What’s in our name?

We have to say not just that museums lie ‘at’ the heart of cultural life, but that along with libraries and archives they function ‘as’ the heart; as the dynamic engine that is in itself a life force, which pumps out energy into all parts of society and the body politic.

Sir Andrew Motion, Chair, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council


The Archives, Libraries and Museums Alliance UK was formerly known as the UK Joint Forum for Museums, Libraries and Archives.

The current name and the acronymn ALMA-UK was adopted in 2009 following consultation with member organisations, to better reflect the principles and aspirations of the group moving into the future.

The word ‘ALMA’ derives from a number of Eastern and Western origins. Among it’s various definitions are three core meanings:

  • learned and knowledgeable;
  • soul or essence; and
  • to nourish.

These meanings help to evoke the rich offering that archives, libraries and museums make to us as individuals, to the communities in which we live and to public life at large.  Together, they communicate some of the shared attributes that help to make archives, libraries and museums such natural and effective partners within the wider cultural sector.