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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Coll Hoard Conservation

In 2015, local metal-detecting enthusiast Kenny Macintyre was out and about on the RSPB Scotland reserve at Breachacha, Isle of Coll, when he came across a metal object, different from the bits of scrap metal he usually found.

He contacted the Treasure Trove Unit in Edinburgh who were able to confirm that the object he had found was in fact a Bronze Age spearhead, dating from between 1,000 to 800 B.C.

With the knowledge that items like this are normally found in hoards, and being aware of the historical value of such a hoard, the Treasure Trove Unit decided to excavate further. Their hunch proved correct and, with help from Kenny and other archaeologists, a total of 13 items were discovered at the site

Building on this success, the The Kilmartin Museum set up a crowdfunding campaign to conserve the Bronze Age metalwork.

With the backing from 48 supporters, including a £5,000 grant from the the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum raised £10,930 of a £10,000 target in 32 days. We caught up with Anne Smart of Kilmartin Museum about their journey to success.

Why did you decide to Crowdfund?

The project we decided to Crowdfund for was fairly time sensitive, as the artefacts needed to be conserved sooner rather than later and Crowdfunding seemed to be a good way of raising funds to a deadline. We also wanted to research the possibility of using crowdfunding for a larger project at a later date.

What do the funds raised mean for your project?

The funds raised mean that our project to conserve Bronze Age artefacts can go ahead, which is exciting for us as we can then display them to the public as well as learn from them.

How is crowdfunding different from how you normally finance or fundraise for projects?

As a charity we finance most of our projects through ongoing fundraising, such as grants, our Friends scheme and Museum entrance fees. Crowdfunding was different in that it took place over a finite period of time, so was a more intense fundraising strategy.

What will you use the money for and what has happened since you hit your crowdfunding target?

The money will be used to conserve 13 ancient Bronze Age artefacts with a view to displaying them at the Museum. We also allocated funds to go towards the rewards offered for donating, from thank you cards to Kilmartin Museum's ‘walking guide In The Footsteps of Kings’ and any extra we made will go towards the conservation of a carved cross fragment found in a ruined chapel near the Museum.

What would be your top tips for others considering crowdfunding?

Get organised beforehand! Have people lined up to spread the word about the campaign before it begins, and keep momentum going with regular updates.

This article was originally published on the Crowdfunder website.

Photos by Aaron Watson © Kilmartin Museum Company Ltd


Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Director of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Peter leads work that explores how combining human and machine intelligence can develop innovative solutions to social challenges.

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