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’.

'In Your Customers' Shoes' – Northern Museums Visitor Experience Consortium 2019

Museums across the North of England are invited to take part in an exciting programme this summer.  ‘In Your Customers' Shoes’ aims to put those that come face-to-face with visitors on a daily basis in the shoes of those visiting. 

Each participating museum agrees to send its staff or volunteers to three other museum sites between July and September 2019.  You are asked to assess the museum you visit in all aspects of the offer from online presence to visitor engagement. In return, your museum will receive three reports from people from other museums who have visited your site.   The programme has been running for several years in the Yorkshire region and was trialled last year in the North West.  It has proved a great way for the staff and volunteers who take part to have an interesting and enjoyable day out and bring enthusiasm and ideas back to their home site.  The museums being visited receive valuable comments and realistic recommendations for service improvement.   There is no charge to take part and many museums will be able to reclaim travel and admission costs for their participants. Eligibility All museums in the North East, North West and Yorkshire that are Accredited or working towards Accreditation are eligible to apply. This includes Nationals and NPOs.    How to apply If you would like to take part, please sign up by 21st June. There is an online sign up form available here. Please note, that all visits must be carried out by 30th September.  Further information about the programme can be viewed here.  If you have any questions please contact Janet Thompson the programme organiser by email at

Museum Accreditation Guidance published

The guidance document to support the Arts Council England Museum Accreditation Scheme is now available to download from their website here.

The guidance document provides information and support for the revised Museum Accreditation Standard which was launched in November 2018.

If you are submitting an application for Museum Accreditation or preparing your Accreditaiton return please refer to the guidance to ensure you are meeting all the necessary requirements.

If you have any queries please contact Heather Lomas, Accreditation Advisor,

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

MDNE Tender Opportunity - Delivery of Understanding Audiences

Please note:  This tender invitation has been temporarily suspended, further information about this opportunity will be posted in due course. 

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is seeking to commission a consultant/s with relevant experience to design and deliver the next phase of Understanding Audiences.  This work is part of the wider Museum Development Programme, managed in the North East by TWAM and funded by Arts Council England to drive development and deliver sustainability, resilience and innovation in England's regional museums.
A priority for 2018-22 is supporting museums to capture, share and report audience data in order to develop an increased awareness and understanding of their audiences and communities.  This builds on a previous phase of work which focussed on supporting a cluster of local authority museums during 2015-18.  This enabled seven museums to undertake postcode data research and then progress to using Audience Finder methodology and segmentation, with specialist support provided by the Audience Agency.      
This next phase will follow a similar approach, supporting a new cohort of museums to implement a standardised methodology, analyse and understand the data and apply it to programming and planning.   
They are seeking a consultant/s with the ability to work with a range of organisations and people (staff and volunteers), with a sound understanding of audience development and a strong track record of providing 1-2-1 support as well as delivering wider support through training/workshop opportunities.  

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact, Museum Development Manager, Museum Development North East.

Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund 2018 - Open for Applications

Deadline: 11 September 2018   

The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund has opened for its second round of applications.  The programme is designed to directly fund and empower museums and galleries which are regional and/or run by local authorities, universities, or have independent Trust status, to borrow major works or collections from the UK’s national museums and galleries. 

Generously supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, the programme will distribute a further £200,000 to museums and galleries across the UK for projects that enable loans of works of art and artefacts to go on display.  Grants will range from £5,000 to £25,000 and can be used to cover a range of costs including: transport, insurance, conservation, installation, and activities relating to advocacy, marketing and audience development. 

You can find further details, including Guidance for applicants, on the Art Fund website here.  If you have any queries or would like to discuss a potential project, please contact Penny Bull,

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