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From 1 April Museum Development will be delivered by Museum Development Midlands (MDM).

MDM is funded by Arts Council England and delivered in partnership by Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Leicestershire County Council. MDM builds upon the established track record of both West Midlands Museum Development (WMMD) and Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM), with a strong understanding of the museum sector and trusted relationships with local museums and networks.

To receive regular updates on our MDM training, support programmes and grants please sign up for our MDM newsletter.

**IMPORTANT** The MDEM and WMMD newsletters will cease to operate. You will need to subscribe to the new MDM communications to receive updates from us.

Please forward this email to all your colleagues so they can sign up to our newsletters using this link

Tender Opportunity: Organisational Health Programme and Midlands Trustee Network

The Museum Development Midlands programme (MDM) invites your quotation to deliver the Organisational Health Programme and Midlands Trustee Network strands of its support work.

The contractor(s) will:

  1. Deliver the Organisational Health Programme (30 days), including
    1. Intensive Organisational Health Support
    2. One to One Organisational Health Surgeries
    3. Organisational Health contribution to MDM internal team meetings
  2. Develop and deliver a Midlands Trustee Network (6 days), including
    1. Amalgamating existing Trustee Networks and coordinating new Midlands Trustee Network
    2. Developing and delivering Midlands Trustee Network support programme

Please note that these contract elements could be bid for collectively or as separate elements.

MDM will consider applications from agencies, individual freelancers, or a team of freelancers if you wish to apply as a group.

The initial contract will run until the end of March 2025 with the potential to extend annually until March 2027 with budgets and outputs agreed on an annual basis.

The Organisation Health Programme and Midlands Trustee Network will contribute to MDM’s aim to support museums to operate more effectively, increasing their long-term viability and
relevance. MDM’s support is delivered through direct advice, grants, training provision, facilitated networks, workshops and tailored, intensive activity.

The contractor would operate within the framework of the MDM programme, which is currently funded through Arts Council England (ACE) from April 2024 to March 2027.

Read the full brief and apply

MDM is seeking candidates with the following experience and expertise:

Timescales and key dates:

MDM is working to the current timeline:

Project budget and payment terms

The maximum budget is £18,000 including all expenses and VAT to the end of March 2025.

There are two separate elements to the budget:

Biomass Action Research at Claymills

“We all know about the need to reduce our carbon footprint; at Claymills no less than anywhere else!

The challenge for Claymills is both immediate and long term. The immediate challenge is that the cost of coal – our biggest expense – has tripled over the last two years, and even at that price, availability has become very limited. So, at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station, supported by a grant from WMMD, we have been investigating the potential use of biomass to replace coal for firing our original Lancashire boilers, which are fitted with Meldrum’s ‘Sprinkler’ Stokers.

The investigation has taken the form of a formal action research programme, and Claymills has now published the final report – which, we are pleased to say, concludes that, by careful management, biomass can be used with a performance equivalent to coal.

This means that we can steam into the medium term without adding to the problems of climate change! Of course, Claymills is unique, and our solution may not suit you, but if you want to learn more, do come to one of our advertised steamings and we will make sure you get a detailed explanation from the project team. And if you’ld like a copy of the action research report, please email John Freeman

by John Freeman CBE
Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

1:1 Bid Writing Surgeries

West Midlands Museum Development is pleased to offer a limited number of free one to one National Lottery Project Grants surgeries with Sarah Waldron.

National Lottery Project Grants is Arts Council England’s (ACE) open access programme for arts, libraries and museums project funding.

Sarah can offer two hours of support to be used flexibly depending on your needs, from helping you to understand what ACE will be looking for in your application, providing bid writing advice, or acting as a critical friend.

This offer is on a first come, first served basis to non-NPO and non-National museums in the Midlands which are Accredited or officially Working Towards Accreditation

Please email if you want to book a surgery with Sarah or have any questions.

Museum Development 2024-27

Your new Museum Development Midlands (MDM) team are busy collaborating to ensure our continued support for museums in the Midlands from April 2024.

Museum Development from now until April 2024 

Until April 2024, the Museum Development teams in the East Midlands and West Midlands will continue operating as normal, providing advice and support to regional museums. In the lead up to our launch as Museum Development Midlands on 1 April, we’ll tell you more about the services you can expect.

We’re currently finalising the details of our delivery programme for 2024-25 and will update you in March. Please bear with us as we devote our attention to ensuring that we are ready for business as MDM from April 2024.

What is changing after April 2024?







From April 2024, the regional Museum Development teams in the Midlands will come together to form one area team covering the same geographical footprint. The MDM team will continue to have staff based throughout the two current regions, now working as one team. MDM is committed to retaining a close relationship with museums on the ground while gaining the advantages of working across the wider area.

MDM will be managed by a new partnership between Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Leicestershire County Council, the current hosts of the West Midlands Museum Development (WMMD) and Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM) programmes respectively.

Arts Council England will support the new MDM partnership with £570k per annum to deliver museum development activity in the Midlands from 1 April 2024 until 31 March 2027. This new partnership builds on the team’s experience of collaborative working across the Midlands since 2018.

Our support programme for museums in the Midlands responds to Arts Council England’s Strategy, Let’s Create, and addresses the four Investment Principles.

The 2024-25 programme will include:

Our 2024-25 programme has been informed by your feedback during 2023. We will continue to adapt workforce development programming throughout 2024-27, responding to your needs including through the Museum Development Skills Needs Survey.

When will you hear more?
We’ll update you further in March. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns you would like to raise, please email the MDEM team or the WMMD team.

Midlands Energy Audits

**UPDATE 21 February – This opportunity is now closed. All audits have been allocated**

West Midlands Museum Development (WMMD), Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM) and Pilio are releasing another round of free energy audits for Museums across the Midlands.

Participating museums will receive an energy audit and report from Pilio. Building energy audits are excellent ways of finding:

Download the information pack to find out more and apply

Audits will be offered on a first come, first served basis to non-NPO and non-National museums in the Midlands which are Accredited or officially Working Towards Accreditation.

NPOs are eligible to apply and will be offered any remaining dates following the closing date of 5pm, Monday 11 March.

Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants

Upcoming Roadshows

Arts Council England (ACE) has put together five roadshows that are aimed at museum colleagues who want an introduction to National Lottery Project Grants, or a refresher. In November ACE made a few changes to Project Grants responding to feedback to improve and simplify the programme – in particular, for those applying to the under £30,000 strand.

These roadshows cover some of those changes and offer practical insight into what makes a good Museums project proposal, advice on how to strengthen applications and the opportunity to discuss proposals with a Museums Relationship Manager. Whilst all are welcome it will be of particular value to first time applicants, those hesitant about applying and those focusing on the under £30,000 strand.

Sandford Awards 2024 

Entries are now open for the Sandford Awards 2024.

The Sandford Award is the only nationally recognised quality mark for heritage learning and provides independent assurance for heritage sites and services. The six criteria underpinning the award assessment provide a framework for success whether you are looking to gain the recognition your learning programmes deserve or seeking to develop the quality of your education provision.

The closing date for entries is 5pm, Friday 16 February 2024.

Find out more about the awards

Audience Development workshop

Join us for a series of three workshops, delivered by Arts Marketing Association and Christina Lister to explore Audience Development. Each workshop is a stand alone event and delegates can choose to attend one or more sessions.

About the Trainer

Christina is a marketing and audience development consultant, trainer and facilitator working with heritage and cultural organisations, with 21 years’ experience as a freelancer and in agency and in-house positions. Christina empowers organisations to develop and execute marketing that connects to audiences with purpose and impact.

Her experience spans museums, heritage sites, libraries, archives, and arts organisations including the Science Museum Group, Museum of London, AIM, Jane Austen’s House and the Museum of Cambridge. She is a trustee of Kids in Museums and author of the book Marketing Strategy for Museums.

Session one – An Introduction to Audience Data Collection
Wednesday 24 January, 10am-12noon

Understanding who your audiences are is the bedrock of being able to communicate with them in a meaningful way. It will also help you to understand who you’re not reaching, and why. This workshop will cover the basics of why and how to go about collecting data on your audiences, with an overview of different tools for collecting data.

This session will cover:

Book An Introduction to Audience Data Collection

Session two – An Introduction to Creating an Audience Development Plan
Wednesday 31 January, 10am-12noon

An audience development plan will help you reach people you’re not currently reaching and deepen your relationship with those you are. A successful plan requires intent and commitment as it’s the framework that will guide the groundwork. Understanding why it’s important, and what the guiding principles are to creating one, is your first step in the right direction.

This session will cover:

Book An Introduction to Creating an Audience Development Plan

Session three – Introduction to Online Marketing
Wednesday 7 February, 10am-12noon

What’s meant when we talk about online marketing? This workshop will clarify the different roles that your website, social media channels and your newsletters have within your overall marketing approach, and how to tailor the language and content you use for each.

This session will cover:

Book Introduction to Online Marketing

Essential information

Delegates will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout each session. The training will include breakout room discussions between delegates. There will be a short midway comfort break.

Maximum two delegates per organisation. Priority will be given to delegates from non-NPO and non-National museums in the West Midlands which are Accredited or officially Working Towards Accreditation. 

These events are for delegates in the East Midlands and West Midlands. If your museum is based in the East Midlands please book via the MDEM website.


These events will be auto-captioned through Zoom. If you would benefit from any other form of access support, including live captioning, please answer ‘yes’ to the access requirements question on the booking form and email the WMMD team as early as possible stating the support you require. If you would find it beneficial for your learning and accessibility Slides can be shared around one week in advance on request.

All participants will receive an email containing a Zoom link to the training prior to the event. The email will be sent to the email address used for booking. If you have not received an email the day before the event please contact us.

Government Indemnity Scheme review – share your views

The Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS) replaces the need for commercial insurance for cultural venues. It enables them to borrow amazing objects and artwork.

Arts Council England (ACE) is committed to ensuring that GIS maintains its international reputation as a marker of quality.

ACE is sharing its work to review the GIS environmental conditions and this can be viewed here. It involves introducing some operational improvements to the scheme and a survey to canvas the sector’s views on temperature and relative humidity bands and light levels.

Please complete the survey to help make sure GIS benefits museums, balances the needs of its different stakeholders and continues to make a vital contribution to communities across the UK

The deadline for submissions is Sunday 19 November.