About the UK Museum Accreditation Scheme 

The UK Accreditation Scheme sets out nationally agreed standards for museums and galleries, which inspire the confidence of the public and funding and governing bodies.

It helps everyone involved with a museum to do the right things, helping people to access and engage with collections, and protect them for future generations.

The Accreditation Scheme does this by making sure museums manage their collections properly, engage with visitors, and are governed appropriately by encouraging all museums and galleries to meet an agreed standard in:

  • how they’re run
  • how they manage their collections
  • how they engage with their users

The scheme is managed as a UK Partnership between Arts Council England (ACE), the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland and Northern Ireland Museums Council. It is run for museums and galleries of all sizes and types across the UK.

To find out more about the scheme, follow this link.

What are the benefits to being accredited? 

Accreditation provides the framework for a well-run museum. It demonstrates a museum’s commitment to excellence, and tells everyone involved with a museum that they’re doing the right things to run it properly.

The accreditation award:

  • Demonstrates a museum’s professionalism – which makes it easier to get funding and helps give confidence to lenders and donors.
  • Shows the museum team that they’re working to an industry-wide standard with the museum being properly managed and governed.
  • Helps keep the museums on track by giving them ways to formalise plans, policies and procedures and so improve services.
  • Helps local authorities show that their museums meet their visitors’ and users’ needs.
  • Helps museums manage their collections fairly, ethically and legally.
  • Can boost museums’ reputations, win funding and give confidence to donors and other supporters.
  • Shows visitors that the museum looks after its collections properly and safeguards them for the future.
  • Allows visitors to access collections and stories.
  • Enables museums to access Museum Development support and funding opportunities.

What about first time applicants? 

The first step would be to speak to your Museum Development Adviser or Accreditation Adviser and determine if you meet the basic criteria.  More information can be found on how to apply here.  Then, you will need to submit an Eligibility Questionnaire to Arts Council England for assessment. The initial assessment will be carried out by local Museum Development teams, but the final decision still rests with the Arts Council Accreditation Manager, based on local recommendations.

Once approved you will be given ‘Working Towards Accreditation’ status and invited to submit a full application within three years of the date of your WTA letter.

New and returning applicants must submit their application through the ACE online portal Grantium.

MD North Accreditation Advice 

Museum Development North aims to provide all museums in the North of England with advice and support towards achieving and maintaining ACE Accreditation.

Our Accreditation Advisers provide general Accreditation advice, to:

  • Museums preparing a return
  • Museums preparing to submit an Eligibility Questionnaire application
  • Museums Working Towards Accreditation who are preparing to submit an application
  • Museums recognised as Provisionally Accredited whilst addressing their Required Actions towards meeting the Accreditation Standard
  • Museums continuing to work towards maintaining the Accreditation Standard in their everyday practice between Return submissions.

MD North Accreditation Advisers  

Note: from April 2024 to April 2025 our Accreditation Adviser Kelly Chapman will be on maternity leave. Accreditation advice will continue to be provided, in the interim please contact Lynsey Jones

What support do we offer? 

Accreditation Surgeries 
The sessions provide an opportunity for museums to address any specific queries or issues they have in an informal setting with specialist advice and support. There will be a set number of slots at each session which can be pre-booked via our ticketing site.

Each will focus on a specific area of accreditation. These will be group events in a “How-to” format. These will be available to book through our ticketing site.

One-to-One Support 
You can contact us directly via email. Our Regional Accreditation Advisers work flexible days, therefore pre-arranging telephone/ online meeting support is a good idea where possible.

On-site analysis 
These will occur where necessary. This can allow us to provide tailored advice regarding the interpretation of the Accreditation Standard to individual organisations by assessing their facilities, size and scale. We would normally recommend a site visit for those museums considering undertaking an eligibility questionnaire, especially if there has been no prior contact with the Museum Development team.

What other resources are available?
The Arts Council website has guidance available for Accreditation and using the online application portal Grantium, for further information visit here.
You can find a helpful list of toolkits, templates and guides on the Collections Trust Website.

MD Accreditation webinars
As part of Museum Development UK’s support for museums and Accreditation, four short webinars on the Accreditation scheme are available.  They are aimed at museums currently undertaking a return, wanting a refresher, new to the scheme or museums which have been using this time whilst the Accreditation scheme has been paused to review their policies, plans and procedures in advance of the scheme fully reopening.

The webinars are presented by Jennie Pitceathly, the Accreditation Adviser for the North West from 2019 to 2022, and Heather Lomas, Accreditation Adviser for the East Midlands and North East.

The webinars cover:
Getting started (and the technical bits) (13 mins)
Organisational Health (23 mins)
Managing Collections (23 mins)
Users and their experiences (17 mins)