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AIM launches the 'Hallmarks of Prospering Museums' framework

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) launched an important new initiative to help museums at its national conference this month. The “AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums” is a framework that helps museums and heritage organisations identify the key characteristics of best practice and describes the set of behaviours that make heritage organisations prosper and thrive.

The UK boasts some of the best museum and heritage experiences in the world. Many of these are thriving, independent organisations, dedicated to preserving our nation's rich heritage and making it available to as many people as possible in exciting, compelling and useful ways.

AIM’s experience shows that their success is not down to particular size, funding or whether museums are led by staff or by volunteers. Instead there are common characteristics to these museums – characteristics rooted in how the organisations think and behave, rather than in their size or structures – their culture of resourcefulness, passion and willingness to try new things – the things that give them their independent spirit.

The Hallmarks distil and share the experience of two generations of leaders of these independent, innovative and imaginative museums, combined with respected thinking and research. The publication of the Hallmarks is the beginning of AIM’s long–term strategy to share this thinking and culture. AIM will be examining each Hallmark in turn over the next years, sharing case studies, new and existing resources and insights, and support more museums in developing the Hallmarks for themselves.

The Hallmarks incorporate areas that will be familiar to many museums – collections, visitor focus, finance, governance and networks and awareness. They also include areas that are less tangible but which are vitally important to creating prospering museums – purpose, leadership and culture and risk and innovation.

In these areas AIM will be supporting museums, through a three-year programme funded by Arts Council England. The programme includes: in-depth learning opportunities for people leading museums and for people whose role is to support museums, exploring how purpose and organisational culture can be developed within organisations in order to underpin their success; a programme of support for Boards to develop their effectiveness in going beyond their legal responsibilities to help their organisations prosper; a network of support for museum trustees, and a £175,000 investment programme. The learning from the programme will be shared widely through new resources, which will be freely available to all.


The Hallmarks are available now for museums across the UK to download from the AIM Website. Whilst the ACE funded programme elements will initially be for English museums, AIM is working to ensure as much as possible is accessible to all UK museums over the course of the three years.

Launching the AIM Hallmarks at AIM National conference at Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol on 18 June 2015, AIM’s Vice President and Director of London Transport Museum, Sam Mullins, said, “The AIM Hallmarks offer museums a framework to develop eight different elements which, if successfully combined, will enable their own organisation to grow strong and healthy – indeed to prosper.”

The Hallmarks can be downloaded from AIM website

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