Guidance for museums for safe reopening from NMDC 7 Jul 2020

Guidance for museums for safe reopening from NMDC 

NMDC has published ‘Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums’ with support from DCMS and the Museums and Galleries Working Group. The guidelines should be read in conjunction with other relevant regulations, for instance, on opening lab facilities, green spaces and shops, which are available from BEIS, DEFRA and the Department for Education. Important issues include:

  • All employers must carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, in conjunction with unions or workers.
  • The default remains that staff should work remotely if they can, with social distancing wherever possible for those returning to work, and consideration of ‘fixed teams or partnering’ where one person works with only a handful of others. Employers should be mindful of vulnerable groups, those with childcare responsibilities and the importance of the Equality Act and not discriminating against those with protected characteristics.
  • Measures for public safety may include timed ticketing, one way systems, reducing or ceasing use of interactives, reserving lifts for those with mobility issues and reconsidering use of outside space in new ways – for example encouraging picnics if café facilities are limited. There should also be a cleaning rota for toilets, with accessible toilet facilities available.
  • Museums should be confident that when they reopen, they will be able to offer services in keeping with their charitable objectives and public purpose.
  • Consider the business case for reopening – many venues are expecting 30% of previous visitor numbers, affecting financial viability. Issues include staff availability, whether to shorten or lengthen opening hours, and whether it is possible to work at a loss for a period to support visits from the local community.
  • Large scale non-essential transport will be slow to return, so audiences are likely to be more local. Museums should consider the risks associated with travel for staff, volunteers and visitors.
  • Museums also need to consider their local contexts – for example, some university museums may open in line with the rest of a campus, others, linked to wider tourist economies will need to work together with bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, schools and tourist boards.

The guidance will continue to be updated as museums begin to open from this week and the sector learns from shared experiences, it will also be kept up to date with the latest Government guidance. NMDC (full guidance), HSE (toolkit for risk assessment)

AIM and the Museum Development Network publish reopening checklist

To complement the NMDC publication, AIM and the Museum Development Network have also published a checklist, addressing topics from consulting people to addressing wellbeing and making the best use of networks. AIM 

ICON guide to ‘waking up collections’

ICON has also published guidance for organisations which do not have extensive in-house conservation expertise, which are now attending to collections that have been held dormant for a significant period. ICON