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.

Northern Museums Volunteer Pass 2018-2020 - Apply Today

Deadline: Monday 28 January 2018 

The Northern Museums Volunteer Pass is one of the largest Volunteer schemes in England with over 160 participating institutions and over 6,000 participating volunteers.    

It allows your volunteers to gain various benefits at other participating museums and is open to ALL accredited museums, or those working towards accreditation, in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside Museum Development regions. What's the benefit to your museum?

  • Raises awareness of your museum. As one museum said '[the passes] market what's on offer to future possible visitors' and another '[the pass] helps promote the region as a whole'
  • Learning Opportunities. Museums said the benefits were: 'Opportunity to see other museums. Can pick up and bring back ideas'. 'A chance to appreciate what other museums are doing and generate new ideas'. 'Way to keep up with what others are doing and reflect on our services'.
  • Networking and Benchmarking. Museums said the benefits were: 'to build understanding and make relationships to other museums. To see and learn from what other organisations are delivering. To be able to benchmark against what we deliver, and what we could deliver'. 'Being part of a museum community'.

To find out more, including details of how to join, see here.

If you have any questions about the scheme contact Gillian Waters at

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.

Review of the Museum Accreditation Scheme and how it will affect your museum

Arts Council England and the UK Partners have started to undertake a 'light touch' review of the Accreditation Scheme. This is not a major redesign of the Scheme, but will look at areas such as the returns and application process, scalability and communications. At the moment the returns process for museums due to submit in 2017 has been paused, but new applications, provisional Accreditation reviews and significant change reviews are still being undertaken. The review is planned to be complete in time for the 30th Anniversary of the Accreditation Scheme, in Spring 2018.

For those museums who aren't directly affected, please continue to work as normal and ensure that your policies and plans are revised and in date as they need to be.

More information about the review and its scope can be found on the Arts Council website here. For the latest news on Accreditation please also keep an eye on our website here.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Emma Chaplin, Accreditation Adviser for the North East, or Sarah Carr, Museum Development Manager,

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