2022 Working Internationally Conference: Cynefin - Museum Practice for Future Generations
Cynefin (ku-nev-in), the evocative Welsh word, describes our relationship to the environment in which we live. The 2022 Working Internationally Conference connects pioneering Welsh museum practice with international museums on the challenges of climate change, ageing and bridging community divides. Over two days, the online conference will explore successful and award-winning museum projects designed to build better for future generations. Welsh museum professionals and their international counterparts will discuss how museum practice can lead and contribute to the needs of future generations. The conference is organised by ICOM UK in partnership with NMDC and the Federation of Museums & Art Galleries of Wales, with support from the British Council and Barker Langham. It is part funded by Welsh Government. The event takes place on 7th – 8th April online, and booking opens on 9th February. Tickets are £10 (students and some volunteers), £25 (including for NMDC members), £50 (standard entry), ranging up to £100 for institutional tickets for multiple staff. ICOM (booking)
Museums and Galleries responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis Conference
Following COP26 and the release of NMDC’s report ‘Green Museums: Tackling the Climate Crisis’, NMDC is convening a conference hosted at the Whitworth, Manchester to explore the role of museums and galleries in combatting the climate and ecological crisis. It will ask how they can fulfil their long-term mission to preserve collections and stories for the future in the face of an existential threat, and seeks to answer two questions: ‘What can museums do to reduce their environmental impact?’ and ‘How can museums inspire positive action?’. Speakers include Zehra Ahmed & Jenny Newell of the Australian Museum – which has one of the most advanced sustainability action plans among museums, Professor Carly McLachlan of Tyndall Manchester and Heath Lowndes of Galleries Climate Coalition. Speakers from several museums including NHM, Horniman, Climate Museum, Manchester Museum, Design Museum and York Museums Trust will also take part, alongside Opera North. Manchester Museum Director Esme Ward said “museums and galleries have become increasingly aware of the role they have to play in tackling the climate emergency, and this conference is critical in developing a sector that supports ecological thinking and action. It is an opportunity for us to come together as one to rethink how we care and inspire support for our world, its inhabitants and future generations.”This event is now sold out, however NMDC is hoping to be able to livestream the conference due to huge demand. Further details will be shared shortly. NMDC, NMDC (Green Museums report)
The Future of Museums – Maria Balshaw gives the 2022 Slade lecture series
Tate Director and NMDC Chair Maria Balshaw is giving a series of lectures on ‘The Future of Museums’ over February and March, as visiting Slade Professor at the University of Cambridge. Museums have been vital connectors through the pandemic, but at the same time there has been fundamental debate and dissent over what they are for, who they speak to and the histories, objects and ideas they are tasked with holding – all taking place within a public sphere that is more disputatious than ever before. Individual topics across the seven lectures include the (de)Growth model, the 100 year future and collecting in the here and now. The series is taking place in person in Cambridge, with simultaneous live broadcasts, and recordings available afterwards. Tickets are free for the in person event, or watch the livestream without booking. The next lecture ‘’Whose Museum Is This?’ is at 5pm on 8th February. University of Cambridge (programme), University of Cambridge (booking), WATCH LIVESTREAM (youtube link goes live shortly before each broadcast)
Horniman receives initial £475k support to develop new Nature + Love project
The Horniman has received £475k from NLHF to develop a new plan, ‘Nature + Love’ to put environmental sustainability and addressing the climate emergency at the heart of the museum. Strands include a Sustainable Gardening Zone with a new plant nursery and displays linking to health and wellbeing, a nature themed play area and children’s café, and a redisplayed Natural History Gallery and indoor Nature Explorers Action Zone looking at human impact on the planet. Horniman’s existing programme to empower and activate its museum visitors – rather than simply giving them information - includes the Environmental Champions Club, offered virtually for children aged 6 – 10 and their families, with activities including reducing plastic pollution and supporting pollinators. The Horniman has also recently planted a new 300 sq.m. microforest, protecting the museum and its gardens from the noise and pollution from the A205 South Circular. The 25 carefully chosen trees and understory plants will also support birds and animals. Head of Horticulture Errol Fernandes says “many of the trees that have been selected for the micro-forest have been chosen with climate forecasting in mind. Species that can cope with an increase in temperature and a decrease in rainfall.”Museums Journal, Horniman (Environmental Champions), Horniman (Nature + Love)
Images this month: Burrell Collection reopens in March as 'modern, greener museum'
The Burrell Collection in Glasgow will reopen on 29th March following a refurbishment which has devoted a third more of the building to public visitor space, as well as transforming it into a 'modern, greener museum'. Final installation of collections is now underway, with significant holdings ranging from Chinese Art to Fine Art and the Wagner garden carpet - one of the oldest surviving Persian carpets in the world. Glasgow City Council met half of the cost of the £68.25m work, with help from NLHF, UK and Scottish Governments and many private donors. Evening Standard, The National, Independent
IWM announces new galleries, supported by Blavatnik gift
IWM has announced that it will be opening new galleries at its London site showing art, film and photographic materials, following a multi-million pound donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Acquisitions will be shown alongside items from the museum's existing collections. Helen Mavin, who cares for 11m items as Head of Photographs, says “these are wonderful records of the individual experience of war; not all atrocity images, some of them are much more intimate, and engaging and compelling.” The new galleries are expected to open in 2023. Guardian
Museums in Cambridge and Wales experiment with ‘digital sleeopver’ format
University of Cambridge Museums is experimenting with a new ‘digital sleepover’ format for children during half term. Part of its Twilight of Museums programme, it will include storytelling, theatre ‘full of encounters with wild animals’, den building, craft making, spooky encounters from the Sedgwick and climate change karaoke. It is a mix of pre-recorded events, and live broadcast from the Botanic Garden Glasshouses. Co-ordinator Susan Miller credits National Museums Wales with first inventing the idea – and the programme from Wales continues with ‘Dino Nights!’ also over half term. Miller said: “with the uncertainty that currently surrounds the safety of large-scale public events, we are delighted to be able to bring some of the magic of our popular Twilight event into people's homes.”University of Cambridge Museums, National Museums Wales (Dino Nights!)
Balancing optimism with realism – results of AIM survey on museum resilience in 2022
AIM has published the results of a snap survey of 200 museums in January 2022 – which asked about resilience to the omicron variant over Christmas, and about how museums see their prospects for 2022. Overall, most expect to survive financially but with ongoing concern about visitor figures, and need for support, variously with core funding, maintenance, specific projects and supporting staff wellbeing. Figures include:
7% of respondents say they are at risk of closure, and 15% are planning restructuring and redundancy.
70% expect lower income in the 2021 – 22 financial year, and 25% a drop of half or more compared to 2021 projections. A similar number expect a drop as compared to 2021 projections in 2022, 19% by more than half.
Around a third need core funding support to the end of the year, and 2 in 5 are seeking one-off funding for capital works and maintenance.
Just under a third need support to address staff resilience, wellbeing and mental health.
Two thirds found visitor numbers and entrance income were impacted by omicron over Christmas and New Year. For 38%, the drop in visitors was half or more.
There is a related zoom event to discuss the results on 17th February at 11am. AIM Director Lisa Ollerhead said “recovery is on the horizon thanks to the support received to date, but ensuring it continues beyond the short-term will be vital if we are to make a return on that investment. To this end we are already using the findings of the survey in our discussions with sector stakeholders.”AIM, AIM (sign up for Zoom event to discuss results)
MDE report shows urban and local authority museums among worst hit by the pandemic
A new report by Museum Development England reveals the far reaching impact of the pandemic on 765 museums and their audiences, finances and workforce. It highlights the significant differences in how this impact has been felt across the sector depending on factors such as the region a museum is located in or whether it is based in an urban or rural setting. Running since 2018, The Annual Museum Survey 2021 compares data with previous years to understand the depth of this impact. Those museums with larger audience numbers, local authority museums, museum services operating multiple museum sites and museums based in urban areas all appear to have been hit hardest. In relation to their fellow museums, they have reported greater income losses, made more staff redundancies and experienced a deeper loss of volunteer capacity. Findings include:
Museums in urban areas experienced a 90% reduction in admissions income compared to a 60% reduction for rural museums.
Museums with paid staff saw a median reduction in admissions income of 71% compared to 37% for those museums that are wholly volunteer run.
Museums that charge for admissions were almost twice as likely to have secured DCMS Culture Recovery Fund grants than those that do not.
The decrease in income appears to be most severe for local authority museums with 77% reporting a decrease in income.
24% of Local Authority museums participated in the furlough scheme compared to 49% of Independent and 68% of university museums.
The number of volunteers in museums fell by 19% overall, but increased significant to 62% for larger museums and those operating multiple sites.
Museums reported a 74% reduction in the number of volunteer hours contributed.
Museums discuss the impact of omicron over Christmas - and the outlook this year
Museums Journal took soundings on the prospects of museums and galleries as they head into 2022. It found there was hope for returning audiences, but damage from the omicron wave over Christmas, and worry about local government and other cuts. NMDC’s Head of Strategy and Communications Suzie Tucker says “The majority of our members are anticipating a big financial impact due to the drop in visitor numbers as well as the loss of events and corporate hire income." Many museums – from trusts and independents to local authority museums, painted a mixed picture of Christmas audiences – with some spikes and rushes of people, but offset by other periods of near-empty venues, and cancelled bookings due to anxiety about omicron. Suzie points to some variation, with open-air museums doing well over Christmas, but steep cancellations among both national and regional NMDC members. One independent in Wales expressed concern about what happens when support funding ends. “Perhaps the biggest impact has been the fact the longer Covid-19 goes on for the longer it is taking for us to recover […] All funding and communications are up to March 2022. The impacts of Covid will go far beyond March for many museums, so there is real need for conversations about the sector’s recovery.”Museum Journal
‘Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here’
A new report ‘Culture in Crisis’ brings together findings on the effects of the pandemic on the cultural industries, gathered over 15 months by a consortium including the Centre for Cultural Value, Audience Agency and Creative PEC, with support from AHRC. The findings include:
Touring faces increasing costs and supply chain issues, as well as growing awareness of the need to address the climate crisis. It will take conscious work to make sure that ‘rural and peripheral areas’ do not get overlooked.
Digital distribution is not an equaliser or diversifier of audiences in itself: it needs to be embedded in a longer strategy of audience or school engagement. Although the appetite for digital events is lessening with reopening, digital’s place in the creative offer of organisations has nevertheless been permanently shifted by the pandemic. Museums and galleries in particular found that hybrid working had transformed their educational work.
Loss of jobs and hours were spread unevenly, highlighting the sector’s inequalities, and requiring ‘major, perhaps revolutionary’ revisions in how the sector sees and treats its workforce.
Case studies include the British Library, which in addition to a successful online programme, concentrated on audiences on its doorstep, with physical learning packs distributed through food banks and community centres. On reopening in July 2021, its fraction of ticket buyers from London significantly increased. CCV and its partners is now developing a series of recommendations based on the report, which will be published in March. CCV, CCV (executive summary)
Heritage Counts – small venues do better, plus hopes for recovery in 2022
Historic England has published ‘Heritage Counts’ – its statistics on the health of the heritage sector, with a particular focus on pandemic impacts and recovery. It found that:
New economic forecasts suggest that by the end of 2022, the sector’s economic output may have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However, this is subject to uncertainty, especially if there are future restrictions on movement.
The number of overseas visitors decreased by 92% in 2020 and local and day trip visitors by 45%. Historic gardens suffered the least, with a 39% decline in visitors.
In the 2020 – 21 year National Trust visits fell by 51%, Historic Houses by 73% and English Heritage by 69%.
In 2021, some smaller English Heritage properties performed very strongly as visitors “took advantage of the ‘stay at home’ mandate to rediscover the heritage on their doorstep”. For example, in North Yorkshire Kirkham Priory saw a 75% increase in visitors and Pickering Castle a 30% increase.
Art Fund report assesses the future development of touring exhibitions – and why tax relief remains crucial
The Art Fund and Creative Scotland have published the results of new research ‘Going Places: Touring and shared exhibitions in the UK’ based on 200 survey responses. It offers an overview of current practice and future potential, and gives a snapshot of how cultural organisations are working together to share collections and programme temporary projects. It particularly identifies four new developments:
As people respond to the pandemic with cultural visits closer to home, touring exhibitions tailored to local contexts are becoming an important new model.
Exhibitions are more likely to be based on collections, rather than borrowing art and objects from overseas.
There is a greater concern about carbon footprint and sustainability, which may be addressed with more regionally based tours.
There has been a very positive growth in digital content and online networking, but with need for support to develop these links and resources.
Gaps in support include: need for better information on how to access funding for touring, deepening of ‘matchmaking’ programmes between museums and funding for infrastructure to improve environmental conditions. The research will now be used to help develop funding programmes, and help to build a strong UK-wide policy framework. Art Fund and Creative Scotland also called for the Museums and Galleries Exhibitions Tax Relief to be made permanent to help the long term flourishing of touring. Creative Scotland, Art Fund
Touring Exhibitions Group Partnership Agreement Workshop
Touring Exhibitions Group is running an online Partnership Agreement Workshop over two half day sessions. It covers how to devise an agreement for projects that involve the collaboration of two or more partners, plus developing and delivering a collaborative exhibition, event or programme. The workshop uses TEG’s template partnership agreement as its starting point and looks at how to prepare, how to reach agreement and how a final agreement can inform working practices. The event takes place over two sessions, from 1pm – 4pm on 17th February and 24th February. Tickets are £59 - £79. TEG
First carbon literacy toolkit tailored to the museum sector is launched
A carbon literacy toolkit has been launched, specifically designed to meet the needs of the museum sector. It is part of the Root & Branches programme – a partnership between Manchester Museum and the Carbon Literacy Project to train 1,500 museum workers and volunteers in England on the topic over the next two years through regional museum development agencies. The toolkit will complement the training programme, and can be used across the UK. Roots & Branches is supported with £136k of ACE National Lottery Project Grant funding and aims to accelerate the museum sector’s ability to respond to the climate crisis. Manchester Museum will be at the heart of the work, hosting a nationally significant co-working hub of cultural environmental action, bringing together museum staff, educators, environmentalists, artists, researchers, third sector organisations and students. This is being coordinated by an innovative new post, Environmental Action Manager. Manchester Museum Director Esme Ward said “the launch of this toolkit is critical in developing a museum sector that supports ecological thinking and action and inspires change and cooperation.”Manchester Museum, Carbon Literacy
Fundraising, philanthropy and the environmental agenda
The latest issue of Art Fundraising and Philanthropy’s magazine focuses on what the climate emergency might mean for fundraising and philanthropy practice in the coming years. It highlights how funders are channelling investment towards climate friendly projects. Topics include:
An article looks at how far it is possible to use corporate fundraising for exhibitions on the climate crisis. One positive example is the Somerset House 'We are history' exhibition, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, which featured art connecting the global climate crisis to complex legacies of colonialism.
It highlights a report published in October 2021 by ClimateWorks, the European Foundation Centre, and The Hour is Late, suggests that more foundations are giving towards mitigating climate change with €1.7bn spent in 2020 – however this is still only 2% of all giving by European foundations.
Radical approaches to touring include theatre with a different cast in each country, entailing no travel and established bands such as Coldplay and Massive Attack pausing touring until they find sustainable solutions. For those who don’t have the luxury of these options, ACE and the Danish Arts Foundation have formed a new fund to ‘develop new, environmentally responsible international touring practices'.
Another article looks at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Environmental Change Toolkit, first issued last June, which offers advice on getting whole organisations on board, and makes the business case for an environmental approach.
There is also a guide to eco-friendly fundraising and existing good practice – for example the RSPCA encourages people to use recyclable decorations and refuse anything that is single-use.
Climate change threatens 22,500 archaeological sites as peatlands dry out
Around 22,500 archaeological sites are under threat from climate change, particularly as peat bogs dry out, destroying the low oxygen atmosphere that preserves wood, leather, textiles and human remains from the past. Director of the Vindolanda Trust Dr Andrew Birley said that ‘dessication’ had already started to occur at Magna, one of the Trust’s sites along Hadrian’s Wall, with land subsiding by up to a metre in the past decade at some places on the site. He said “Magna has some of… the richest environmental deposits thus far identified from the World Heritage Site. The continuing monitoring at Magna will provide the data we need to understand the extent to which climate change, heavy rainfall, heatwaves and drought events, are having an impact on this precious resource." Sites will now need to develop management strategies to mitigate future environmental damage. Sky News, BBC
‘Meat the Future’ outreach combines food, museums and football to extend climate message
Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s temporary exhibition ‘Meat the Future’ looks at the substantial impact of consuming animal products on people and planet. The museum is now reaching across the city with its message through its Community Connectors team. This included an event at Oxford City Football Club during its youth training and match day. The project team wanted to link with community events in which food and catering was an integral part, and particularly those which may be typically thought of as providing more meat-based options. Oxford City had already worked on providing vegetarian and vegan options in their catering offer, so the collaboration with the museum and the exhibition also helped promote their range. OUMNH ran a stall that featured the ‘Meat the Future’ exhibition alongside handling collections and vegetarian and vegan recipe cards. The stall also gave out vouchers for 50% off vegan options at the football catering on the day. The event joined science, museums, food and football to generate conversations about meat consumption and engage new audiences. OUMNH (Meat the Future), Oxford City FC (twitter),
Also: Kids in Museums has published two case studies, from Whitaker and National Museums Scotland, demonstrating how Takeover Day – where young people run museum events – can be harnessed to discuss climate themes. Kids in Museums (Whitaker), Kids in Museums (NMS)
British Library: Unlocking our Sound Heritage short survey
The British Library is inviting people to complete its five minute survey, to measure awareness of audio archival standards, and confidence in caring for audio collections. The survey marks the end of its ‘Unlocking our Sound Heritage’ project and will help evaluate the project, as well as inform how the British Library supports audio archiving in the future. British Library
Office for Students consultation on Higher Education indicators - with potential cuts to arts degrees
The Office for Students, which is the regulator of Higher Education in the UK has launched three consultations on new policies which will have significant implications for arts degrees. If they go ahead, all degrees will need 60% of graduates to go into managerial or professional employment within 15 months. Cultural Learning Alliance says that this is likely to affect creative industries graduates who often take up part time work and portfolio careers, and that there is the potential for courses judged on these criteria to be fined or cut. The deadline for responding to the consultations is 17th March. Office for Students (three consultation links), Cultural Learning Alliance (consultations overview)
Annual Heritage Lecture: 'Rethinking Heritage in the Anthropocene'
Professor Rodney Harrison of the UCL Institute of Archaeology will be giving a lecture ‘Rethinking Heritage in the Anthropocene’ which looks at the interlinked ecological and cultural crises of climate, history, race, and biological and cultural diversity. It will discuss how collaboration between heritage sector organisations and partners have attempted to address this – and how organisations and the public have been engaged as co-researchers towards building a sustainable future. The event is hosted online by the University of Cambridge Heritage Research Centre as its 5th Annual Heritage Lecture. The event takes place via Zoom at 5pm on 22nd February. Tickets are free. University of Cambridge
AIM is hosting a zoom meeting to discuss the results of its recent Covid impact survey. (See under our ‘Covid 19 – prospects for recovery’ section for a summary of findings. The event takes place on 17th February from 11am and is free. AIM
The Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital Conference is taking place as a collaboration between AHRC, ACE, DCMS and Historic England. Part of the Culture and Heritage Capital Programme launched in January 2021, the approach looks at structures for measuring the full value of culture and heritage to society. The event will also build on the recent report 'Valuing culture and heritage capital: a framework towards informing decision making'. Speakers include ACE Chief Executive Darren Henley, Historic England Chair Sir Laurie Magnus, Nigel Huddlestone MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society and Helen Chaterjee, Professor of Biology at UCL. They will discuss the importance of this work, how it is being delivered and how stakeholders can use the resources made available by DCMS and partners. This will be an opportunity to shape the future of the programme and give feedback. The event is free and takes place on 11th March. Gov.uk (Valuing culture and heritage capital report), UK Research and Innovation
An MA event ‘Money Talks: Income Generation for Museums’ will address one of the most pressing issues as museums emerge from the pandemic. Topics range from retail, e-commerce and events to corporate hire. Confirmed speakers include Laura Pryke, Retail Manager at Kettle’s Yard, Aine Graven, Head of Development at the People’s History Museum and Rowan Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Museums Northumberland. The event takes place online on 17th March from 11am. Tickets range from £30 - £60 depending on MA membership. Museums Journal
New 'Let’s Get Real' action research programme on hybrid working
Culture24 and Birmingham Museums Trust are partnering on a new eight month action research programme to help cultural organisations navigate the challenges of hybrid working. The forced experiments in remote working during the pandemic have led many museums to fundamentally rethink their practice, and a recent staff survey of 95 cultural organisations showed that 73% of people thought the shift to hybrid has been positive, compared to only 17% negative and the rest neutral. This programme will help a cohort of 32 organisations work through the challenges and opportunities, collaborating to develop more inclusive and resilient organisations in the hybrid workplace. The deadline for applications is 7th March, with the programme itself running from April – November. Culture24 (signup), Culture24 (hybrid working survey results)
This summer, the AIM conference is returning to a physical event for the first time since the pandemic, at Port Sunlight on the Wirral peninsula. The theme is ‘Making it happen’ and will explore the vision for independent museums as they recover from the challenges of the past two years. Topics include recovery as opportunity - using the crisis to create change, working with local stakeholders, programming in the climate emergency and going green as a small museum, income when your audience can’t come in and crowdfunding for survival. It takes place on 16th – 17th June. Tickets are £96 - £312. AIM
Kids in Museums has published its major event dates for 2022, including Digital Takeover Day on 1st July, Takeover Day on 18th November, plus training days in February and March covering topics including intergenerational work and welcoming families with special educational needs. Kids in Museums
Museum Next is holding a Green Museums Summit online from 28th – 30th March, with case studies, and topics including sustainable exhibitions, fighting nature loss and addressing the impact of global tourism. Ticket options include a group booking for £240, individuals £120, freelance £60 and students £25. MuseumNext
Digital Literacy for Leadership: support for leaders and changemakers in Scotland
MGS and Art Fund are offering a new ‘Digital Literacy for Leadership’ collaborative online learning programme, open to museums in Scotland. 15 pairs of participants (two per museum) can apply for the fully funded places, which will help leaders, emerging leaders and changemakers become more informed, reflective, responsive and confident around digital. The programme runs online from April 2022 - March 2023 and is being delivered by Culture24, The Audience Agency and Dr Lauren Vargas. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 28th February. MGS
The Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities conference has issued a call for papers for its 2022 event, which brings together professionals from across galleries, libraries, archives, museums and academia. Organised by the National Archives, RLUK and Jisc, it will showcase how digital innovation is transforming the cultural heritage and academic sectors and their relationship with their audiences. It is particularly keen to encourage people from museums and galleries to attend both as speakers and audience. The event takes place virtually from 11th – 15th July. DCDC
Engage training for those in visual arts learning roles – from Queer Paintings to early learning
Engage has published its spring programme for those in visual arts learning and education roles. Topics include ‘How to Queer a Painting’ with Sacha Coward looking at finding queer narratives, challenging racial bias, safeguarding practice, youth mental health awareness, creative evaluation and the embodiment of early learning. Ticket prices range from £7.50 - £45 and events run through to late March. Engage
Douglas Gilmore has been appointed Managing Director of Museum of London Docklands, part of the Museum of London. He has previously worked for the Ashmolean and National Gallery. Museum of London Docklands, Museums Journal
Clare Lilley has been announced as the new Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after its Founding Director Peter Murray retired in March after 45 years. Lilley is currently Director of Programmes at YSP. Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
Former and longest serving Culture Minister Lord Ed Vaizey is among new Trustees recently appointed to the Tate. Gov.uk
Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has been announced as the next Chair of Trustees of the Natural History Museum. NHM
John Sainsbury had died aged 94. Described as ‘one of the most generous, and effective, philanthropic supporters of the arts in Britain for the past half-century’, he funded the extension of the National Gallery in the mid 1980s, as well as many other institutions including the Ashmolean, Tate and British Museum. Art Newspaper
Making it FAIR – small museums developing their online presence, plus a tool for recycling content
Last year, eight small museums worked with Culture24, Collections Trust and the Audience Agency on the Making it FAIR project – to help them improve their offer for their audiences online. For almost all, this meant engaging via social media using collection-based material, and in doing so facing a central problem: there is no easy way to save and recycle material posted to social media. For example, the Somme Museum has extensive Facebook content that resonates with its audience, but no backup. If Facebook closes at some point in the future – or its audiences move elsewhere – it will either lose the content or spend significant resources on retrospective archiving. In response, the project worked with The Museum Platform to develop a ‘proof of concept’, which harvests shareable data from museum databases, adds metadata and saves content at the point when it is posted – with no extra effort – so that it can be easily retrieved and re-used. The project recommends that AHRC and others develop the approach, helping safeguard content currently treated as ephemeral. DigiPathways (all eight case studies), Culture24 (full report)
£2.5m US – UK research funding supports transformative use of cultural collections
The UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and US National Endowment for the Humanities have partnered to offer research funding to enhance how museum collections are shared and used in the future. Twelve pairs of universities – each with one in the UK and one in the US, will run projects aimed to advance collection-based research methods and develop new ways to share cultural content globally. The projects, which together received £2.5m, include:
Birkbeck College and Cornell University, which are developing an archive of indentureship and colonialism, bringing together records that would not previously be seen side by side, for example maps, statutes and court judgements alongside indenture contracts.
Brunel University London and State University of New York Research Foundation are designing two immersive heritage experiences – using smart glasses and live performance, to tell under-represented stories of enslaved and freed people in 18th century London and Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Cardiff University and University of Wyoming will address the fact that historic book illustrations are under-used in cultural institutions, although many are digitised. They will use computational tools to identify illustrations of places and people in books held by the British Library.
University of Westminster and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor will look at streamlined ways to create audio description for museum objects, enhancing inclusion and access for all audiences.
AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said “these projects will open up heritage and culture in new ways that benefit both researchers and the public and bring a wealth of fascinating collections into the 21st century and in ever more accessible ways.” AHRC, Museums Journal
Also: As the Natural History Museum reaches the milestone of digitising five million objects, it has published a report with Frontier Economics Ltd, arguing that this resource may generate £2bn in value over the next three decades. Blooloop
New report on ‘The Role of the Arts during the COVID-19 Pandemic’
ACE has published a report on ‘The Role of the Arts during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ prepared by academics at UCL including Dr Daisy Fancourt, who has carried out extensive research on the intersect of arts, health and wellbeing. It looks both at who was taking part in online arts activity during the pandemic – including as part of museum programming and the effects, and explores the psychosocial effects of the pandemic on cultural sector workers (especially in performing arts), and the implications for the future of the sector. It found that:
1 in 5 people increased their arts engagement in the early months of the pandemic, including some groups typically under-represented in arts activity such as those from ethnic minority backgrounds, with mental health challenges and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Women were twice as likely as men to engage in arts in the first lockdown, and three times more likely during second and third lockdowns – the only exception being watching live performance online early in the pandemic, enjoyed by a greater percentage of men than women (44% vs 33%).
Although 1 in 4 predicted they might choose digital over in-person activities post-pandemic, this does not look set to affect in person events: in person or hybrid events are attracting the most interest.
In a piece for Museum Next, Rebecca Hardy Wombell tracks statistics for online event attendance across the pandemic, and finds that audiences are now declining for at least some forms of online programming.
In January 2021, a NEMO survey found that 50% of European museums had the same level of online interaction after reopening, with only 8.7% reporting a decline.
However, the report ‘Digital Transformation in Museums’ covering May – September 2021 found 54% of museums had reduced digital programming and only 39% were still ‘going strong’ with that approach.
By November, the Audience Agency’s Cultural Participation Monitor showed online engagement trending down from 24% to 13%, as willingness to attend in person began to slightly rise.
Nevertheless, digital programming for certain segments of an audience can still be successful – for example in education and for academic audiences. Where charging for online events is not viable, they can still be an opportunity for cross-selling or upselling – and they remain a good way of obtaining accurate audience data. Museum Next
The Levelling Up White Paper has been published, outlining how the Government intends to ‘spread opportunity more equally across the UK’. Elements of particular interest to the cultural sector include:
The White Paper does not include further spending pledges beyond those announced in the 2021 Spending Review, which amounted to £4.8bn. However, Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove said that the project was expected to last a decade, and its philosophy could drive how that budgets are allocated over that period.
Eight of the ten local authorities in receipt of the largest levelling up funds to date are also those who have seen the biggest cuts in the past decade: Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Leicester, Liverpool, Newham and Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester, Bury, Newham and Rotherham. However, this may not make up for lost ground. For example, Birmingham has received £53m in levelling up grants, but has an annual budget cut of £600m in real terms in the past decade.
The paper sees culture as a crucial component to Levelling Up, saying that by 2030 pride of place - including engagement with town centres and local culture - will show a gap closing between best and worst performing locations.
It adds that as a part of ‘great cultural institutions play[ing] their part in spreading access to excellence’, 100% of the uplift received by ACE in the 2021 Spending Review will be spent outside London. It adds “we will explore how more flagship national cultural institutions can support the strength of our historic cultural heritage in great cities such as Stoke and Manchester.”
Around £429m, or a quarter of first round spend, from Levelling Up money has been allocated to cultural projects. Among them is the major revamp at Tate Liverpool, supported by £10m from these funds.
Responding to the White Paper, MA’s Policy Officer Alistair Brown pointed to the 27% decline in investment in museums since 2010, and said the plan was ‘insufficient’ to meet Government ambitions. Institute of Fiscal Studies Director Paul Johnson said that investment is in the right areas, but that ‘ambition and resource will be spread very thin’. In its introduction, the report argues that Levelling Up could potentially grow the economy by tens of billions adding “success in levelling up is about growing the economic pie, everywhere and for everyone, not re-slicing it.” Tortoise, Gov.uk, Art Newspaper (Tate Liverpool), Arts Professional, Museums Journal
Government announces additional £50m for creative business
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has announced that businesses in the creative industries will receive an additional £50m from Government.to give them ‘the tools they need to expand their work and provide even more jobs’. Of this, £21m goes to the Global Screen Fund, £8m to the UK Games Fund and £18m to the Creative Scale Up Programme, supporting firms outside London as part of the Levelling up agenda. Nadine Dorries said “the creative industries in the UK are truly world class and I am committed to doing everything I can to support their innovative work as they continue to thrive.”Gov.uk, Evening Standard
APPG publishes recommendations to help the North flourish socially and economically through culture
The Northern Culture All-Party Parliamentary Group has published a new report ‘The Case for Culture’ which offers a roadmap towards economic flourishing through better supporting the North’s nascent cultural assets. The report reflects cross party views – with the APPG led by Conservative MP James Daly and Labour MP Julie Elliott – and input from northern stakeholders from cultural leaders to councillors. One respondent told the enquiry: "we need to address cultural value as a whole, broaden the understanding of what type of jobs are available in the North and end the idea that ‘I must move south to be a creative’ and combat the idea that cultural production is ‘not a proper job’”. Measures proposed in the ten point plan include:
Investing in next generation creatives, initially through a creative curriculum from primary school to HE, and reversing cuts to HE creative courses. There would also be measures to stem the ‘brain drain’ of creatives from North to South – ranging from apprenticeships, local skills development and retraining opportunities, and a ‘Great North Skills Survey’ to identify gaps.
Recognising that social and physical mobility go hand in hand, and that good transport links allow regions to develop and respond to opportunities.
Greater use of strategic partnerships, and cross-sector collaborative R&D so industry, academics and creatives can work side by side.
A focus on the link between wellbeing and culture. The report calls for ‘capturing impacts on economic performance, social cohesion and mental health so we can deliver public health targets’.
More local leadership, rather than cultural funding and structures coming from Westminster. Many respondents opposed the model of competitive bidding for funds including West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin who calls the process: “a beauty contest where we’re all pitching against each other. The money and time spent in these bids is unfortunately so draining and then when you don’t win there’s nothing.”
Committing to taking forward the report proposals, the writers conclude “this is the ideal time for a new place-based recovery strategy that mobilises culture, co-creation and collaboration to reframe the North as a site of creative production locally, nationally and globally in the 21st century”.Museums Journal, Northern Culture (full report), Taitmail
Theresa May opposes 100% cut to council funding for arts in Maidenhead
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, one of the most affluent councils in the UK, will decide on 22nd February whether to make a 100% cut to its support for the arts. There is particular concern about the outcome for Norden Farm Centre for the arts, but the council’s budget for culture – already cut by 69% in a decade – also covers ‘libraries, entertainment venues, museums, galleries and recreation facilities’. Former Prime Minister Theresa May, who is MP for the area said that she was urging the council to reconsider. The Public Campaign for the Arts is also calling on the council to recognise the role of culture in social and economic recovery from the pandemic. Council Leader Andrew Johnson said that it has been clear since last year that the £80k grant to Norden Farm would end in 2022 – 23. Guardian, BBC, Public Campaign for the Arts
European museum organisation offers five free memberships for 2022 - 23
The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) is offering five free memberships to museums operating within European Council Member States, including the UK. The memberships run from March 2022 – March 2023 with benefits including establishing cross border collaborations, free training and conference attendance and joining topic-specific working groups. Applicants are especially welcome from those working on diversity, inclusivity and climate action. The deadline for applications is 11th February. NEMO, NEMO
Rebuilding Heritage how to guides – from fundraising to navigating hybrid working
Over the course of the pandemic, the Rebuilding Heritage programme offered tailored business support to museums and heritage organisations. Now knowledge drawn from dozens of hours of webinars with cultural sector leaders and specialist consultants has been synthesised into a series of resources to help the sector in planning in what is still a fairly unpredictable environment. Topics covered so far include:
Writing a vision and mission – and why they are an essential underpinning of a strong organisation in turbulent times, with a case study from Barnsley Museums. Rebuilding Heritage
There will be further resources published throughout February, with topics including crisis communications (with an article on social media) and leading through change, with a Horniman-based case study. Sign up in the website footer to receive an alert as new material is published throughout February. Rebuilding Heritage, Rebuilding Heritage (newsletter signup)
Clore Leadership has opened its Fellowship programme for applications for 2022. It is aimed at those in the cultural sector poised to take on a significant leadership challenge, whether working independently or as part of an institution. A webinar recording for employers and line managers of Clore applicants is available on request. The deadline for applications is noon on 24th February. Clore Leadership
Short curatorial traineeships for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people
The Curating for Change programme, which is developing improved career pathways for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people in the museum sector, is now offering 40 day curatorial traineeships, beginning in May. No previous experience is necessary and the traineeships are available in nine museums across England. Flexible and part time working, a Real Living Wage salary and a package of support is available. Curatorial trainees will also have an opportunity to make sure that disabled people and their histories are represented in museums. The deadline for applications is 10am on 14th March. Screen South
New Dynamic Collections funding up to £250k launched by NLHF
NLHF has launched a new funding strand, 'Dynamic Collections' aimed to support collecting organisations, including museums, archives and historic libraries to become more inclusive and resilient. As the sector continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, NLHF is seeking projects that plan for longer-term change and benefits for visitors, audiences and organisations. Projects should:
make collections relevant to a wider range of people.
actively involve the public in collections management, use and development.
take a creative, strategic and sustainable approach to collections.
This fits with its overall funding priorities for collections – engagement, re-interpretation and better collections management. NLHF has worked closely with ACE in developing this support, which will dovetail with the ACE 'Unlocking Collections' project. Grants will in general be below £250k, and there is no deadline for applications, with the fund running through to 31st March 2023. NLHF, ACE (Unlocking Collections), NLHF, (evaluating the previous Collecting Cultures programme)
Scottish Government announces additional £1m Museums Recovery Fund for independents
MGS is now distributing an additional £1m through the Museums Recovery Fund, which is available to accredited and non-accredited independent museums. Up to £90k is available, to cover:
core operating costs to protect the minimum advised level of reserves. It is hoped that the fund will help museums to retain key staff posts, fill frozen posts and bring back seasonal staff.
activity to recover visitor numbers and spend including marketing, special events and restart costs.
activity to assist the implementation of new business priorities emerging as a result of the pandemic.
The deadline is 5pm on 11th March. However, all potential applicants should email the MGS Grants team by 5pm on 25th February to discuss the suitability of proposals before beginning to fill out the application form. MGS
Community Stories Fund opens for Scottish Year of Stories 2022
The second round of funding for Scotland’s Year of Stories is now open, covering bids to fund activity in the second half of 2022. Museums, heritage sites and galleries are particularly encouraged to make bids in this round. Up to £5k is available to host new, creative events and activities that spotlight stories inspired by, created, or written in Scotland. Projects which feature diverse voices and under-represented communities, iconic stories and storytellers from literature, film and entertainment and intangible cultural heritage are especially welcomed. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 18th March. MGS (apply), MGS (successful projects from round one), MGS (Intangible cultural heritage)
ACE issues guidance for applying for NPO status 2023 – 26
ACE has issued guidance for those applying for National Portfolio Organisation status for the period 2023 – 26. The minimum award is £50k per annum, or £150k over the whole three years. There will be some new reporting requirements, including on the socio-economic diversity of audiences with ‘clear and measurable targets to be in place as part of funding agreements’. The application window runs from noon on 14th February to noon on 26th April. ACE, Arts Professional
Welsh Government opens round three of its Cultural Recovery Fund
Further strands of support for cultural organisations have now been announced by the Welsh Government, covering those who have, and who have not previously received support from the fund.
In mid January the Welsh Government announced a further £15.4m for culture including heritage sites and independent local museum severely impacted by Covid-19. A letter has been sent to previous recipients inviting further applications, and successful bids will be announced shortly.
The third round of the Cultural Recovery Fund has now also opened to those who have not previously received support, via the Business Wales website. The deadline for applications is 11th February at 5pm. To be eligible, applicants need to show evidence that they have experienced at least 50% reduced turnover between December 2021 - February 2022 compared to the same period in 2019 - 20.
New Collecting Awards winners announced – from Arab visual cultures to work by trans artists
The Art Fund has announced the four recipients of its New Collecting Awards for 2022. The awards enable curators to develop their talents, while making new acquisitions for a museum collection. Winners are:
Louis Platman, Assistant Curator at the Museum of the Home who will expand stories of diversity and migration told in the ‘Rooms through Time’ galleries.
Kari Adams, Curatorial Assistant, The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness who will add to holdings of artists’ films.
Zorian Clayton, Assistant Curator, Prints, V&A, London will build collections of work by trans and non-binary artists.
Daniel Lowe, Curator of Arabic Collections, British Library will expand collections around modern and contemporary Arab visual cultures.
Just under £150k was awarded in this round; over the past seven years 39 curators have shared £1.8m. It is supported by individuals, trusts and funds including the Wolfson Foundation. Art Fund
AIM announces first ‘New Stories, New Audiences’ recipients – with new round in the summer
AIM has announced the recipients of its first round of ‘New Stories, New Audiences’ funding, which used grants from NLHF to help small museums stay relevant to their audiences and increase their impact. Projects include ‘Nature: Near and Now’ at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, which aims to attract young people, families and wildlife enthusiasts to the ‘teeming ecosphere’ of the site. At Provan Hall in Glasgow, currently undergoing a £2m redevelopment, the finding of an archaeologist and dendrochronologist will be used to develop new stories for the site. A new round of the scheme will open in the summer. AIM
Art Fund announces recipients of £1.14m Reimagine Grants
The Art Fund has announced the recipients of £1.14m in Reimagine Grants in rounds two and three of the fund. 40 museums, galleries, historic houses and professional networks share the support. Projects include:
a new mindful audio guide for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, co-created with local people who have experienced mental health difficulties.
A series of new portrait commissions gallery redevelopment for the Judges Lodgings in Lancaster.
The Royal College of Physicians Museum in London will build on the success of recent digital events to trial new hybrid-format events in 2022 to embed in future programming.
the Outer Hebrides, Museum nan Eilean will create an online resource offering training to local historical societies and online lessons for schools as well as piloting AI interpretation for Lews Castle.
The level of need meant that there were 185 applications in total, seeking £6.2m.
Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman said “the latest Reimagine grants will allow even more cultural organisations to deepen their resilience for the future, turning some of the challenges, but also learnings, of the last two years into even greater resources for their communities.” Art Fund
Also: The Art Fund has launched a new public fundraising campaign, aimed to raise £1m specifically to support learning programmes and activities for children and young people in museums. Art Fund, Experience UK
‘Colston statue: What next?’ report recommends it is accessioned by Bristol museums
The independent ‘We Are Bristol’ History Commission group has produced a report ‘The Colston Statue: What next?’ advising on what should happen to the statue of Edward Colston torn down in June 2020. The report includes the results of a survey of more than 14,000 people on what should happen to the monument. It found that:
74% want the statue housed in a Bristol museum.
65% would like a plaque adding to the original plinth.
58% from Bristol and 49% of people overall favour using the plinth for temporary works or sculptures.
56% overall are positive about the statue coming down, rising to 65% among Bristol residents. There was little difference in responses on this point by gender or ethnicity, but a significant difference by age – with 80% of 18 – 24 year olds feeling positive about the removal, and only around a third of over 75s.
The report adds “we recommend that the statue be exhibited, drawing on the principles and practice of the temporary M Shed display where the statue was lying horizontally. We recommend that attention is paid to presenting the history in a nuanced, contextualised and engaging way, including information on the broader history of the enslavement of people of African descent.” The report, which was first commissioned by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, will now be considered by the Mayor and at a cabinet meeting in April. Art Newspaper, ITV, Evening Standard, Bristol Post (graph of reactions by age), Museums Journal
Also: The Government Art Collection has earmarked 300 works for reinterpretation, largely around issues of slavery, colonialism and racism. Art Newspaper
In brief: Benin Bronzes and repatriation of museum objects
Great North Museum Hancock has announced that it is seeking to repatriate a Benin Bronze from its ethnography collection to Nigeria. The museum recently established that the object – a brass stave with bird finial – was taken in the British punitive expedition of 1897. TWAM Director Keith Merrin said “it is right to return the stave to Nigeria. Repatriation can be a powerful cultural, spiritual and symbolic act which recognises the wrongs of the past and restores some sense of justice.”
Meanwhile Glasgow Life, which runs Glasgow Museum, has received a request from Nigeria for the return of eight bronzes and 21 other cultural artefacts whose exact provenance has not been established, but which are part of the treasures looted by the British in 1897. A Glasgow Life spokesperson said that it has been working since last November with representatives from Benin, and that the request would be passed to Glasgow City Council's cross-party Working Group for Repatriation and Spoliation.
An export bar has been placed on ‘Banquet Still Life’ by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, one of the most important still life painters of the 17th century. The work which is rare due to its large size was painted between 1640 – 43 and is valued at £6.1m. The export bar extends to 20th April, with a possible extension of six months if an option agreement is signed. Gov.uk
Inaugural Sporting Heritage Awards open for entries – plus new monthly twitter chat
The Sporting Heritage Subject Specialist Network has launched its first ever Sporting Heritage Awards. Eight categories cover topics including work by museums, schools and sports club governing bodies as well as diversity, volunteers, research and moment or event of the year. Nominations close on 18th March, with an awards ceremony in April. Sporting Heritage has also launched a new twitter chat hour and invites everyone to participate @sportinghistory #YourSportingStory from 1 – 2pm on the first Wednesday of each month. Sporting Heritage, Sporting Heritage (twitter)
First DCN Awards – from immersive 3D technology to singing sessions on zoom
The Digital Culture Network has announced the winners of its first awards for digital excellence, across nine categories ranging from ‘being social’ to digital storytelling and income generation. Winners included:
Chinese Arts Now won the Digital Storytelling category with a project at Two Temple Place, mixing gaming and 3D technology to create a ‘virtual gallery’ and immersive performance, addressing the experience of migrants and the history and architecture of the venue.
Opera North’s ‘from couch to chorus’ zoom-based pandemic event involved 5,000 people globally singing opera choruses together. It won the Income Generation category with its ‘pay what you feel’ model, and for its strengths in analysing data to establish the best way of working in previously unknown territory.
Black Country Living Museum won the Being Social category for its success on Tik Tok, where it effectively distilled its brand into a few key themes to reach a wide audience.
Michael Hardy, Digital Engagement Curator at Barnsley Museums won Emerging Digital Leader for his experiments with content and tone that allowed the museum service to be ‘fun and informative at the same time’.
DCN says “these organisations and individuals have cemented themselves as digital leaders in the arts and culture sector, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.” DCN
Brunel Museum wins award for its escape room Tunnelling Through Time
The Brunel Museum has won ‘Best Digital Game’ in the Bullseye Awards for its online escape room adventure ‘Tunnelling through Time’. The game is based around stories associated with the museum and Thames Tunnel ‘with some time travel thrown in’, and won after 14 reviewers played 12,000 games over four categories. Brunel Museum, Brunel Museum (buy game)
The Campaign for Learning is seeking entries to its Family Learning Awards, which celebrate imaginative and inclusive learning opportunities. The three categories this year are Early Years, Supporting Health and Wellbeing and Building Brighter Futures. The deadline for entries has now been extended to 5pm on 18th February 2022. Campaign for Learning
First national LGBTQ+ museum opens at Art Fund building at King’s Cross
The charity Queer Britain has announced that it will be opening the first national LGBTQ+ museum on the ground floor of the Art Fund’s building in King’s Cross. It is hoped that the museum space will be open by the Spring, telling stories of the past, present and future of the community. There will initially be around ten staff in front-of-house, curatorial, design, development and operations roles. Collections to date include costumes, photography, documents and campaigning material. Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman said “we’re thrilled that our beautiful building in Granary Square will be home for the first phase of the Queer Britain museum.” Art Fund, Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
‘House of Memories Cymru’ plans health and culture partnerships for dementia
A new partnership between the Welsh Government and National Museums Liverpool will bring the highly-successful ‘House of Memories’ programme for people with dementia to a new audience. NML will be working alongside a consortium of museums to develop the plan for Wales, ultimately hoping to create an effective cross-sector 'culture care' partnership with local authorities, Health Board acute care providers, residential and home provision, and voluntary sector networks. First moves include a House of Memories app available in English and Welsh, featuring objects from 1920 – 80 alongside practical advice for those living with dementia and their carers. There will also be opportunities for live workshops and digital training sessions. NML Director Laura Pye said “I’m thrilled that House of Memories is now partnering with the Welsh Government on House of Memories Cymru – a project that I am confident will really benefit those living with dementia across Wales, as well as support the Welsh Government’s commitment to living and ageing well.” Updates and details of how to take part are on the dedicated webpage. NML (House of Memories Cymru), Museums Journal
East Anglian living museum transforms into ‘Food Museum’ – complete with bread oven and watermill
The Museum of East Anglian Life in Suffolk has announced that it will rebrand as the Food Museum in March, as part of a masterplan to make its collections relevant to modern audiences. Director Jenny Cousins said “It’s important for living history museums like ours that were founded in the 1950s and 60s to look at what they are doing and who they are for – and potentially make quite radical changes. The collections we hold are no longer part of most people’s living memories, so we need to speak about them in a different way. Museums are for people to visit and to help people make sense of change.” Work already completed on the 75 acre site includes creating a small farm, an orchard and a bread oven. Once work on its watermill is completed, the museum should be able to demonstrate every stage of breadmaking – from growing wheat to serving the finished product in its cafe. The museum also plans to work with food activists and artists, and help young chefs develop their skills. The theme will help the museum create a bridge from past to future – from Victorian agricultural implements to pressing contemporary topics including environmental sustainability, wellbeing, migration and identity. Museums Journal, BBC, M + H
Plans to display 180 million year old ichthyosaur locally to Rutland
Rutland Water Reserve recently revealed that a 180 million year old ichthyosaur had been excavated from its site in February 2021. Discovered during the draining of a reservoir it has been described as ‘unprecedented’ due to its size and completeness and ‘one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history’. Stakeholders are now hoping to raise funds to display the ten metre long fossil in a museum or other location close to where it was found. This is the second remarkable discovery in the tiny county during lockdown – a mosaic from a Roman villa was also uncovered in a field, showing scenes from Homer’s Illiad and described by Historic England as ‘one of the most remarkable and significant... ever found in Britain’. Both finds have recently featured on the BBC’s Digging for Britain. Museums Journal, BBC, BBC (Roman mosaic), Oxfordshire Museums (twitter ichthyosaur)
The ‘museum at the end of the world’ on South Georgia near Antarctica, has reopened after the pandemic. Staffed by curators from Scotland, the museum takes weeks to reach, and serves a few thousand visitors each year who arrive on cruises. Jayne Pierce is among the staff and says that work there is ‘infectious and addictive’, in a world with a lot of penguins and virtually no internet. However, there is no fresh food – leaving curators making a beeline for the fruit when invited onto cruise ships. BBC
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