INTERNATIONAL links that will help preserve the legacy of one of Scotland’s most famous explorers are to be established as a result of a funding boost.

The new project is to start in May and will strengthen connections between the birthplace museum of David Livingstone in Blantyre and the African countries he explored.

It is being made possible with a grant of £39,000 from Museum Galleries Scotland, the national development body for Scotland’s museums.

The money will help set up working partnerships and networks between the David Livingstone Birthplace and African museums and organisations with connections to the explorer.

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“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,” said Grant MacKenzie of the David Livingstone Trust.

“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 Birthplace is undergoing a £6.1 million transformation which will set Livingstone’s achievements in a global context, and celebrate the story of how a poor millworker became one of the most popular British heroes of the Victorian era and a well-known figure in sub-Saharan African countries today.

The funding will give the museum the opportunity to share knowledge. Plans include a touring exhibition about Livingstone’s legacy and digital programmes to boost accessibility.

“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,” said Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland. “This project will enable them to strengthen their international relationships and promote their partnership activities.”

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.

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

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The David Livingstone Birthplace will also be working with the British high commission in Botswana to source host locations for a legacy exhibition in the country. This will aim to broaden the reach of the museum to attract a wider audience to learn about Livingstone’s life and legacy.

The Livingstone project is one of nine in Scotland to receive a share of £300,000 in funding from Museums Galleries Scotland. They include a new interactive and immersive gallery space exploring robotics in surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Grampian Transport Museum, Nairn Museum, the Scottish Contemporary Arts Network, the University of St Andrews, the Highland Museum of Childhood, Culture Perth and Kinross and Dundee Museum of Transport have also received a share of the grant.

“We are delighted to support museums and galleries in Scotland to continue their ambitious approach to making the fascinating collections in their care accessible to everyone,” said Casot.

“Many of the museums are using the grant to strengthen their position in these changing times through developing their financial sustainability, increasing digital use in exhibitions and creating peer to peer learning opportunities.”