Now 30-years-old the Arts Council says the accreditation scheme is highly valued by museums and has had a hugely positive impact since its launch as Museum Registration in 1988. “It has been transformative for the sector, encouraging all museums to meet an agreed standard in how they’re run, how they manage their collections and how they engage with their users,” it said.

In 2017, Arts Council England led a review of the scheme on behalf of UK partners, driven by feedback from the sector. This review aligned with the Mendoza Review, which recommended that the Arts Council becomes a stronger and more assertive leader of museum development. Following the review, the UK partners have now developed a more effective scheme that is clearer, more streamlined and welcoming.

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Changes to the Museum Accreditation Scheme include:

  • Extending the Accreditation period from three to five years
  • Updating the 2011 Accreditation Standard, with improvements made to its focus, tone and structure
  • Changing eligibility criteria and accompanying guidance, to bring these more in line with changing governance models in the sector
  • Publishing a new extended returns timetable
  • Replacing the suite of guidance documents with a single, clearer document, published by the end of the year

“Museum Accreditation is a fundamental tool for the Arts Council and UK Partners to develop and support a diverse range of museums,” said Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England. “The review provided a valuable opportunity to listen to colleagues in museums and ensure that the Scheme is managed in a resilient and sustainable way, offering them the best possible experience. I’m confident the refreshed Scheme will make it easier for more museums and galleries to take part, and for the UK partners to help them be the best they can for current and future visitors.”

The UK Accreditation Partners also coordinated several activities to celebrate 30 years of Accreditation and the launch of the refreshed scheme, including events at the Coventry Transport Museum in England and the Whitehead Railway Museum in Northern Ireland.

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