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We have done our best to put together the most useful questions you may need the answers to. If you have any questions that we haven’t included, then please contact us directly.


Telephone: 0300 062 2112.

Reopening the scheme

What’s the timetable for reopening the scheme?

The current intention is to reopen the scheme across the UK for existing accredited museums from October 2021. This is subject to government guidance.

However, with lockdowns in place and the vaccine rollout programme still in its early stages, we are not able to make a definitive decision on fully reopening the scheme.

We feel that museums need to be back open to the public and in a position where they can look beyond the crisis before we reopen the scheme fully. We will continue to monitor the situation, and we may need to adapt the timetable as things develop.

All museums in the scheme, including museums with Working Towards Accreditation status, will receive an automatic 12 month extension to their award or status to April 2022. 

Accredited museums

Is my museum still accredited?

Yes. We have extended all current awards for museums with full or provisional Accreditation for another 12 months to 1 April 2022.

We submitted our return on Grantium in 2020. When will our application be assessed?

We recognise there may have been changes at your organisation because of the pandemic, and some information that you provided last year may now be out of date.

We want to give you the opportunity to update your return. This will prevent further questions and delays during assessment. You will be able to access your return on Grantium to update it from October 2021. You will have until April 2022 to resubmit the return, and we will assess it after that date.

When will we be asked to submit a return?

We aim to revise the Accreditation returns schedule in the summer and publish it before October 2021. We hope to be in touch with museums before publishing the revised schedule.I If you have any particular concerns around the timing of your return submission, for example because of planned building works, please get in touch. We will start to send return invites from October 2021, for submission from April 2022.

We were in the process of completing our return on Grantium. Can we still access our work?

Yes. We are working with Arts Council England to ensure that all museums can access their completed or partially completed returns on Grantium, so no work is lost. You will be able to revise your return before submitting. Existing accredited museums will be able to submit returns on Grantium from October 2021.

Working Towards Accreditation and new applications

Can we apply for Working Towards Accreditation status?

Yes. We are still accepting and processing  eligibility questionnaires.

The pandemic has prevented us from working on our application. Can we have an extension?

Yes. All museums with Working Towards Accreditation status can have an automatic extension of 12 months on their agreed timescale for completing an application.

The only exception is where there have been material changes to the museum that mean the museum no longer meets the eligibility criteria. For example changes to the governing body or public access.

We’re ready to submit our full application. Can we do this before October 2021?

Arts Council England will open Grantium for new applications from April 2021. New applicants will need meet the eligibility criteria of being open to the public for the minimum 20 days access when applying. So if the museum is closed for any reason, you will not be able to submit your application. Please contact us to discuss a possible timetable for submitting your application.

Will you still be carrying out site visits as part of the assessment process?

Yes, however we are looking at flexible options for how this can be achieved if there are travel restrictions in place. We may opt for an online version supported by an on-site visit at a later date. If you have any concerns around a visit, for instance you have vulnerable members of staff or volunteers, do please let us know.

Changes in circumstances

We are no longer able to meet the scheme requirements. What do we do?

First of all, please get in touch with us to discuss your options. Museums that choose to withdraw from the scheme can reapply at any time in the future, as long as they still meet the criteria. To make this easier, we encourage all museums to view the Accreditation Standard as a useful framework on which to base future planning. We are happy to support any museum with developing plans and policies that meet the Accreditation Standard.

Collections at risk/sales of collections

We know that you may have more questions about collections at risk and we need to provide greater clarity around the process and guidance about Accreditation and proposed sales from collections. We want to support your difficult conversations and provide advice on next steps, so the expectations within the UK standard for museums are clear and transparent. The MA’s Disposals Toolkit and your own Collections Development Policy is the best place to start. There has been no change to the published guidance and process around disposals.

We know that you may need informal advice before following a formal route. We want to encourage open conversations with us so we can best support and advise you.