ACE announces museum development allocations

Amounts subject to confirmation in February
Patrick Steel
Arts Council England (ACE) has announced the allocations of around £3m-a-year for museum development across the nine regions of England for 2015-18.

The allocations have been distributed in line with the 2012-15 funding round, with an increase roughly in line with inflation.

This means the north-east, which has one museum development officer (MDO) covering over 50 museums, remains the lowest allocation at £441,000, compared with £1.57m for the south-east (including the Hampshire Solent), which has five MDOs and one cultural partnerships officer covering over 300 museums.

An ACE spokeswoman said: "Applicants were given guidance as to the percentage of funding that we expected might be allocated to each area based on population, number of Accredited museums, geographic size of region, and museums needing museum mentor support."

A number of regions are looking at ways of making the funding go further.

The north-east is looking at ways to align its museum development programme more closely with its Major Partner Museum programme.

The museum development programme is run from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), a Major Partner Museum, so will align closely with TWAM's Major Partner Museum programme and that of the region's other Major Partner Museum, Beamish and Bowes Museum.

The West Midlands is considering reducing the number of MDOs (it currently has six) in the region to direct more money to commissioning and delivering projects across its museums.

And a number of MDOs are looking to strengthen their partnerships across their regions and the wider country, and share resources through the national MDO network.

ACE funding for museum development is drawn from the strategic fund but is not ringfenced.

From 2015-18 ACE has allocated £8.96m to museum development, just short of the £3m a year, with the remaining £36,255 allocated to other things in the strategic budget.

All of ACE’s funds beyond 2016 are subject to confirmation following the next comprehensive spending review.

All allocations are subject to confirmation following the submission of business plans by museum development providers. Providers must submit their business plans to ACE by 7 November, and the arts council is looking to confirm the allocations by the end of February.

ACE museum development allocations 2015-18

Bristol’s Museums, Galleries & Archives (south-west): £1.35m

Norfolk Museums Service (east): £1,188,000

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (West Midlands): £864,000

Museum of London (London): £729,000

Manchester City Galleries (north-west): £990,000

York Museums Trust (Yorkshire): £945,000

Leicestershire County Council (East Midlands): £872,745

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (north-east): £441,000

Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove (south-east): £1,575,000

A news analysis on museum development will be in the November issue of Museums Journal.


We clarified that there are two Major Partner Museums in the north-east. And we updated the piece to include comment from ACE and clarification of the overall budget.


We said the south-east has 10 MDOs covering 160 museums, in fact it has five MDOs and one cultural partnerships officer covering over 300 museums in the south-east and Hampshire Solent.

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