The Accreditation Scheme has partially reopened to museums across the UK after being suspended for more than a year due to Covid.
Arts Council England, which oversees the industry standard in England, says the scheme is taking a phased approach to reopening, focused initially on museums that are new to Accreditation to ensure they can access the benefits of the scheme as quickly as possible.
From this week, new applicants and those with Working Towards Accreditation status can begin completing their applications to the scheme via the Grantium portal. The arts council says these applications are a priority and will be fast-tracked for assessment.
However new applicants must meet the eligibility criteria of being open to the public when applying, so will not be able to submit their full application until restrictions end in their nation.
The current award status of all Accredited museums in the UK has been extended for a further 12 months until 1 April 2022. The scheme is hoping to reopen for existing Accredited museums across the UK from October 2021.
Sarah Posey, chair of the UK Accreditation committee, said she would encourage museums to use the scheme as a framework to support their planning and recovery as the sector gets ready to reopen to the public.
In a blog this week, Posey wrote: “It’s an exciting period as many museums prepare to reopen to visitors in just a few weeks’ time, all being well. With this, and given the returns extension to those with existing Accredited status, I can understand if many organisations feel that the scheme is something they will come back to in some months’ time.
“However, the Covid-19 pandemic and its financial impacts have forced many museums to rethink all or aspects of their work, restructure and/or develop new business plans for moving forward. Far from seeing (re)applying for Accreditation as a bureaucratic burden for later, I urge museums to use the scheme as a dynamic tool for supporting thinking about recovery and making it happen.
“Its status as the UK standard provides a structured framework through which museum staff and governance boards can, together with their communities, map out their post-Covid ambitions and shape their plans for viable and sustainable futures.”
Posey invited museum professionals with time to spare to consider becoming an Accrediation mentor. She said: “Sharing your expertise will not only bring huge benefit to the museum you're partnered with, it will also help extend your networks, fuel your professional development and offer a volunteering activity which future employers will look favourably upon.
“Do contact your regional museum team for further information on what being an Accreditation mentor involves, and for support to identify a museum who could use your help.”