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Museum Accreditation

The Accreditation Scheme is a voluntary scheme that sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK, and Museums Galleries Scotland is the assessing organisation in Scotland.

The entrance to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. It is a black arch with red wooden panels, set into a stone wall.

Accreditation Mentors

Accreditation Mentors are individuals who willingly offer their time and expertise to support other museums working to achieve the Accreditation standard. Find out what’s expected of Mentors and how to apply

Two adults with light skin observe ‘Gravity’, a print by Nigerian-born artist Ade Adesina, at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.

Accreditation Return Schedule

Museums who hold the full Accreditation standard are invited to submit a return application every five years. View the Returns Schedule for your expected invitation date.

Accredited Museums in Scotland

There are currently 250 museums in Scotland who hold the Accreditation Standard. View them on our map of Scotland's Museums and Galleries

Museums & Galleries Map

Frequently asked questions

Can we join the Accreditation Scheme?

Yes. We process Accreditation Eligibility questionnaires year-round to allow museums to achieve Working Towards Accreditation status.

Information on the eligibility process is available on our website. Please note that it will take 6 weeks for MGS to assess any eligibility application. Please  phone or email the Accreditation Team and we can provide help and advice.

Why should my museum join the Accreditation Scheme?

The reasons for joining the scheme can vary and will depend on the objectives of your organisation.

Accreditation can provide a framework for museum development, helping you get in place the necessary policies, plans, and procedures to be resilient. It provides external validation of your museum practice, boosting workforce morale and providing confidence to your donors, funders, and stakeholders.

What do I need to join the scheme?
  • The museum needs to meet the Museums Association 1998 definition of a museum.

    “Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.”

  • You need to be operating as a museum and following museum practice, if you are unsure what this means look at the New Museum Toolkit.
  • There needs to be a physical space in Scotland that visitors can go to see and engage with your collection, open a minimum of 20 days a year.
  • The museum should have a clear governance structure and a governing document that  establishes the power to operate a museum and protects the collections.
  • There needs to be an understanding of the Spectrum primary procedures for collections documentation.
What is the commitment of Accreditation?

New museums to the scheme are expected to have sufficient capacity and support from the governing body to be able to complete a full application within three years.

Once Accreditation has been achieved, museums are expected to maintain the standard and submit information periodically for review, this is usually every 5 years.