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

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

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.

Art Fund: Going Places Collaboration and Network Building Events 

Art Fund is launching a new UK-wide programme, ‘Going Places’, that aims to engage and involve underrepresented audiences with museum collections through high quality, collaborative touring exhibitions and public programmes. The project will establish five networks of 3-5 small to mid-sized museums, with each network producing two touring exhibitions over five years (2025-2030).

It has received a development phase grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish Going Places, and is currently seeking applications from interested museums, galleries, arts organisations and/ or networks of these. Further details of the project can be found here:

Thursday 21 September, 10.30 – 16.45, Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, Wales, (a bilingual event – we welcome participation in Welsh) 

Wednesday 27 September, 10.30 – 16.45, Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Lisburn, Northern Ireland 

Wednesday 11 October, 10.00 – 14.15, online 

Thursday 26 October, 10.00 – 14.15, online (a bilingual event – we welcome participation in Welsh) 

These Collaboration and Network Building events will introduce participants to the programme whilst enabling museums to build connections with organisations that share common interests and explore opportunities for working collaboratively, along with the audience benefits this brings. We strongly recommend that anyone interested in applying attend if possible.

The full programme, along with how to sign up, can be found here:



Tender Opportunity

Museum Development England EDI Training and Support Scoping Project

On behalf of Museum Development England, MDNE is seeking a consultant to undertake a scoping exercise looking at training in the museum sector in terms of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The objective is to enable MDE to develop new national EDI programmes for the sector from April 2024 onwards, with those programmes designed to reach a broad range of audiences in museums including trustees, workforce (including leadership/senior staff) and volunteers.

The project will run from November 2023 to March 2024 and tender submissions are invited by Monday October 2.

Get more information and download the Tender Documentation


Roots & Branches: Seeds for Action Programme

Autumn to Winter Programme 2023-24

As part of Roots & Branches, the Seeds for Action Programme aims to connect Carbon Literate Certified museum people across England in order to develop and build on their carbon reduction strategies and approach to taking climate action.

By pooling collective expertise and resources, we can save ourselves time and money and tackle the climate emergency more effectively.

From September onwards, Museum Development North West will be hosting a series of online Carbon Literacy Connect and Co-working sessions together with a series of thematic Online Collective Workshops focusing on how we can build connections to support our climate work.

To find out more and book a place:

Online Collective Workshops
Carbon Literacy Connect and Co-working Sessions
Seeds for Action – Celebration Event

Call for Presentations – Collections Trust conference

Sharing collections data has too often been seen as a one way street. As something that takes a lot of effort without much to show for it. This year’s online conference on Thursday 5 October explores the transformative benefits for your museum, different users, and the wider sector.

Do you have an inspirational case study to share? Have you been involved in a successful project that changed the way your organisation works with and shares collections data?

Collections Trust is particularly interested to hear from small and medium museums who have a case study that demonstrates the benefits of sharing collections data in an interesting or innovative way.

Presentations are 15 minutes long, not including questions. Please send a brief summary of your presentation proposal to Deputy Director Sarah Brown.

The deadline is 9am, Friday 28 July 

Museums Association Launches New Toolkit

The Museums Association (MA) believe that museums need to ensure their collections are well managed, actively used and sustainable and that deaccessioning is an everyday and necessary part of collections management.

The MA’s ethical advice on transfer, reuse and disposal encourages museums to take a more active approach to appropriate disposal, while ensuring safeguards are in place to protect collections and public trust in museums.

Read about the toolkit ‘Off the Shelf: a toolkit for ethical transfer, reuse and disposal’

Energy Bill Relief Scheme Briefing for Museums

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) will be holding a session to demonstrate how libraries, archive services and museums should apply for the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) element of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBDS). Hosted by Chris Mulvee, DESNZ

Friday 7 July, 3pm-4pm

Microsoft Teams meeting

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Shortlist for Family Friendly Awards 2023 Announced

Kids in Museums has revealed the shortlist of its Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 – including two museums in the West Midlands.

The shortlist for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 is:

Best Large Museum

Best Medium Museum

Best Small Museum

Best Accessible Museum

Over the summer holidays, undercover family judges will visit the shortlisted museums and rate them on how well they meet the Kids in Museums Manifesto, a set of guidelines on what makes a great museum visit for all ages. Their experiences will decide a winner for each museum category and an overall winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2023 to be announced at an awards ceremony in London in October.

This year, a new award category also recognises innovative and thoughtful projects engaging young people on the topic of the climate emergency and sustainability. The category was open to museum applications only. The museums will present their work over the summer to an expert panel to decide the winner.

Best Youth Project – Climate

This year Kids in Museums celebrates its 20th anniversary. The charity is inviting heritage organisations to take part in a social media moment on 12 July using the hashtag #KidsInMuseums to celebrate what museums provide for children, young people and families ahead of the summer holidays. To get involved, please visit the Kids in Museums website:

Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award on social media by following @kidsinmuseums and the hashtag #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

The Family Friendly Museum Award has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.