Frequently asked questions - Museums Association

Frequently asked questions

If you have any other questions, please email, and we will answer them and then add them here. 

What is a competency?

A competency is knowledge, skills, and behaviour that when combined result in good role performance – this can relate to volunteers, freelancers or employees.

What is a competency framework?

A competency framework presents or groups the competencies.

What is a competency summary?

A competency summary positions the competency within the framework, providing information about its aim and relevance.

What is a competency statement?

A competency statement is a more detailed expression of approaches or ways of working.

Why did we develop a new Competency Framework?

This overarching framework supports reflection and professional development for all our members regardless of career stage, and the sector more widely. We wanted the new framework:

  • To be relevant and values-based to facilitate positive sector change
  • To provide a clear read across and pathway to different levels of professional competence and contribution
  • To have increased transparency and clarity in relation to the expectations of professional competence
  • To be consistent in language, tone and priorities to support individuals and the sector

How will the new Competency Framework be used?

All MA members can use the framework, whether they are participating in one of our formal core professional development programmes or not.

Anyone within the sector can use the framework and the individual competency statements to reflect on their own practice and look to develop their confidence and expertise.

How did you develop the new Competency Framework?

We started by looking at the values we feel are critical for the sector and how these might be translated into competencies and then competency statements.

We approached development in the following ways:

  • We reviewed other competency frameworks within the sector and beyond to get a sense of format, approach and style
  • We engaged with individuals in the sector to gain feedback on the existing frameworks and suggestions for improvements
  • We developed working titles of competency headings
  • We mapped the existing AMA and FMA competency statements to the new competency headings

Can you be at one level for one competency and at another level for a different competency?

Yes, and this is one of the strengths of the design. It has been designed to support the variation in roles and experience within the sector.

Individuals may find themselves to be more confident in one competency or competency statement, based on their experience and specialism to date, than another.

Does the new framework relate to volunteers and freelancers?

The framework relates to all those that work in and with museums. It has been designed to support the variation in experience and roles within the sector, and is applicable to volunteers, freelancers and employees.

Does the new framework relate to operational and front-of-house colleagues?

There has always been a focus on audiences and communities, but in the new framework we have focused more clearly on the customer service associated with engaging with visitors and others.

We know from our research into front-of-house roles that tasks and responsibilities vary, and we feel comfortable that the framework has something for everyone, regardless of the area of their museum work or level within a hierarchy.

Is there anything for those who don’t work in a traditional ‘museum discipline’?

Yes, the framework has competencies that more readily align to other professions within the sector. For example, there are statements that clearly relate to audience profiles, relationships and effective communication which are aligned to marketing expertise.

We are conscious that traditional divisions of labour, tasks and activities are not in place in many museums and as such we have designed the framework to reflect this richness and diversity.