Newry and Mourne Museum recieve their Accreditation
Pictured left to right: Dr. Ken Abraham (Newry and Mourne Museum), Sinead McCartan (Northern Ireland Museums Council), Noreen Cunningham (Newry and Mourne Museum), and Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker (Chair of the Accreditation Committee)

Down County Museum and Newry and Mourne Museum Recognised at Museum Accreditation Awards

Down County Museum, Downpatrick and Newry and Mourne Museum, Newry have been recognised at the Museum Accreditation Awards in December at the Northern Ireland War Memorial, itself an Accredited Museum based at Talbot St in Belfast.

The ceremony was for museums whose return applications have been assessed in 2017 and have maintained their full accreditation status. Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker, Chair of the Accreditation Committee in the UK presented the museums with their Accreditation certificates on the day. It was attended by the local museum sector and guests from across the UK museum sector.

Down County Museum, a Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Museum (Awarded Full Accreditation)

Down County Museum has been located in the restored eighteenth century County Gaol of Down in Downpatrick for 36 years. It collects, conserves and interprets those objects which best illustrate the history, culture and environment of County Down.

Newry and Mourne Museum, a Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Museum (Awarded Full Accreditation)

Established in 1986, Newry and Mourne Museum is located at Bagenal’s Castle in Newry. The museum’s diverse collection includes material relating to prehistory; Newry’s Cistercian foundations; Ulster’s Gaelic Order and its relationship with the English Crown; the building of a merchant town and the first summit level canal in the British Isles; the working life and folk traditions of rural and mountain areas; and modern experiences of a Border area.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said, “I wish to congratulate both Newry and Mourne Museum and Down County Museum for having maintained their full accreditation status. Staff at both museums have worked intensively on the application over the last year and the award is well deserved. Maintaining Accreditation is another milestone in the development of our respective museums. It demonstrates that our staff works to the highest professional standards in care of our collections, and meeting the requirements of all our users.”

Down County Museum receiving their Accreditation
Pictured left to right: Sinead McCartan (Northern Ireland Museums Council), Arlene Matthews (Down County Museum) and Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker (Chair of the Accreditation Committee)

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.”

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 3 years to ensure they are continuing to maintain the standard.

Although Accreditation is a national standard, it is 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 44 Accredited Museums; 21 Local Authority Museums; 13 Independent Museums; 7 National Trust museums; 3 National Museums.