DOWN County Museum has recently been awarded full accreditation for its standards in collections care, visitor care, collections management, use of collections and interpretation.
The Museums Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK and they are accredited if their standards are deemed to be meeting best practice in the areas of collections care, interpretation, conservation, education and access. The scheme also encourages museums to work in partnership with other organisations and visitors.
The accreditation scheme has been in force for over 20 years and in 1992 Down County Museum was one of the first in Northern Ireland to be awarded this status. Down County Museum continues to meet the required standards of the scheme which is administered by Arts Council England in partnership with CyMAL: Museum, Archives, Libraries Wales and the Northern Ireland Museums Council.
As well as being an award scheme, accreditation has a practical purpose enabling museums to apply for certain kinds of funding only available to accredited institutions and allowing them to borrow and display material from other recognised museums.
Congratulating the Museum on this award, Down District Council Chairman Councillor Maria McCarthy praised Museum staff and explained, “Down County Museum now has a collection of over 10,000 regionally important artefacts as well as a photographic collection of over 40,000 images. In addition to its policy of continuing to collect important objects from across County Down, the Museum also organises a comprehensive programme of interpretation of the County’s culture and heritage. It does this through its permanent and temporary exhibitions and its wide ranging education and outreach activities.
“Since 2010, the Museum has developed exhibitions on a diverse range of topics, from toys and games, local hospitals, local businesses and education in County Down to sport, politics, and art. Every year Down County Museum welcomes over 35,000 visitors through its doors and delivers outreach programmes to hundreds more in local communities.
“Over the next few years the Museum will continue to expand its services with an extension project which will create a new gallery for the Downpatrick High Cross and a farming collection as well as a hands-on discovery room. I would encourage Down district residents to keep visiting our Museum and indeed unlock the past.”