National Museum Development Network (MDN)
The South East Museum Development Programme 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 MDN on their website, and take a look at our partners in MD across the regions.
The South East Museum Development Programme (SEMDP) aims to be a leading source of professional support enabling the region’s museums to evolve and flourish. Through raising ambition, driving excellence and building resilience, our vision is a community of vibrant and dynamic museums that celebrate our diverse cultural heritage. Our mission is to foster museums to implement transformation change and work in ways that are more sustainable.
What We Do
The South East Museum Development Programme will realise its vision of thriving museums by being a challenging, approachable and ambitious agent of change. We will work in partnership with other providers to raise standards and drive excellence across collections management, audience engagement, organisational development, inclusion, access and learning in museums.
We will work to raise standards across collections care, audience engagement, organisational development, governance, diversity and learning in museums across the South East through our network of Museum Development Officers, and through our dynamic training, grants and project programmes.
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.
We are 100% funded by Arts Council England, and 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.
The South East Museum Development Team also work directly with sub-regional panels, other sector support organisations, regional MD partners and membership groups to enable effective cross-sector collaboration.
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, who works 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.
You can find out more about our team here.
We have a number of policies that cover our activities:
‘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’
‘… 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