The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. There are currently just under 1,800 museums participating in the scheme, demonstrating their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of 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.

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

The scheme is administered by Arts Council England in partnership with CyMAL: Museum, Archives, Libraries Wales; Museums Galleries Scotland and the Northern Ireland Museum Council.

Accredited museums have a responsibility to keep their assessing organisation informed of any changes likely to impact on the museum's Accreditation status.

Updated Accreditation standard

People's expectations of museums have increased. Museums' reliance on volunteer support has also increased. Environmental and operational challenges continue to grow.

Accreditation has recently been developed to keep pace with the times, to help museums develop their resilience through effective forward planning, to balance aspects of collection management and to encourage all museums to be responsive to user needs and expectations.

The benefits of taking part in the Accreditation Scheme

Accreditation enables museums and governing bodies to assess their current performance, and it supports them in planning and developing their services. It helps with:

Performance

A quality standard that serves as an authoritative benchmark for assessing performance, rewarding achievement and driving improvement.

Profile

It raises awareness and understanding of museums, so building confidence and credibility both within the governing body and among the public.

People

It helps museums to improve their focus on meeting users' needs and interests and developing their workforce.

Partnerships

It helps museums to examine their services and to encourage joint working within and between organisations.

Planning

It helps with forward planning by formalising procedures and policies.

Patronage

It demonstrates that the museum has met a national standard, which strengthens applications for public and private funding and gives investors confidence in the organisation.