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Museums across the South West awarded Full Accreditation as part of Arts Council England’s National Accreditation Scheme

  • Date: 24 March 2014
  • Area: South West
Mother and child looking at museum collection

SeaCity Museum. Credit: Southampton City Council

Eighteen museums in the South West have been awarded full accreditation in the latest round of the national Accreditation Scheme.

There are currently just under 1,800 museums participating in the Accreditation Scheme, which sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. The Accreditation lasts for three years and defines the good practice and standards that help museums to be the best they can be, for current and future users.

The Museum Registration Scheme was established in 1988. Since then it has supported museums across the UK to focus on standards and identify areas for development. In 2004, the scheme was renamed Accreditation to better reflect its purpose.

Regarded as one of the most innovative and effective developments in the museum sector, the scheme has led the way in raising museum standards in the UK and has been used as a source of inspiration and a model for similar schemes overseas. 

In this round, one South West museum is entering the scheme for the first time. SeaCity Museum in Southampton is an innovative, state-of-the-art museum focusing on Southampton and its connection with the sea, including the city's Titanic heritage and the stories of people who have travelled in and out of the city through the ages.

The museum's displays and activities aim to provide entertainment, enjoyment and inspiration for visitors of all ages. An extensive learning programme provides workshops and activities to enhance the displays, both permanent and temporary.

Councillor Matt Tucker, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Leisure in Southampton, and Arts Council South West Area Council member, says: 'The receipt of Arts Council England accreditation for Southampton City Art Gallery, SeaCity Museum and Tudor House & Garden represents a significant milestone for our Arts and Heritage service and for the city as a whole. This standard demonstrates the quality of our offer, our commitment to continuous improvement and aspirations to develop our arts, cultural and heritage services in the future. Our staff have worked tirelessly to achieve this accolade and they have my wholehearted thanks. We are looking forward to seeing what opportunities may now come our way because of this prestigious award.'

Samuel Rowlands, Manager, Accreditation, Arts Council England said: 'The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums across the UK and is an authoritative benchmark for assessing performance, rewarding achievement and driving improvement.  Arts Council England is committed to supporting excellence and by achieving Full Accreditation the participating museum has demonstrated they offer the highest standards in managing their collections for the enjoyment and benefit of both visitors and their local communities.'

Other museums to have renewed accreditation in the South West include: The Priest's House Museum and Garden, Gillingham Museum and Clouds Hill in Dorset; Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, Dyrham Park, Great Chatfield Manor, Mompesson House, Westwood Manor and Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire; Torre Abbey Historic House and Gallery, Topsham Museum, Devonshire Collection of Period Costume, Coleton Fishacre and Killerton House in Devon; Fashion Museum in Bath; Dean Heritage Museum and Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire; National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Lawrence House Museum in Cornwall; Westonzoyland Engine Trust in Somerset and Clevedon Court in North Somerset.

Find out more about the Accreditation Scheme and how to apply here