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Applying for Accreditation

The Museum Accreditation Scheme is the UK industry standard for museums and galleries.

Read all about the Accreditation Scheme – including the benefits of participating.

Groups of visitors walk through the halls and balconies of the Burrell Collection.


To apply to the Accreditation Scheme, a museum must meet the 1998 Museums Association 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.

To be eligible to apply, the museum must also:

  • have a physical space in the UK, open a minimum of 20 days a year
  • hold a long-term collection of artefacts
  • have a formal constitution
  • meet all relevant legal, ethical, safety, equality, environmental and planning requirements
  • be committed to improving its service for museum users

To read more about eligibility for Accreditation, see pages 6-10 of the Accreditation guidance.

You should then complete and return to us the Accreditation eligibility questionnaire. We will aim to process your questionnaire within six weeks.

If we assess you as eligible for the scheme, you will be officially awarded Working Towards Accreditation status.

Size and type of museum

The Accreditation Scheme uses it’s own classification of size and type to determine what criteria museums will be assessed on.

To find out your museums size and type, see pages 11-15 in the Accreditation guidance.

If the museum doesn’t have a museum professional on the workforce, an Accreditation Mentor will be needed to meet the requirements of the Scheme. More information about mentors is available on the Accreditation Mentors page. 

Questions for national & nationally-styled museums

Accreditation questions national and nationally styled museums

National and nationally-styled museums should complete these 12 additional questions as well as demonstrating the rest of the Standard requirements have been met.


Once you have been awarded Working Towards Accreditation status, and have established the size and type of your museum, you are ready to work towards a full application.

Make sure you have the Accreditation Standard before applying and refer to pages 20-78 in the Accreditation Guidance for applying.

If your museum is already Accredited, you will be invited to submit an Accreditation return every five years. Our Accreditation returns schedule to lists when your museum is due to be invited next.

Applications are made online via the Arts Council England applications portal.

Please read the Getting Started on Grantium document. You might also find it useful to watch the Getting Started on Grantium videos. There is technical support Telephone 0161 934 4317.

Guidance and Toolkits

The Collections development policy template is the same as the 2014 version and has been reprinted for use with the 2018 Standard.

MGS Access Planning Toolkit
(PDF, 117 KB)
MGS Guide Collections Care
(PDF, 894 KB)
MGS Guide Emergency Planning
(PDF, 719 KB)
MGS Guide Forward Planning
(PDF, 933 KB)
MGS Collections Disposal Planning Toolkit
(PDF, 228 KB)


MGS assesses applications from museums in Scotland and prepares a report to present to the Accreditation panel. Information for assessing organisations for the rest of the UK is on the Accreditation Scheme page.

We review all of the information submitted and we often contact you to ask for more information or clarification.

Site visits

Site visits help us to gain a better understanding of your organisation. We visit all new applicants to the scheme, museums that have been through a period of significant change, and a 10% sample of all returns.

We will let you know if we are planning on doing a site visit and will send you further information.

Award outcomes

Once we have presented your report to the Accreditation panel, they will make a decision on your application.

There are a number of possible decisions they can make. For further information on Accreditation decisions see pages 82-84 in the Accreditation guidance.


You can contact our Accreditation team for advice on any aspect of the Accreditation Scheme.

Telephone: 0131 550 4100