Museum Standards Programme for Ireland

Museum Standards Programme for Ireland

2007 – ongoing

MSPI promotes professional standards in the care of collections in Irish museums and galleries. The programme recognises the achievement of those standards through accreditation.

MSPI promotes professional standards in the care of collections in Irish museums and galleries. The programme recognises the achievement of those standards through accreditation.


The Museum Standards Programme for Ireland (MSPI) was established by the Heritage Council to benchmark and promote professional standards in the care of collections and to recognise through accreditation the achievement of those standards within the Irish museum sector. 

Aims and Objectives

Why Accreditation?

Accredited museums can have confidence they know how to look after their collections and understand the needs of their visitors.
'Taking part in the Museum Standards Programme is a public promise by each museum to take care of the heritage of its community. Achieving accreditation in MSPI demonstrates that a museum is meeting its promise.'

The Work of MSPI

Participation on the programme is open to:

(i) all established and eligible museums and galleries on the island of Ireland and
(ii) the custodians of eligible collections considering or seeking a more permanent and secure situation for their collection.
Standards are achievable and can be applied to museums of all sizes and levels of funding.
MSPI provides a series of workshops to support the achievement of these standards covering topics that include:

  • taking care of and documenting a collection;
  • storing, displaying and exhibiting artefacts;
  • risk assessment and disaster planning;
  • visitor care and access;
  • museum governance and policies;
  • managing finances;
  • marketing and
  • developing an education policy.

The Participants

There are now 58 museums (61 sites) in the Museum Standards Programme. To date 28 have  achieved Full Accreditation and 12 have achieved Interim Accreditation.


Since its establishment by the Heritage Council in 2006, the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland has helped 40 museums to receive accreditation. These include national institutions, local authority, private, co-operative and small volunteer-run museums.

In July 2016, the following museums retained their previously-won full accreditation:

  • Castletown House, Co. Kildare;
  • Donegal County Museum, Letterkenny;
  • The Old Library, Trinity College Dublin and
  • The Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.

Achieving full accreditation for the first time were:

  • Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Co. Kildare;
  • The Louth County Museum, Dundalk and
  • Fota House, Co. Cork.

Interim accreditation was awarded to:

  • The Irish Agricultural Museum, Co. Wexford and
  • The Michael Davitt Museum, Straide, Co. Mayo.

Resources & Getting Involved

If you are the custodian of a collection seeking to improve care and management or if you wish to assess your eligibility for the programme, please download and read the MSPI Standards & Guidelines, contact our MSPI Co-ordinator Lesley-Ann Hayden 

Though designed to support MSPI applicants through the accreditation application process, the Standards & Guidelines document is an extremely useful resource for any individual or organisation seeking to take greater care of their collection or archive regardless of their desire or eligibility to participate on the programme.

This book interprets these familiar principles and practices within the context of caring for collections. Some of the main processes of deterioration are explained and measures to minimise further damage are suggested.

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