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Museum Accreditation

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Museum Accreditation demonstrates a museum’s achievements in the areas of museum management, collection care and public service.

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary, UK wide scheme for museums. It was launched in 2004 by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). It is now managed by Arts Council England (external link) (ACE), who published a revised Standard in October 2011.

We administer the scheme in Wales, and over 90 museums have participated in the scheme. These range from large national institutions to small, independent, vlounteer-run museums. Accredited museums promote our rich and diverse culture by preserving and presenting artefacts which illustrate Wales' place in the world, past and present.

The Accreditation Standard requires museums to play an active role in their communities by encouraging learning, understanding and participation. Accreditation is therefore an important part of the Strategy for Museums in Wales.

What are the benefits of Accreditation?

  • Public recognition that a museum meets approved standards in the key areas of museum management, collection care and public services.
  • Fostering of confidence amongst potential donors of objects or collections that an Accredited museum is, in principle, a suitable repository.
  • Improvement in staff and volunteer morale and motivation.
  • Raised awareness of the importance of core curatorial work in supporting user service.
  • Accreditation status is a key factor for CyMAL in deciding the allocation of grant funding to museums in Wales. Museums must have achieved Accreditation, or be actively working towards it, to be eligible for our project grants.
  • Free participation in the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme in Wales.

Eligibility for Accreditation

Accredited museums must meet the Museums Association’s 1998 definition of a museum which states that:

‘Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.’

This means that museums need to be long term organisations which are run for the benefit of other people - not just for the people involved in the museum. To do this, museums must:

  • do everything they can to preserve and protect items in their care
  • help people to benefit from, see and understand their collections
  • be ‘public bodies’ - they cannot be privately owned or run for personal financial gain.

Applying for Accreditation

New applicants to the scheme should first complete the Eligibility Questionnaire, to confirm whether their organisation is eligible. You can download the form below. This form is not considered to be an application for Accreditation, and is not an endorsement from the Accreditation Committee.

If the organisation is eligible, then it will be granted "Working towards Accreditation" status. The information provided on this form will be considered valid for 12 months. If an application for Accredited status is not received in this time the organisation will be asked to revise their eligibility questionnaire.

Museums which are already Accredited are periodically required to provide evidence that they continue to comply with the Accreditation Standard through the returns process. Existing participants will be invited to provide a return through a staged rollout. The timetable is detailed in the Returns Schedule document below.

To submit a return or make a new application in Welsh please complete the appropriate form, and e-mail it to CyMAL, clearly marked with the Museums’ name and ‘Museum Accreditation Application’ or ‘Museum Accreditation Return’ as appropriate. See related links on the right for contact details.

Please be aware that the Welsh Government does not normally support the foundation of new museums.

Additional resources

The Succession planning framework will help you with section 1 of the Accreditation Standard.

Panel Dates

20 February 2014
24 April 2014
5 June 2014
24 July 2014
18 September 2014
20 November 2014