News

Opportunity at Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery - Project Manager

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick is seeking to recruit a Project Manager for an exciting new project. 

Find out more here

Closing date - 4th March 2024

Museum Development North - January 2024 Update

Museum Development North - January 2024 Update

Your new Museum Development North (MD North) team are busy collaborating to ensure our continued support for museums in the north of England from April 2024.

Museum Development from now until April 2024

Until April 2024, the Museum Development teams in the North East, North West and Yorkshire will continue operating as normal, providing advice and support to regional museums. In the lead up to our launch as MD North on 1st April, we will tell you more about the services you can expect.

We are currently finalising the details of our delivery programme for 2024-25 and will provide a new update in February. Please bear with us as we devote our attention to ensuring that we are ready for business as MD North from April 2024.

What is changing after April 2024?

From April 2024, the regional Museum Development teams in the north of England will come together to form one area team covering the same geographical footprint.

The MD North team will continue to have staff based throughout the three current regions, now working as one team. Every museum will have a Museum Development Officer as a point of contact, and there will also be opportunities to work with other people across the team through their different specialisms. We will confirm contact details for the team before April. MD North is committed to retaining a close relationship with museums on the ground while gaining the advantages of working across the wider area.

MD North will be managed by a new partnership between York Museums Trust, the Manchester Museums Partnership, Cumbria Museums Consortium and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Arts Council England will support the new MD North partnership with £1.4m to deliver museum development activity in the north of England from 1st April 2024 until 31st March 2026. This new partnership builds on the team’s experience of collaborative working across the north of England since 2018.

Our support programme for museums in the north of England responds to Arts Council England’s Strategy, Let’s Create, and addresses the four Investment Principles.

The 2024-25 programme will include:

· Providing one-to-one advice for regional museums, with every museum organisation having a Museum Development Officer as a point of contact

· Workforce training and skills development

· Developmental programmes

· Fundraising support

· Accreditation advice and mentor support

· Business diagnostics

· Collections care advice

· Communications and signposting

· Supporting networks and partnership

· Data collection, sharing insights and intelligence about the state of the sector and advocacy

· Sharing learning and good practice, celebrating museums’ achievements

· Small grants programme for Accredited museums

Our 2024-25 programme has been informed by your feedback during 2023. We will continue to adapt workforce development programming throughout 2024-26, responding to your needs including through the Museum Development Skills Needs Survey.

When will we hear more?

We will update you further in February, including highlight information on the MDN programme for April to June 2024.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to raise, please talk to your regional MD contact.



£1.4m museum funding support announced for the North of England

We are delighted to announce that Arts Council England will be continuing its vital support for museums in the north of England from 2024 through the creation of Museum Development North, which will be managed by a new partnership between York Museums Trust, the Manchester Partnership, Cumbria Museums Consortium and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

The £1.4m funding package from Arts Council England will support museum development activity in the north of England from 1st April 2024 until March 2026. This award reflects Arts Council England’s confidence in the expertise and track record of the partnership working of Museum Development teams across the area.

The partnership reflects the diverse nature of the sector in the north of England and will build upon the existing relationships the partners have with museums and the unparalleled knowledge of working with the sector. Museum Development North will have deep roots in its local areas, whilst benefitting from working across the north of England. The partnership will enable strong, agile museums that contribute to the distinctive life, cultures and identity of the north of England, which are highly valued for their transformational impact. Museum Development North will support museums, and the people who work and volunteer in them, with opportunities to develop their practice for successful and sustainable futures, as vital community assets, drawing upon Arts Council England’s Strategy Let’s Create, as a framework for development.

“This is very welcome news for so many museums operating across the North of England. We are delighted that Arts Council England has recognised the strengths of all the partners involved in Museum Development North. We are excited to develop our new partnership which brings together a breadth of expertise and a shared passion for the people and volunteers in museums who work tirelessly to promote, deliver and sustain culture across the north.”

Quote – Michael Turnpenny, Museum Development North

Museum Development North will work closely with Arts Council England, other area Museum Development providers and stakeholders as well as our community of museums across the north of England to prepare for its formal launch on 1 April 2024.


Organisational Health Check 2022-23

The Museums’ Organisational Health Check is a self-assessment tool for museums that is used across all of the English Regions by Museum Development England. It is designed as an indicator to help you highlight your museum’s current best practice, understand where the museum has areas of development and to feed into your forward planning.  This will enable you to prioritise areas of working over the next 12 months and provide you with a benchmark for future work.

It helps MDNE to provide bespoke support for your museum as well as tailored programmes and grants across the North East that respond to regional need. It is open until the end of March 2024 to all Accredited museums in the region and those officially working towards Accreditation to complete. 

Guidance and information for completion

Please note there are no right or wrong answers or penalties for low scores, it is a self-assessment tool for your museum.

The Museums’ Organisational Health Check asks an overarching question about your museum’s Forward Plan and then addresses six themes:

1.    governance and leadership

2.    financial planning and resources

3.    people development and management

4.    working practices

5.    audiences

6.    collections

Each theme is followed by several statements for you to score your organisation against between 0-4:

·       0: We don’t do this at all

·       1: We only do this a small amount

·       2: We’re okay at this

·       3: We’re good at this

·       4: We’re excellent at this

Submitting your Organisational Health Check

Please complete your Museums’ Organisational Health Check on our online survey platform which can be found here: https://online1.snapsurveys.com/6qji2o

To help you with the process you can also download a Word version of the form – please note however we will only accept online submissions. 

The questions need consideration by a cross section of your team and require involvement from someone managing your organisation (either a senior member of the team or someone from the governing body) as well as someone involved in operations (for example collections management, learning or visitor services); these can be staff or volunteers.  We recommend at least two people engage with the process, which should take 45 minutes to 3 hours complete.

Consider each theme and the individual statements within it.  It’s helpful at this stage to discuss with colleagues what a score of ‘4: We’re excellent at this’ could look like for the museum and how your current practice matches up against it.

Next, discuss a possible score for the statement; can you think of evidence or real examples to support this score?  When you have reached a consensus, record the score and move on to the next statement.

Once you have completed the scoring please complete the section within each theme to identify what your museum is doing really well and what you’d like to develop or improve.


Bulletin December 2023

Here is the final bulletin of 2023! Click to read the December bulletin

Bulletin November 2023

What is happening in the region? Click to read the November bulletin

Bulletin October 2023

Here is our October bulletin - find out the latest news and events in the region.

Click to read the October bulletin




Bulletin September 2023

Our bulletin is back! Find out what is happening in the region this month...

Click to read the September bulletin

ACE Northern Region Museums Convention - Travel Bursaries Available

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.

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’.

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 www.artsandheritage.org.uk.

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.

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.



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

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