Happy Museum (HM)  is delighted to welcome the first members of its Affiliate Scheme.  The Scheme is a new peer learning network forming part of the wider HM programme, funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience fund and supported by People United

Our fifteen new Affiliates will connect with and contribute to the development of HM thinking and practice which puts societal wellbeing at its heart.  They will form part of a supportive and collaborative peer network to explore the role of museums and culture in addressing the big issues – such as climate change and social justice.

This first round of Affiliates encompasses an exciting range of practice including major partner museums (Leeds Museums and Oxford University Museums); independent museums (Design Museum, People’s History Museum, Seven Stories); local authority and NHS Trust museums (Reading, The Atkinson, Monmouthshire Museums, Mental Health Museum); museums in development (Museum of Homelessness) as well as a digital museum agency Culture24, National Trust Midlands, Encounters Arts -Museum of Now, the Heritage Team at Toynbee Hall and Chester Zoo.


Read more about the Happy Museum affiliates scheme and what they will bring to the scheme


John Orna-Ornstein, Director Museums and South East, Arts Council England, said: “Museums are wonderful places, bursting with collections that inspire, challenge and amaze audiences of all ages in equal measure. Skill-sharing is an essential aspect of ensuring this continues and so it is fantastic to see the first 15 affiliates join the Happy Museum Project. It will provide an important platform for each of them to share best practice, not only to support the long-term resilience of their organisations, but also to ensure that they continue to support the wellbeing of their audiences. I love the challenge that the Happy Museum Project brings to the sector, and I look forward to seeing more museums come on-board in the future.”

Affiliates will join our existing community of practice including our 5-year Study Group (Beaney House, Woodhorn, Lightbox, Manchester, Derby and Ceredigion Museums) and connect with thinkers beyond the museum sector in fields such as economics, ecology and psychology.  We believe that this diversity of practice –connecting learning with the arts, heritage, social services, the third sector, digital, design and beyond – will create exciting new museum programmes and partnerships

Each Affiliate will take part in a tailored introductory workshop and a peer developed programme of seminars, exhibitions, workshops, placements and other events.

‘We’re delighted that so many museums want to support a creative network based on a mutual belief in shared humanity, care and stewardship of the environment. In these current divisive times it seems these values are more important than ever.’  Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust and Happy Museum Founder

To keep the scheme light touch and financially, organisationally and individually sustainable, it will take ideas from the sharing economy (for example food sharing, museum B&B – where host organisations offer accommodation to visiting peers – and open source learning).  The principles of give and gain underpin it.

‘People United are delighted to be supporting the continued development of the Happy Museum Project and excited to see them spread their learning through this wider group of Affiliates.  We look forward to deepening our partnership over the coming years.  Tina Corrie, Chief Executive, People United

We hope to engage further Affiliates in 2017 and beyond.

For more information sign up to the Happy Museum newsletter on our home page.