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The Accreditation Scheme

With museums reopening in NI please find an Accreditation Update here: Update November 2021

The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. There are currently just under 1,800 museums participating in the scheme, demonstrating their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of users.

The Museum Registration Scheme was established in 1988. Since then it has supported museums across the UK to focus on standards and identify areas for development. In 2004, the scheme was renamed Accreditation to better reflect its purpose.

The scheme is regarded as one of the most innovative and effective developments in the museum sector. It has led the way in raising museum standards in the UK, and has been used as a model and source of inspiration for similar schemes overseas.

The scheme is administered by Arts Council England in partnership with MALD: A division of the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Museums Council. 

The scheme was relaunched on November 2018 following a review. The review was needed to bring the scheme up to date; it showed that museums do value the scheme, and consider it transformative, but also confirmed some key issues. Listening to the sector has helped us shape what we hope is a scheme that is managed more effectively, is more efficient for users and communicates the benefits and achievements of the scheme more clearly.

The refreshed scheme extends the Accreditation period from three years to five years, includes updates to the 2011 Accreditation Standard with improvements made to its focus, tone and structure; and has made changes to the eligibility criteria and accompanying guidance.

For further information on the Accreditation Scheme