Sustainable Improvement Fund

We are pleased to announce that the next round of our Sustainable Improvement Fund is now open. There have been a number of changes to the application process and for this round applicants have to submit an expression of interest. The deadline for this is 9am Tuesday 5th May.

Please send all completed expression of interests to Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer at or post to:

Alex Bird
Museum Development North West
Manchester Museum
Oxford Road
M13 9PL

For more information about the changes to the fund as well as guidance and the application forms please visit our Sustainable Improvement Fund page

Curious Minds’ Support for Museums and Heritage Organisations

Curious Minds offers briefing sessions and support for museums interested in Arts Award, and we can offer  advice surgeries around marketing to schools and getting to grips with the new curriculum. With access to GRANTfinder, the UK’s leading grants and policy database, we can search over 8000 funding opportunities on your behalf. We can also offer bid-writing support to both cultural organisations and schools. Through our Curious Kitbag programme we can provide consultancy offering support and advice for organisations around fundraising, mentoring, audience development and training opportunities.

For more information contact Dr Steph Hawke

Who are Curious Minds?

We are a charity and Arts Council England’s Bridge organisation for the North West. Bridge organisations support schools, youth services and local authorities to connect children and young people with the region’s best arts and cultural organisations.

Our mission is to improve and enrich the lives of children and young people by increasing opportunities for their active engagement in inspirational arts, culture and creative learning.

Curious Minds workshop – Making the most of your Local History

Liverpool Central Library
Monday 27th April
09:30 – 15:30

How can teachers best use the local historic environment to teach local history?

How can museums and heritage sites best adapt to the opportunities within the new Programme of Study for History?

Join English Heritage and Curriculum Specialist Andrew Wrenn to find out how to use photos and maps to unravel the history of an area, how to plan a local study and how to make the most of a local history site.

Using archive material prepared by English Heritage’s Swindon Archive, this session will inspire teachers at KS2 and KS3, and heritage educators alike.

To book a place visit Curious Minds eventbrite page

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities Call for Papers

Organised jointly by the National Archives and Research Libraries UK , this year’s conference is coming North and will be held on Monday 12th – Wednesday 14th October 2015 at the Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ.  Attendance is free, though there is a charge for networking receptions.  The main conference themes will include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The ways and means of digitally engaging with audiences
  • Funding for digital collaboration
  • The interrelation of the virtual and physical visitor
  • The creation of digital spaces for discourse, dissemination and delivery
  • Gameification and edutainment: how can we use video games and interactive learning to engage younger audiences?
  • Digital analytics and impact: measuring digital audiences to better understand their needs and behaviour, and to persuade decision-makers to commit resource
  • Online fundraising: the potential of crowdfunding to support campaigns and individual appeals
  • Supporting the Digital Humanities
  • Creating Citizen Humanists: the role of the amateur-virtual researcher in better understanding collections
  • Digital without borders: international research and outreach through the digital

The call for papers and workshops  is out now, and can be found with further information at  Abstracts should be sent to both and, by Friday 1st May 2015.

Social Justice and Museums event

GEM Yorkshire and Humberside & CapeUK Event
Wednesday 29 April 2015
10:30 arrival, 11:00 start, 14:00 end
Experience Barnsley, The Town Hall, Lancaster Gate, Barnsley S70
Speakers: David Fleming, National Museums Liverpool & Emma Varnam, Tameside Museums & Galleries

What role do museums have within the social justice agenda? How do we best reach out to and represent our communities? How can museums help to address poverty and social exclusion? Can we really change lives? How can we influence and lead change from the middle?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed during our session focusing on Social Justice and the role of museums.

The outcomes of this event are:

*        To develop a shared understanding of the meaning of social justice

*        To understand better the role of museums in this agenda

*        To consider the priorities for your own service

*        To have practical ideas of how to change policy, practice and thinking within your own service

*        To make friends, share ideas and develop future partnerships

To book a place visit eventbrite

Retail Toolbox for Museums

Following on from the retail development work we did in 2012-15 we’re pleased to launch our retail toolbox for museums. The toolbox contains simple tips to help you and your team maximise your gift shop’s potential and has activities contained in five modules that are based on high street retail best practices. It will help you to assess the current situation and give you advice on commercial routines, range planning, visual merchandising and selling.

Tailored to recognise the challenges of running a retail outlet in a museum or heritage venue, they focus on priority actions, rather than covering every aspect of running a shop.

For more information please contact Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer  –

Retail Toolbox pdf

AIM is recruiting for an Assistant Director

Originally posted on AIM Blog for independent museums and heritage sites:

AIM is looking for a strategic-thinker who is great at developing relationships, to take on the new position of Assistant Director. This is a great opportunity for someone looking for a leadership role to work with AIM’s energetic staff team and high-profile Council, to shape and deliver an ambitious new programme to support museums and help them to prosper. 

If you are interested in applying please download and read the following documents:

How to apply – AIM Assistant Director

Job Description and Person Specification – AIM Assistant Director

Introduction to AIM – Assistant Director

Job Advertisement for AIM Assistant Director

 £34,000 to £36,000, Full-time, Working From Home, (4 days per week may be considered)

A rare opportunity to join a growing and successful organisation in a high profile, strategic and extremely varied role, making a practical difference to large and small independent museums and heritage organisations across the UK.

AIM works hard to help and support its 1000+ members –…

View original 284 more words

Arts Impact Funding

From Arts Impact Fund:

The Arts Impact Fund is a new £7million initiative set up to demonstrate the potential for social investment in arts.

We want to invest for artistic, social and financial return. The fund offers repayable finance to arts organisations working in England that can show how they are sustainable, have great artistic ambitions and have a positive impact on society.

We believe the arts play an essential role in our everyday lives, our cultural identity and our economy. They inspire, challenge and educate us.

The arts create opportunity, jobs and valuable income for our communities. And there are shining examples of how arts organisations can touch the lives of people and help tackle some of the most entrenched social problems.

By investing in the arts we want to support more organisations to become enterprising and resilient. By focusing on both artistic and social outcomes, we want to promote the wider positive impact art has on society and support more organisations to benefit individuals and communities through their work. And by lending to growing and ambitious organisations, we want to attract more social investors to the arts to benefit the wider sector.

Depending on what your organisation’s needs are, we can provide repayable finance between £150,000 and £600,000.

For more information visit the Arts Impact Fund website

AIM Conference 2015 – Free Places

Museum Development North West are pleased to announce that there are a two of FREE places at this year’s AIM Conference in Bristol at Brunel’s SS Great Britain on 18th – 19th June.

In 2015 AIM launches its seven ‘Hallmarks of a Prospering Museum’ to help all independent museums and galleries face the future with confidence through a clear framework for success. The AIM National Conference 2015 promises an informative schedule of talks, surgeries and break-out sessions offering helpful insights, tips on best practice and fresh ideas based around these Hallmarks to boost your income and help your museum, gallery or heritage organisation succeed.

Link to programme

Museum Development North West recognises that it is important for museum professionals to connect with colleagues through conferences and networking events, but also how stretched budgets can be when it comes to professional development.

If you would like a free place then you need to tell us that you will:

Commit to attending the whole conference
Cover your own travel costs and all expenses
Feedback to colleagues and the region via our blog
Send us any relevant information and feedback to put on the MDNW website

How to apply

These two opportunities are open to all museum professionals in the North West, except members of staff of Major Partner Museums and National Museums. Please send an expression of interest stating how you and your organisation will benefit from what is to Alex Bird by 5PM Friday 8th May –

Please note that the places are for the Thursday and Friday only.

For more information contact Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer – 07852 138110

ACE Re-launches Designation Scheme

From Arts Council England:

Arts Council England are pleased to announce that the Designation Scheme has re-opened to applications. The Scheme identifies collections of national significance and quality throughout England, held outside of the national museums, libraries and archives.

Examples of the vital collections recognised by the Scheme include those relating to William Wordsworth and his circle in Grasmere; the art and design collection at Westminster libraries and archives and the Mary Rose Tudor warship in Portsmouth.

Following wide-ranging consultations with key stakeholders during an 18 month review, Designation is being re-launched with a clear focus on identifying collections of national significance and outstanding quality, through a revised application and assessment process. Further details about the Scheme and application guidance can be found here.

A new Chair for the Designation Panel…

Dr Stella Butler has been appointed as the new Chair of the Designation Panel.  Stella brings a wealth of experience to the role; she is currently University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection at the University of Leeds, and has previously worked as Head of Special Collections at the University of Manchester and Chair of the Board of Directors of Research Libraries UK. She is also a trustee of Seven Stories and Chairs the management committee of Chetham’s Library in Manchester.

… and four more Panel members required

We are now looking to recruit four new members to the Designation Panel. The panel, which is made up of professionals from the fields of arts, cultural heritage and historical research, meets twice a year to consider applications for Designated status. Application packs can be found here.

Save the Date: Emergency Planning workshop

Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston
Tuesday 23rd June
09:30 – 15:30

We’re please to announce that we are running another emergency planning workshop this Summer. Run by Harwell Document Restoration Services we are please to offer a training sessions that will prepare you should you ever have an emergency at your museum.

  • Emergency response: lessons learned from real fires and floods
Initial reactions – how to respond most effectively to minimise damage
  • Initial approaches to salvage – types of damage, restoration and stabilisation options, handling and packing
  • Triage, decision-making and restoration techniques
Minor incident scenario – practical exercise handling damaged material
  • Adapting your plan to deal with a major incident (including health and safety)
  • Major incident scenario – testing your plan out 

Look out for more details and details on how to book.


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