About Us

Museum Development

Our vision:

Museum Development believes in thriving museums. It raises standards and drives excellence by enabling, guiding and supporting people working in museums.

Our mission:

Museum Development will realise its vision of thriving museums by being a challenging, approachable and ambitious agent of change. It works in partnership with other providers to raise standards and drive excellence across collections management, audience engagement, organisational development, inclusion, access and learning in museums.


Who we are: Funding and Governance

South East Museum Development has been 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.

Our funding from ACE supports the regions museums, while also delivering the ACE 5 strategic goals.

The South East Museum Development Programme is managed by a consortia of museums, working in partnership to deliver Museum Development across the region. This partnership comprises Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove (the lead partner), Hampshire Cultural Trust, Oxfordshire County Museums Service and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. It was formed in 2012 to manage the first tranche of Arts Council England (ACE) museum development funding in the region and has continued to support delivery of museum development into the new programme.

Museum Development Officers (MDOs) also work directly with sub-regional panels and membership groups


Who we are: Our Policies

We have a number of policies that cover our activities:

Communications Strategy

Digital Policy

Environmental Policy

Equality and Diversity Policy


Who we are: Our team

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 based in Brighton who provide programme planning and delivery support, in addition to an Accreditation Advisor and a Preventive Conservation Officer, who work south east wide.

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; deliver programmes and initiatives to build capacity, and additionally provide regional leadership by acting as responsive support when needed.

Insert link to team contacts


What we do:

Museum Development realises its vision for thriving museums by working in partnership network groups, and with other providers and specialists, to raise standards across collections care, audience engagement, organisational development, governance, diversity and learning in museums. Museum Development raises ambition, drives excellence and builds resilience in regional museums, and we do this through our network of Museum Development Officers (MDOs), and through our training, grants and project programmes.


‘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 SEMDP 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’
-The Novium


‘… we had amazing support in the run up to our Accreditation application’
-Ripley Museum


‘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


The Museum Development Network

We also work as part of a national network – the Museum Development Network (MDN) – to deliver strategic change, to share ideas and identify opportunities for collaboration. You can read more about MDN on their website.

The MDN Committee is made up of senior team members from each regional programme, and provides support cross-regionally to align regional activity to meet Arts Council objectives, consults and shares new programme ideas, coordinates national projects and programmes, and shares best practice from the regions, nationally.