Future Proof Museums is an intensive change programme proven to improve the resilience of museums across England. 

The programme explores 

  • Why the museum is vital – defining purpose or cause, how the museum is relevant in today’s diverse society, what difference does the museum make in an ever-changing world? 
  • What direction will drive a successful future – adapting, innovating and transforming to ensure a desirable, feasible and financially viable business model 
  • How to create the right culture – developing an agile organisational culture and leadership to continue to adapt and influence external change in the future 

The pilot programme proved successful in sparking passion for change and giving confidence to CEOs in their ability to lead change. The AMA has since worked with a further two cohorts of museums through this intensive programme, with the aim of helping these organisations to be more resilient, able to change, adapt, influence and remain relevant to an ever-changing external environment. 

An AMA Trainer mid-presentation

Past Participants

Future Proof Museums is for Museum Directors, CEOs and their teams who want to create more resilient organisations.

Future Proof Museums resulted in tangible outcomes. The intensity, the dialogue, the strong tools and excellent support produced the practical outcomes most training programmes don’t deliver or that dilute very quickly.

Tim Desmond, CEO, Galleries of Justice

Excellent trainers, fantastic learning, brilliant networking and a great opportunity to feel part of a growing museums network

Tom Besford, Arts & Heritage Manager, Touchstones Rochdale

Over 50 organisations took part in Future Proof Museums, including: 

  • Horniman Museum and Gardens 
  • National Football Museum 
  • People’s History Museum 
  • Museum of English Rural Life 
  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust 
  • Compton Verney 
  • Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove 

Structure

The programme starts with an in-house diagnostic session to  explore different perspectives across the organisation and to highlight and identify future opportunities.   

Building on this, a three-day intensive residential programme provides the time and skills to explore a strategic change toolkit for your museum. 

Areas of work at the residential include: 

  • Defining your museum’s cause – the difference it makes to the world 
  • Exploring the story of your museum and mapping its direction of travel 
  • Visualising your current business model, its strengths and weaknesses 
  • Exploring how to innovate around the model and prototype new directions 
  • Analysing your leadership style and organisational culture 
  • Exploring how to manage change successfully and overcome resistance within your organisation 

The final stage of the programme is on-going facilitation and mentoring support, tailored to the different areas of the programme you want to continue to focus on and take forward. This included a mix of facilitated sessions in your museum, senior management team leadership development, training in becoming more relevant and inclusive, mentoring and coaching. 

AMA delegates sitting around a table during a workshop

Impact

The programme delivered impact both in the short-term and longer term, shaping the development of individual careers as well as delivering organisational change. 

I became co-CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust in 2020, and looking back now I can see that AMA’s Future Proof Museum Course in 2017 made a real difference. It was important in changing my attitude about the role of museum director. Meeting approachable, hard-working museum directors opened a door in my mind – I thought I could potentially join their ranks and now I have.

Sara Wajid

Participants saw the programme as valuable both because it was conducive to thinking differently and because it equipped participants to take action using a range of tools.  These helped them to define priorities; to understand how their team was likely to react to change; to secure buy-in and support them through the process and to nurture positive behaviours.   

Future Proof Museums Impact Report

For me what was brilliant was the programme pushed me to think innovatively and dream big yet at the same time grounded the ambition with very valuable practical tools and insights both to shape and communicate this change to be more impactful.

Thanh Sinden, Strategic Audience Development Manager, Culture Coventry 

The range and depth of topics covered during the residential sessions were eye-opening, thought-provoking and right on the pulse

Yasmin Khan, Covalent Creative Partnerships 
An AMA trainer talking to a delegate during a workshop
An AMA team member and trainer talking

Trainers

Trainers included

Andrew McIntyre

Andrew McIntyre Headshot

A co-founder of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, Andrew is one of the UK’s leading authorities on audience motivations, behaviour and responses.

Susan J Royce

Susan Royce Headshot

Susan is an independent consultant and chartered accountant working in the cultural sector. She works with clients to develop and deliver business models that are socially valuable and financially viable.  

Carolyn Royston

Carolyn Royston Headshot

Carolyn Royston, is Head of Digital Media, Imperial War Museums. 

Russell Willis Taylor

Russell Willis Taylor Headshot

Russell Willis Taylor is President and CEO of National Arts Strategies (NAS) and has extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and all areas of operational management. 

Mark Wright 

Mark Wright Headshot

Mark is Director at People Create Limited, and has spent the last ten years helping leaders and their teams achieve clarity, purpose and performance.