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2.4Public expectations, professional standards and the probity required of museums as public bodies all demand that these aspirations and aims have to be informed and underpinned by a range of values and standards.


3.1While the overarching context for this policy is the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government, the ethos, work and ambition of Northern Ireland’s museums is regulated and strengthened by various instruments and guidance, including:

3.2Current UK legislation including Northern Ireland legislation, together with European Union and international treaties and declarations as set out in Appendix 2. Museums must operate with due recognition of the legal powers and obligations placed upon their governing bodies and the individuals who serve on such bodies.

3.3Museums easily embrace the principles of ensuring equality of opportunity and developing good relations, beyond any legislative requirement to do so. As such they have a critical contribution in creating a shared and better future in Northern Ireland.

3.4The Museum Accreditation Scheme, which sets out the minimum standards expected in UK museums across governance and museum management, user services, visitor facilities and collections management. The Scheme is supported by the Code of Ethics for Museums, which establishes the standards that society expects museums to uphold.

3.5For museums to do what they do successfully, they require a degree of independence. However, this independence operates in the context of an overarching requirement to meet the cultural rights of all citizens, as set out in Appendix 1.

3.6Museums should play a full part in contributing to the social, cultural and economic development of Northern Ireland, particularly as they are, in the main, sustained through the public purse.

3.7Given their role and position within society, museums are expected to operate in accordance with the standards of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

3.8Museums inevitably share the principles of sustainable development, which embraces a respect for the environment, securing a just society, advancing a sustainable economy, and pursuing good governance, all underpinned by sound evidence.

3.9Museums recognise that their full impact may be enhanced through collective effort and working in partnership with others. Having built a notable range of relationships with various other bodies and organisations -

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