ACE Small Capital Grant Scheme

Arts Council England announced £1.2m of new funding for a small capital grant scheme for museums in England. There is £125,000 available to NW museums and MDNW will administer the programme.

The purpose of the fund is to allow museums to improve their buildings, enabling them to borrow significant objects from museums, particularly national and Major Partner Museums. It may be used for upgrading buildings and display spaces to meet the requirements of the Government Indemnity Scheme.

Grants must be for capital expenditure. ACE define capital expenditure as money spent on the purchase, improvement, restoration, construction or creation of an asset, including expenses or costs that are directly attributable to delivering the capital project.

Funds must be spent by 31st March 2016 and preference will be given to museums which have not used the Government Indemnity Scheme before or had a loan from a national museum. Nationals and MPM’s are unable to apply.

What you can apply for:

  • Buying assets such as furniture and equipment
  • installing new technologies and upgrading buildings to deliver increased production and broadcast capacity
  • buying digital and broadcast equipment such as cables, cameras or screens
  • environmental sustainability costs including installing or retrofitting sustainable technologies
  • professional fees associated with capital spending on your project, providing the appointments have been made in accordance with the procurement requirements set out below
  • legal fees associated with capital spending on your project
  • VAT that you cannot recover from HM Revenue and Customs
  • building work if you have our written agreement beforehand

What you cannot apply for:

  • Expenditure that will not be capitalised on your balance sheet
  • costs of research or feasibility work
  • costs for developing architectural drawings
  • building work if you do not have our written agreement beforehand
  • capital assets that you plan to sell
  • costs you have to pay for before a decision is made on an application to MD
  • projects that demonstrate little or no potential benefit to the public
  • costs that are already covered by other funding
  • general running costs and overheads that are paid for by other income, including your own funds after the project is complete. This includes overheads related to equipment or buildings, such as insurance and maintenance costs
  • additional revenue funding to support increased running costs
  • capital projects required to support activities for educational purposes necessary by law
  • goods and services, including consultants and contractors, that have not been appointed in accordance with the requirements set out in this guidance

In the event of delays to your project’s spending plans, we cannot delay our payments beyond the financial year 2015/16. This means, you may lose some or all of your grant if the amount is not requested by you and paid by us by 31 March 2016. If you are offered a grant, we require it to be shown as a restricted grant and capitalised on your balance sheet.

We would ideally like museums to raise 10% match funding in cash or in-kind however if you are unable to reach the 10% target please speak to the MDNW team.

Application form


Application deadline

9am Friday 21st August Deadline for applications
w/b Monday 24th August MDNW Steering Group considers applications
Tuesday 1st September Applicants informed of outcome
Projects can start once funding agreements have been signed

Museum Development North West contacts

You MUST contact the MDNW team for advice and guidance before submitting an application. We will not accept applications from museums which have not had a pre-application conversation with one of the MDNW team.

Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer –, 07852 138110

Rosie Crook, Museum Development Officer North –, 07748 147151

Lynsey Jones, Museum Development Officer South –, 07748 147240

Sustainable Improvement Fund 2012-15 Projects Publication

We’re are pleased to be able to share our latest online publication showcasing all of the projects funded by our Sustainable Improvement Fund during 2012-15.

Since 2012 the Fund has supported projects that have helped develop new ways of working, partnerships and business models as well as providing funding for simple or small-scale projects that made a big difference. SIF has also enabled museums to develop new partnerships and creative relationships with other organisations and this document shares case studies and project information.

Sustainable Improvement Fund 2012-15 publication

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

Museum Studies at Leicester 50th Anniversary Conference Call for Papers

Museum Studies at Leicester 50th Anniversary Conference

20-22 April 2016

The Museum in the Global Contemporary: Debating the Museum of Now

From University of Leicester:

We invite you to join us in Leicester for our 50th anniversary conference and associated events, including a number of pre-conference trips.

Call for Papers, Poems, Plays and other Performances
This is a conference for museum scholars and professionals, and for students of museums, who want to debate the museum of this new now. Bring along your practice or your research but also consider this as an opportunity to be creative. In addition to accepting papers, we encourage contributors to consider other ways to contribute: a workshop, film, participatory performance, artwork, installation, display, digital and online contributions, a dance and so on. Rather than presenting in one of the sessions, you might want to make a more permanent contribution such as a poster paper, a video presentation, an audio story, and so on, which can be displayed at the conference venue but also online. We want to make space for debate and discussion in the programme and so will adopt the short paper format that has been so successful in previous conferences.

We shall also be offering three NextGen Keynote slots for outstanding early career researchers or professionals, and we welcome recommendations. We want everyone to leave this conference transformed: thinking new thoughts and prepared to do new things.

If you are interested in presenting at this conference, please send a proposal of no more than one side of A4, also tell us something about yourself, and email it to the conference organisers, Simon Knell and Katy Bunning, at at the School of Museum Studies.

Deadline for proposals: 30 November 2015.

Find out more at:

The Collections Trust Awards 2015

Celebrating excellence in Collections Management: Nominations open!

Nominations are now open for the Collections Trust Awards, which will be taking place at the Collections Trust Annual Conference at the Natural History Museum in London on 22 September 2015. If you’ve completed a great project or a colleague has demonstrated exceptional expertise during the past year, then you should enter the Collections Trust Awards 2015. Presented during the conference, the Awards are the pinnacle of recognition for all those in the Collections Management community.

Applications are welcome from arts and cultural organisations in the UK. Judges will assess nominations on the basis of eligibility, excellence, impact on sustainability and innovation.


The awards for which nominations are currently being sought are:

  • Collections Manager of the Year Award
    this award recognises and celebrates the achievements of a Collections Manager in a UK Museum that has ‘made a difference’ (Nominations only).
  • Collections Practice Award
    This award celebrates projects which demonstrate the application of innovation practice to improve the sustainability and use collection arts and cultural organisations.
  • Participatory Practice Award
    The award highlights an exceptional example of how participatory practice has benefitted a museum by enhancing its relationships with its users.
  • Collections on a Budget Award
    The aim of this award is to celebrate projects which demonstrate improvement in collections management by organisations with a turnover of less than £500,000. The winner of this award will receive a prize of £500.


26 June: Nominations open
13 July: Judges announced
14 August: Nominations close
21 August: Shortlist finalised and judging starts
4 September: Judges complete their deliberations
22 September: Awards presented at the Collections Trust Annual Conference

How to submit a nomination

All awards except for the Collections Manager of the Year, can be either nominated or self–nominated. Full details on how to submit your nomination are on the entry forms. To submit a nomination download and complete the appropriate form and then submit it to

CT Awards Nomination Form – People
CT Awards Nomination Form – Project

If you have any questions regarding the nomination process please contact Lucy Douglas, Events Manager

Sponsorship opportunities

The Collections Trust Awards can provide a sponsor with extensive publicity and profile throughout the awards process, from the initial announcement and call for nominations, through the judging process, and at the announcement of the shortlist.

Overall sponsorship of the Collections Trust Awards can be tailored to meet a sponsor’s specific requirements. Sponsorship of an individual award is also available as a prime opportunity to gain exceptional profile in the collections community.

For more information and an initial discussion contact the Collections Trust’s Events Manager Lucy Douglas at or call +44 (0)20 7942 6080.

Shu Huang’s student placement with MDNW & Manchester Museum

I am Shu, a MA student studying Museum Studies at University of Leicester. This summer I am doing a placement with MDNW and Manchester Museum supporting the team with their popular and busy workshop programmes and the summer family programme of activities. I feel so lucky to have and am delighted by this wonderful internship opportunity. This is the second week of my placement with MDNW and Manchester Museum. I am having a good time so far. In this blog I’d like to share some of my experiences.

Museum Development North West is an Arts Council England funded initiative offering support and development opportunities for all accredited museums in the North West. Based at Manchester Museum, MDNW works with a wide variety of museums from Cheshire up to the Scottish Borders. As a new graduate from the MA programme I’m in need of practical experience and MDNW is a good place to engage. The team runs a number of workshops for museums to promote excellence in collections and drive sustainable developments in capacity issues. During my placement I will assist with the organisation of the events programme to start from September, accompany members of MDNW team on regional visits to museums and events, help with our blog by posting stories. I’m really enjoying this work with the team.

MDNW have offered me opportunities to travel around the North West of the UK, attending workshops and meeting museum professionals. Thank you Alex Bird, our Sector development Officer of MDNW, for letting me attend last week’s (22th July) session on the Viewpoint training at Preston. It was a fantastic training session that gave us some things to think about in terms of increasing museum visitors’ feedback and creating intelligent visitor surveys on the Viewpoint terminals. In this training, there were some rich illustrations and exemples of museums and galleries in the UK and beyond using digital devices to make surveys in order to ensure access for everyone. As we know, since 1970s museums have shifted their concerns from objects to audience experience. Audience research is a good criterion that is of great importance in examining the efficiency. It is now a pre-eminent research concern for many professional arts institutions such as Arts Council England. The training was helpful for museum professionals to facilitate visitors’ attendance, participation, and attitudes. In the training I learnt a lot from the museums about their cutting-edge practices.

Manchester Museum is one of the UK’s great regional museums and the country’s largest university museum. The museum is dedicated to inspiring visitors of all ages to explore human cultures and the natural world, past and present. It runs a lively programme of events and learning opportunities for families and adults. From babies to grandparents, the museum receives over 150,000 family visits per year and has activities and resources and events specially designed for the whole family. During this summer, I am going to assist with planning, development, evaluation and documentation of the summer programme of activities, as well as facilitate learning and engagement for visitors. Core elements of the family programme include, fortnightly Baby Explorer sensory play sessions, monthly 0-5 parent and toddler story making and activities sessions, holiday drop-in activities and monthly family Big Saturday events. It is quite busy but interesting and meaningful work. I am happy to work with this fantastic team and especially Victoria Grant (Family Programme Coordinator), Anna Bunney (Engagement Manager) and Alex Bird (Sector Development Officer). We are having a fun and productive time together.

Thank you MDNW and Manchester Museum for giving me the opportunities to attend.

Internship Opportunity: Museum Development North West

Project Support Assistant
Fixed term six month internship
01/10/2015 – 31/03/2016

£16,577 pro rata
Application deadline – Friday 28th August

Museum Development North West are pleased to announce that we are looking to take on a paid intern to support the team with the delivery of our regional workshop programme and communications. The successful applicant will support us with the following:

– Administration for the development and delivery of regional training programme including liaising with participating organisations and delegates and attending events

– Support of online presence including regular updating of our blog and twitter accounts

– Support on the development of online toolkits including design and publication.

Essential Criteria

An interest in museums and culture
Must be able to use Word, Excel
Must be organised and logical.

Desirable Criteria

Interest in development of online presence
Experience of museum and art galleries and their public programmes
Use of social media and website Content Management Systems i.e. Twitter.

This paid internship has been created as part of the Creative Employment Programme. The Creative Employment Programme is an Arts Council England fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for unemployed young people wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. You can find out more at:

There are certain criteria you must meet in order to be eligible to apply for a Creative Employment Programme funded internship. At the time of applying you must be aged 18 to 24 years old and you must be registered as unemployed with Jobcentre Plus. These eligibility criteria have been approved by the Department of Work and Pensions.

If you wish to apply for this position please contact your local Job Centre Plus and quote the following LMS reference: FTS/164153. All we require for application is a CV and cover letter.

Museum Development North West is an equal opportunities employer, who is actively seeking to employ people currently under-represented in the creative and cultural sector. This includes young people, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

If you would like more information about the post please speak to Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer – / 07852 138110

Call for Student Placements in Regional Museums

The University of Manchester are looking to expand their placement offer for Art Galleries and Museum Studies MA students and have asked us to circulate their Placement Form.

From the University of Manchester Art Galleries and Museum Studies team:

Student work placements play an integral role in postgraduate study at the University of Manchester School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, especially the Institute for Cultural Practices programmes, so we thank you for considering hosting one or more of our MA students for the upcoming academic year. We hope that a placement provides a useful resource for you/your team, a contribution towards professional development in the cultural sector as well as a valuable experience for our students. If you are among the many institutions that have offered placements in the past, we are grateful for your continued support. If you are considering it for the first time thank you for your interest and please do contact us if you would like to discuss any aspect of the programme.

It has been our experience that focused, directed projects often are the most successful, although successful placements can take a variety of forms. Please talk to us if you are unsure about an idea. If you are offering more than one role, please fill in a form for each role; please make sure you indicate what kinds of activities will be involved so we can allocate students properly by matching their interests.

If you are interested in hosting a placement please complete the form and return to Maria Calderhead, Work Placement Coordinator ( by 4th September 2015

Regional Museums Funding Fair

Pyramid & Parr Hall, Warrington
Thursday 24th September
10:30 – 15:30

It’s our third Regional Museums Funding Fair giving museums and arts professionals the opportunity to meet various funding organisations face-to-face. This year we have Arts Council England, Association of Independent Museums, Art Fund, Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy, Curious Minds, Heritage Alliance, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Association, Museums of Cheshire and the National Museum Directors Council.

We will also have a programme of workshops and presentations and Heritage Alliance will be running 1-2-1 consultancy and support sessions for anyone involved in fundraising for a heritage project – if you’re interested in having one of these sessions please contact Mark Webb at Heritage Alliance –

To book a place please visit our eventbrite page

We will share more details nearer the time.

GEM Conference 2015 Funded Place

Museum Development North West are pleased to announce that we are offering a FREE place at this year’s GEM Conference On Tues 8th – Thurs 10th September at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

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.

Measuring the Magic will explore the impact, value and quality of cultural learning

  • How can we best measure the impact, value and quality of what we do?
  • How can we use this knowledge to improve our professional practice?

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

  • Confirm that you are a first time attendee
  • Commit to attending the whole conference
  • Cover your own travel costs and all expenses
  • Feedback to colleagues and the region via our blog

For the full programme please click here

Please send an expression of interest to Alex Bird by Friday 21 August 2015.

Please note that these places are only available to people working in museums in the North West.

Culture 24’s ‘Fit for China’ Digital Showcasing Project

Are you an ambitious UK arts or heritage organisation looking for opportunities to reach and engage Chinese audiences online with your cultural offer and assets? Are you interested in working collaboratively and learning though action? Do you feel that your existing digital assets are under exploited when engaging international audiences? If so, the ‘Fit for China’ Digital Showcasing project is perfect for you

Culture24 and the British Council, in partnership with Storythings, are excited to announce a new free collaborative project aiming to develop relevant and engaging UK online cultural content for international audiences with a focus on China. They are seeking expressions of interest from UK arts and heritage organisations wishing to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

If you are interested in this opportunity please read all the information on the Culture24 website and then complete the expression of interest form no later than 5pm on Monday 3rd August 2015. Successful applicants will be informed by 1st September 2015.

Full details and how to apply here

Creative Museums application pack now available

Creative Museums is an 18-month programme which offers a fantastic research and development opportunity for a small cohort of museums to enrich experience for their audiences, regenerate their programmes and venues and develop new business opportunities using the ‘Scratch’ process.

Four introductory events were held in Manchester, Bristol, London and Gateshead and for those who were unable to attend these events, the film of the London session is available here.

Creative Museums are now inviting interested museums to download the application pack which includes the project timeline, FAQs, ‘Scratch’ for beginners and a letter of recommendation from David Jubb, Artistic Director and CEO, Battersea Arts Centre and Michael Day, CEO, Historic Royal Palaces. The pack can be downloaded here – CREATIVE MUSEUMS APPLICATION PACK.

The programme is targeted at small museums, with 9 full time equivalent posts or less, however, there is an opportunity for larger museums to be involved by way of the ‘Scratch groups’ that will surround the central six selected museums. For more information on this please see application pack Appendix Two: FAQs. The closing date for applications to Creative Museums is 4th September 2015.


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