The South West Museum Development Programme (SWMDP) was launched on 1 August 2012 as part of Arts Council England’s (ACE) Renaissance programme and is currently funded by Arts Council England until March 2018. The programme provides support to over 200 Accredited museums across the South West region.

South West context

  • Museums in the region attract around 9 million visits per year.
  • 30% of Accredited museums are entirely volunteer-run.
  • Over 12,000 people actively volunteer for museums.
  • There is a relatively small paid staff base with just over 2,000 people employed by museums.
  • Visits to museums help contribute over £200 million annually to the regional economy.
  • Two thirds of the museums in the region are small independents with half receiving less than 10,000 visits per year.

Our 2015-18 programme

  • Invests over £750,000 in museums per year with funding from Arts Council England and 26 local authorities across the region.
  • Connects Arts Council 5 goals with the needs of local museums and local authority strategic priorities.
  • Offers a local Museum Development Officer service and provides targeted support for museums in conservation and collection care, audience and digital engagement, volunteering and workforce.
  • Provides ‘Museum Skills’ training programme across broad range of subjects throughout South West.
  • Manages small grant schemes for eligible museums and travel / CPD bursaries where suitable.