in their collections. They range from major ‘civic’ museums to numerous medium size museums in county towns (often with Designated collections) and over 300 small museums concerned with local and community history.
AIM has a diverse mix of members from the smallest to the largest museums in the UK. AIM is an open, respectful, supportive and welcoming community whose members are expected to uphold the behaviours and good practice highlighted in the AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums, and our commitment to delivering public benefit. Membership is open to any museum or heritage site – you don’t have to be independently run to apply to join. Please visit our Join AIM page for prices, information and a membership form.