Museums across the UK are to have their current Accreditation award status extended for another 12 months due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic.
The scheme has been paused since 1 April last year. To support museums during that period, the UK Accreditation partners initially agreed to extend the current Accreditation status of participants in the scheme for 12 months from that date. This extension will now last until April 2022.
In an update on its website, Arts Council England (ACE), which oversees the scheme in England, said: “Whether your museum holds a full or provisional award, it’s still Accredited, and you’re able to apply for funding which has Accreditation status as an eligibility criterion.
“As this is an unfolding situation our current thinking is subject to change and further government advice. We will aim to provide more information in March 2021 and recommend regularly checking our website for updates.”
The arts council said it is working to partially reopen the scheme in England by the end of April, when museums that are Working Towards Accreditation (WTA) or hoping to put in a new application will be able to apply.
The arts council said: “If you’ve already applied and are awaiting an award outcome, we’ll give you the opportunity to update your information and review your application again. We’ll also give you longer to prepare by extending our target WTA period by a further 12 months automatically if you need it. If you have a provisional review in progress, you’ll be able to review this, make any updates, and resubmit from April 2021 onwards.”
The eligibility process has remained open throughout the pandemic, and eligibility questionnaires are still being submitted and assessed.
The arts council said the scheme would not be able to reopen fully until museums are “open to the public and in a position to look beyond the immediate crisis”.
It said: “We want the timing of the reopening to be supportive to the sector, and know that while some museums have been able to update policies, plans and procedures during their closure, for many museums the priority is still facing ongoing challenges, with an urgent focus on fundraising and restructuring.”
Some aspects of the Accreditation guidance may need to be updated to reflect the impact of Covid-19 and the scheme’s commitment to inclusivity and relevance, the arts council said.
Plans for the reopening and rollout of the scheme will differ depending on devolved approaches to lockdown and recovery for museums in each of the four nations. The scheme’s other UK partners, the Northern Ireland Museums Council, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) and the Museums Archives Libraries Division of the Welsh Government, have not yet confirmed when they plan to restart the scheme. MGS said it will review reopening the scheme for applicants with WTA status after April 2021.
There are currently more than 1,700 museums participating in the Accreditation scheme across the UK.