New SHARE Training Calendar – Part 1

Object Handling, Packing and MarkingBooking for the new SHARE training calendar opens on 2nd September, but who are SHARE and why should you be interested?

SHARE Museums East are Arts Council England’s Museum Development partner for the East of England. They receive funding to provide training and other support to Accredited museums and those working towards Accreditation. Their activity programme includes formal training days, seminars, peer networks and project cohorts. The subjects covered are based on ACE Goals and include nearly every aspect of running a museum such as collection care and conservation, learning and engagement, income generation, marketing and reviewing your governance. Those of you who responded to my training needs survey have had their thoughts and ideas passed up to SHARE and that information helped to shape this year’s calendar.

Most of the details for this “school year” have already been uploaded to SHARE’s website so you can have a look and see which events you and your colleagues might wish to attend.

However, please be aware that SHARE is funded to provide these opportunities to Accreditation museums and those officially “Working Towards Accreditation”. While other museums may book, priority will be given to museums that fall within their remit.

If your museum isn’t Accredited yet but would like to be, or if you don’t really know what Accreditation is and would like to know more, please send me an email to discuss it further.

There are over 100 training events on the calendar so I’m sure there will be at least one subject of use to your museum.

Interesting session coming up in the first month are:

10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Captivating Captions – On A Budget
The Red House, Aldeburgh Suffolk
10:00 am – 3:30 pm
How to Run a Youth Panel
Colchester Castle, Colchester
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
SHARE Retail Forum: Selling Skills and Sound Retail Practice
The Mews (National Horseracing Museum), Newmarket
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Social Media: Next Steps
Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton Bedfordshire
10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Volunteers: Getting Them In and Keeping Them Happy (a Volunteer Co-ordinators’ Forum event)
Ipswich Transport Museum, Ipswich Suffolk
9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Being Creative With Memories: Music and Life Stories
Chelmsford Museum, Chelmsford Essex
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Public Services Collections Seminar
Bishop’s Stortford Museum, Bishop’s Stortford Hertfordshire
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Keeping A Record: The Essentials of Museum Documentation
Parham Airfield Museum, Framlingham Suffolk
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Excellent Visitor Programmes
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich Norfolk

Most of the calendar is already on-line and available to view here.

In part two I will go publish the results of the training needs survey and highlight where you can find the training you’ve requested

Do Your Visitors “Love” Museums?

Last week, the National Museums Directors Council (NMDC) launched a new campaign entitled I Love Museums. Their aim is to illustrate how deep public support is for museums of all shapes and sizes. As the government and local authorities are cutting budgets, this campaign provides tools for museums to work with their communities to show how valued our institutions are and how important our work is.

So how can your visitors, volunteers and partners get involved? First off, they can sign up to the campaign and say why they love museums. They can help promote the campaign on social media. If you’re a Twitter or Facebook user, you may have noticed the campaign’s slogan written across people’s profile pictures. You and they can add this via the Twibbon website.  They can also write letters to their MP or local council.

What can your museum do to support the campaign? As well as promoting it on social media and your website, you can download posters, postcards and logos for use on your publicity from the campaign website. You can also host a printed ballot box to encourage visitors to sign up while their at your venue.

~Amy Cotterill, Museum Development Officer

I Love Museums

#FundingWeek: Starts Monday 26th January 2015


Money makes the world go round – and there never seems to be enough of it! Grants, endowments and other forms of income-generation can give us all headaches.

Next week will be a funding-themed week on the blog. Five guest bloggers will be sharing ideas, experiences and tips about funding for museums. It doesn’t matter if your organisation is large, small, volunteer-led or local authority run, there will be something relevant for you.
The bloggers will be:

They will be posted each morning from Monday to Friday next week and in the meantime have a look at these useful links:

~Amy Cotterill, Museum Development Officer

Who Decides What’s Ethical?

Debating modern ethics

Discussing the Ethics Review at the Museums Association Conference, 2014

There’s been a lot of debate in the press about museums selling objects from their collection and if it is okay for them to do so. You’ll have heard quotes from the museum sector saying that the sale of a certain Egyptian statue was “unethical”, but what does that mean? Who decides what is ethical and what do they know about the reality of running a museum? And surely any “Code of Ethics” is aimed at the big national or local authority museums and doesn’t apply to small, volunteer-run museums?

Actually, the Code of Ethics applies to everyone working or volunteering in a UK museum. This is particularly true if your museum is Accredited or might like to be in the future. The current Code was produced by the Museums Association in 2002 after consultation to represent what the sector believed an ethical way of running a museum.

The Code of Ethics is now 13 years old and while it reflected the needs of museums at the start of this millennium, the world has moved on. We’re using digital technology more than ever, including collecting digital artefacts like photographs and sharing our collections and data via the internet. Objects aren’t just acquired through donations and traditional auctions but through sites like eBay. Museums are increasingly working collaboratively with volunteers, artists, vulnerable communities and children, raising issues of copyright, recognition and expectation management. Debates rage in the media about the living wage and zero-hours contracts. Corporations are sponsoring exhibitions, projects and entire museums. With cuts to their basic funding, many museums are under increasing pressure to sell their collection in order to plug budget gaps – their own and those of their parent organisation.

Museums in 2015 are very different to those of 2002, and the Museums Association recognises this. That’s why they’re asking for your opinions. They’ve held regional meetings (some of you will have attended the meeting at Colchester Castle last year), hosted debates at their annual conference and are currently running an online consultation. If you have an opinion on any of these issues, or others that I haven’t touched on, please do take part. It doesn’t matter if you think the current rules are too strict or not strict enough – share your view! This is your opportunity to be heard. If you don’t take the time to answer these 24 questions, you can’t complain that only the voices of “big” museums are heard.

The Museums Association Ethics Consultation is open until Friday 13th February.