Category: Uncategorized

Job Opportunity: Blackpool Heritage Service

Circus Collection Project Support Officer
£20,456 – £22,434
Full time, temporary until 30th January 2019
Closing date 5th June 2017

The Tower Circus opened in 1894 and has run continuously ever since. It is one of the most historically significant circus venues in the world. The Blackpool Tower Circus collection reflects the importance of both the venue and the rich cultural legacy of the circus community. It is a stunning collection which to date has had limited public access.

The Blackpool Heritage Service has received a grant from the Collections Fund – delivered by the Museums Association to deliver a collections care and public access project called Marvels and Mayhem. It is seeking a Project Support Officer who will play a crucial role in the coordination and delivery of the project through a range of activities.

The project is made up of a number of different strands. Initially the focus will be on cataloguing and improving collections care to prepare the collections for wider public access activities. There will be three engagement elements – a partnership development with the School of Society, Health and Childhood at Blackpool and the Fylde College, supporting members of the circus community to engage with the collection, and the collection will be used as inspiration for a creative writing project with local schoolchildren.

The main duties and responsibilities of this post will include coordination of the different project strands, improving safe access to the collection through preventative conservation, volunteer coordination and supervision, developing good working relationships with project partners, support the development of relationships with the circus community and monitoring project progress.

The successful candidate will have a degree in a related subject (e.g. history, heritage management), experience of working in a museum environment, experience of project delivery and be able to demonstrate relationship building, people skills and partnership working.

Please note all applications must be submitted online. CVs cannot be accepted. For more information and an informal discussion please contact Caroline Hall, Collections Manager, Blackpool Council. Tel: 01253 476631.

For further details see

Consultancy Opportunity: The Beacon, Whitehaven

Brief for Consultancy Work: The Beacon Museum Whitehaven

Audience Development Project funded through the Sustainable Improvement Fund (MDNW)

You are invited to submit a proposal for undertaking the following study for the Beacon Museum Whitehaven. A written submission is to be made in accordance with the following brief.


The Beacon Museum is an award winning museum that houses a varied collection representing the history of the Copeland area. The museum is three years into a five year collaborative business plan that has come about through a need to develop a sustainable business model.

The fundamental review that Copeland Council has undertaken in direct response to government funding policy changes and budget reductions to local authorities since 2010 has resulted in the Council changing its policy position and corporate priorities with regard to the Museum and associated education delivery. A working collaboration with Sellafield Ltd. has allowed the museum to progress and expand with greater fiscal independence. The aim of continuing to deliver a museum whereby the people of Copeland can explore their rich and diverse history through the collection remains a constant throughout this transitional process.

With the changing contexts surrounding the Beacon Museum, it is therefore vital that the team continue to operate in a commercially astute manner, identifying and developing the most productive consumer groups for the museum; developing and engaging those groups who are most likely to buy into the museum’s identity and culture. Also identifying barriers to access and understanding within other groups is vitally important to future planning.


The Beacon Museum aims to develop a five-year audience development strategy that addresses and informs all aspects of the museum’s activity: shop, exhibitions, events, learning and engagement programmes, marketing and visitor services. The aim of that strategy is to provide the organisation with clear targets and outcomes for developing our links with specified audiences. This strategy must address two key aims.

  • Sustainability: the Beacon Museum is moving to a business model of operating and will increasingly rely on the income generated from ticket sales and other visitor transactions.
  • Diversity: the Beacon Museum aims to make substantial progress in attracting more diverse audiences, activities and exhibitions.

Overall we are seeking a commitment to deliver 12 days of work to prepare and deliver this project. The total amount available is £4,170 (please take into consideration that this should include VAT, room hire, catering, and refreshments for focus groups)

For the full brief click here.


Museums as Spaces for Wellbeing – 2 day free training, North Region

Day 1: Friday 14 July  – People’s History Museum, Manchester, 10am-4pm

Day 2: Thursday 23 November – York Castle Museum, 11am-4pm

Are you interested in exploring how your museum could contribute to people’s health and wellbeing but are not sure where to start? Over the course of two workshops participants will gain the skills and confidence to develop their thinking about this work to support the delivery of health and wellbeing provision within their museum. The training will help attendees to: overcome the barriers to working with the health sector, create opportunities to contact and meet with potential health and wellbeing partners, begin the process of thinking about your museum its spaces, collections and resources and how they can be utilised in this work, explore ways to measure impact and support organisational change. This training is run by the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing.

For more information or to book please visit the eventbrite page.

FREE Collections Trust Workshop: An introduction to SPECTRUM 5.0


13th July 2017

Education Room at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston

Arrival from 10am

10.15am – 4pm

Click here to book a place.

Have a question about museum documentation or the SPECTRUM standard?

This session will explore the basics of museum documentation, its importance and how it can be approached by different organisations. We will explore museum documentation with a focus on accountability and Accreditation. Together, we will review the SPECTRUM Primary Procedures, required for Accreditation, identifying potential actions for your organisation.

Over the past year Collections Trust have been working on a revised edition of the SPECTRUM collections management standard, following extensive consultation with the museum sector. This new edition, SPECTRUM 5.0, will be launched in June 2017. Sarah Brown, Outreach Officer for Collections Trust, will introduce key changes within this standard. This workshop will therefore be useful for those new to the topic, as well as those looking for a refresher.

We request that attendees bring examples of their organisation’s documentation and/or documentation procedural manual, for discussion during the day.

Delegates will be encouraged to participate through discussions and activities, and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions throughout.

This session will be led by Sarah Brown, Outreach Officer for Collections Trust. Sarah joined Collections Trust in April 2016. Originally training as a conservator, Sarah has worked in a variety of collections management and care roles across the UK, including National Museums Scotland and Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent.

As part of Collections Trust’s Arts Council England funded Activity Plan, Sarah will be delivering around 100 events across the English regions, developed in collaboration with the Museum Development Network. The programme will be varied, with themes and delivery approach responding to local needs, ranging from digitisation and copyright to documentation planning and backlogs.

Learning Objectives:

  • The role of Collections Trust
  • Collections Trust resources
  • Basic museum documentation
  • The SPECTRUM standard within the context of Accreditation
  • The SPECTRUM Primary Procedures
  • Using and applying SPECTRUM within your organisation, including documentation procedural manuals.
  • Introducing changes and updates to the SPECTRUM standard.

Medieval coinage identification training day

University of Warwick
31st May 2017, 10am-4pm

There are still places available on the Money & Medals Network’s Medieval coinage identification training day being held at the University of Warwick.

The day, led by the British Museum’s Dr Barrie Cook and Dr Gareth Williams, will be comprised of four one-hour-long sessions covering early Medieval coinage in the morning followed by post Medieval coinage in the afternoon. There will also be a session on the documentation of Medieval coinage on a museum database and a handling session where attendees will be able to put their new identification skills to the test. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about identifying Medieval coins when they are brought in for identification by the public or for general cataloguing of museum collections.

This event is FREE to attend and open to anyone working or volunteering with museum numismatic collections.

Further details can be found here: and anyone wanting to sign up should contact Dr Stanley Ireland:

“How to use EMu” training course

Places are potentially available on an EMu collections management software course to museums in the North West. See below for details:

“My name is Karen Banister and I recently started work as Documentation Officer with Lancashire County Council Museum Service. I’m interested in the two day course run by Axiell (, “How to use EMu”. As there are no plans to run this course in the North West in the near future, I’m looking at the possibility of Axiell trainers running a course in Preston for eight people, including myself. I’m trying to gauge interest first before anything is booked.

The details are:

EMu Training Course
Seven people wanted to participate in a two day course, run by Axiell trainers.
“How to use Emu” – The objective of this course is to introduce users to the EMu collections management system. On completion, trainees will know how to use EMu to perform common tasks in managing their organisation’s collection.

Location: North West. Venue with wi-fi available in Preston at Lancashire Conservation Studios. Laptops required.

Cost: £250 (to be paid by each participant)

Date: to be confirmed

Please contact Karen Banister if you are interested,

AIM Hallmarks Awards – deadline for applications 15th May 2017

Now open for applications, the latest round of the AIM Hallmarks Awards will make grants totalling around £70,000 in England.

Funded by Arts Council England, the AIM Hallmarks Awards offer grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to help AIM member museums and heritage sites to begin to use the principles of the AIM Hallmarks to improve the way they work.

The AIM Hallmarks Awards can be used by successful applicants in two distinct ways:

  • To fund an organisational review. This can involve either review and planning, or taking forward new ways of working. Some museums might want to use the AIM Hallmarks as a framework to review their organisational health and can apply for this funding for support in planning future development
  • To contribute to a project that supports applicant organisations to behave or develop differently. Museums which have already identified development needs reflecting the principles of the AIM Hallmarks can apply for funding to put their ideas into practice and progress programmes of work which will enable them to become more resilient and to prosper in the future. Projects can be linked to any of the Hallmarks but must seek to support change at a strategic level and/or to have an impact on organisational culture and behaviour

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their ideas with AIM’s Assistant Director, Helen Wilkinson, before applying. You can contact Helen by email, or by phone, 07719 667102.

All information about the AIM Hallmarks Awards can be found at Below is a case study from Brantwood Trust in Cumbria, which received funding in the last round of awards.

Brantwood Trust, awarded £7,842

The AIM Hallmarks grant has given Brantwood the opportunity to actively maximise access to the museum’s collection, under the Collections Hallmark. Brantwood was successful in receiving a grant to research and present Ruskin’s powerful messages through our unique collection.

The purpose of our Radical Ruskin project is to link Ruskin’s radical ideas with items in the collection, and present our research through short videos uploaded to our website. The funding covers extra staff time, research materials, the purchasing of Modes Complete and video equipment; all of which will enable us to give the collection an online presence which without extra resources would not have been possible.

The project will enable Brantwood to establish an improved approach to recording information about our collection and communicating this to the visitor; and support future developments in the museum’s approach to interpretation, exhibitions and attracting new audiences. Helen Wilkinson, the AIM Assistant Director, was very helpful when we spoke regarding our project. I would encourage anyone considering a project to contact Helen and submit an application.

Jenny Slater, Brantwood Trust

_I6A9984© Simon Critchley 2017

Business skills support programme

In 2017-18 MDNW is running a programme of business skills support to help museums as resilient, effectively-run, organisations. The programme is open to all staff and volunteers of Accredited museums, or those officially working towards it, in the North West.

Business skills training
This programme of workshops will be delivered by ACM Training, an experienced training company which has been delivering communication and organisational development sessions to a wide range of clients from the government, corporate and voluntary sectors for more than 20 years.

The programme comprises:

  • Managing and coping with change, 28th September, The Whitworth
  • Team building and group development, 26th October, Manchester Museum
  • Time management skills, 25th January 2018, Manchester Art Gallery
  • Presentation and public speaking skills, 20th March 2018, The Whitworth

Delegates can book on some or all of the workshops, but due to limited numbers we will be restricting bookings to no more than two places per museum per workshop. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

To book a place on any of the courses please go to

For any further information about the workshop programme please contact Lynsey Jones,

Bespoke CPD opportunities
A second strand of our business skills support programme is the offer of Continuing Professional Development bursaries for staff and volunteers to tailor their own CPD in business skills. The bursaries are available for people working in museums to participate in any type of existing CPD opportunity to develop their core business skills and which will support their museum to run as a more effective and resilient organisation. Applications could range from a basic Microsoft Excel course to improve budgeting and record keeping skills to a full ILM qualification. To apply for a bursary contact Alex Bird,, with the following information:

  • What the CPD opportunity is, including details of the course/opportunity you have identified
  • Evidence of need and details on how it will improve your work
  • Proof of line management approval
  • Cost of training and amount requested from MDNW
  • Timetable

This programme runs through 2017-18 and has a rolling deadline so once you have identified an appropriate opportunity please let us know. Once all the funding has been allocated the offer will close.


SMILE: Science in Museums Inspiring Learning & Engagement


Exploring Science in Woods, Farms & Historic Buildings
This Free CPD day will be at Tatton Park
Knutsford, WA16 6QN
10am – 4pm on Tuesday 11th July 2017

  • Explore & identify science & technology in a Historic House.
  • Investigate science on a working farm to discover the STEM links in the “Field to Fork” project.
  • Discover how to increase the opportunities for schools & communities experiencing the natural environment.
  • Learn how to create a wildlife haven and provide homes for bees to increase the diversity of nature at your site.
  • Network to share expertise and science learning ideas.

To book on to this free science CPD day at Tatton Park please use Eventbrite

SMILE has its own online network

This site provides a forum for us to share expertise, interests & discuss needs for science learning in Museums.

To join this network please e-mail

This Free SMILE CPD day is provided with collaboration between;

NWFED – North West Museums Federation
GEM – Group for Education in Museums
MDNW – Museums Development North West
Curious Minds

Reminder – Ready to Borrow surgery slots still available

In 2016 we announced details of Arts Council England’s grant programme for museums to borrow loans for display and to meet the requirements of the Government Indemnity Scheme. This year’s funding allocation was announced early to give sufficient lead in time for museums to approach nationals and Major Partner Museums to request loans.

£132,000 has been allocated for museums in the North West in 2017-18 and the funding will be distributed through MDNW. A single museum can apply for a minimum of £10,000 to a maximum of £50,000. A consortium of museums can apply for a maximum of £80,000.

The funding must be used for exhibitions and displays which include loans from one or more of the following, in order of priority:

  • national museums and Major Partner Museums
  • other Accredited museums in the UK
  • publicly-funded museums overseas

The loan(s) must be confirmed between the borrowing and lending organisations prior to application to this fund.

To apply for “Ready to Borrow” funding you MUST attend one of the surgeries held by the MDNW team for advice and guidance before submitting an application. We will not accept applications from museums that have not attended. The surgeries are:

3rd July 2017
Salford Museum & Art Gallery

12th July 2017
Lancaster City Museum

19th July 2017
Norton Priory

Each surgery will run from 10am to 12.30pm. To book your place at a surgery, please complete this form. We will confirm your surgery slots nearer the time once we know how many people are attending each day. The deadline for booking a surgery slot is 12th June.

For further details on eligibility and timescales, refer to the ACE Ready to Borrow guidance 2017-18 and the ACE Ready to Borrow Application Form. Please read through these before contacting one of the team for advice.