FMA: definition and criteria

Leading change through Fellowship of the Museums Association

The Fellowship of the Museums Association (FMA) is a professional development award that recognises and encourages an advanced level of professional contribution, development and achievement by people in any area of museum work.

The Museums Association champions the value of museums to society and supports people who work in and for them (including volunteers). Our key values are independence, creativity, integrity and inclusivity - these values underpin the criteria for achieving the FMA.

Anyone achieving the FMA goes above and beyond their job role.


FMAs should:

1) Lead change in an organisation, area of practice or thinking which also has significant wider impact:

• Lead an organisation and/or an area of practice or field of knowledge and creates a demonstrable benefit to colleagues, peers and/or the public.

• Innovate in areas of work of national, regional or local significance.

• Develop ways of working to support continuous improvement.

2) Generously share their skills and knowledge:

• Further knowledge, understanding and/or practice within the museum sector:

     o give their time to support and enable others, outside direct management to generate new knowledge and insights, e.g. through training, mentoring, learning programmes;

     o draw on external experts, expertises and resources to harness and build knowledge and skills;

     o communicate with the wider sector, e.g. publishing articles, presenting at conferences, writing blogs, tweeting.

3) Invest in their own and others’ development:

• Support museums other than his or her employer (as adviser or trustee, for example) and/or plays a leading role in the work of museum sector groups e.g. committees of specialist groups/federations, working groups.

• Contribute to the development of others as a mentor and/or by participating in a peer learning network.

• Actively plan, act and reflect on his/her personal and professional development.

• Learn from others – both within and beyond the cultural sector.

4) Advocate for museums and the work of museums:

• Look beyond the museum sector, building relationships and advocating for the work of museums with organisations and/or individuals outside the museum sector.

• Demonstrate how the code of ethics underpins his or her work, and their wider sphere of influence.

• Proactively advocate and encourage others in their organisations to embrace the code of ethics (e.g. with governing bodies; in investment decisions).