Fellowship of the Museums Association (FMA)

The Fellowship of the Museums Association (FMA) is a professional development award that recognises and encourages an advanced level of professional contribution, development and achievement, by people in any area of museum work. Our vision and values underpin the Fellowship competencies.

Who are Fellows of the Museums Association?

Fellows go above and beyond their role to deliver positive impact:

  • leading change in an organisation, area of practice, or thinking across the sector
  • advocating for museums and the work of museums
  • generously sharing their skills and knowledge to develop others and the sector as a whole
  • investing in their own professional development for multiple benefits.
Tamsin Russell and Steph Mastoris talk about the FMA

Fellowship Pathway

Following registration, we recommend you complete a self review that enables you to identify your strengths and potentially any development needs.

This self review, alongside your CV, forms the basis of your conversation with one of our Fellowship Professional reviewers to explore the timeline for your Fellowship development.

To support you we connect you with other Fellowship candidates in the UK, all recently awarded Fellows or those within your region or nation. In addition, you can use any of our templates for planning or recording your professional development.


When you feel you are ready for review you would submit a formal final review at least one month prior to attending the professional review. The professional review is peer assessed in a interview where candidates demonstrate their established level of professional competence in relation to the Fellowship competencies.


To be ready for Fellowship, you must meet the following criteria:

1) Lead change in an organisation, area of practice or thinking which also has significant wider impact:

  • lead an organisation and/or an area of practice or field of knowledge or thinking
  • innovate in areas of work in local or regional or national practice
  • change and develop ways of working to support and sustain improvement in your organisation, or an area of practice/ field of knowledge or thinking.

2) Advocate for museums and the work of museums:

  • demonstrate how the Code of Ethics underpins his or her work, and their wider sphere of influence
  • proactively advocate and encourage others in their organisations to embrace the code of ethics (e.g. with governing bodies; in investment decisions).

3) Generously share your skills and knowledge to develop others and the sector as a whole

  • contribute to the development of others.as a mentor and / or by participating in a peer learning network
  • support and enable others beyond those you directly manage to generate new knowledge and insights
  • look beyond the museum sector, building relationships and advocating for the work of museums with organisations and/or individuals outside the museum sector
  • draw on external experts, expertise and resources to harness and build knowledge and skills
  • communicate with the wider sector, e.g. publishing articles, presenting at conferences, writing blogs, tweeting.

4) Invest in your own professional development:

  • actively plan, act and reflect on your [his/her] personal and professional development
  • support museums other than your employer (as adviser or trustee, for example) and/or play a leading role in the work of museum sector groups e.g. committees of specialist groups/federations, working groups
  • draw on external experts, expertise and resources to harness and build your own knowledge and expertise
  • learn from others – both within and beyond the cultural sector.


There is a £120 fee to participate in the Fellowship programme.

If you are interested in becoming a Fellow please contact the MA’s Professional Development team to register your interest and to discuss the Fellowship and assessment process in more detail. You need to be a full or concessionary member of the Museums Association in order to apply and retain Fellowship status.

Case studies

Kevin Gosling
Chief Executive, Collections Trust
Kevin Gosling FMA
Neil Curtis
Head of Museums and Special Collections, University of Aberdeen
Neil Curtis FMA
Gail Boyle
Senior Curator (Archaeology & World Cultures), Bristol Culture
Gail Boyle FMA



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