Frequently asked questions for the Museum Mentors scheme.

Museum Mentors

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How do I become a Museum Mentor?

Mentors are appointed by museums that require this support. Accreditation assessing organisations do not appoint mentors or assign them to independent museums.

Coordination of the Museum Mentor network is the responsibility of each Accreditation assessing organisation. Please visit Where can I get help? to access the contact details of your assessing organisation.  

Arts Council England invites museum professionals wishing to take on this role in England to complete an expression of interest form (Word, PDF). If qualifications and experience match those listed above, we will include your details on a mentor availability list. This will be available from your local Accreditation Adviser.

What qualifications or experience are needed?

Museum professionals wishing to undertake this role should match the following profile:

- a minimum of five years experience working professionally in museums, with recent experience at curator/manager level. At least three years should be in an area of competence relating to organisational health, collections, or users and their experiences

- a relevant or linked qualification

- a commitment to career-long continuing professional development (CPD). This could be through participation in formal channels, such as the Arts Marketing Association and continuing professional development (CPD)schemes, or through logging their CPD activity on their CV

 

How do I find a Museum Mentor?

Museums who are looking for a Mentor should in the first instance contact their relevant Accreditation assessing organisation.

Museums might also place an advert in an appropriate publication outlining the role and the skills. It is recommended that museums taking this route should include the published Accreditation definition of a museum professional within the role advert and ask the applicants to provide evidence that their skills and qualifications have been reviewed by an appropriate Accreditation assessing organisation.

Providing Accreditation support and advice is the responsibility of each Accreditation assessing organisation. Please visit Where can I get help? to access the contact details of your assessing organisation.  

In England the first point of call will be your local Accreditation Adviser who can provide a list of those museum professionals who are available in your area. At this point the museum should undertake a normal volunteer recruitment process, as directed by your volunteer policy (see requirement 1.7). Accreditation assessing organisations do not appoint Mentors and are not able to take part in the recruitment process.

 

We are a very small museum within a university. The university employs a museum professional to support a number of university museums and lead our management committee which reports up to the University Council. Do we need a Museum Mentor?

No, in these cases it would be accepted that museum professional expertise exists within your management structure for the museums to access through the management committee. The key thing here is that the individual/s employed to provide museum professional expertise to a number of museums within the University is/are part of the management structure and not the governance structure.

There would however be no bar to the museum appointing a Museum Mentor to further support the museum and the University's museum professional/s, such as where the individual museum/s had a particular subject focus whereas the museum professional/s have skills in museum management practice but not an expertise in that specific subject matter.

 

We don’t employ a curator, but we have a museum professional on our governing board of trustees. Why do we need to appoint a Museum Mentor?

Appointing a Museum Mentor as a requirement for participation in the Accreditation Scheme does not replace the need for charities to have appropriate skills on their board of trustees (or similar). While there may be one or more museum professional on your board, to meet Accreditation requirement 1.8 an independent mentor, who is not a member of the board, must also be appointed.

This is so that there is an independent expert voice outside the decision making structure that can influence and support the governing body, similar to a professional museum director reporting to a board of trustees or local authority portfolio holder. Where a museum professional is already part of the governing body, this will give greater emphasis to museum professional specific matters.