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Museum MOT

The Museum MOT – What’s it all about?

The South East Museum Development Programme is piloting a new way of working with museums. At national level, Museum Development is seeking to ensure it can continue to provide specific, targeted support that enables museums to become more resilient and confident. The aim is for a nationally agreed approach to the delivery of Museum Development services from January 2019.

Some Museum Development regions in England already use a toolkit to work with museums in their areas. Tools such as the ‘Business Diagnostic’ in the East Midlands, or ‘Survive and Thrive’ in London, are used as ways of discussing development needs with museums, and gathering information directly from museums to help shape Museum Development support. In some areas, this is delivered as a self assessment tool – where museums answer a series of questions annually, and the results are used to shape the museum development programme of training and support. In other areas, this is a facilitated conversation between Museum Development and museums.

The use of a facilitated approach between an MDO and a museum will particularly benefit:

•    Museums undergoing significant change.
•    Museums with outstanding Accreditation Areas for Improvement, who may benefit with additional support to resolve outstanding actions.
•    Museums who require support to develop their Forward Plan.

South East Museum Development ‘Museum MOT’ pilot

We are currently working with colleagues from four other Museum Development regions in England to pilot a diagnostic tool developed by the East Midlands Museum Development team over the past 2 years. This is our pilot ‘Museum MOT’ which we will be using between now and January 2019 in order to assess and evaluate how the approach works in order to contribute to national discussions within Museum Development.

The pilot will enable MDOs to produce an appropriate package of support for museums through a ‘level up’ framework – where all museums get a standard level of support from Museum Development, but where museums need additional support, we are able to respond to deliver targeted and intensive help over a sustained period of time. This may be in the form of bespoke multi-year packages of support ranging from grants, training, mentoring and referrals for expert intervention or specialist advice.

As we repeat the Museum MOT with you annually, it will also allow you to see how your museum has evolved, highlighting where you’ve developed and potential areas for growth in the future. We will also share anonymised information nationally to inform wider sector support for museums.

We are already working with the first round of pilot museums in the South East, but if you would like to express an interest for a future MOT, please email Katharine Hale, Programme Liaison Officer, 

For further details on the support package available for museums who go through the MOT see the Level Up: Development Fund page.