The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) leads Arts Council England (ACE)’s Museum Development Programme in the South East (SEMD), working in partnership with Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Oxfordshire Museums Service and the Hampshire Cultural Trust. The ACE funded programme was established in 2015, and in 2015 was renewed for another three years. In 2017, funding was secured until 2022.

SEMD supports over 300 museums between Oxfordshire and Kent – an area of 7373m2 which is home to nearly 9 million people. They aim to sustain an inclusive, thriving, and dynamic museum sector that reflects the diverse narratives and cultural heritage of the South East of England.

They act as a trusted critical friend providing grassroots support to museums in the South East, and their team of experts provide relevant and timely advice, as well as essential funds to drive development and skills building opportunities for the workforce.

SEMD aims to be a leading source of professional support enabling the region’s museums to evolve and flourish. Through raising ambition, driving excellence and building resilience, their vision is a community of vibrant and dynamic museums that celebrate our diverse cultural heritage.

ACE grants the South East region £512,000 a year to deliver Museum Development services, divided between four sub-regions to engender transformational change and increased sustainability.

RPMT and its partners develop an annual programme plan for the South East, with areas of support including:

  • Accreditation support
  • Direct training, and sharing information on external training opportunities
  • Preventative conservation audits
  • A range of grants programmes to support museum’s development needs
  • Peer-to-peer support structures and networks on key areas, e.g. volunteering, governance
  • Online resources, e.g training webinars and toolkits
  • A regular newsletter, sharing intelligence and information on training, grants and career opportunities
  • Liaison with ‘bridge’ organisations fostering relationships between museums and ‘client’ organisations such as schools
  • Partnerships and collaborations, e.g. with National Parks, Universities and Artist Practitioners

South East Museum Development is part of a larger network of Museum Development providers supported by Arts Council England called Museum Development UK, designed to support diverse, inclusive and innovative museums that welcome people from all backgrounds.

You can learn all about MDUK on their website, and take a look at our partners in MD across the regions.