The Society for Museum Archaeology (SMA) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded £49,413 by Arts Council England (ACE) in response to its recent application to the ACE Subject Specialist Networks Funding Programme, 2018-20.

The funding award will be used to deliver the SMART Project (Society for Museum Archaeology Resources and Training Project) that will:

*Enable museum staff and volunteers to develop the skills to work with archaeological collections proactively and confidently across collections care, interpretation and public access.
*Connect museum staff and volunteers with subject specialist expertise in order to facilitate knowledge exchange, and strengthen expertise in museum archaeology.
*Ensure toolkits and guidelines are updated, and readily accessible to museum staff and volunteers through the SMA website, and those of other key stakeholders.

This will be achieved through:

*A review of museum archaeology collections care and management standards to ensure they are updated and easily digested resources for all museum staff and volunteers working with archaeology collections.
*The provision of free training workshops with travel bursaries for attendees, covering the key skills required for archaeological collections care and interpretation, with an emphasis on use of archaeological collections for public and community engagement.
*The development of a peer networking and mentoring programme.

The £49,413 investment in the SMART Project represents a step-change for the Society in its ability to address in a practical way the challenges facing those charged with the care of archaeology collections: these challenges have been brought into sharp focus by the survey work SMA has been doing on behalf of Historic England over the last 2-3 years (see below).

The overall impact of this training programme will be to help museum staff to acquire and develop the necessary skills to unlock the potential of archaeological collections for a wide range of audiences. The project will also enable SMA to reach more non-specialists, and to promote its role as a source of advice and support to all those responsible for curating archaeology collections regardless of their background or areas of expertise.

Duncan Brown, Chair of SMA said:

“The SMART project is the culmination of years of work by the SMA in raising the profile of archaeology in our museums. Curatorial expertise is required to make those collections fully accessible and the SMART project will provided much needed training across the whole sector. This exciting, innovative project aims to work with volunteers, as well as museum professionals and provide a network of support that will secure the future of our archaeology collections for years to come. The success of this application is testament to the dedication and hard work of SMA committee members, who deserve huge recognition and congratulations.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

‘We are delighted to be supporting this vital work by the Society for Museum Archaeology through our Subject Specialist Networks Project Fund. We support Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) to develop the knowledge and expertise associated with specialist collections and to help more museums connect with each other and with their visitors. By sharing their skills with other museum staff and volunteers, SMA will be helping to open up collections and allow us all to know and understand our past.”

Society for Museum Archaeology/Historic England (Annual Survey of Museums Collecting Archaeology, 2016 and 2017):

Publicly Accessible Repositories for Archaeological Archives
Read the definition produced by SMA here

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Power Steele Building, Wessex Hall
Whiteknights Road, Earley,
Reading RG6 6DE

0118 966 2841
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