September 2015

NMDC newsletter: September 2015
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  NMDC newsletter: September 2015
 
 
 
 
  In this month's edition:  
 
 
  RAF Museum exhibition voted Best Heritage Project 2015

World’s most Googled: NMDC museums most searched for on the planet

I Love Museums: getting involved

Online discussions ahead of Government Culture White Paper

Write to your MP about the arts, says ACE

Welsh Government publishes review of local museum provision

Jeremy Corbyn publishes his manifesto for culture

Creative Scotland Board meets gender target

Museum entry: avoiding ‘a fashionable lounge where our exquisites alone may congregate’

Enter Scottish Enterprising Museums Award 2015

Welsh Marketing Excellence awards launched

Birmingham library users asked to donate new books as Council budget is ‘on hold’

Visit England publishes 2014 trends

York Museums Trust goes to court over business rates

International tourism toolkit
 
 
 
  Section headings:  
 
 
  Members’ news  |  Visions for culture  |  Honours and Resignations  |  Funding  |  Events  |  Awards  |  Local museums and libraries  |  Tech and practical  |  Tourism  |  Pounds and pence  |  Disputed collections  |  International  |  And finally  |   Jobs  
 
 
  Members’ news  
 
 
Tim Padley, Curator of Archaeology at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery returns a wolf to the stores after it featured in the museum's summer exhibition.
Tim Padley, Curator of Archaeology at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery returns a wolf to the stores after it featured in the museum's summer exhibition.
 
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  RAF Museum exhibition voted Best Heritage Project 2015  
 
 
The RAF Museum’s First World War in the Air exhibition has been voted best National Lottery funded heritage project 2015 by the public.  The exhibition, which was supported by £898k of lottery money, received more than 7,000 votes.  Spandau Ballet frontman Martin Kemp, who has previously flown an historical fighter plane to recreate a Second World War dogfight, brought the award to the Museum.  The Museum will also win a £2k prize and feature in a BBC One awards programme on 21st September.  Kemp said, “This is a fantastic project, not just for aviation fans like me.  It is great that National Lottery players have helped to preserve these wonderful flying machines for so many young families and people of all ages to appreciate.”   RAF Museum
 
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  World’s most Googled: NMDC museums most searched for on the planet  
 
 
The three most Googled museums for international searches are in London, according to a new survey by London & Partners.  The Science Museum is the most popular, followed by the Natural History Museum and the British Museum.  Two US museums, the Met and Smithsonian, are in fourth and fifth place.  Science Museum Director Ian Blatchford said, "it's fantastic that so many people across world are seeking out the Science Museum, and this new data provides yet more evidence of the world class status of British museums.Telegraph, London & Partners
 
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  Gallipoli’s last ship reopens to the public  
 
 
The last surviving ship from the First World War Gallipoli campaign has been restored and opened to the public at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.  Blogging about the reopening, HLF’s Chair Sir Peter Luff described how his father landed at Gallipoli in 1915 under the ship’s covering fire.  Displays in the ship will cover life and conditions on board, the resultant re-drawing of national borders in the Middle East, and the effects of this which still resonate today.  DCMS blog
 
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  Exotic Creatures: images in this month’s newsletter  
 
 
The taxidermied wolf at Tullie House was on display earlier this year as part of its What’s In Store Exhibition.  The wolf was extremely popular with adults and children while on display: our lead image this month shows Tim Padley, Curator of Archaeology returning the wolf to the stores in August. 
 
Other images are from Exotic Creatures a new exhibition at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton which will explore how animals considered exotic by the Georgians and early Victorians were depicted, kept and presented.  The exhibition looks at early zoos, royal menageries, and the use of unusual animals in political cartoons.
 
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  Visions for culture  
 
 
  I Love Museums: getting involved  
 
 
Blogging for the London Museums Group, NMDC's Katie Childs describes the ongoing I Love Museums campaign and why it is important to get involved.  National museums have seen cuts of around 30% in the last five years, and some local authorities have reduced investment by around 60%.  She writes, "the impact of further cuts may not always be seen immediately (or even within the life of this Parliament) but it will certainly be felt by those who need museums in the future... Museums preserve, promote and protect one of the few irreplaceable public assets: the nation’s collective memory, knowledge and history."  Resources on the I Love Museums website will help you and your audiences express why you value museums, write to your MP or local council and sign up to the national campaign calling for local and national government funding and support for museums.  You can also acquire one of the stylish lime green and turquoise I Love Museums twibbons, now becoming fashionable among the more discerning users of Twitter.  London Museums Group, I Love Museums
 
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  Online discussions ahead of Government Culture White Paper  
 
 
The Government is planning a new Culture White Paper, to be published in late 2015 or early 2016.  It will be the first White Paper to give a complete overview of the cultural sector and the Government’s role in supporting it since Jennie Lee’s Vision for the Arts, published 50 years ago.  Ahead of publication, there will be online discussions over twelve weeks on a new platform called #OurCulture and on social media.  Full details will be published shortly.  The White Paper will cover four themes:
 
  • how culture creates places where people want to live, work and visit
  • how people engage with culture
  • funding models and creating financial resilience in the sector
  • using culture to promote Britain abroad.
 
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was visiting the newly reopened York Art Gallery as DCMS made this announcement, and he encouraged the local council to get involved in the discussion: "I want to hear from councils like York, on what their ambition would be to use culture to promote themselves not just for people who come to visit as tourist but also for people who come and work here.  I know TalkTalk are investing in very high speed broadband in York, so you are likely in the future to continue to attract 21st century physicists to come here.  But part of that will be the quality of life for people who want to come and work here, and I think culture and heritage can play a very big role in that.Arts Professional, York Press, Gov.uk
 
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  Write to your MP about the arts, says ACE  
 
 
In a scheme parallel to the I Love Museums campaign, Arts Council England is inviting arts organisations to write to their MPs about the value of culture in their communities.  Chief Executive Darren Henley has recently written to every MP, and says that whilst many understand the benefits of the arts, others do not:  “they don’t yet understand that art and culture can help them achieve their goals – that it can bring money into their local economy, make their constituency a place where people want to live, reach out to isolated communities and help educate children and young people.”  The Arts Council says that multiple letters from different organisations will help make the point.  MPs are also being asked to sign an Early Day Motion on the importance of public arts investment.  ACE
 
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  Welsh Government publishes review of local museum provision  
 
 
The Welsh Government has published a review of local museum provision, written by an expert panel led by Dr Haydn Edwards, Vice President of National Museum Wales.  The report's authors visited several museums and held two roundtable discussions to inform their report, and found a mixed picture.  It said: “[some] museums are proactive and resourceful organisations, with clear objectives, and make the most of opportunities, especially when external funding can be secured.  However, it is also true that too many were found to be disappointing.  In these, faults found included: lack of basic housekeeping; rudimentary exhibition standards; poor grasp of how best to derive meaning from the collections; displays that were at best simplistic; stereotypical rather than insightful collections; and minimal educational provision and work with marginalised groups.”  The report recommends: 
 
  • a national Museums Council to provide collective leadership across the sector in Wales
  • three regional bodies led by Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association to provide operational direction
  • a charter to set standards for public museums, with Government and local authorities providing transitional skills sharing to reach the standards of the charter
  • the establishment of Collections Wales to rationalise, safeguard and develop significant collections
  • a transformation fund to help museums invest in buildings and services
  • museums run by local authorities should receive relief on national non-domestic rates in the same way as museums run as charities.
 
The MA and Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales both welcomed the report.  The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism will make a formal response to the review recommendations later in the autumn.  Welsh Government, Museums Journal, Arts Industry
 
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  Jeremy Corbyn publishes his manifesto for culture  
 
 
Frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, Jeremy Corbyn, has published a manifesto for culture, the only one of the four candidates to do so.  Launched at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, the plan would reverse cuts made to arts funding since 2010 and support local authorities to sustain their cultural offerings.  The manifesto also supports policies to ensure that artists are given a wage they can survive on, citing the Paying Artists campaign.  It argues in favour of more support for the regions, and a defence of the BBC.  Corbyn said the manifesto was a proposal rather than firm policy, and would be evolved through consultation.  He said that culture is a route to a more equal society, “the Conservatives have made huge cuts in the Arts Council budget over the past five years and are set to continue making those.  They claim it’s all offset by sponsorship, all offset by scholarships, and all offset by bringing private sector money in.  The view that I’m picking up all around the country is the very opposite; that it is the most innovative areas of art that are most under threat, it’s the most radical theatres that are under threat, it’s the most radical galleries that are under threat.  It’s the opportunities, often for children and young people in very poor areas in very poor communities, who lose out altogether, where there’s no music teaching, no opportunities for them whatsoever.” Challenged from the floor by Apollo Magazine, he also spoke about the importance of preserving mainstream collections.  Other candidates have made briefer references to culture, with Yvette Cooper emphasising the value of the arts beyond economics, and Liz Kendall praising the technical skills of those in the sector.  The Conversation, Guardian, Evening Standard, Jeremy for Labour, Terri Paddock (full launch speech), Apollo Magazine
 
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  Arts Council England seeks ‘data with soul’  
 
 
Brené Brown of Arts Council England has blogged clarifying the Arts Council’s processes for collecting data.  Central principles include only collecting data that will be used, publishing raw data, and ensuring that individual grant recipients cannot be identified.  The amount of detail requested has increased particularly around diversity statistics.  Arts Council England is also aiming to be more transparent about the data they hold, and has published a schedule of its data releases for the next few months.  ACE
 
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  Creative Scotland Board meets gender target  
 
 
Creative Scotland’s Board now has a 50:50 gender split.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for all boards in Scotland to achieve this benchmark by 2020.  18 private companies, 45 third sector organisations and 81 public bodies have signed up to the challenge.  Fair Work Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham said, “our greatest resource is our people so we can’t afford to underuse the skills and talents of more than half of our population.”  Scottish Government
 
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  Honours and Resignations  
 
 
Abraham Thomas, Director of Sir John Soane's Museum has stepped down from his post.  He will be moving to the US following his recent marriage.  Deputy Director Helen Dorey will act as interim Director from late October.  Museums Journal
 
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  Queen’s Birthday Honours nominations  
 
 
The Government is inviting nominations for the Queen’s Birthday Honours from the DCMS sector.  As nominations declined in the past year, DCMS are keen to encourage people to make recommendations before 18th September for the 2016 awards.  Gov.uk
 
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  Funding  
 
 
Three liger cubs bred between a lion and a tigress at the Royal Menagerie, Windsor Great Park, Oct 1824, Attr to Richard Barrett D Private Collection.  From Royal Pavilion Brighton's forthcoming Exotic Creatures exhibition.
Three liger cubs bred between a lion and a tigress at the Royal Menagerie, Windsor Great Park, Oct 1824, Attr to Richard Barrett D Private Collection. From Royal Pavilion Brighton's forthcoming Exotic Creatures exhibition.
 
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  HLF awards £4.9m as work starts at the Southbank  
 
 
The HLF has awarded £4.9m towards £25m plans to modernise the Southbank Centre.  The buildings will now close for two years while work is carried out, including restoration of the glass pyramid on the roof of the Hayward Gallery, which will allow natural light into the building.  HLF investment will also support an Archive Studio, making the Southbank’s 60 year old archive accessible to the public for the first time.  Work had previously been delayed by a long running dispute with local skateboarders.  A further £3.7m is still to be raised to complete the restoration, which should reopen in 2017.  HLF
 
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  Creative Scotland submits evidence  
 
 
The Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee are holding an enquiry into ‘Public Bodies, Spending Decision and Outcomes’ ahead of autumn budget decisions later this year.  Creative Scotland will be giving evidence in mid September, focusing particularly around its effectiveness following structural changes and it's work with other bodies.  It has published a written submission ahead of its evidence session.  Creative Scotland
 
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  Museum entry: avoiding ‘a fashionable lounge where our exquisites alone may congregate’  
 
 
There has been further comment on charging for museum entry in the face of funding cuts.  Blogging for the Art Fund, its Director, Stephen Deuchar, says that there has never been a single model of funding: independent museums and ‘virtually all historic houses’ have always charged.  Nevertheless, he argues that an un-nuanced move towards charging would have multiple problems: it would be illegal to charge EU nationals for entry to national museums while UK citizens enjoyed free entry; and cause a logjam while passports were bureaucratically examined at the doors of major sites.  Deuchar adds, “free national museums are among the most frequently cited reasons for tourists coming here in the first place, bringing revenue to many quarters of the UK economy beyond the institutions themselves”.  Deuchar continues to say that ‘virtually all museums make strenuous efforts to raise income from their visitors’ although it is a matter of local judgement whether a charge for admission will reduce spend in the café or gift shop.  The important principle, he says is that public funding must remain a part of the healthy mix of support for museums and galleries. 
 
Writing for Apollo Magazine, the Museums Association’s Alistair Brown says that whether to charge for entry to local museums is the most crucial issue.  Local authority spend on museums has reduced from £310m to £240m since 2010, and some local museums have responded by charging.  However, the principle of universal access is a founding principle of many civic collections.  The founding documents of Derby Art Gallery say that the service should not “provide a fashionable lounge where our exquisites alone may congregate to study and admire the beautiful, but… develop the artistic aspirations of all sorts and conditions”.  Brown says it is difficult to make charging work without visits ‘falling off a cliff’ outside tourist hotspots like York and Brighton. The Novium Museum in Chichester reversed its policy of charging for admission after only a year because it was 70% below its visitor target.  Apollo Magazine, Art Fund
 
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  Events  
 
 
  Regional Museums Funding Fair  
 
 
Museums Development North West are holding their third annual funding fair on 24th September in Warrington.  There will be representatives from major funders, the sector's representative bodies and other supporting organisations, including NMDC's Katie Childs. Other organisations to be represented include Arts Council England, HLF, AIM, the Art Fund, Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy, Curious Minds and Heritage Alliance.  Attendance is free but booking is necessary.  Museums Development North West
 
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  Big, Friendly and (hopefully) Giant: Roald Dahl Centenary 2016  
 
 
2016 marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl and Welsh museums are co-ordinating celebratory events in partnership with Dahl’s estate.  Any Welsh museum, library or archive contemplating an event should get in touch with lesley-anne.kerr@wales.gsi.gov.uk to benefit from wider marketing of these events. 
 
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  Trustee Leadership training courses  
 
 
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy are running a half day trustee training course to help them play a role in raising funds.  It takes place on 27th October and costs £75 +VAT  Arts Fundraising
 
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  Gentle introduction to quantitative evaluation  
 
 
Methods for Change are holding a workshop on quantitative evaluation led by speakers from the British Museum, Chester Zoo and University of Warwick.  The day will cover questionnaire design visitor tracking, timing and other types of observation-based evaluation.  It takes place on 29th September and tickets are £95 for non profit organisations.  A second workshop on 30th September explores using Twitter and Trip Advisor as evaluation tools.  Methods for Change, Methods for Change (twitter workshop)
 
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  Culture24 events  
 
 
Culture24 are running two events in the autumn.  The Let’s Get Real Conference is taking place during Brighton Digital Festival.  Topics to be covered include the digital component of The Barbican’s 2015-20 strategic plan and Seb Chan’s work with cultural institutions including the Smithsonian.  There are 70 tickets left, priced from £99 plus VAT.  A sister project, the Let’s Get Real Young Audiences collaboration, runs for 7 months and aims to bring together 20 institutions together for mutual learning.  Participation in Let's Get Real Young Audiences costs £1,600.  WeAreCulture24 (Young Audiences), Let’s Get Real
 
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  Lead workshops for the British Council Museums Academy  
 
 
The British Council is seeking applicants to run elements of its 2016 Museum Academy, which will spread skills and knowledge to the next generation of museum and gallery leaders from around the world.  The courses will focus on commercial enterprise, creating contemporary art exhibitions, developing digital content and audience engagement.  They will be held in the UK and abroad.  The deadline for applications is 21st September.  British Council
 
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  Awards  
 
 
  Enter Scottish Enterprising Museums Award 2015  
 
 
Arts & Business Scotland is offering an award for the most enterprising museum or gallery 2015.  Last year’s winner was Abbot House in Dunfermline which created its own microbrewery, allowing visitors to view the process and buy the end product.  Scottish museums who ran a project during 2014/15 which is at or nearing completion by this year’s closing date of 1st October are eligible to apply.  MGS
 
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  Welsh Marketing Excellence awards launched  
 
 
The Welsh Museums Federation has launched their Marketing Excellence Awards for 2016.  Last year more than 40 museums applied for the prizes with awards up to £500.  There will be prizes for overall excellence, partnership work and individual marketers.  Entries must be submitted by 29th January, the awards ceremony will take place in February 2016.  Welsh Museums Federation
 
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  Grants for manuscript evaluation  
 
 
The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust has given £2.5m towards the conservation of manuscripts since 1990.  The next two deadlines for applications are 1st October 2015 and 1st April 2016.  NMCT
 
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  Lever Prize shortlist announced  
 
 
Four cultural organisations have been shortlisted for the 2016 Lever Prize, which celebrates world class arts based in the north west of England.  They are:
 
  • FACT (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology) Liverpool
  • Lakeland Arts, Cumbria
  • Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Arts
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
 
The winner, who will be announced early next year, will receive £10k and an opportunity to work closely with businesses in the region.  NWBLT
 
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  Angel Awards winner announced  
 
 
Historic England has announced the winners of its annual Angel Awards which highlight individuals and communities who have carried out exceptional work to save UK heritage sites. Best rescue of a historic building went to Nicholas and Dinah Ashley-Cooper for St Giles House and Park.  Best rescue of an industrial site went to Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust for Blackfell Hauler House, part of a railway complex.  The People's Favourite was The Coffin Works in Birmingham.  Historic England
 
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  Sandford Award winners 2015 announced  
 
 
The 50 winners of this year’s Sandford Awards have been announced.  The awards are given for education programmes at heritage sites and act as a kite mark for excellence.  Shipley Art Gallery, part of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, received an award for the first time for its hands on workshops as well as opportunities for casual visitors to the gallery to handle objects.  Sandford Awards
 
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  Local museums and libraries  
 
 
  Birmingham library users asked to donate new books as Council budget is ‘on hold’  
 
 
Readers in some Birmingham libraries have seen signs inviting them to donate new books to the service as the Council’s own budget is ‘on hold’ due to extensive cuts.  The city’s £188m flagship library has also seen its opening hours reduced.  Authors have reacted angrily, with Neil Gaiman tweeting ‘!’ and Jonathan Coe tweeting “however Bham [sic] Council spin it, spending £180m on a new library building then finding you can't afford to buy any new books is beyond terrible”.  Penny Holbrook, speaking for the Council, said that the request had come from a few libraries rather than the Council itself: “Whilst we have not corporately asked for donations from the public and this is the action of a few libraries we do of course welcome any support the public wish to give our community libraries and the Council in general, however we do not expect the public to make up for cuts to the budget from the Government.” CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole has since written to the Council asking them to ‘think carefully’ about the impact on communities and the local economy.  Telegraph, BBC, Guardian
 
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  Child injured in museum display accident  
 
 
A child has been injured in an accident at Torquay Museum, after someone tampered with a spring trap, once used for snaring wild animals, and pulled it to an open position.  A child was subsequently injured by the trap, released by firefighters, and taken to hospital.  Director Basil Greenwood said it would have taken ‘a considerable effort’ to set the trap.   The Museum is now examining CCTV to discover exactly what happened.  The South West Federation of Museums said, “this is a timely reminder that visitors to museums are behaving in ways which we might not expect and therefore we should periodically review the safety of display areas and, if necessary, revise safety mechanisms and procedures.”  BBC, SWFed
 
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  Local Councils should display more of their collections, say Taxpayers Alliance  
 
 
Following a Freedom of Information request, the Taxpayers Alliance say that the Government and local authorities own £3.5bn worth of art, but only 3% of it is on display.  Carlisle City Council owns 864,100 works of art, of which 0.2% are on display.  Manchester City Council’s art collection is the most valuable at £347m: 2% of their collection is displayed. 
 
Analysing the Alliance’s complaints, BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz said they were only partly justified.  58.3% of the Government Art Collection is shown in Government offices, and is an effective source of soft power: “go to almost any ambassador's official residence and you will see great examples of art from his or her home country.  Their job is not to be merely decorative, but to communicate the values, status and culture of a country.  It brings a certain credibility, authority and a confident swagger to proceedings.  It is working hard for its place on the wall.”  Nevertheless, Gompertz argues that local authority collections could be used better, and be hung in schools.   The Your Paintings project also allows the public to explore every oil painting in public ownership online.  BBC, BBC (Your Paintings)
 
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  Tech and practical  
 
 
The Giraffes in the Zoological Gardens, Regents Park - Lithograph by George Scharf, published 1836, Private collection.  Featuring in Royal Pavilion, Brighton's forthcoming exhibition Exotic Creatures.
The Giraffes in the Zoological Gardens, Regents Park - Lithograph by George Scharf, published 1836, Private collection. Featuring in Royal Pavilion, Brighton's forthcoming exhibition Exotic Creatures.
 
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  HLF launches online forum  
 
 
The Heritage Lottery Fund has launched an online forum for those considering applying for lottery funding, or talking with other recipients and HLF staff during and after the life of a project.  Projects can also post related job, volunteer and training opportunities.  HLF
 
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  Wayfinding in museums  
 
 
Karen Hughes, Creative Director at True North has blogged for the Guardian on wayfinding through museums.  She cites the crush in the Louvre as an example of bad practice: “I joined thousands of tourists being herded through this vast gallery.  I shamefully skipped masterpiece after masterpiece, following a somewhat clumsy signage system that directed me almost straight to the Mona Lisa.  I was stressed and exhausted by the time I left.”  She argues that apps, multiple trails by mood and theme, as well as good signage can help.  She points to the National Trust’s ‘please do touch’ and ‘keep on the grass’ signs as examples of playfully creating spaces where visitors can relax.  Guardian
 
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  Welsh Museums Festival website now live  
 
 
The Welsh Museums Festival website is now live, using a new generation of urls, so its memorable address is simply museums.wales.  The site brings together all the festival events programmed for the week of 24th October – 1st November.  One person at each participating Welsh museum should sign up to the site to add events.  Nicola Williams - nicola.williams at wrexham.gov.uk - can answer queries.  Museums Wales
 
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  Presentations from the Taking Part user event  
 
 
DCMS has published materials and feedback from their July event to explore the future of the Taking Part survey.  Users responded positively to the idea of more online collection, but were uncertain about reducing the sample size.  There was debate about whether to reduce longitudinal surveys.  DCMS is seeking ideas and feedback until October 16th.  Gov.uk
 
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  Tourism  
 
 
  Visit England publishes 2014 trends  
 
 
Visit England has published trends in visits to UK attractions in 2014.  The figures include a diversity of attractions including gardens, farms, historic houses, places of worship and museums.  Findings included:
 
  • Admissions were up by 4% during 2014 compared to 2013.
  • The average admission charge across the country is £7.24, up 4% since 2012/13.  The average for museums is £5.43.  Broken down by region, attractions in London are the most expensive at £8.83 and the North East the cheapest at £6.02.
  • The most visited paid attractions were the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Flamingo Land.
  • 16 of the 20 most visited free attractions are museums and galleries, led by the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern.  Brighton Pier (5th) and The Library of Birmingham (8th) were the most visited free attractions outside London.
  • London’s visitor growth has slowed to only 2%, compared to 8% in 2013.  The East of England saw the greatest growth, showing a 10% increase on the previous year’s figures.
 
Meanwhile, recently released ONS statistics show that inbound tourism continues to rise – up 5% to 16.8m in the first half of 2015 compared to 2014.  However, overall overseas visitor spend declined by 1% as a strong pound against the Euro made the UK comparatively expensive.   Visit England, ALVA
 
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  Brits don't always like to be beside the seaside  
 
 
Recent surveys show that trips to the seaside are in decline: a YouGov survey shows 20% fewer trips this year compared to 2005.  The National Trust report that 50% of UK nationals have not visited the seaside in the last year.  The Trust has now launched a campaign to encourage people to visit the sea, including a tour of major cities and a poem by John Cooper Clarke.  Meanwhile Fort Bovisland, a large structure on the Devon coast is being redeveloped as a visitor attraction.  National Trust, ALVA
 
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  Pounds and pence  
 
 
  Summer of strikes  
 
 
Strikes have continued in museums in England, Scotland and Wales throughout the summer.  PCS staff at the National Gallery have been on continuous strike since 17th August.  Seven days of strikes have begun at National Museums Scotland.  At National Museums Scotland, the PCS union is seeking to reintroduce weekend working allowances which were scrapped for staff joining after 2011.  A spokesperson for the Museum said that the reintroduction of these payments was unaffordable, but that it ‘remain[s] committed to the process of dialogue’.  National Museum Wales is making a new offer to staff following strikes on several of its sites.  A spokeswoman said, “it is the best we can offer within the financial resources available to us, which have been cut by over 20% in recent years”Museums Journal
 
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  York Museums Trust goes to court over business rates  
 
 
York Museums Trust is challenging its business rates in court next year.  The Valuation Office Agency, which sets the rates, has used the ‘contractor method’ to fix the level of rates.  This calculates the rates based on what it would cost to rebuild the museum buildings.  York Museums Trust's Mike Woodward said this made no sense for an ancient building like York Castle Museum: “this is an 18th century prison building on an ancient monument site that’s built with heavy stone.  The Valuation Office has valued it on the basis of a notional rebuild, which we are saying doesn’t make sense because if this building didn’t exist you wouldn’t build it and certainly not like that.
 
A challenge earlier this year reduced the rate by 30%, but did not change the contractor calculation method, or go far enough for York Museums Trust, which could save hundreds of thousands of pounds if its action is successful.  The Trust hopes that if it wins, it will set a precedent for other museums facing large rates bills.  Museums Journal, York Press
 
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  Report published into costs at V&A Dundee  
 
 
A report has found that the new V&A branch in Dundee had little prospect of being delivered within its original budget of £49m.  Costs rose to £80.1m in 2015, despite changes to simplify the design.  The report says that the building was originally costed at a lower specification than the ‘elite level’ design selected.  It recommended appointing a project manager to ensure that the building is now delivered within the new budget.  Councillor Ken Guild for Dundee City Council said, “This comprehensive review shows us where lessons need to be learned and I am happy to accept the recommendations.  I am sure that these can be implemented quickly and that frequent updates can be brought before councillors.”  Museums Journal
 
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  Disputed collections  
 
 
  Zimbabwe and Natural History Museum in talks over human remains  
 
 
The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, has said in a speech that human remains held by the Natural History Museum in London include heads of independence fighters killed by the British in the 1890s.  The Museum is now in conversation with the Zimbabwean Government and has asked them to appoint experts to meet with museum staff.  In a statement NHM said, "The NHM cares for 20,000 human remains in its collection.  They are referred to by scientists both at the museum and internationally for research… It is not yet clear whether any remains in the museum collection are related to the events, places or people referred to in President Mugabe’s speech this week.”  Museums Journal
 
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  Burrell Collection settle Nazi era loot claim  
 
 
The Burrell Collection has paid an undisclosed sum amounting to tens of thousands of pounds, after it emerged that a sixteenth century tapestry among its holdings was forcibly sold at auction in Hamburg in 1927 during a period of anti-Semitic persecution.  The object changed hands twice before being purchased by William Burrell.  The Spoliation Panel report recommended that in exchange for payment, the claimants should waive ownership of the object, while the Burrell Collection will display a caption about its provenance whenever it is on display.   Museums Journal
 
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  Export bar for first painting of Niagara Falls  
 
 
DCMS has placed an export bar on the first eyewitness picture of Niagara Falls.  An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara was painted in 1762 by the military artist Captain Thomas Davis.  The bar is in place until 18th November initially, with a possible extension to 18th February 2016.  £151.8k plus VAT is needed to retain the painting.  Gov.uk
 
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  International  
 
 
  International tourism toolkit  
 
 
The British Council has published the International Tourism Toolkit which include helpful tips and information about how to make a museum more attractive to international tourists.
 
The toolkit is the outcome of a year-long project, funded by Arts Council England.  During the project representatives from museums in four cities travelled to visit museums in some of the emerging tourism markets to discover what may encourage international tourists to venture beyond the hotspots of central London, Edinburgh, and Oxford and Cambridge.  The toolkit also draws on feedback from international tourists, international students and tourism experts.
 
Our favourite top tips are to serve hot water in the café and to express the distance your museum is from the nearest airport in time.  For more tips like these and some useful background information, download the toolkit here.
 
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  British Council Arts staff changes  
 
 
The British Council’s Arts Department recently launched a consultation on a refreshed vision for its work.  They felt that they needed to change and adapt in order to assist the increasingly ambitious international aspirations of cultural organisations throughout the UK, as well satisfying increasing demand from around the world for engagement with the UK’s culture sector.
 
In order to achieve this they are making changes to their staffing, including slightly increasing their staff numbers. They will be recruiting new staff to their art form and cross-discipline teams, who are based in the UK. One post currently open for applications is the new position of Director of Exhibitions. Further details here.
 
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  Policy handbook on artists’ residencies in Europe  
 
 
The European Union seeks to promote the active movement of artists around its territory, including through artists residencies.  It has now produced a 92 page, illustrated and highly readable policy handbook, available in full online for those interested in this area of work.  Examples used in the book are from across the continent and beyond and include the ‘inspiring and less usual’ to encourage broadening residency formats.  For example, residencies acted as ‘safe havens’ in Afghanistan where no audiences exist and there is nowhere to show work.  Virtual residencies and more unusual combinations of artforms are also a growing trend.  The book also explores options for funding residencies against a background of austerity across Europe.  European Agenda for Culture
 
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  Curator beheaded as temple destroyed at Palmyra  
 
 
Islamic State has destroyed another building in the ancient building in Palmyra, this time the Temple of Bel, a huge structure built in 32AD.  The Syrian Antiquities Ministry described it as “a unique architectural icon, being one of the largest and most well-known temples in ancient near-Eastern history”.  Palmyra curator Khaled al-Assaad, aged 82, was also beheaded by IS after refusing to reveal the location of antiquities.  He had worked on the site for four decades.  Amr Al-Azm, a former antiquities official said “He had a huge repository of knowledge on the site, and that’s going to be missed.  He knew every nook and cranny.  That kind of knowledge is irreplaceable, you can’t just buy a book and read it and then have that.”  Guardian, Museums Journal, Museums Journal (Temple of Bel)
 
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  And finally  
 
 
  Art lovers flock to Weston-super-mare for Banksy’s Dismaland  
 
 
Crowds have been flocking to an abandoned lido in Weston-super-mare where Banksy has installed his gothically subverted anti-theme-park Dismaland, featuring the works of 58 artists including Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.  An ad for the attraction shows a dilapidated fairytale castle, an overturned pumpkin coach surrounded by paparazzi, plastic migrants circling Dover in model boats and the Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit, constantly replenished with the author’s novels.  The usually elusive artist told the Guardian that Dismaland is ‘entry-level anarchism’ for the ‘disenfranchised’.  He hopes that it will counter the ‘over-corporate blandness’ of much family entertainment.  Dismaland remains open until 27th September.  Guardian, Curbed (Dismaland ad), Apollo Magazine
 
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   Jobs  
 
 
Jobs this month include:
 
 
Explore a full range online here.
 
Also: The Cabinet Office is seeking trustees for the British Museum, Imperial War Museum and National Museums Liverpool.
 
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