Carrickfergus Museum recognised at Museum Accreditation Awards

David McMeekin (Garvagh Museum), Roisin Doherty (Tower Museum), Laura Patrick (Carrickfergus Museum), Tr�ona White Hamilton (NI Museums Council), Claire McWhirter (Somme Museum), Carol Walker (Somme Museum), Clifford Harkness (Accreditation Mentor for Somme Museum) and Shirley Chambers (Department for Communities).
David McMeekin (Garvagh Museum), Roisin Doherty (Tower Museum), Laura Patrick (Carrickfergus Museum), Tr�ona White Hamilton (NI Museums Council), Claire McWhirter (Somme Museum), Carol Walker (Somme Museum), Clifford Harkness (Accreditation Mentor for Somme Museum) and Shirley Chambers (Department for Communities).

Four local museums including Carrickfergus Museum have been recognised at the Museum Accreditation Awards– an awards ceremony for museums whose return applications have been assessed over the last year and have maintained their Full Accreditation status.

Local museums who received Full Accreditation this year included; Somme Museum, Carrickfergus Museum, Garvagh Museum and Tower Museum.

Tríona White Hamilton, Accreditation Adviser and Assessor at Northern Ireland Museums Council said: “We are delighted that our local museums’ commitment to governance, collections care and visitor experience has ensured their maintenance of the Accreditation Standard.

“We hope that this will enable the continued development of these museums as valued resources for both visitors and the local community. Accreditation is a national standard which gives confidence to all stakeholders.”

Shirin Murphy from Carrickfergus Museum described why maintaining Accreditation is important for their museum: “Accreditation is important to us as it gives us the confidence to know we are meeting good – or better, standards of practice across all aspects of museum management.

“We also find it a useful tool to demonstrate the importance of the museum service to our governing body, who recognise and respect the Accreditation Standard.

“External to our organisation, accreditation has made a difference to many projects where were have sought partnerships with others, particularly when seeking to arrange loans of artefacts. For example, our WWI community engagement project, Battlebags and Blimps benefitted greatly from our partnership with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton England, who loaned us a number of engaging artefacts which really enhanced the exhibition. There would have been no question of this proceeding had we not been an accredited museum.”

The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. It defines good practice and identifies agreed standards, thereby encouraging development. It is a baseline quality standard that helps guide museums to be the best they can be, for current and future users.

Museums are required to submit their Accreditation return applications every five years to ensure they are continuing to maintain the standard.

Although Accreditation is a national standard, it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ model. The expectations vary for museums of different types, sizes and scopes.

There are currently just under 1,800 museums participating in the scheme across the UK. In Northern Ireland there are 43 Accredited Museums; 20 Local Authority Museums; 13 Independent Museums; seven National Trust museums and three National Museums.

The Awards ceremony was organised by the Northern Ireland Museums Council and was held on Tuesday, September 24 at Carrickfergus Museum and Civic Centre.

It was attended by the local museum sector and NIMC members. Shirley Chambers at Department of Communities presented the museums with their Accreditation certificates on the day.