Transition to Museum Development North for 2024-26

Logo for Arts Council England

We are delighted that Arts Council England will be continuing its vital support for museums in the north of England from 2024 by funding a new Museum Development North programme.  Museum Development North (MD North) will be managed by a new partnership between York Museums Trust, the Manchester Partnership, Cumbria Museums Consortium and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Arts Council England will support the new MD North partnership with £1.4m to deliver museum development activity in the north of England from 1st April 2024 until 31st March 2026. This new partnership builds on our experience of collaborative working across the north of England over the past four years.


What is happening before April 2024

Until April 2024, Museum Development North East, Museum Development North West and Museum Development Yorkshire will continue operating as normal, providing advice and support to regional museums.  Although Museum Development North will launch on 1st April, some MD North branding and social media profiles may start earlier.


We will be working on the detail of our future delivery programmes over the coming months.  We will be able to share more information about that when it has been formally signed off by Arts Council England next year. Please bear with us as we devote our attention to ensuring that we are ready for business as MD North from April 2024.


What is changing after April 2024?

MD North’s delivery plan will use Arts Council England’s Strategy, Let’s Create, as a framework for how we support museums.


We will have a new formal ‘Oversight Board’ made up of representatives from the museum community and wider stakeholders.  This will help make sure that museums always have the opportunity to inform our approach to sector support.  We will recruit to this board in early 2024.


Although we will be one team from April 2024, staff will still be based in each region and every museum will have a point of contact with a Museum Development Officer. We will confirm lead contacts between January and April.


What is MD North planning to deliver?

Arts Council England consulted with all art forms in the creation of ‘Let’s Create’.  This was used to create the guidance notes for Museum Development providers.  MD North’s delivery plan maps across the Let’s Create Investment Principles and responds to the expected deliverables as laid out in the guidance notes we received from ACE.


So, although we are developing the final detail of our proposals, we know that our work in 2024 will include:

  • Workforce training and skills development
  • Developmental programmes
  • Fundraising support particularly in relation to National Lottery Project Grants
  • Accreditation advice and mentor support
  • Business Diagnostics
  • Collections care advice
  • Communications and signposting
  • Networks, partnership and brokering (including forum meetings)
  • Data collection, sharing insights and intelligence about the state of the sector and advocacy
  • Sharing learning and good practice, celebrating museums’ achievements
  • A small grants programme for Accredited museums


We will also continue to provide one-to-one advice for regional museums with every museum organisation having a Museum Development Officer as a point of contact.  MD North is committed to retaining a close relationship with museums on the ground while gaining the advantages of working across a wider area


Our plans for 2024-6 have been informed by the feedback you gave us over the spring and summer of 2023 through our consultation survey and workshops.  We had a great response so thanks again for everyone that took part.  The priorities and concerns raised by regional museums across the area really helped us shape our delivery plans and approach.


When will we hear more?

Thanks for all your continued support. We look forward to sharing more information on our final delivery plan for 2024-25, ahead of the 1st April 2024.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to raise, please talk to your regional MD contact.