MA to simplify membership structure and introduce low-cost options

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 08.11.2018
Changes to make the association more inclusive approved at AGM 
Proposals to significantly change the Museums Association’s (MA) membership structure were unanimously approved by members at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Belfast this week.  

Going forward, membership rates will be based on benefits rather than pay, with monthly, quarterly and annual payment plans available to enable members to spread the cost. A new, cheaper option, essential membership, will be introduced that does not include print copies of Museums Journal. The current concessionary rates for students, retired and unwaged members will be retained. 

New individual membership benefits will also be introduced, including free online training webinars due to launch in 2019. 

There will also be a new pricing system for the MA's professional development programmes: the Associateship of the MA (AMA) will be offered as membership benefit, costing an additional £120 per year on top of the standard membership fee. Professional review fees will also be abolished. These changes will almost halve the cost of completing the programme, cutting it from an average of £650 to an average of £360. 

Institutional membership will also be changed to offer a more inclusive rate for more smaller museums and introduce a number of new benefits, including free recruitment advertising to all institutional members, potentially saving considerable expenditure. 

The changes to membership come after a year-long consultation with more than 1,000 people across the sector, as well as analysis of best practice at comparator membership organisations. 

Paddy Gilmore, the head of programmes at National Museums Northern Ireland and the MA board member who led the review, told the AGM that the core idea behind the changes was to make the MA "more inclusive across the board" and enable the association to reach the "thousands of people working in museums who feel the MA is too costly for them".