National Museum Development UK (MDUK)
The South East Museum Development is part of a larger network of Museum Development providers supported by Arts Council England, designed to support diverse, inclusive and innovative museums that welcome people from all backgrounds.
You can learn about the National MDUK on their website, and take a look at our partners in MD across the regions.
Our Vision and Purpose
We want to sustain an inclusive, thriving, and dynamic museum sector that reflects the diverse narratives and cultural heritage of the South East of England.
We are a trusted critical friend providing grassroots support to museums in the South East. Our team of experts provide relevant and timely advice, strategic funding and training that our museums need to flourish.
We champion the region’s museums to ensure that the positive impact they have on the communities they serve is recognised, supported and advocated for.
Our Funding and Governance
South East Museum Development was awarded £2 million from Arts Council England (ACE) as a Sector Support Organisation for 2018-2022. During this period we will deliver development initiatives to drive excellence and create a resilient and sustainable museum sector in the South East.
We are 100% funded by Arts Council England and led from within the sector, by a well-established consortium of museums consisting of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (the lead partner), Hampshire Cultural Trust, the Oxfordshire County Museums Service, and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.
In 2021, we will establish a new Consultation Panel to help us identify programming themes and opportunities during key planning periods.
We are a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) that receives funding from Arts Council England (ACE) to provide development support to accredited museums that are not in receipt of regular funding from ACE or other government departments.
This means that our priority is to work with accredited museums (or those formally working towards accreditation) that are not national organisations, NPO leads or consortium partners.
Please read our full statement regarding eligibility via the link below, which outlines our approach to allocating training spaces, project participation and our small grant schemes.
Our team works across the South East region, and we have Museum Development Officers (MDOs) based in Brighton (covering Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex); Hampshire (covering Hampshire Solent and Berkshire) and Oxfordshire (covering Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire).
We also have a central team who provide programme planning and delivery support, in addition to an Accreditation Advisor, who works south east wide. We regularly work with specialist consultants to provide targeted support to museums where it is needed most and to support our delivery programme.
The South East Museum Development team have a wealth of experience in the sector, and work on the ground to support museums by assessing regional priorities and needs, identify barriers and finding solutions to ensure museums can meet their development priorities and ambitions. They support museums to deliver effective programmes and initiatives to build capacity, and additionally provide regional leadership through existing networks.
Please follow the links below to view our current policies.
‘Always supportive and professional and respond well to any unexpected problems we may have’
-Hastings Fishermen’s Museum
‘With the support of SEMD, the Gallery received £13,042 for a new data logging system. The updated system means we are in a better position to take care of our collections and are able to report to lenders and stakeholders more accurately.’
-Pallant House Gallery
‘Extremely supportive and helpful. When you are a new Trust and museum this support is very, very valuable.’
-Paralympic Heritage Centre
‘We have received considerable support advice and encouragement from the SEMD team which has enabled us to survive a very steep learning curve in putting together a group of volunteers to learn how to operate a museum.’
-Whitstable Museum and Gallery
‘MDO advice is always extremely helpful. We received both a Development grant and Ready to Borrow grant, and we received excellent advice and support throughout the applications’
‘… we had amazing support in the run up to our Accreditation application’
‘Advice is always helpful and relevant. We’ve gone on to participate in the Museum MOT and successfully apply for Level Up funding.’
-River and Rowing Museum
‘We get support from the MDO and routinely use that advice for Board training and development.’
-New Forest Centre
‘We have received a lot of support and are very grateful. it is a great team to be working with.’
-The Shipwreck Centre and Maritime Museum
‘Very useful support from South East MD programme for collections and preventative Conservation.’
-West Berkshire Museum
‘A fabulous, excellent service; we have accessed grant support plus training’
-Mary Rose Ship Hall and Museum