Annual Museum Survey 2020 North East

Museum Development North East in 2021/2

Museum Development North East has now finalised its support programme planning for 2021/2, and we are just in the process of agreeing this with the Arts Council. 

Obviously there will be a lot of continuity from recent work including all our familiar support processes such as the monthly VON and other forums, conservation support via the TWAM Conservation team and the Collections Trust, support for Accreditation via Heather Lomas, and ongoing work on existing programmes such as the Organisational Heath Check, Audience Champions and Digital Mentors. 

But there will be some significant new support strands as well including increased co-working with other Museum Development teams, and obviously a key aim to help museums out of the pandemic. An important emphasis is to engage with new frameworks such as the Arts Council England's new Investment Principles, with an emphasis on themes such as making museums key parts of local places, encouraging enhanced environmental awareness, and strengthening the accessibility of museums to everyone (whether as visitors, staff, volunteers or trustees).  

Watch this space for more information and opportunities to take advantage of our support, but some immediate headlines include:

  • The 2021/2 MDNE Recovery and Development Grant Programme, which will again offer grants of up to £10,000 , and aim to provide flexible support museums as they emerge from Covid and develop their longer term growth;
  • The 'Big Conversation' with museums in the region, over a series of themed events where we explore the sectors future agendas, and how we can best collaborate and work together to deliver that. This process will also help to shape MDNE's future programme support proposals to the Arts Council;
  • The Roots and Branches Programme, working in collaboration with Museum Development North West as part of a national Museum Development initiative to support museums to engage with and develop their environmental agendas;
  • The Enterprising Museums Programme, working with the Association for Cultural Enterprises to support museum's commercial development, with a particular focus (in the light of Covid) on digital shops and the commercial aspects of museums' digital offer more generally.

So while there is a lot more on all this (and other programmes) to come, we look forward to working with you over the 2021/2 period towards what we all hope will be a gradual return to a more stable future for museums in the region.

Digital Mentoring Scheme

MDNE is running a free online digital mentoring programme in Summer 2021. The programme will support 3 museums to develop their digital confidence, with the assistance of a designated digital mentor.

Mentors will support museums to explore new ways of connecting with audiences and priority will be given to museums that demonstrate how participation in the scheme will support them to do this.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found in the guidance document here.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 19 March 2021.

Fund for Cultural Organisations in England Affected by COVID-19

Cultural organisations in England that were financially stable before the COVID-19 crisis, but are now at imminent risk of failure, will be able to apply for grants of between £50,000 and £3 million to enable them to stay afloat. Applications are invited from both profit and not-for-profit cultural organisations.

The funding will support organisations over a six months period to ensure that by 31 March 2021 they can reopen, either fully or partially, or be operating on a sustainable, cost-efficient basis until they are able to reopen at a later date. The grants can be used to cover a wide range of costs, including staff salaries; equipment to ensure compliance with social distancing and other public health requirements; temporary storage for collections, artefacts and documents; or debts incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be two funding rounds, which will run consecutively. Around 75% of the overall budget of the Fund will be awarded during the first round and therefore, organisations are strongly encouraged to apply during the first round, where feasible.

The first funding round will open for applications at 12 noon on 10 August 2020

For further details visit the ACE website here

​Reopening Briefing with Q&A: Getting to Grips with the Guidance

Strictly ONE place per organisation

Wednesday 1 July, 11.00am - 12.30pm Join museums from across the North for a briefing session with Emma Chaplin, Director of AIM, looking at the sector reopening guidance with opportunity for Q&A. This session is aimed at Strategic leads from Accredited museums and those officially Working towards Accreditation across the North of England.  There are limited places available so please only book one ticket per organisation. The event will be held on Zoom. The details of how to join the meeting will be sent a day prior to the event. You don’t need to download the software and can join the meeting through your browser. The session will be recorded and made available online for those who cannot attend. Closing date for booking Monday 29 June.

Booking link:

Password: tickets

ACE Northern Region Museums Convention - Travel Bursaries Available

Museum Development North East are offering a limited number of travel bursaries for North East museums to attend the Association of Cultural Enterprises (ACE) 'Northern Region Museums Convention'. The event itself is free, so bursaries will allow museum staff/volunteers to attend at no cost to your museum.  

If you would like to apply for a bursary, please contact

About the event:

Association of Cultural Enterprises: Northern Region Museums Convention 

Date: 19-20 March 2020 Venue: Harrogate Convention Centre Cost: FREE (including lunch and refreshments)

Looking at all aspects of cultural income generation, this event is ideal for museum professionals who aren’t usually focused on commercial activities but do have income generation within their remit. Each day will include:

Showcase sessions - a programme of talks accessible at all levels and rich in content, with advice and insights on retail and other income streams. Networking with other museums in your region, as well as with MDOs and staff from the Association for Cultural Enterprises, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions and air your views in a workshop environment. Trade show with over 100 exhibitors tailored to the cultural sector, including a Designer Makers area featuring contemporary crafts

You can book your place here.

New Manager for Museum Development North East

Museum Development North East – which is managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and provides Arts Council England funded support to around 50 accredited museums across North East England – has a new manager. Ian Bapty started work at the end of June and is now busy both getting to grips with the job and meeting some of the wide range of museums he will be working with.

Ian has a background in archaeology, heritage and museums. His previous work includes helping the Church of England to improve the care of historic church buildings in the North East, developing a national project to support industrial heritage museums and sites across England, and managing a major conservation project along Offa’s Dyke, the ancient boundary between England and Wales.

‘Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working on some of Britain’s most remarkable heritage’ said Ian, ‘but none of that equals the amazing treasure trove of objects and collections held by museums here in the North East. Those museums have always told extraordinary stories about our shared past, but what is really exciting right now is the new ways museums are reaching out to everyone in the North East, supporting enhanced community identity and personal well-being’.

Ian is managing a number of programmes to help local museums continue to develop and flourish. That includes assisting museums to achieve and maintain accreditation (a national ‘best practice’ standard set by Arts Council England who administer government support for museums), setting up an innovative ‘digital residencies’ project to explore new ways of using digital technologies in museums, and exploring the potential for stronger partnerships with universities.

Bill Griffiths, Head of Programmes and Collections at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said ‘We are delighted to welcome Ian to our team. We’ve worked to develop Museum Development support in the region over many years, and Ian brings a wide range of experience to the role which will help us to build on that past achievement. Museums in the North East are touching more people’s lives than ever, and the work of Ian and Museum Development North East is a crucial part of that continuing transformation’.

Ian noted  ‘As a relative newcomer to the North East – I moved here three years ago and I’m now very happily settled in the beautiful seaside village of Craster - I feel very fortunate to now have an important role helping local museums to develop the key contribution they already make to the people, identity and well-being of this amazing region’.

Revised Accreditation Scheme Launched

On 1 November Arts Council England (ACE) marked 30 years since the beginning of Museum Accreditation and launched the newly refreshed scheme. 

The scheme was revised following a review led by ACE, on behalf of the UK partners, and with wider stakeholders including The Museum Development Network, the Accreditation Committee, the Association of Independent Museums, Museums Association and the Collections Trust. 

The refreshed scheme – which extends the Accreditation period from three years to five – includes updates to the 2011 Accreditation Standard, with improvements made to its focus, tone and structure; changes to the eligibility criteria and accompanying guidance, to bring these more in line with changing governance models in the sector; publishing a new extended returns timetable; and replacing the current suite of guidance documents with a single, clearer document, which will be published by the end of the year.

Further information about the Accreditation scheme, including the revised standard and returns schedule, can be found on the Arts Council England website here.  You can view a condensed returns schedule for North East museums on our website here.

Six museums selected to take part in contemporary art programme

Six museums in the North East, Yorkshire and the North West of England have been selected to take part in Meeting Point, an Arts Council England funded programme that partners museums and artists, resulting in the creation of new artworks, each inspired by an individual venue and its collections.

The programme, which is led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage, aims to attract new audiences to the participating venues by placing contemporary artwork in unexpected spaces, and also helps museum staff to gain skills in commissioning and working with artists.

The six participating venues are Colne Valley Museum in Huddersfield; Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, Northumberland; Port Sunlight Village Trust in Merseyside; Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust; Warrington Museum and Arts Gallery; and Washington Old Hall in Tyne and Wear. 

This is the third Meeting Point programme, building on the success of two previous programmes which have seen a total of 19 museums working with 24 curators to create 19 new artworks and over 100 workshops.   

Find out more at

North East Museum Development Programme 2018-22

We are delighted to launch a new phase of museum development support for North East museums.

Over the next four years we will be prioritising support for non-NPO museums, delivering a comprehensive programme so that your organisation has access to opportunities that will enable growth and development and ensure sustainability.  

2018-22 Programme Highlights Aspects of the programme that are continuing as part of our core offer, and are available to your museum now, include:

Additional priority areas for support include:

  • Digital (this will take the form of digital residencies, giving museums the opportunity to work with a digital practitioner)
  • Skills development opportunities (expanding our offer to include placements/shadow opportunities and the new Back to Basics training programme)
  • Understanding Audiences – providing support to improve systems of capturing visitor data & applying the data to programming and planning
  • Enterprising Museums – providing support to develop commercial opportunities, business confidence and entrepreneurial skills

Tell us about your priorities Your feedback is important for maintaining a relevant and engaging programme.  As we begin this new phase, we would like to take the opportunity to get some feedback from you and invite you to complete a short survey. Your feedback will help us to tailor the programme to address areas where there are common challenges and immediate needs.  . We will be circulating further information about the wider programme and how you can participate shortly, so please look out for our e-alerts and newsletters.

Great Exhibition of the North 2018 'Get North' Opening Event Unveiled

Details of the spectacular Great Exhibition of the North (GEOTN) opening event have announced, which will take place on Friday 22 June 2018 on the iconic NewcastleGateshead quayside. 

You’ll not want to miss this special event and the chance to experience, for the very first time, the celebration of great Northern art, design and innovation in the Great Exhibition Hubs and along the trails. Venues and locations will remain open until dusk before everyone gathers on the Quayside for a special evening event and the unveiling of some major Great Exhibition of the North pieces.

The spectacular start to the 80-day exhibition will feature an 80m long water fountain in the River Tyne that will reach the height of the Tyne Bridge. The dramatic display, by Water Sculptures Ltd, has been specially commissioned for the Great Exhibition of the North and showcases the collaboration between industry and art that runs through the entire programme. Inspired by The Angel of the North, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018, three newly commissioned music compositions will provide a soundtrack to the water fountain and each one will be premiered at the opening event.

Another highlight of the ‘Get North’ opening event will be the first public performance of an anthem for the North - a new piece of poetry by award-winning writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay. 

The Great Exhibition of the North arrival film will also be premiered at the Quayside as part of the celebrations. Telling the inspiring story of the North, the film will be shown throughout the Exhibition at Hub venues Great North Museum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.   To read the full story and to find out what else is in store, visit the GEOTN website here

Collections Trust Release Spectrum 5.0

Collections Trust has announced the release of the latest edition of the collections management standard.

Spectrum 5.0 is available online in a fully interactive version, as free downloads of separate procedures or to buy in complete form. Spectrum gives tried-and-trusted advice on the things museums do when managing their collections. Spectrum calls these procedures and museums must meet nine of the primary procedures in order to be accredited.

This fifth edition of the standard has been thoroughly updated to reflect changing practice.  You can find out more about Spectrum 5.0 on the Collections Trust website here.

The Mendoza Review: an independent review of museums in England

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published the Mendoza Review, an independent review outlining key recommendations for how government can support the museums sector in England. This Review was undertaken in response to the Culture White Paper in 2016, which called for “a wide-ranging review of national, local and regional museums, working closely with Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)”. It looks at what the national infrastructure for museums is and what it could and should be; the museums sponsored directly by government; and the challenges and opportunities for all of England’s museums. It makes recommendations across the following areas:

  • Adapting to today’s funding environment
  • Growing and diversifying audiences
  • Dynamic collection curation and management
  • Contributing to placemaking and local priorities
  • Delivering cultural education
  • Working in museums: Developing leaders with appropriate skills & Diversifying the workforce
  • Digital capacity and innovation
  • Working international

Find out more and view the full report here

AIM Launches New Success Guide On The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Museums and other cultural organisations that want to understand how they should be responding to current and forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can now benefit from a free Success Guide from AIM called Successfully Managing Privacy And Data Regulations In Small Museums. 

The new AIM publication has not been created as a guide to everything in the Data Protection Act (DPA) – or the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – but focuses instead on the most important areas for action now. The GDPR applies to the whole UK, so this guide is suitable for all AIM members and other heritage sector organisations across the UK. You can download the guide here.

Arts Award in Museums

A new Arts Award in museums film 'Discover Three Ways' has been released, showing the different approach to Arts Award Discover taken by MK Gallery, The National Coal Mining Museum and Maidstone Museum. You can watch the film here.

MK Gallery offers Discover and Explore over three months as a key part of their family learning, encouraging participants to look out for arts forms wherever they go, take part in Saturday Studios at the gallery and meet their Associate Artists and find out about their work.  They signpost other cultural opportunities across the city and keep the work load of the adviser light touch through a one hour meet up on the first Saturday of the month.

The National Coal Mining Museum has worked with Wakefield Music Hub to develop a two day transition project, where children from six local primaries meet and find out about the art and culture in mining communities and use this as inspiration to make music.

Maidstone Museum invented Discover in a Day and the film shows a World War Two themed day, with pupils from a local primary school finding out about war artists, trying out some of the tools and techniques they used and finding inspiration in the Regimental Museum that they’ll take back to school to build on.

To find out more about Arts Award in the region visit the Culture Bridge North East website here.

TWAM to Provide Museum Development Support for 2018-22

We are delighted to announce that Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) has been awarded funding from Arts Council England (ACE) to provide Museum Development support to the region for 2018-22.  This announcement was made as Arts Council England (ACE) published their National Portfolio for the next four years. 

The funding will enable us to continue our commitment to provide a comprehensive programme of support to help museums deliver excellence in the management of collections, to understand and respond to the needs of their audiences and to be resilient and sustainable.

In all, 831 organisations were announced as part of the portfolio and will receive a total of £1.6 billion over four years, for 844 projects. For further information about the awards nationally, please visit the ACE website here

Regional museum awards are outlined below:

  1. Beamish Museum - £1,747,104
  2. The Bowes Museum -  £1,471,228
  3. Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books - £2,310,408
  4. Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums - £12,547,716
  5. Woodhorn Charitable Trust - £800,000
  6. Stockton Borough Council - Tees Valley Museum Group - £1,500,000

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) was also successful in its applications for Bridge grant funding for 2018-22. Further information about this award can be found on the TWAM website here.

MA Appoints New Member Representative for the North East

Hannah Peaden from Auckland Castle has been appointed as the new Museums Association (MA) member representative for the North East.

The MA appointed 14 new member representatives in total across the UK. Sharon Heal, the MA's director, says: "We are delighted to welcome an incredibly talented and diverse new cohort of representatives, and look forward to working closely with them to realise the MA's work across the UK's nations and regions."

Representatives play a vital role in the MA’s engagement with its members. They represent the MA to its members and to local organisations and contacts, and represent members’ views to the MA, providing vital feedback. They also help to keep members in the local area up-to-date with MA policies and activities, help to organise Members' Meetings and other informal meetings, promote MA membership, and communicate through social media and the website.

For further information about the appointments, please visit the MA website here

North East Volunteer Collects Prestigious Award

Jane Mann from Bailiffgate Museum has been announced as joint winner of the prestigious 'Volunteer of the Year Award' at this year's Museums + Heritage Awards. The award celebrates the incredible contribution of volunteers and Jane was selected for her commitment to Bailiffgate Museum, a volunteer-led museum based in Alnwick, Northumberland. The win was announced at a glittering ceremony held on May 17 in the Historic Staterooms of London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue. Further information about the awards can be found on the Museums + Heritage website here