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

Resilient Museums Short Films

We are pleased to present to you four short films, highlighting different projects that museums in the North West have been undertaking. These videos will be familiar to those who attended “Don’t Stop Me Now: Resilient Museums in the North West”, as they were premiered on the TVs there.

The films were created by our Events and Communications Co-ordinator Ryan Hughes, and freelance filmmaker Paul Gibson.


Job Opportunity: East Midlands

Title: Museum Development Programme Officer
5 days / week confirmed till March 2016, 4 days a week confirmed till 2018 (funding for 5th day to be reviewed before March 2016)
Fixed term contract to end March 2018
Salary - £30,240 – £32,649

To support delivery of the regional MD programme. To manage the training programme and communications. To support the roll-out of the business diagnostics process, provide advice and support to museums, liaise with specialists and contractors engaged with MDEM and to represent MDEM regionally and nationally.

Closing date – 7 April 2015

For more information, see (Search “ Museum Development Programme Officer”)

MDNW 2015-18 Programme

We are pleased to announce our programme for 2015-18 is as follows:

Goal 1: Excellence is thriving and celebrated in museums

Museum Development support

  • Site specific advice and visits
  • Share information and updates through forums and networks
  • Develop relationships with key partners to support regional museums sector e.g. ACE, Major Partner Museums, NWFed, HLF, AIM
  • Museum Development programme informed by information from visits and meetings i.e. continuous informal consultation with the sector


  • Provide the technical support and advice strand of ACE’s Accreditation scheme
  • Provide site specific advice to museums submitting Accreditation returns
  • Support co-ordination of the Museum Mentor scheme
  • Provide training open to all, in conjunction with delivery partners e.g. Collections Trust
  • Provide development opportunities to cohorts of museums based on Areas for Improvement



  • Arrange 2 training days in 2015-16, with support of Money & Medals Network
  • Self-sustaining numismatics network by 2017
  • Specialist post to support collections reviews and activities in at least 4 museums

Historic industrial collections

  • Arrange 3 training days in 2015-16, with support of Industrial Heritage Support Officer at English Heritage
  • Self-sustaining industrial heritage network by 2017
  • Support museums in network to develop collaborative projects
  • Attend and support other related networks such as Stationary Steam Engines Group
  • Support Lancashire County Museums Service as regional leader with Designated collection
  • Work with Whitworth Art Gallery to link regional textile collections with textile machinery

Natural sciences

  • Support activity led by Manchester Museum, Tullie House and National Museums Liverpool
  • “Refloating the Ark” conference 17-18th June 2015, Manchester Museum
  • Collections review and non-specialist curatorial workshops
  • Provide funding for staff to attend other conferences and undertake research visits

Working with artists

  • Support museums to work with artists to reinterpret collections

Workforce development

  • Continue collections training for the non-specialist

Sustainable collections development

  • Collections and the Law – legal status of collections, collections in the digital environment
  • Roll out findings of Manchester Partnership on sustainable collections development to the region

Goal 2: More people experience and are inspired by museums

Audience data development

  • Continue to hold licence for Viewpoint programme and provide opportunity for other museums to buy into the programme under our licence
  • Provide Viewpoint training and support Viewpoint “super-users” in managing technical queries
  • Analyse standard regional benchmarking questions

“Knowing Your Audiences” programme

  • Training in gathering, analysing and using data to complement Viewpoint and other programmes (e.g. Visitor Verdict, Visitor Finder, Metrics etc)
  • Collections interpretation training programme based on Viewpoint data
  • Audiences Insight training programme

Data reporting

  • Continue regional benchmarking survey
  • Collate qualitative data evidence of economic and social value of museums

Cultural tourism

  • Support smaller museums to participate in Cumbria Museum Consortium’s Highlights programme
  • Support digital access initiatives to promote tourism

Health & wellbeing

  • Share Major Partner Museums’ work on health and wellbeing, particularly dementia, volunteering and diversifying audiences

Goal 3: Museums are sustainable, resilient and innovative


  • Support action plans of participants in 2014’s organisational health programme
  • Business management training programme to support Accreditation section 1
  • Developing effective boards programme
  • Annual funding fair
  • Share learning from Cumbria Museum Consortium’s Business Development programme


  • Support action plans of previous participants
  • Produce epublication of case studies from 2014 programme
  • Trial U-values pilot project
  • Support development of Green Museums Northern Network
  • Provide opportunities for museums to develop visitor engagement resources through training and funding
  • Maintain emergency networks

Entrepreneurial development

  • Retail development – open training on retail and branding; cohort of museums attend programme of product development using collections as inspiration
  • Income generation training programme  

Goal 4: Leadership and workforce in museums are diverse and highly skilled


  • “Cultural Retreats” emerging leaders programme
  • Expertise of Major Partner Museum staff used in regional training
  • Support Cumbria Museums Consortium’s role in rural museum leadership to engage with and diversify local audiences
  • Work with Major Partner Museums and Higher Education organisations to development placements in smaller museums for HE students
  • Biennial regional conference

Workforce development

  • Programme of workforce development training responding to needs of sector
  • Funding available to support attendance at national/international conferences
  • Work with external partners to develop and complement workforce programmes

Developing volunteers

  • Programme to help organisations support their volunteers
  • “Support Our Skills” soft skills programme for staff and volunteers
  • Create network of volunteer management champions

Organisational resilience

  • Series of Knowledge Sharing Fellowships to retain information within museums

Goal 5: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness and inspiration of museums

Cultural heritage for children & young people (CYPs)

  • Support Curious Minds in roll out of Arts Award
  • Lead CYP group of existing learning providers to co-ordinate activity
  • Support existing initiatives such as Museums Takeover Day and “Trail Blaze” Saturday Alternatives traineeship programme
  • Support Curious Minds with their young evaluators and young marketing experts programmes

Developing key partnerships

  • Scope potential “game changer” conference
  • Support Curious Minds’ “Vision for a Local Cultural Offer”
  • Support Cumbrian Learning Networks

 Sustainable Improvement Fund

Support museum activity to meet all five ACE goals through funding projects that:

  • Involve single museums, networks or partnerships
  • Fit with the museum’s purpose, aims and objectives
  • Where the need for the project is demonstrated
  • Will be a step forward for the museum in it’s offer for visitors or the way in which the museum works
  • Might be a risk for the museum – trialling something for the first time, or new ways of doing things
  • Could be a pilot for a potentially bigger project
  • Could be used to scope out or trial ideas for an application to ACE’s Museum Resilience Fund
  • Might tie into other Museum Development programmes

For further information contact

  • Alex Bird, Sector Development Officer,
  • Rosie Crook, Museum Development Officer, (until winter 2015)
  • Kaye Hardyman, Museum Development Officer, (from late summer 2015)
  • Lynsey Jones, Museum Development Officer,

Calling all North West Museums, Making the Case for Heritage Together

From if: Volunteering For Wellbeing

“Are you doing exciting work that supports wellbeing? We want to hear about it!

We’d like to hear about how museums are supporting wellbeing in your locality, whether its a big or small project because it all adds up. You might be running a coffee morning, working with people whose first language isn’t English or working with volunteers.  All across the North West of England our museums are touching people in a multitude of ways and changing people’s lives for the better. We want to know about whatever you are doing to contribute to wellbeing and why.

We will be gathering case studies between March and April with a view to producing initial evidence in June. If you’d like to contribute to this research please complete this short case study template.

Please return your completed case study template to by Friday 10 April.

Last Chance for Museums to Enter “Connect!”

This is your last chance to apply to be part of Connect! 2015: which of our six exciting contemporary artists would you like to lead a Museums at Night October event at your museum or gallery?

  • Luke Jerram wants to make a daring heist happen
  • Alinah Azadeh proposes an evening of gifting and exchanges
  • Pure Evil suggests an improvised light show with electronic music
  • Davy and Kristin McGuire can animate an object with projection mapping
  • Yinka Shonibare MBE will combine a supper club with performance and interactives inspired by your collections
  • Gillian Wearing invites everyone to write and sing personal karaoke songs

Meet the artists and find out more about their event ideas here – and don’t forget to download this helpful resource pack ( , which will guide you through the project and the application form.

You have until 5pm on Friday 27 March to choose which artist you want to apply for, and complete the Event Submission Form ( .

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your plans and how an artist might work in your space, please call 01273 623336.

HiDDEN Small Heritage Attraction Network

Last year a network of small heritage attractions was established in Manchester. A key aim of the network is to develop a new heritage offer in Manchester. There are now 8 members: Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester Transport Museum, Chetham’s Library, Working Class Movement Library, Manchester Police Museum, Victoria Baths, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Pankhurst Centre.

This week the network was launched with a new name and brand. Originally called SHOWT (Small Heritage Organisations Working Together), the network is now called ‘HiDDEN’ and a printed marketing campaign is now underway (leaflet attached). The website is live –– along with facebook and twitter accounts .

Any help you and your colleagues can offer to support and promote HiDDEN would be much appreciated (social media, #thehidden8, e-bulletins, newsletters, etc). We’re also keen to collaborate with new partners, so if you’re interested in working with HiDDEN please don’t hesitate to contact Max Dunbar at

Don’t Stop Me Now: Resilient Museums in the North West

Rheged Discovery Centre

Thursday 19th March

09:15 – 16:00


Featured speaker – Philip Butler, Curator of Industry & Technology, Lancashire County Museums Service

Join Philip to find out about “Stepping Up”, a review of the North West’s textile machinery, and how this led to a project to preserve and share practical skills in running industrial heritage working machinery.


To book a place please visit our eventbrite page

Job Opportunity: Beacon Museum

Title: Business Development Officer
Salary Grade: 9
£26,293 – £29,558 per annum
Closing date: Monday 30th March 2015

The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, is seeking a highly motivated individual with proven experience and skill in identifying and developing income-generating business streams, activities and opportunities for this award-winning accredited Museum. You will play a key role in moving the museum towards a self-financing and independent operating model.

Working with the Beacon Museum Director and Steering Group, you will have excellent communication and marketing skills across a range of digital and traditional media. You will be responsible for preparing and delivering the marketing and promotion plans for the Museum including assisting in the Museum developing a national profile. You will also ensure that the local community including businesses are able to engage and become an increasing part of the Beacon Museum.

The Beacon Museum is a collaboration between Copeland Borough Council and Sellafield Ltd.

Interviews will include a 10 minute presentation.

For an informal conversation please contact Elizabeth Kwasnik, Beacon Museum Director, on 01946 592302.

Call for objects!

The National Waterways Museum is currently working on improving our living history displays in the Porters Row workers cottages, situated within the canal docks. These cottages exhibit social history collections which interpret working class homes through the 19th and 20th centuries. We are seeking a couple of extra items to add to our displays:

·         A male mannequin to dress in period attire in the 1900s cottage.

·         A donkey stone for use in 1930s/1950s cottages.

We have found both items difficult to source, so if any museums are looking to dispose of either/both of these items within their collection/storage we would be very grateful to acquire these – please contact Margaret Harrison, Collections Manager at


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