Category: Uncategorized

Curious Minds Receive Heritage Lottery Funding for Hope Streets Project

Curious Minds is delighted to receive news that it has been awarded £1million in funding from Heritage Lottery Fund’s Kick the Dust grants programme.

Hope Streets is a 5-year project that will transform the way museums work with young people. By working strategically in partnership with Museum Development North West (MDNW) and Youth Focus North West (YFNW), Curious Minds will test, refine and embed new models of youth engagement and leadership; to locate the heritage sector at the heart of young people’s services and young people at the heart of heritage.  The lead museum partners in sub-region are: The Atkinson, Cheshire West and Chester Museum Service, Lancashire Museum Service, Bolton Museum and Tullie House.

Thanks to National Lottery players, Curious Minds can now confirm they will begin delivery of this project in August 2018.

To start with, Hope Streets will take young people on an expedition into the past, to delve into the hidden history of their local Hope Street. It will provide a platform for 11-25 year olds from diverse backgrounds to work with heritage organisations, artists and experts to interrogate, agitate and re-present their local heritage.  By the end of 2019, young people across the North West will have led and produced creative events and festivals for public audiences.

Later phases will concentrate on museums harnessing the energy and insight of young people to provide hope for the future of heritage. Professionals and young people will together push boundaries and find new ways of enabling young people to make permanent change to the everyday lives of museums. Young people will take on paid roles, act as advisors to senior staff, sit on boards and contribute to strategic plans.

Kick the Dust is Heritage Lottery Fund’s pioneering new grants programme, distributing £10m from the National Lottery to youth organisations across the UK.

Commenting on the award, Curious Minds Chief Executive, Derri Burdon, said:

“Hope Streets will locate the heritage sector at the heart of young people’s services as a conduit of hope in post Brexit Britain. It’s an ambitious programme designed to deliver lasting transformational change. Young people will witness first-hand the social value of heritage and the way it can bring communities together in new ways with what we anticipate will be astonishing results.

Laura Hill, 25, a Heritage Ambassador from Liverpool, said: “It has been a brilliant experience learning how grants are awarded, and helping HLF to allocate £10m to projects involving more young people in heritage. I’m thrilled that Curious Minds has won funding, as we found its plans to involve young people in the heritage sector really exciting. Making Liverpool’s heritage easier to participate in for more people my age is very important to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the project progresses in the future.”


Job Opportunity: Treasurer, The Atkinson Trust Development Fund

Job OpportunityThe Atkinson Trust Development Fund
Job title: Treasurer
Salary: Voluntary
The Atkinson, Southport
Minimum one meeting per month 5.30-7 pm 
Contract: Term of office is three years
Closing date: 21 August 2018, 5 pm

The Atkinson Development Trust is a charity run by a small, committed group of skilled volunteers who have a shared love of Sefton and The Atkinson. Established in 2015, the Trust is still growing and developing.

The aim of the Trust, in short, is to raise money. What interests the Trust is what can be done with the funds raised. The Trustees believe in the transformative power of art and that communities thrive best when they have civic pride and a sense of place.  So, the Trust was established to work in partnership with The Atkinson to use its collections to make a positive impact on local people’s lives.

The Treasurer’s role is to:

  • Oversee the financial affairs of the organisation, ensuring they are legal and constitutional
  • Ensure that proper records are kept, and effective financial procedures are in place
  • Oversee the production and adoption of annual budgets, financial reports/returns, accounts and audits
  • Appraise the financial viability of plans, proposals and feasibility studies
  • Liaise with Trustees making them aware of their financial obligations and ensuring the financial viability of the organisation
  • Lead on appointing and liaising with auditors/an independent examiner
  • Contribute to the pool of expertise and advice i.e. making advice and expertise available to the Board, staff and volunteers
  • Make an active contribution in organising fundraising on behalf of The Atkinson Development Trust
  • Govern i.e. directing and controlling the organisation through collective decision-making.  This is a mandatory requirement of every Trustee.

Please see the attached for more information about the role:

Recruitment of a Treasurer for The Atkinson Development Trust and Role Description

If you have any questions, please email:

The Atkinson website:



Job Opportunity: Bahamas Locomotive Society, West Yorkshire

Bahamas Locomotive Society

Museum Assistant
Salary £16,882-£17,391pa
35 hours per week – working days to be determined (5 days out of 7) and with some weekend working and flexibility essential

Fixed term contract (six months – from appointment date, anticipated Sept 2018 to Feb 2019)

Closing date: Friday 3rdAugust 2018

Interview candidates notified by: Wed 15thAug

Interview date: Wednesday 22ndAugust 2018

The Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS) operates its museum and workshop ‘Ingrow Loco’ (now branded as ‘The Engine Shed’) as part of the Rail Story partnership based at Ingrow West Station on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR).  For details about Rail Story please visit

Role Summary

This role has been established to support a range of museum operations and activities and will involve working alongside an existing small team of Duty Officers and Education Facilitators, supported by Volunteers and Directors, to provide a first class experience for all visitors including school parties, science club, community groups and other special interest groups.  A key element of the role is to liaise with schools and to take bookings, plan visits, attend to administrative tasks and to be pro-active in the maintenance and delivery of the existing schools programme including direct delivery to schools alongside the Education Facilitators.

In addition the post-holder will have a range of curatorial and visitor services responsibilities which are outlined in the full job description.

How to Apply

For further job details click here and visit the Bahamas Locomotive Society’s Website: where the job description, person specification and details of how to apply can be downloaded.

Job opportunity: Assistant Curator, Towneley Hall, Burnley

Towneley Hall

Assistant Curator

21.00 hours per week

Grade 7   £13,388 to  £14,750

Closing date for applications: Monday 23rd July 2018

Interview date: Friday 24thAugust 2018

Towneley Hall are recruiting an Assistant Curator to help in the management, care, development and promotion of Towneley Hall and its collections. The position is part-time averaging 21 hours per week with some flexibility in when the hours are worked.

The successful candidate will support senior staff in managing Towneley Hall art gallery & museum and its collections. Duties will include collections management, organising exhibitions and loans, leading talks and guided tours and ensuring compliance with the Museums Accreditation Scheme. You will also assist in supporting the museums volunteer programme.

Candidates must be qualified to degree level in History of Art or other relevant subject. A relevant professional qualification or relevant postgraduate qualification is desirable. Experience of working in a museum or gallery, whether paid or voluntary, is essential. Candidates must also have excellent communication skills, the ability to plan and organise work and be able to engage with and interest the public in the collections and must also be available to undertake weekend work when required (for which appropriate time off in lieu will be granted).

Burnley Borough Council offers a flexible working week, generous holidays, training opportunities and a pension scheme.

For an informal discussion on the content of the job description or person specification, please contact Mike Townend (Senior Curator) on  01282 425011 Ex 3183

For a recruitment pack and to apply online click here.

Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund reopens for applications

The second round of the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund to enable museums across the country to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections, reopens today for applications.

In this guest blog Penny Bull from the Art Fund explains what the programme is and what it can fund, and Janice Hayes from Warrington Museum & Art Gallery writes about the programme from the perspective of a museum which successfully applied for funding in the first round.

“Here at Art Fund we’re excited to be opening the second round of grant applications to the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. The programme, made possible by the Garfield Weston Foundation, aims to provide museum visitors across the country with increased access to national museum and gallery objects. It does this by offering funding to regional museums to secure important, strategic loans from the national collections, and then maximise loan opportunities in the context of their own collections and communities. The Garfield Weston Foundation offers its very generous support in celebration of its 60th anniversary, taking place this year.

In the first round we were really excited to see the variety of ways that museums across the country planned to integrate loan objects and items from their own collection, and were so pleased to be able to support thirteen projects. You can currently visit funded exhibitions at Brampton Museum, Cannon Hall Museum and Paxton House. And there is, of course, Warrington Art Treasures at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, but I’ll leave it to Janice Hayes to tell you more on that. For a full list of previous awards please visit:

We’re thrilled to be in a position to consider funding applications this summer and again in 2019, we’re able to provide 100% of the funding needed for a project. We welcome requests of £5,000 to £25,000, and this can cover the costs associated with securing and displaying the loan, and for maximising its impact. This could include transportation, conservation, installation, marketing materials, onsite interpretation or audience engagement activity, but also much more. Eligible museums need to have a permanent collection and be Accredited, provisionally Accredited, or able to demonstrate a longstanding commitment to care for the collections. The applicants also need to be regional and/or run by local authorities, universities or have independent Trust status.

We opened for applications today, and the deadline for submissions will be 11thSeptember. For further details please visit, and do contact me if you’d like to discuss a possible application,”

Penny Bull, Senior Programmes Manager, Art Fund

Warrington Museum Learns How to Borrow
“Warrington Museum & Art Gallery had lots to celebrate in 2017 with the 160th anniversary of the current building and the 140th anniversary of the main art gallery in October 1877 – the same month Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery opened.

Since transferring to a new charitable trust called Culture Warrington in 2012 the museum had been busy adapting to life outside direct local authority support and had largely withdrawn from major touring exhibitions. By 2017 our ambitious plans for major museum capital developments meant it was time to raise our profile once again on the regional, and hopefully national, stage.

From its creation in 1848 Warrington Museum had amassed significant collections including works by prominent local Victorian artists and so the grand plan to showcase Warrington’s Art Treasureswas conceived – a series of exhibitions marking landmarks in the creation of the oldest public museum in the North West of England. Coincidentally the museum had also formerly been the home to Warrington School of Art which trained many artists who had gone on to acquire a national reputation as regular exhibitors at the Royal Academy, meaning we could link in with the RA 250 celebrations.

Our ambitions grew: could we persuade National Museums Liverpool (NML) to be a partner in our project by loaning three significant works from the Walker Art Gallery linked to two of the best known Warrington artists, John Warrington Wood and Luke Fildes?

Just loaning three paintings: how hard could it be….? Answer: a lot more complicated than we imagined, and impossible without our key partners of NML, Museum Development North West (MDNW) and the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund.

Now the paintings are safely installed in Warrington we have time to reflect on what we learnt in the process which might help other would-be borrowers, like your organisation perhaps?

Lesson One: It takes much longer than you think to negotiate a loan
Always remember this might be your priority project but your major partner will have their own priorities already in place. It can take over a year to negotiate even a relatively straightforward loan, especially if the work is on their gallery walls. If the work you want to borrow needs conservation before it can safely travel that adds to the timescales, adds to your costs and causes more admin for the loaner and the borrower. And another small tip: check and double check the measurements of the loans before you commit to any expenditure. Obvious I know, but it’s always worth checking if the dimensions you’ve been given include the frame so you can be sure it’ll fit through your doors and into your goods lift when it’s packed in the travelling crate!

Lesson Two: Does your venue meet the loan venue’s standards?
Have you got staff with the experience/capacity to negotiate the loan, deal with insurance issues and provide the data to deal with questions around whether your venue meets the necessary environmental and security standards?

Without the pragmatic support of NML we would have fallen at this first hurdle because we are based in a Grade II listed building so even before the Beast From the East hit the UK our gallery environment was somewhat erratic, but nothing new humidifiers couldn’t cure we were advised. Thanks to MDNW’s ACE-funded Ready to Borrow grants we were able to make the environmental and security improvements needed. NML agreed to the loan of our three works and our gallery environment stabilised.

Lesson Three: Never underestimate the cost of getting a loan to your venue (and returning it!)
So we could get the works we wanted to borrow but we hadn’t got the budget to pay for conservation costs to one frame, the hire of crates or transport and specialised art handlers to install the works to NML’s satisfaction. Then there were the associated publicity costs and an activity programme to engage and grow our audience. What started as a “simple” loan of three works had now escalated to unbudgeted costs of over £20,000. With the support of MDNW we applied to the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund to enable museums across the country to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections and were delighted to be successful.


Lesson Four: Getting the grant funding for your loan is only the tip of the iceberg! This is when you discover that as well as dealing with all the loan administration your small team has also got to cope with all the publicity and evaluation your grant funders will expect to see in place. Whilst national institutions have separate press & marketing teams who are well versed in scheduling, for smaller organisations the lengthy deadlines involved can cause capacity issues. Remember to allow time for press releases to get clearance from all the organisations involved in your project and make sure someone in your team can respond to urgent emails about redrafts!

Remember that long list of benefits to your organisation you put on your application form? Just beware that now you will be expected to come up with evaluation tools to demonstrate that you have achieved them! So be realistic about what you promise and pragmatic about your capacity to get meaningful data for key points.

Lesson Five: It’s not over when your loans are finally on the gallery wall!
If you are a small team the pressure is on to catch up with the enquiry backlog that built up whilst you were working on the exhibition installation or meet the deadlines for your next project… but you still need the capacity to keep feeding new angles to the press; run the activity programme and evaluate the feedback from your visitors and participants.

 So: Have we learnt how to borrow and would we do it again?
We’ll have a definitive answer to that in March 2019 when our exhibition is over, the loans have been returned and our evaluation complete! But so far we feel much better equipped to explore new loan opportunities with major partners and much more confident that our staff and venue meet expected standards. We’ve had positive press coverage and favourable feedback from visitors but our activity programme is only just beginning so overall evaluation is premature. We’ve had good support from all of our partners so if you are thinking of such a project we’d say …go for it!”

 Janice Hayes, Culture Warrington Heritage Manager


MDNW Succession Planning Programme

Museum Development North West

Succession planning is a hugely important task, but the lack of it in the sector is a real issue and one that needs to be addressed. That’s why this year we’re running a programme dedicated to supporting museums to tackle this issue, whether its the impending loss of knowledge or the need to share organisational procedures in-house.

Starting in October 2018 and running for three months, the aim of the programme is to support five museums to develop and implement robust succession plans through workshops, and the use of the MALD Succession Planning framework.

The programme will consist of two half-day workshops and consultancy support to complete and implement the plans.

To register your interest please complete the Expression of Interest Form by 5pm on Friday 6th July, or for more information contact Alex Bird at

View original post

SWFed Conference 2018 ‘Confronting the Challenges: Visits & Collections’

Date: 4-5 July 2018

Venue: University of Exeter

For tickets and the full programme, please visit

About the conference

All of us working in the Museums and Heritage Sector face daily challenges in appealing to a wide range of people:

“How do we reach that elusive audience? What do we choose to let go from our amazing but overflowing collections? How can we be more creative in engaging existing visitors?”

The 2018 SWFed Conference will confront these daily challenges in tough financial times.

There is an exciting line-up of specialists and heritage professionals from across two of the key fields in which we work, visits and collections (both of which go hand in hand). Speakers will share expertise, showcase findings from live projects and partnerships, and provide hands-on workshops – helping you to ‘confront the challenges’.

The keynote speakers will be Helen Bonser-Wilton (CEO of the Mary Rose Trust), and Kevin Gosling (CEO of the Collections Trust) – each setting the tone for a great day of learning, sharing and challenge-busting.

Many organisations have limited resources for staff development – to accommodate this, the conference’s split-topic format will allow staff and volunteers who can only attend one day to focus on either visits (4 July) or collections (5 July) with a specific keynote for each. Those able to attend both days will enjoy a varied programme that will enable them to think about how the two areas can support each other.

There will be plenty of opportunities for networking, including an optional social event on the evening of the first day.

The conference is open to anyone and members can take advantage of discounted ticket prices. Booking and further information can be found here:

The 2018 SWFed conference is in partnership with University of Exeter and Honest Studio, and supported by Volunteer Makers and Tea Social.

FREE workshop by The Space: Curating digital content for galleries and museums

About the event

How digital technologies and platforms can be used by museums, galleries and collections to give greater access to their works

The Space supported by Culture 24, bringing arts organisations closer to audiences, with funding from Arts Council England, present a free workshop exploring how digital technologies and platforms can be used by Museums, Galleries and Collections to give greater access to their collections and engage audiences in new interactive experiences.

Sarah Toplis, commissioning executive for The Space, will be joined by practitioners who’ll discuss their work, whether extending access to collections, or using technology to offer audiences different perspectives on the world.
The workshop will weave small group discussions between the presentations and case studies, providing opportunities for delegates to talk about their own work and ideas.

Sessions include:

How do we tell our story digitally?
Richard Moss, Culture 24 Content Manager & Editor, will join Sarah to discuss some of the critical success factors for the digital curation of collections. They’ll illustrate their conversation with examples of projects drawn from museums and galleries from across the UK.

Case study: Objects of Obsession
Producer Louise Wardle and Manchester Art Gallery contemporary art curator Clare Gannaway will describe how an artist led approach underpinned the development of Sonia Boyce’s digital talk as part of the Objects of Obsession series.

Case Study: A Mile in My Shoes
The Empathy Museum’s A Mile in My Shoes is a participatory touring arts exhibition exploring themes of empathy. The Empathy Museum was keen to create a digital element to their physical portable exhibition, whilst also finding a way re-purpose the best of the existing audio stories to create a series of podcasts.

Case Study: Sculpture.Cam
Producer Douglas McFarlane and members of participatory digital design Studio Moniker will introduce Sculpture.Cam. They’ll discuss how they worked with Yorkshire Sculpture Park to explore photogrammetry and 3D digital capture producing a collaborative social game.

Further informationThe workshop is intended for those with an active interest in using digital platforms and technologies to create greater access, and to enrich audience experiences of, their collections . We have 25 available places to galleries, museums, collections and archive professionals.

This event is kindly hosted by Manchester Art Gallery.

To book click here.

Job Opportunity: Blackpool Museum Project- Assistant Curator

Blackpool Council

Assistant Curator


Contract Type: Temporary until 31/03/2019

Hours: 37hrs

Salary: £21,074.00- £23,111.00

Blackpool Council are seeking an Assistant Curator to join the Blackpool Museum Project Team.  The Blackpool Museum Project is an exciting, new development to create Blackpool’s first museum which will celebrate its unique heritage and Britain’s enduring love of seaside holidays and popular entertainment.

The post-holder will support the Curator in the development of interpretative content, research collections, stories and interpretative material for display.  They will also support in the development of exhibition briefs.  They will create, update and maintain accurate object and loan records, assist in the organisation of transport and conservation of artefacts and support our Performers’ Network.  They will capture personal stories using a range of techniques including interviews, oral histories and digital storytelling.  They will also support community engagement with the project, including co-creation projects.

They are looking for an individual with experience of working in a museum environment, research and museum interpretation.  Their ideal candidate will have experience of museum documentation and practical experience of object handling.  They will have good communication skills, are happy working as part of a team and able to engage effectively with a wide range of people.

This post is temporary to 31 March 2019 in the first instance, but with the potential to extend as the Museum Project moves into the Delivery Phase.

For more information and an informal conversation please contact Emma Heslewood, the Project Curator on 07469 020862.
Click here to view the Job Description and to apply.

Kids in Museums: Teen Twitter Takeover day

Teen Twitter Takeover– Friday 3rd August 2018

On Friday 3rd August 2018, cultural and heritage organisations across the UK will be handing over their Twitter feeds to young people for our Teen Twitter Takeover. Last year’s event saw 300 young people taking over almost 70 museum handles, producing tweets which were seen by 300,000 people.

The Teen Twitter Takeover helps to give teenagers across the country a platform to share their views and experiences, which in turn helps museums and heritage sites to better understand the voices of young people. Whether you are a museum, heritage site, archive, library or science or art centre, Kids in Museums would love your help in creating a conversation with the next generation.

If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, please click here to find out more, or click here to sign up today!