Posts Tagged ‘Museums Association’

NEWS: 2018 Museums Network

Friday, October 28th, 2016


2018 will mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which saw voting rights granted to women for the first time.  The 1918 act enfranchised women over 30 who met certain property ownership requirements, and extended the vote to almost all men over the age of 21. It laid the path for the introduction of universal suffrage ten years later, which saw women win equal voting rights to men.

After a lot of interest was expressed around the idea of a network which would provide opportunities for organisations planning to celebrate this anniversary to share information and discuss the possibilities of joint promotion on external and public-facing websites and platforms, the Museums Association’s Director Sharon Harper took the decision to create the 2018 Museums Network bringing together museums with plans to commemorate the anniversaries of several gender equality milestones in 2018.

2018 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the women’s strike at Ford Dagenham, which led to the eventual introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, and the 130th anniversary of the matchwomen’s strike, which saw women take collective action against hazardous working conditions and poor pay.

If your museum has plans to celebrate these anniversaries or you are interested in finding out more about joining the network, please contact Sharon Harper on the details below.    A number of museums have already started planning events for 2018, including the East End Women’s Museum in London, which is in the planning stages and will open to coincide with the anniversaries in 2018, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, and St Fagan’s Museum of National History in Wales.

Sharon Harper, Director, Museums Association:


NEWS: Introducing New NWFED Board Member, Alex Walker

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016


The NWFed is pleased to announce the appointment of new Board member, Alex Walker, who is currently acting as the North West’s representative of the Museums Association.

Despite recently retiring from her position as Head of Arts and Heritage at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Alex is continuing to remain highly active within the sector across the North West and nationally. Alex recently become Vice-chair of the British Association of Friends of Museums, is a member of the Chethams Library Redevelopment Steering Group and is also a committee member of the Lancashire Art Fund.  Alex has extensive experience in museums sector having led the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, known for its community focussed approach and ambitious exhibitions programme, for a number of years and under her leadership won the 2014 Contemporary Arts Society annual award and became a Plus Tate member.  Having been a member of the NW Museums Development Steering Group, Alex has a long association with the NWFed including previously acting as the NWFed’s President, on her appointment, Alex explained:

 “I am privileged to be able to put my experience in the sector to support the NWFed. The NW has an extraordinarily varied and rich museum offer.  In these difficult and uncertain times for museums  networks, mutual support and knowledge sharing are vitally important.  The Fed has an important role to play in this and can help build the resilience of the talented and dedicated people who work in museums across the region.    I am also pleased to be able to support our new development programme for volunteers which will strengthen their skills and benefit the museums in which they work.”

When appointing board members, it is important to us that those appointed are prepared to oversee and support the work of the NWFED while acting as ambassadors for the organisation.  We are excited to be working with Alex and are sure her experience and expertise will make a great edition to the NWFED and our ongoing work.

Alex will also become the NWFed’s Acting Chair stepping in for Katy Ashton as she goes on Maternity leave.  To read the full story on our blog, Click Here.


NEWS: Museums Association to Expand Transformers Programme

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Freelance conservator Lucie Graham working on our N.H collection (2)

Freelance conservator Lucie Graham working on Gallery Oldham’s Natural History collection. Image Courtesy:  Gallery Oldham.


Following a successful application for Arts Council England’s (ACE) Museum Resilience Fund, The Museums Association (MA) has announced it is to expand its Transformers initiative.

Transformers is the Museums Association’s workforce initiative for people in mid-career, supported by any accredited museum (or museum working towards accreditation), looking to change the way they work.  Those who participate are challenged to develop new ways of thinking and supported throughout to engage with experimental ideas, fresh thinking and learning from the experience of experts and innovators.

Receiving £407,662 from the Museums Resilience Fund, the MA plan to broaden and diversify the Transformers targeting areas of particular need such as civic museums and smaller regional museums.

It will include three strands: intensive support, coaching, residential courses and workshops for 16 mid-career professionals, culminating in a £3,000 microfunded project at their museum; a two-day course for 130 participants, in partnership with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, including learning from the Foundation’s Our Museum project, with sessions on change management, partnership working and influencing; and a programme of support and coaching for 20 mid-career museum professionals from diverse backgrounds.  Sharon Heal, the MA’s director, explains:

“We are delighted to have backing from ACE for this ground-breaking scheme that encourages innovation and risk-taking. We are working with partner organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure that museum professionals across the UK are able to benefit from this pioneering scheme.

“The additional funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will enable us to embed the legacy and learning of the Our Museum programme into Transformers so that participants can embed working with communities as active partners in their work.”

To find out more  about Transformers and how you could participate, Click Here

NEWS: Museums Association Find a Museum Tool

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Find a Museum 1

Earlier this year the Museums Association launched a new online database called Find a Museum.  A valuable and useful online tool, it allows anyone working for an institution with membership of the Museums Association to search for information about other museums collections, find contact details for fellow museum professionals, search relevant academic courses and find qualified training providers.

Having rolled out a new database over the past few weeks, our News Editor Emma Sumner caught up with MA’s Marketing and Sales Officer Emma Mitchinson to find out more about the project’s progress and future developments:

Emma Sumner:  Could you explain what Find a Museum is and what those who have access to it can benefit from?

Emma Mitchinson:  Find a museum is a fully searchable online directory, giving you the ability to search staff and collection information and use multiple fields to find the results you need. Includes:

  • over 2,700 museums, galleries, heritage sites and related organisations
  • over 12,000 staff across museum departments
  • search by collection type
  • search by job title
  • search by services offered
  • search by geographical area
  • research, admission and attendance figures
  • facilities and access information


Find a Museum 3

ES:  Why did the Museums Association feel this was a tool that was needed withing the sector?

EM:  Find a Museum is something that we have always produced, initially in a printed copy of the Museums & Galleries Yearbook. The online function has allowed people to filter their search by collection types, region etc which we think is more user friendly and is a quick go to guide at the touch of a button to find information on other museums.

ES:  Since it was launched, how have you seen it develop relationships between museums and perhaps what are some of the most successful connections it has created?

EM:  From user feedback we know that people like to find other members of staff with responsibility for similar collections or who have similar services and facilities at their museum. This can help with their research when putting on an exhibition, trying something new in their museum or for their own career development.

ES:  How do you see this tool developing in the future and does the Museum Association have any plans to develop its search potentials further?

EM:  We are looking at a web redesign at the moment and ideally we would like to develop and possibly link up some of our online functionalities, including Find a Museum. We would also like to develop Find a Museum further to help research areas such as the make-up of the workforce in the sector or get an idea of patterns in museum funding.

To find further information and details on how to subscribe to Find a Museum, Click Here.

NEWS: Neil MacGregor Warns of Erosion of Curatorial Strength in the Regional Museums

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

John Caley Illustration

Installation of the giant deer skeleton in the Geology Gallery at the Manx Museum. Photo by John Caley, copyright Manx Museum and National Trust

In a recent blog for the Museums Association the former Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor  raised his concerns about the curatorial strength in museums outside London becoming “a very serious issue”.  Now retired and acting as advisor to a number of international institutions, MacGregor gave evidence to a select committee hearing last week as part of the ongoing Countries of Culture Inquiry, which is examining the landscape of cultural provision across the UK.

MacGregor told the committee that the financial constraints on local authorities meant that curators were not being recruited because they “rarely generate revenue” in a way that can be easily quantified leading to a steady erosion of curatorial strength in the regions.  He then went on to explain:

“This loss of specialist knowledge is making it difficult for some museums to borrow from other institutions or use their own collections effectively.  It is very hard for those collections outside London to be intelligent borrowers, because the curator needs to know what would be useful to borrow and useful to use; but perhaps even more significantly, it makes it impossible for the local museum to use its own resource properly.”

The Countries of Culture Inquiry are continuing to hear evidence from culture, museum and heritage professionals throughout the month and will issue a report on their findings later this year.

To read the full article which was originally published on the Museums Association blog, Click Here

NEWS: Museums Association elects three new board members

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

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The Museums Association’s members have elected three new members to the Museums Association’s board to begin in April.

They are Dhikshana Pering, the manager of young people’s programmes at the London Transport Museum; Heledd Fychan, the corporate affairs and advocacy manager for Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; and Alex Bird, the sector development officer for Museum Development North West.

“I started my career in the museum and gallery sector in 2006 and have been lucky to work and build skills such as delivering, developing, managing and leading learning teams to success,” says Pering.

“From the start I was supported by my family to be able to take on unpaid volunteer and intern opportunities in the UK and abroad, and without this experience I would have not been able to realise the potential of the career I have carved.

“Diversity is something I have been aware of since I started working and for me is the crucial point I want to focus on in my career and as a board member for the MA.

“Institutions are delivering programmes that look to diversify audience make up and collection interpretation. But this is only one step, and as a collective we need to change how and why we recruit.

“Schemes that look for diversity have proved not to have the impact desired and as the last MA conference showed we all want the change.

“I hope to be able to work with the other members of the board and the membership to start to look at diversity from a different angle and direction. I feel privileged to be joining the board and excited about being able to be part of setting the direction for our sector.”

Fychan says: “At a time when museums are being pitted against health, education and social services it is crucial that we are able to articulate that museums play a crucial role in society.

“I believe that my advocacy background, and my experience of living and working in both Wales and Ireland, would be of value to the MA board and help support the progression of its Museums Change Lives campaign and the sector in each of the devolved member nations.”

Bird says: “I’m delighted to be joining the MA’s board and am looking forward to working with colleagues from across the country to support the Association throughout the next few years.

“My aim is to bring intelligence about the needs of the sector from front line staff through to trustees with a particular focus on training and development.

“I’m fully committed to developing the sector through the work the MA does to make it one that embraces new ways of working, is entrepreneurial and is armed with the tools to tackle the hardest of times.”

Sharon Heal, the MA’s director, says: “We saw the largest ever number of members participating in this election, which I am delighted by, and I look forward to working with the new members of the board to take the MA’s vision forward.”

The new board members will replace Richard Sandell and Gaby Porter who are leaving in April.

David Liddiment, the creative director of the independent production company All3Media has been nominated as an appointed trustee, and will also join the board in April. Liddiment is also an associate of The Old Vic Theatre Company and a member of the BBC Trust.

NEWS: Museum Association publish new Code of Ethics

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

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Many of you may already be aware that the Museums Association has recently conducted a review of the Code of Ethics for Museums which led to the adoption of a new Code of Ethics by unanimous vote at the MA’s AGM in Birmingham in November 2015. Designed to be shorter and more user-friendly than the previous code, the latest version can be found here:

Museums Association – Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics is a vitally important document for the museums sector. It sets out the key principles which should underpin ethical behaviour in all aspects of museum activity – working for public benefit and engagement, the ethical stewardship of museum collections and maintains integrity in individual and institutional behaviour.

The new code reaffirms some of the traditional ethics of the museums sector, such as the presumption against unethical sale from museum collections and the suppression of the illicit trade in cultural and scientific items. It also sets new expectations for museums as guardians of free speech and editorial integrity and the pursuit of ethical sponsorship arrangements.

The Code of Ethics applies to all museums and those who work in, with or for museums. It is upheld by the Museums Association Ethics Committee which meets regularly to provide expert guidance to the sector on ethical best practice, and, where necessary, can also intervene in instances of unethical museum practice.

To find out more or to download the latest version of the Code of Ethics, Click Here.