Sustainable Improvement Fund 2018

We are pleased to announce that the next round of our Sustainable Improvement Fund is now open. The Fund is a major part of the Museum Development North West (MDNW) Programme. This Programme embraces the Arts Council’s five strategic goals set out in the 10-year strategy Great Art and Culture for Everyone to drive development and deliver sustainability, resilience and innovation in museums in the North West.


For 2018-19 MDNW is changing the delivery of the grant due to changes to availability of funding for museums through ACE’s National Lottery Project Grants. This year we would like to support museums around three key areas: environmental sustainability, collections management and care, and audience development, to complement the programmes of work we delivered in 2017-18. Accredited museums and those officially working towards Accreditation can bid to SIF for projects linked to these themes that also demonstrate how they relate to forward plans or other key policy and planning documents.

The Fund reflects the North West’s commitment to partnership working and will still be open to consortia applications.

It is mandatory for applicants to contact the MDNW team via email or phone to discuss proposals before submitting final applications. Applications will not be accepted without prior contact with MDNW.

Links to documents outlining deadlines, guidance and the application form can be found in the Sustainable Improvement Fund 2018 tab on our blog.


Foreign Exchange? University Museums And International Engagement Conference

Tuesday 3rd July
Cambridge University Museum of Zoology

The University Museums Group’s 2018 conference will explore how university museums can contribute to, and even lead, universities’ efforts to engage internationally. It will consider how smaller as well as larger museums can participate in, and benefit from, international programmes. Panels will offer presentations from sponsoring bodies and case studies from museum staff, ranging over practical experience and future opportunities.

For more information visit the conference page.

Culture& Launches New Museum School

Culture& have announced that their successful Museum School Scheme will be extended for a further two years thanks to HLF funding. The school will launch in September and applications are now open for potential trainees from across the UK that would like to start a career in the heritage sector. Host organisations can now download an expression of interest form.

Find out more about the school here.

Job Opportunity: Tameside Local Studies and Archive Centre

Local Studies and Archive Manager
24 hours per week over 4 days (Some Saturday work)
Salary: £19,548 – £21,657 Pro Rata for 24 hours 

Tameside have an exciting opportunity for an archivist to join their Cultural and Customer Services team based at the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre in Ashton-under-Lyne.

The post holder will be responsible for managing the Local Studies and Archive Service which collects, conserves, interprets and records the local heritage of Tameside.

The successful candidate will play a key role in the operation and development of service delivery including working towards:

• Achieving/retaining Accreditation
• Providing advice and guidance to researchers and depositors/owners
• Provide volunteering opportunities
• Leading collections work including appraisal, accessioning and cataloguing
• Assisting with developing and delivering learning and outreach activities
• To generate and manage funding related to the development, promotion and delivery of the archive and local studies offer
• Co-ordinate and lead a dynamic interpretation and event programme, working with colleagues across Culture.
• Working as part of the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership

This post is a designated customer facing role under the fluency duty and requires a specified level of spoken English in the person specification

Closing date: 24th April 2018
Interviews: to be confirmed

For more information and details on how to apply visit the job page.

Family Friendly Programme 2018

Many museums are seeing an increase in family visits, and are often responsible for delivering family activities in the school holidays, but many are aware of the need to improve their offer to cater for this audience. That’s why we have created this new Family Friendly Programme.

The programme has been developed by MDNW and aims to support six accredited museums, or those working towards accreditation that wish to develop their aspirations of becoming more family friendly in line with the Kids in Museums Manifesto and the Family Arts Standards.

Museums will be asked to:

  • Carry out a self-assessment of their museum using criteria provided and the results will be analysed against the family Arts Standards
  • Identify and recruit families that are able to undertake mystery shopper visits
  • Attend a workshop in October 2018 focussing on best practice and how best to implement recommendations
  • Arrange for participating families to return to the museum to undertake a second assessment after implementing changes.

Financial information

All costs associated with the family visits will be covered by MDNW.

Each participating museum can also apply for up to £750 to support them to implement the recommendations.


The family visits will take place over the Summer holidays and the workshop will take place in October 2018.

How to apply

Please complete the Expression of Interest form and send to Alex Bird by noon Wednesday 23rd May.

For more information please contact Alex Bird at

Job opportunity: Link4Life

Heritage Officer – Dippy on Tour, A Natural History Adventure (L1828)
Salary: Band 5, £25,902, (pro rata)
Location: Arts and Heritage Resource Centre, Rochdale
Hours: 18.5 hours per week, 2.5 days per week
Contract: 12 months fixed term, with possibility of extension
Closing date: Tuesday 8May 2018

 The Natural History Museum’s famous dinosaur skeleton, Dippy will be visiting Rochdale in 2020.

Your role will be to lead on the creation, development, management and delivery of the community engagement programme related to Dippy’s visit to Rochdale. You will be expected to manage the project, from the initial planning stage through to the final stage, liaising with a range of partner organisations and multiple stakeholders throughout the process.

A significant aim of the role is to engage visitors with the key themes of the Dippy Programme, ensuring that the community have a sense of ownership of the project.  You will consult different communities to develop and, where needed, deliver a range of exciting events and activities linked to the exhibition, and to the wider aims of Touchstones Rochdale. The post holder will be expected to enable activities and events to be as ambitious and accessible as possible to all residents from within the Borough and to attract the many visitors from outside the Borough that will be visiting Rochdale during the Dippy project.

In addition, the post holder will be expected to take a flexible approach to work in order to meet groups out of the usual office hours.

Please visit for further details and to download the Application Form.  If you do not have access to the Internet please telephone 01706 926268 / 926215 to request an Application Form through the post, quoting the job reference number above.

All applications must be made using the Link4Life Application Form, CVs are not accepted.




Job Opportunity: Mountain Heritage Trust

Collections Manager
Term: 1 year (maternity cover), with initial 3 month probationary period
Start date: First half of July 2018
Hours: 35 hours per week (Monday-Friday) with occasional weekend or evening meetings
Location: Blencathra Field Centre, Threlkeld, Cumbria, CA12 4SG, with travel to other locations on an ad hoc basis

Reporting to: Chair of MHT
Remuneration: £26,000/annum

Job summary

The Collections Manager is a key role for the Mountain Heritage Trust. As the only full-time professional member of staff, you will work with the Trust’s dedicated board of volunteer Trustees to support the growth and development of the Mountain Heritage Trust. An exciting and varied role, you will be responsible for managing the Trust’s collections; curating exhibitions and displays; acting as a professional archives advisor to associated clubs and organisations; as well as managing staff and volunteers.

Main Activities and Responsibilities

  • To ensure long-term preservation of archives and artefacts held by the Trust by controlling environment and security factors over four sites
  • To be responsible for processing new accessions and updating existing catalogue entries in accordance with international standards
  • To ensure appropriate insurance provision
  • To review and update policy and process documentation
  • To undertake survey visits and produce reports for the Trustees
  • To manage the records produced by the Trust and attend Board meetings
  • To manage the MHT Administrator, Learning and Engagement Officer and Volunteers
  • To communicate/network with a range of organisations, nationally and internationally
  • To answer enquiries and provide assistance/advice wherever possible
  • To act as press liaison circulating key information and responding to press enquiries
  • To keep abreast of professional and specialist developments through a variety of activities and membership of appropriate bodies, and to promote the work of the Trust externally including through publications, talks and visits; to take personal responsibility for and participate in professional training and development opportunities
  • To assume responsibility for special projects/areas of activity as agreed with the Trustees
  • To work with individual Trustees on activities relating to their specific areas of responsibility

To support Trustees with fundraising activities

For more information visit the job page.


Informal enquiries may be directed to Kelda Roe, Collections Manager via email: Or telephone during office hours (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm): 0770 913 5285

ICON Care of Collections Group – Sustainability in Collections Care Conference

Wednesday 16th May
The British Library, Boston Spa, LS23 7BQ
From £21.79 (includes coach transfer from York)

With increasing pressures on budgets and a desire within the sector to become more sustainable, heritage institutions have to re-evaluate their practices and standards in relation to collections care activities. This one day conference will address sustainability in Collection Care through a range of presentations on projects, policy reviews and case studies.

For further information about the day, and to book, visit the eventbrite here.

Musical Instruments Unwrapped – Call for Papers

Date: Monday 12 November 2018, Edinburgh

Deadline for Call for Papers: 15 June 2018

This seminar will bring together specialists from a variety of disciplines, including musical instruments and social history, seeking to broaden perspectives, develop new ways of thinking about the presentation of musical instruments and explore how they can be active performers in a wide range of display contexts – whether or not they are able to be played.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute presentations (+10 minutes questions) that address musical instruments and interpretation issues. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Using musical instruments to research, interpret and display social history; using social history to research, interpret and display musical instruments
  • Highlighting hidden stories to redefine and broaden context
  • Connecting with diverse communities using related objects and collections
  • Addressing the complex questions in determining the playability of musical instruments
  • Factors to consider when caring for musical instruments, both playing and non-playing
  • Musical instruments and conservation parallels with other objects
  • The role of musical instruments and of sound in multi-disciplinary displays
  • High tech vs. low tech. Using sound effectively, whether live or recorded
  • Talking to audiences about the art and/or science of sound production
  • Musical instruments and under-explored connections with social history, natural history, painting, science, archaeology, textiles, the military, etc.

Further information, including details of how to submit a proposal, is available on the Social History Curators Group (SHCG) website here

British Museum New Partnership Touring Exhibition – First Cities and the Frontiers of Empire

The British Museum are looking for partners to host a new partnership touring exhibition, First cities and the frontiers of Empire. If you are interested, please complete the Expression of Interest form and return to Eleanor Chant by Friday 4 May 2018. 

New Resources for Heritage Trustees from AIM

This week, AIM is launching the first in a series of new resources for heritage trustees, offering accessible, practical advice to help you provide effective leadership for your organisations. The first of the AIM Guides for Boards cover: Away Days, Recruitment, Effective Meetings and an Introduction to Museums for New Trustees. Titles coming soon include a guide to auditing your governance and a revised version of AIM’s Guide to Successful Governance in Independent Museums.

The new resources are available to download here.