Benchmarking Survey 2019

Benchmarking Survey 2019

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SHARE Museums East’s annual Benchmarking data is live for returns for the 2018-19 financial year. Now in its 17th year, Benchmarking is aimed at all Accredited museums and those Working Towards Accreditation. We want to get as many of these museums as possible taking part – last year over 75% completed the survey, an outstanding return rate. Non-accredited sites who have completed the survey data will not be included in the results.

Why should I take part?
Your survey returns are enormously important to us. They support us and others in arguing the case for museums in the region, as well as providing a clear picture of your activities which helps us to target our support programmes. The data aids us – and you – to demonstrate the importance of your museums and their social and economic impacts to funders and stakeholders, both locally and regionally, which is important in sustaining investment in our sector. Many museums regularly use the survey data to demonstrate their importance to their funders.

See below for guidance on how to use the survey data.

How to complete the Benchmarking survey

Benchmarking is short and easy to complete by a volunteer or member of staff with a good overview of their museum’s work. You can save and return to your answers at any time, and your county Museum Development Officers (MDOs) will be able to support you. The questions cover visitor numbers and engagement; museum finances; volunteers and staff; and educational work as well as challenges and opportunities for the future. The deadline for completing the survey is Tuesday 3 September 2019.

The survey is broken down into the following sections:

  1. Audiences
  2. Financial Operations
  3. Museum Workforce
  4. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  5. Advocacy

You can complete the survey online at If you do not have information to hand you can save and return to the form by simply clicking ‘save and continue’ to enter a name and email. An email will then sent to you with a link to access the survey where you left off.

Multi-site museums
If you are a multi-site museum service, or a museum which hosts another Accredited collection within your museum, you will be contacted directly with a bespoke survey form. If you believe you have not received a form yet, please contact South West Museum Development and cc Natasha Montgomery who is liaising with South West team throughout the survey.

SHARE will be regularly updating the regional Museum Development Officers, so please notify them once you’ve completed the survey and whether it has been done online or through the Word version. If you are unsure who your County MDO is, they can be found on the Meet the Team page of our website.


If you are unable to complete the online survey please discuss this with your MDO. A downloadable Word version is available: East of England Annual data survey of Museums 2018-19. Off-line forms should be sent to: Rowan Whitehouse, South West Museum Development, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL or emailed to

If you have any questions about completing the survey then please get in touch with

How the data is used

From the 2017-18 survey we know that:

  • there were more than 3.5 million visits to museums in the East of England
  • museums contributed over £56 million to the regional economy
  • more than 274,000 people participated in museum learning activities
  • museums in the region employed 1,473 staff
  • and over 10,000 museum volunteers contributed an incredible 582,000 hours to museums, with a value at least of £4.2 million

The data is used by many museums for advocacy tools to report to funders and local councillors

Previous data can be found in the Research and Data section of our Resources pages:


  • Benchmarking 2011-2012
  • Benchmarking 2012-2013
  • Benchmarking 2013-2014
  • Benchmarking 2014-2015
  • Benchmarking 2015-2016
  • Benchmarking 2016-2017
  • Benchmarking 2017-2018


  • Benchmarking report 2009-2010
  • Benchmarking report 2010-2011
  • Benchmarking report 2011-2012
  • Benchmarking report 2012-2013
  • Benchmarking report 2013-2014
  • Benchmarking report 2015-2016
  • Benchmarking report 2016-2017
  • Benchmarking report 2017-2018


  • Benchmarking – Making your data count –  A guide to use of Benchmarking in advocacy (Dr Harriet Foster)
  • Benchmarking Data and its use (Dr Harriet Foster)
  • How to use Benchmarking data effectively for funders
  • Benchmarking and Politicians – use to use the data effectively to develop relationships with your local politicians
  • Becnhmarking and the Media – Information on how to use Benchmarking data when providing information to the media

Creative Case for Diversity

Creative Case for Diversity

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What is it?

The Arts Council outlines the Creative Case for Diversity as follows:

Our mission is great art and culture for everyone – we can only achieve this if we make a commitment to promoting and embedding diversity throughout the work we fund and support. We call this the ‘Creative Case for Diversity’.

The Creative Case for Diversity is a way of exploring how organisations and artists can enrich the work they do by embracing a wide range of diverse influences and practices. We believe that embracing the Creative Case will also help organisations address other challenges and opportunities in audience development, public engagement, workforce and leadership.

What it isn’t 

  • About meeting Equality legislation
  • Solely community engagement
  • Workforce diversification

What does it mean for museums?

  • Collections and Collecting
  • Programming – exhibitions and events
  • Embedding it in all aspects of work

To read more about the Arts Council’s definition of Creative Case for Diversity, including case studies, click here.

Unlocking your Potential

Unlocking your Potential

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An opportunity for your Trustee Board or Management Team:

  • Think through the skills and connections your team needs
  • Create a plan to help you achieve your goals.

SHARE Museums East is able to support five museums to review their Board / Management Team and create a plan to achieve any changes they decide upon.


Every block of stone has a statue inside it. It is the task of the sculptor to discover it.  Michelangelo




Why might your museum team want to do this?

Museums strive to deliver on so many fronts often with diminished resources and sometimes without the skills within their team that they need.

We want to try and help you to discover what skills your museum needs and if they already exist within your team. Discovering and unlocking these skills could also help you achieve wider goals.

  • Produce a happier, more fulfilled museum team.
  • Support the museum to complete unfinished or delayed projects.
  • Allow you to attract and retain a more diverse team.
  • Help you access future funding.
  • Enable your museum to engage better with the local community.
  • Reduce the workload of the management team by delegating and sharing tasks.
  • Could help protect you legally in respect of equality within your museum

Both the Mendoza Review and the Character Matters reports recommend museums review their board and management structures for current needs and skills

“Anyone familiar with ACE or Heritage Lottery funding, as well as the general ‘state of the nation’, knows that equality of opportunity is crucial when recruiting and this applies with particular force in museums, which exist to serve the public.

“All museums, but perhaps especially local museums, must strive for boards which represent the demographics of the populations they serve – for example Fenland museums should recruit trustees from their East European communities if they are going to understand the needs of those communities. Likewise museums which aspire to appeal to young people should obviously try to recruit younger people onto their boards.” 
Gordon Chancellor – Museums Partnership Officer, Cambridgeshire, 2018

But time is so short…

Time is so precious and the first thing that may spring to mind is that your museum just doesn’t have the time and resource to look further at this. The benefits probably sound sensible and you can see some benefit but maybe you are you thinking it’s not for your museum right now?

If you are then it might help to look at some of the things that may happen, over time.

  • The museum will struggle to attract the skills it needs within its team.
  • Your team may become less fully engaged.
  • People may become frustrated and stressed
  • The team may be unnecessarily overworked.
  • Visitor numbers may never reach their potential.
  • Future projects may be restricted.
  • The museum may not be able to compete for funding to deliver exciting new projects.
  • Your museum may not be able to increase or even sustain current community engagement and support.
  • Current practices and beliefs may mean the museum contravenes equality laws
  • Museum life will just be harder than it needs to be.

It’s worth remembering that equality action plans are seen in a positive light by external bodies including some large funding organisations.

Where do you start?

If you’d like to join the programme, please contact Sally Ackroyd either via email or 01603 638141/ 07876 003631

SHARE is currently offering support to a limited number of Accredited Museums in the Eastern Region to help them with this process.  We are trialing how we work with groups and are happy to tailor what support we can provide to fit with a particular Board or Team.

The benefit of external help from SHARE is of course that it has less impact on the workload of your existing team. You will however still need to have a designated member of the Management Team/Trustee to take day to day responsibility for liaising and reporting progress and actions to the rest of the Management Team/Trustees.








Banish the Backlog 2019

Banish the Backlog 2019

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Does your museum have a documentation backlog which never seems to end?

Do you want to move forward in this area but don’t know where to start?


Join our ‘Banish the Backlog’ programme to receive intensive support and training to develop your documentation procedures and plan. SHARE Museums East and Collections Trust have joined forces to provide a year-long programme of support to selected museums, with the opportunity for ongoing support until 2022.


By joining the programme, you will receive:

• Targeted training for your documentation issues
• The support of a small peer network
• Tailored advice and support from the Regional Accreditation Advisor and Collections Trust
• Access to ongoing support until 2022 depending on your needs

You can read more about the programme here –


What we need from you:

The programme aims to have a meaningful impact on the organisation, for example by improving documentation procedures and developing realistic documentation plans. To join, your museum therefore needs to be committed to deliver against your priorities over the year long programme. This means allowing staff/volunteers to attend training and regional meetings, as well as committing resources to deliver against actions identified.

We recommend that 2-3 individuals from each organisation are signed up to the programme to help maintain momentum back at the museum. You will need to have someone available for the following dates:

5th July 2019
26th September 2019
15th January 2020
18th March 2020

Sessions will be held at locations in Cambridge (venues tbc).

If you need support with covering travel expenses please let us know.


How to apply:

Complete this Expression of Interest form and email it to SHARE by Friday 26th April.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruth via email or on 01603 493659.

Sustainable Technologies

Sustainable Technologies

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SHARE has partnered with Create Consulting Engineers, a group of specialist consulting engineers and sustainability consultants, to help museums to improve their Energy Efficiency.

Two museums have piloted the scheme, the Cromwell Museum and the Museum of the Broads. They agreed to have a full energy use survey of their buildings and then to follow up on some of the recommendations supported by a grant from SHARE Museums East.

They are implementing the works in 2019.  We will be looking for other museums who are interested in joining in with this project in the year 2020-2021.  If you are interested please get in touch with Sally Ackroyd at SHARE Museums East to register your interest and have an initial conversation.


Green GB week (15-19 October 2018) was a government sponsored week celebrating/promoting the opportunities to tackle climate change. As part of that a Green Toolkit was created.

thumbnail of GGBW Toolkit


Fundraising Cohort 2018-2019

Fundraising Cohort 2018-2019

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Between 2014 and 2018 museums in the East of England had access to specialist fundraising training through SHARED Enterprise, an HLF funded project.  The programme included cohort-based training, which participating museums found highly effective because it combined group workshops with specialist one-to-one support and peer networking.

Now that the SHARED Enterprise programme has finished, we are planning to offer similar cohort-based fundraising training as part of the 2018-19 SHARE training calendar.  A small number of museums will attend group workshops and receive expert one-to-one support from an experienced fundraiser.  They will learn about fundraising strategies, including a variety of fundraising methods, and they will be supported to apply their learning in the real context of their own museums.

Workshop content will be tailored to suit the needs of the participating museums.  The following topics are likely to be covered:

  • Fundraising strategy
  • Case for support
  • Trusts and foundations
  • Corporate support
  • Individual giving

The fundraising cohort is for museums of all sizes that are serious about developing their fundraising skills, but applicants must commit to attending all group workshops and one-to-one sessions.  Ideally, the same two people should attend every session, as this makes the learning more effective and means you are more likely to be able to put the learning into practice and achieve fundraising success. Preference will be given to museums which have not had the opportunity to join any of the SHARED Enterprise cohorts.

The dates and locations of sessions will be arranged once the participating museums have been selected.  As far as possible, we will arrange workshops to be held in locations that are geographically sensible for participants, including asking participating museums to host a workshop if they have suitable facilities to do so.  Workshop dates are yet to be arranged and will be published as soon as possible.  One-to-one sessions will be take place at the participants’ own venues, by prior arrangement.

There is a small fee payable for taking part in the fundraising cohort.  This is £200 for an accredited museum in the East of England, or £400 for a non-accredited museum and museums outside the East of England region.  In return for this, you will receive training and one-to-one support worth approximately £1,600.  Information about how to pay will be sent to you if you are offered a place in the cohort, and payment is needed to secure your place.  If you would like to apply but have difficulty paying the fee, please contact us to discuss assistance.

How to apply:

Initially, please complete the Fundraising Cohort Expression of Interest form and email it to SHARE no later than 5pm on Monday 15 October 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Miranda via email or on 01603 493659.

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