Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, museums across the UK closed their sites in line with Government guidance.  In response, the Accreditation Scheme was paused with effect from 1 April 2020, and all Accredited museums in the UK had their current award status extended for an additional 12 months.  To support all Accredited museums in the UK, their current Accreditation award status is being further extended to 1 April 2022Whether 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. 

You can check if your organisation is Accredited here   

In England, there is now a phased approach to re-opening the scheme, focusing initially on museums that are new to Accreditation and are submitting Eligibility Questionnaires and those museums which are already Working Towards Accreditation.  Museums which are Working Towards Accreditation or hoping to put in a new application can apply now.  We are not able to confirm a full re-opening date for the Accreditation Scheme at this stage but recommend regularly checking Arts Council England’s website for updates.

If you’ve already applied and are awaiting an award outcome, you’ll be given the opportunity to update your information and review your application again.  You will also have longer to prepare as the target WTA period has been automatically extended by a further 12 months if you need it. 

If you have a provisional review in progress, you’ll be able to review this, make any updates, and resubmit.  

For more information please see Arts Council England Accreditation FAQs  

If you have any questions about Accreditation, please contact your mentor, county museum development officer, or the regional Accreditation Advisor.


Any approaches to buy items from the museum’s collections should be treated with extreme caution.

Sales from collections of Accredited museums are not quick solutions to financial problems. We expect any Accredited museum considering disposal of accessioned items by sale to follow the MA’s Disposal Toolkit closely and take their own Collection Development Policy as their starting point for any proposed activity:

If in doubt, or in need of more advice on this, please contact the regional Accreditation Advisor.

 What is Accreditation?

The Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries.

It helps everyone involved with a museum to do the right things, helping people to access and engage with collections, and protect them for future generations.

The Accreditation Scheme does this by encouraging all museums and galleries to meet an agreed standard in:
• How they’re run
• How they manage their collections
• How they engage with their users

To read more about the scheme, click here.

Thinking about applying for Accreditation for the first time?

Have a chat with your county Museum Development Officer or our Accreditation Advisor.

The next stage is to check if your organisation meets the criteria.  If it does, you will need to complete an Eligibility Questionnaire and send it to the Arts Council for assessment.  They aim to give you a decision within 6 weeks.


When does my museum have to submit a return?

Click here to search the Accreditation Returns Schedule

If you are still unsure, or think you may struggle to meet the deadline, or have any questions, please get in touch with Hannah Bentley, Regional Accreditation Advisor by email or phone on 01603 679326.  If you are unable to speak to Hannah, contact the Accreditation Assistant at Arts Council England.

All returns and applications must be submitted via Grantium, the new online portal.  If you don’t already have a profile set up for your museum, you will need to do this.  It is not instant, so do allow enough time before your submission deadline.

The Arts Council have produced some handy guidance on using Grantium to submit your Accreditation paperwork (see below).  Remember to save your login and password details somewhere safe, so that you can find them again for your next return!


What resources are available to help me submit a return?

To get started, download the new Accreditation Guidance here.

You can find a helpful list of toolkits, templates and guides on the Collections Trust website. These documents cover everything from Forward Planning to Risk Assessment. Click here to browse the list.

There are also some useful guidance documents for using the online portal, Grantium:

Getting Started on Grantium

Completing Your Application on Grantium


Accreditation Advice for the East of England

Whatever stage you are at, SHARE Museums East can support you with Accreditation.  We will:

  • Provide an Accreditation Advisor who is able to answer queries about eligibility or membership of the scheme
  • Site visits and advice via phone or email
  • Help find you an Accreditation Mentor if appropriate
  • Share useful guidance documents and resources
  • Run training to help museums achieve, maintain and development areas of Accreditation work
  • Offer grants to support Accreditation work, such as Forward Planning grants

If you have read the Accreditation guidance documents and need further advice and support in renewing or applying for Accreditation you can contact us via the dedicated email at

Support is also available at a county level from your local Museum Development Officers.

How do I find out more about Accreditation?

The Accreditation Scheme is managed directly by Arts Council England (ACE). Detailed requirements on the Scheme, including how to apply along with accompanying guidance can found at the Accreditation pages of ACE’s website. You can also find out which museums in the region are Accredited and which are officially Working Towards Accreditation on the Accreditation statistics page of the ACE website.

The 2019 Accreditation Guidance Document to help museums who are applying for the first time, or completing a ‘return’ is available to download here.

Accreditation Mentors

We need museum staff from all backgrounds to support smaller museums with no professional staff to meet the Accreditation standards.  If you are interested in CPD opportunities and the chance to make a real difference to local museums, please get in touch to find out more.  To find out if you are eligible, read the Arts Council information on Mentoring here.


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