Accreditation Update – Covid-19 Response

Arts Council England recognise that many museums are closing their sites due to the impact of Covid-19 and in response to Government advice.

To support all Accredited museums in the UK, their current Accreditation award status is being further extended for an additional 12 months to 1 April 2022. Whether your museum holds a Full or Provisional award, it’s still Accredited, and you’re able to apply for funding which has Accreditation status as an eligibility criterion.

You can download the Arts Council’s FAQ’s to find greater detail on what this means and how it might affect you. If you have any questions you can also get in touch at: Keep checking their website for updates.

We realise that this is a very challenging period. Museum Development Yorkshire are here to support you throughout this crisis so please do stay in touch. We also recommend signing up for our weekly E-bulletin which will include regular updates, information and details of support available to the sector:

What is Accreditation?

The Museum Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries.

It helps everyone involved with a museum to do the right things to help people to engage with collections and protect them for the future.

The Accreditation Scheme does this by making sure museums:

  • are governed appropriately
  • manage their collections properly
  • engage with users effectively

To find out more about the scheme, follow this link:

For further support contact our Regional Accreditation Advisor:

How has Accreditation changed?

Following a light-touch review the Accreditation Scheme has changed to be more streamlined and welcoming.

  • The Accreditation Returns period has been extended from 3 to 5 years.
  • Improvements have been made to the focus, tone and structure of the Accreditation Standard
  • A better balance between the three areas covered: Organisational health, Managing collections and Users and their experiences.
  • The previous suite of Accreditation guidance documents has been replaced with a single shorter, clearer document.
  • Eligibility criteria and accompanying guidance has been revised to reflect the importance of governance documents and constitutions.
  • A new extended returns timetable covering 2018-2024 has been published.

What are the benefits to being accredited?

Museum Accreditation tells everyone involved with a museum that they’re doing the right things to run it properly.

The accreditation award:

  • Demonstrates a museum’s professionalism – which makes it easier to get funding and helps give confidence to lenders and donors.
  • Shows the museum team that they’re working to an industry-wide standard with the museum being properly managed and governed
  • Helps keep the museums on track by giving them ways to formalise plans, policies and procedures and so improve services
  • Helps local authorities show that their museums meet their visitors’ and users’ needs
  • Helps museums manage their collections fairly, ethically and legally.
  • Can boost museums’ reputations, win funding and give confidence to donors and other supporters.
  • Shows visitors a museum looks after its collections properly and safeguards them for the future
  • Allows visitors to access collections and stories

See the full range of benefits here:

This all demonstrates a museums commitment to excellence within the sector.

What about first time applicants?

The first step would be to speak to your Museum Development Officer or Accreditation Advisor and determine if you meet the basic criteria.

How to apply:

Then, you will need to submit an eligibility questionnaire (found on the how to apply page) to Arts Council England for assessment. The initial assessment will be carried out by local Museum Development teams but the final decision still rests with the Arts Council Accreditation Manager, based on local recommendations.

Once approved you will be given ‘Working Towards Accreditation’ status and invited to submit a full application within three years.

New and returning applicants must submit their application through Grantium.

What is Grantium?

Grantium is the new portal through which museums apply for accreditation and submit their returns. It allows applicants to manage all of their projects with the Arts Council Online. All communications about your application are managed through the online system.

Resources for Grantium can be found here:

What support do we offer?

Accreditation Surgeries (Dates, times, locations TBC)

The sessions provide an opportunity for museums to address any specific queries or issues they have in an informal setting with specialist advice and support. There will be a set number of slots at each session which can be pre-booked through our Eventbrite page.

Workshops (Dates, times, locations TBC)

Each will focus on a specific area of accreditation. These will be group events in a “How-to” format. These will be available to book through our Eventbrite page.

One-to-One Support

You can contact us through email ( and phone (01904 924 249). Our Regional Accreditation Officer usually works on accreditation on Mondays, however this sometimes is flexible, therefore pre-arranging telephone support is a good idea where possible.

On-site analysis

These will occur where necessary. This can allow us to provide tailored advice regarding the interpretation of the Accreditation Standard to individual organisations by assessing their facilities, size and scale. We would normally recommend a site visit for those museums considering undertaking an eligibility questionnaire, especially if there has been no prior contact with the Museum Development team.

What is an Accreditation Mentor?

Accreditation mentors are experienced professionals in the sector, who help smaller museums achieve and retain Accreditation.

The Accreditation Mentor:

  • Provides support and advice relating to Accreditation from their own expertise. ​
  • Confirms the Accreditation application and Accreditation return, and provides a report as part of the Accreditation return. ​
  • Works with the museum to establish what other areas of expertise are required to meet and maintain Accreditation standards.  ​
  • Acts as an ‘advice co-ordinator’, identifying sources for advice from their own networks or through other professionals.
  • Acts as an advocate for the museum and helps to develop links and relationships with the wider museum profession.

Becoming an Accreditation Mentor is great for Continuing Professional Development. You can become a valued source of support for a smaller museum and share your professional experiences.

Find out more on the Accreditation Mentor page:

What resources are available?

The Arts Council website has guidance available for Accreditation and using the online application portal Grantium:

You can find a helpful list of toolkits, templates and guides on the Collections Trust Website: