Happy Museum recently announced the launch of a new peer learning network, the Happy Museum Affiliate Scheme.

The scheme will:

  • Work with a positive frame for practical action which puts societal wellbeing at its heart.
  • Form a supportive and collaborative peer network, sharing practice and building learning
  • Encourage exploration of the particular role of museums and culture in addressing the big issues – such as climate change and social justice.
  • Connect with relevant thinkers in fields such as economics, ecology and psychology
  • Provide the opportunity to experiment, innovate, reflect, connect and play.

Affiliates will connect with and contribute to the development of Happy Museum thinking and practice.

Affiliates may be cultural organisations as well as museums. They may be departments. They may be individuals working with or in a museum/cultural organisation. We also invite applicants from beyond the UK who are keen to explore and embed the principles of the Happy Museum.


“We really benefited from the networking and development opportunity offered through the Happy Museum … [it] celebrates what museums can do, what’s possible, and being positive about change. We found the input from other practitioners helped to shape what was happening, gave us a chance to think about our work, and reflect in a different way.”

Manchester Museum

Affiliates will:

  • give public affiliation to Happy Museum and its principles
  • experiment with activity framed by Happy Museum thinking*, working with staff, board, volunteers, audiences, participants and networks
  • join a peer learning network
  • connect between and beyond the group with access to Happy Museum events
  • supported by Happy Museum, share your practice through:
    • blog posts, reports or articles
    • virtual learning events.
    • physical (face-to-face) sharing – including seminars, exhibitions, workshops, placements or other events, inviting affiliates and others.

Happy Museum will:

  • run a tailored introductory workshop for each affiliate organisation or team
  • support the affiliate peer learning network including a programme of sharing events, connecting ideas and bringing in external thinking, stakeholders and partnerships where appropriate
  • promote every affiliate’s commitment to Happy Museum principles
  • share learning through blogs, reports and articles online and brokering of support between and beyond the group.

Underpinning ethos

To keep the scheme light touch and financially, organisationally and individually sustainable, we will take ideas from the sharing economy such as food sharing, organisation museum B&B (where host organisations offer accommodation to visiting peers) and open source learning – including online and social media alongside face-to-face gatherings. It will be underpinned by principles of give and gain.

There is no charge for joining the scheme (though we may consider a small charge to larger organisations for the introductory workshop to balance support for smaller organisations and teams).  The aim is to create a self sustaining network so the activity and sharing will be developed by and with Affiliate  organisations and teams with support from Happy Museum.

The Scheme has now closed it’s first round of Applications which will be announced shortly – we hope to open up for a further round later in 2017.

“The [Affiliate Scheme] understands that museums are well-placed to open up wider societal conversations about difficult and challenging topics and should model this by developing resilience in their own staff and communities. … it acknowledges that investment in people is key!” 

Kate Forde, Senior Curator, Wellcome Trust

* For examples activity framed by Happy Museum thinking have a look at our selection of case studies.

The Affiliate Scheme is supported by the ACE Museum Resilience Fund