NMRN Hartlepool plans to repurpose ex-shopping centre to display its largest objects
The National Museum of the Royal Navy will significantly expand its Hartlepool venue after the £3.4m purchase of the Vision Retail Park, which sits next to the museum site. The extra space will be used for new galleries, conservation workshops, reception and retail space. The former shopping centre itself will be converted to accommodate some of the museum’s largest holdings, including WW2 rescue motor launch RML497, and items from the national collection. In 2019, NMRN entered into an agreement with Hartlepool Borough Council to jointly redevelop the museum’s Hartlepool site and surrounding waterfront area, backed by £20m from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. Partners hope that this will support the regeneration of the town, attracting more visitors. NMRN’s DG Professor Dominic Tweddle said “as a museum we’ve responded to the national call for culture to be at the heart of the levelling up agenda and NMRN is at the forefront of these plans in the region. This allows us to commemorate the incredibly rich heritage of the Royal Navy in the north east, to broaden its appeal to new audiences and support the modern Royal Navy.” NMRN, Blooloop, Museums Journal
RAF museum’s visitor figures recover to pre-pandemic levels
The RAF museum’s visitor figures have recovered to pre-Covid levels, with 128,000 visitors to its London and Midlands sites during April and May. The museums have introduced new attractions including the RAF’s most decorated helicopter, Bravo November, new Virtual Reality experiences and a new family events programme. Plans for the summer include the Spitfire Scramble, Family Festival of Flight and Outdoor Cinema in London, and a Battle of Britain Proms, Large Model Air show and Food Festival at Duxford. Director of Visitor and Commercial Development Barry Smith said “hopefully [this] indicates that we as a museum and as an industry are recovering from the issues we faced during the pandemic.”
National Gallery announces 200th anniversary plans, including major loans across UK
The National Gallery has announced the programme to mark its 200th anniversary in 2024, including exhibitions and outreach across the country and around the world. The gallery is also planning a rehang for the first time in its history, which will break up chronological groupings to create ‘surprising artistic conversations’. Director Gabriele Finaldi gives the example of a juxtaposition between Georges Seurat’s 19th century pointillism with 15th century religious works by Piero della Francesca. There will be a major Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery itself, while 12 of its major works including Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ and Botticelli’s ‘Venus and Mars’ will be loaned around the four UK nations. Capital works, aimed at improving entrances and visitor welcome will also be completed in time for the centenary. Independent, Times, National Gallery, Evening Standard, Art Newspaper
ALVA sentiment tracker: 27% intend to visit museums more often, but cost of living is a concern
ALVA has published its latest round of visitor sentiment analysis, covering the period 6th – 10th June, and exploring the likely level of recovery this summer. Findings include:
Around half of all visitors across every type of attraction think they will visit at about the same level as last summer. However, a quarter think they will visit more often and a tenth much more often. Figures for museums closely follow this pattern (10% much more often, 27% more often, 51% same, and only 12% a little or a lot less).
Among those spontaneously expressing concerns about visiting, the top reasons were cost of living (most mentioned by 35 – 54 year olds) and Covid (especially over 55s).
Free attractions are likely to benefit, as those concerned with cost of living choose them over paid attractions. Similarly, holders of membership and season passes are likely to use them more, although renewals will drop off among those feeling worse off.
The number of people planning overseas holidays is up from 18% in 2021, to 35% in 2022, and some will sacrifice UK short breaks to afford these.
ALVA also notes a ‘prevailing sense of happiness and relief among the public’ at the return to normality. ALVA
VisitBritain figures show that most 2021 inbound travellers came to see family, with only 1m on holiday
VisitBritain has published international visitor figures for 2021, with some caveats that sample sizes were low due to coronavirus restrictions. For visitors arriving in the UK by all modes of transport:
There were 6.2m visitors to the UK in 2021, increasing as travel restrictions lessened: 32% of visits were in Q3 and 59% in Q4.
Among that group only 1.1m were on holiday, 1.2m on business and 3.3m (the largest group) visited friends and relatives.
6m of these visitors came from Europe, although these figures exclude Eurotunnel, a popular arrival route.
Figures for visits by air only offer comparisons with pre-pandemic figures. There were 4.8m inbound visits by air to the UK in 2021 - down 85% compared to 2019. Spend for those arriving by air was down 80% on 2019 to £5.1bn, half of which fell in Q4. However, the average per person was around £1,065 up from £776 in 2019.
David Olusoga and Ed Vaizey support campaign to keep Portrait of Omai in the UK
A group including historian David Olusoga and former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has appealed to the Government to extend the export bar on Sir Joshua Reynolds’ ‘Portrait of Omai’ – a full length painting of the Pacific Islander who travelled to London with Captain Cook in 1774 and became an instant celebrity. They describe it as “a signal work in the history of colonialism, scientific exploration and of the Pacific”. However, it is now valued at £50m, making it the joint first most expensive work ever to receive an export bar. Culture Minister Nadine Dorries is said by allies to be looking ‘sympathetically’ on requests to extend the bar, which expires on 10th July until March next year. Government is not being asked for money, but has been asked to endorse a fundraising campaign. The portrait of Omai was subject to previous export bars, but has not been seen in public in the UK since a Tate Britain exhibition in 2005. FT (article), FT (letter), Twitter (Lucy Ward, fundraising campaign co-ordinator)
Tristram Hunt calls for ‘re-evaluation’ of Act which prevents museums disposing of works
Speaking on the Today programme, V&A Director Tristram Hunt called for a re-evaluation of the National Heritage Act 1983, which prevents national museums from deaccessioning objects unless they are duplicates or irreparably damaged. He said it was a ‘tricky area’ with no ‘clear and crisp solution’ but that museums hold material that should be disposed of with no mechanism to do so. He also referenced restitution issues, saying that the return of 1,100 items in German collections to Nigeria means that it is a ‘good moment’ to reconsider. Hunt is proposing that a ‘conversation’ should begin in 2023, led by former Conservative Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Director of the Institute of Art and Law in London Alexander Herman told The Art Newpaper that “I think it shows a lot of initiative on Hunt's part. This is a conversation that needs to be had for the reasons he mentions. The need is only heightened in the post-pandemic world where national museums need to reinvent themselves, which is difficult to do with some of the antiquated restrictions in the existing legislation.” Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
Also: Speaking on LBC, British Museum Chairman George Osborne said that there was a 'deal to be done' to break the deadlock between Athens and London on the display of the Parthenon Marbles. He proposed a solution where the marbles were shared and displayed for a period in Greece before returning to London, but added that he 'cannot talk for all the Trustees of the British Museum'. Art Newspaper
Art UK puts all 13,500 UK public sculptures online – from Princess Pocahontas to the Bee Gees
Art UK has completed cataloguing and photographing all of the UK’s 13,500 outdoor public sculptures, which are now viewable online for the first time. It is also nearing completion of its project to photograph all indoor sculptures from the last thousand years, (a few of which form our image set this month) with 36,000 of an estimated 45,000 already digitised. Art UK research also points to the ‘interesting but unsurprising’ uneven demographic balance of representation. It found that:
5% of named statuary is of men and only 17.5% represents named women, with the remaining 5.5% showing both.
2% or around 2,600 of public sculptures of named individuals across the UK are of people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Five are of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Royalty is the most commemorated group of people. Queen Victoria is the monarch with the most sculptures and public monuments, amounting to 175 in total.
Other roles and professions depicted in large numbers are military figures, politicians, religious figures, writers and poets.
Art UK’s Deputy Director Katey Goodwin said “analysing these sculpture records tells us a great deal about our country’s history and who we choose to commemorate, highlighting how our public art should become more representative.” The database, which will continue to grow as new sculptures and monuments are created, also reflects the identities, industries and heroes distinctive to each part of the UK. Art Newspaper, NLHF, Guardian
Export bars in brief: Tissot and Poussin paintings
A temporary export bar has been placed on Confirmation (c. 1637-40) by Nicolas Poussin, part of his Seven Sacraments series. The painting is valued at £19m, with a deferral until 9th January 2023. Gov.uk
Algernon Marsden, painted in the late 19th century by Jacques Joseph 'James' Tissot has also received an export bar. It is valued at £2.4m and the deferral period runs to 16th September 2022. Gov.uk
Art Fund and partners seek input into how digital projects are funded in the museum sector
Art Fund, the Museums Association, consultancy One Further and Cultural Associates Oxford are running a survey seeking to understand the impact of how digital projects have been developed and funded in the museum sector to date. The group would like to hear about digital projects museums are planning, and views about how they can be better supported. The survey is open throughout July. One Further
Seeds for Action – support for climate change action in England
Museums Development England is asking museums in England to complete a short survey on what further support and resources they need to take action on climate change. Responses will be used for a research report, but regions and organisational information will be redacted. MDE
LGA Commission on culture and local government seeks levelling up case studies
The Local Government Association’s Commission on culture and local government is seeking a new round of case studies, this time on the role of culture in pandemic recovery and levelling up. The Commission, chaired by Baroness Lola Young will report in December, with recommendations to support the work of local and national policymakers. Participants should complete the case study template by 29th July. LGA
Unlimited asks disabled culture workers about ‘something for nothing’ culture
Unlimited, which commissions from and supports disabled artists and artworkers, is holding a survey asking about ‘something for nothing’ culture. It would like to hear from disabled workers who have been asked for creative work or access and inclusion support for no fee or benefit. The survey takes five minutes, and is available in a variety of formats including audio. Unlimited
First National survey for Scotland’s museums in 20 years
Museums Galleries Scotland has launched the first National Survey for Scotland’s museums since 2002. One named contact in every Scottish museum should have received the survey, which will capture both strengths and support needs, as well as the demographics of Scotland’s workforce, breakdown of visitors, skills gaps, and back of house support. The resulting report will analyse what has changed in 20 years, and create baseline data for the sector’s National Strategy, to be published in January 2023. Contact Joe Traynor, at [email protected] with any questions. MGS
Art Fund seeks views on collaborating with other museums to create touring exhibitions
Art Fund is planning a strategic programme to help museums and galleries create collaborative networks to create sustainable touring exhibitions. It anticipates providing financial support for the exhibitions themselves as well as related training and mentoring. It is inviting museums to email [email protected] to receive an Expression of Interest form and share ideas, which will also be used to support an NLHF application.
New Religion, Collections and Heritage Subject Specialist network
A new Religion, Collections and Heritage Subject Specialist network has been formed, open to “museum curators, archivists, priests and volunteers – anyone who looks after religious things”. Writing for Museums Journal co-Chair Crispin Paine says he hopes that it will encourage more museums to address an under-discussed subject. The group is planning a mapping project, and is organising a training and seminar programme. Museums Journal, Religion, Collections & Heritage Group
BBC seeks New Generation Thinkers 2023 to make programmes on topics including museums
The BBC is seeking early career researchers to join its New Generation Thinkers 2023 intake and make BBC Radio 3 programmes on their chosen subject. Topics of interest include archaeology, culture, museums, history and visual arts. Those working at museums which are also Independent Research Organisations (IROs) are eligible to apply, as are those at higher education or research institutes. 60 successful applicants will attend BBC workshops, after which 10 will be selected as New Generation Thinkers. Applications are now open, with a long deadline to apply, running to 22nd September 2023. UKRI
Advice on museums as film locations – from the Repair Room to Peaky Blinders
A number of museums and heritage sites have developed a sideline as film locations, either for a one-off shoot, or in long-term high profile relationships. In an article for AIM, they offer advice about what issues to consider when developing a film income. Filming and event manager at Wentworth Woodhouse, Helen Flower says that the method of finding film locations is still ‘old school’ through freelancers and location scouts. Being well networked and getting recommended by ‘word of mouth’, as well as signing up with bodies such as Screen Yorkshire, Creative England, Sussex Film Office and more can be important in building profile. This also helped Weald and Downland Living Museum become a long term venue for The Repair Shop. However, its Head of Commercial Ilona Harris emphasises the importance of balancing visitor needs against the profile and income brought by film crews – including not over-estimating how much filming will bring in, and knowing when to turn an offer down. She says “we’re a visitor attraction and a conservation and education charity, not a venue. So, we’ve made rules for ourselves like we won’t close the museum to visitors, we set in place a rate card. It’s important to know your value, and to know when you need to turn something down.” Stoke City Council recently made a more controversial decision at Gladstone Pottery Museum when it closed the venue to all but school visits for much of the winter to prioritise TV filming. Black Country Living Museum, which found worldwide profile in 180 countries as the set for Peaky Blinders, seeks balance. Carolyn Sankey, co-Director of Development says “while sometimes filming onsite when we’re open can give an added ‘wow factor’ for visitors, where schedules allow, we ask productions if they are able to film on closed days in the autumn/winter”. She points to the importance of factoring in staff time, risk assessments and insurance – but also says that if well prepared, hosting a film can be enjoyable as well as strategic. AIM
The Art Newspaper explores the crypto crash and NFTs
As the crypto market loses around 70% of its value compared to last November, The Art Newspaper podcast asked expert Amy Castor about the possible effect on the value of NFTs being minted by some museums and galleries. She describes a crypto world dependent on bringing new speculators on board, and made opaque by ‘wash’ – essentially fake purchases between two players to give the illusion of market value for an NFT. She nevertheless argues that cryptocurrency still has some way to run, and with it the prevalence of NFTs as part of the art world. Art Newspaper
Diane Lees has announced that she will step down as Director General of Imperial War Museums in spring 2023 after 14 years in post. She led the organisation through one of its most transformative periods, including the First World War commemorations, and the creation of major new galleries. IWM, Museums Journal
In an evolving situation, in which upwards of 50 MPs have resigned from Boris Johnson’s Government, there have been two departures from DCMS. Julia Lopez, Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure resigned on Wednesday 6th July and Chris Philp, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy resigned on Thursday 7th. The Evening Standard is running a list of all MPs who have left the Government.
Since Johnson's own resignation yesterday a number of people have been appointed as part of interim arrangements until a new leader is in post. These include Matt Warman MP who will be a Minister of State at DCMS. Evening Standard
Following the retirement of William Brown, from Monday 4 July Valentina Sabucco will be joining the team as Manager, Security and Protection Advice. There is also a new general security email: [email protected] which replaces the previous email contact.
We Make Tomorrow: rethinking leadership to address the climate crisis
Julie’s Bicycle is holding an environment summit, We Make Tomorrow 2022, two years after the 2020 event mobilised the cultural community for climate action. Activity will include performance, conversation and workshops, with themes including funding climate justice, mitigation beyond net zero, creative responses, health, wellbeing and resilience, and community led practice and place making. The event takes place three weeks before COP27 and will be an opportunity to consider progress to date. NMDC is among the organisations signed up as Friends of the summit. The event takes place on 13th October at Birmingham Rep and Library or online. Full speakers and a programme will be announced soon. Early bird tickets are £35 - £81 depending on organisation size, and freelancer tickets are £25. Julie’s Bicycle
GEM hybrid Conference 2022: Thinking Outwards: A Way Forward for Museum Learning
GEM has announced its 2022 conference ‘Thinking Outwards: A Way Forward for Museum Learning’ with in person attendance options for the first time since the pandemic. A full programme will be issued in coming weeks. The event takes place at the Museum of Making, Derby on 7th – 9th September, with online viewing options. Tickets in person range from £118 (member, one day) to £495 (non member, full conference) and £49 - £280 online, for all those buying under the early bird option before 15th July. 20 bursaries are also available. GEM
NEMO Conference 2022: Innovation begins within - Resilient museums in times of disruption
The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) is holding its 30th annual conference, exploring how museums can become more innovative, agile and flexible in a fast-changing and challenging world. It includes case studies from within and beyond the museum sector. The event takes place from 9th – 11th October in Loulé, Portugal. Tickets are 150 euro for non members, free to two members per organisation. The deadline for bookings is 30th September. NEMO
Climate Museum online workshops for Scottish museums
In partnership with MGS, Climate Museum UK is offering a series of three two-hour online workshops to give a grounding in creative approaches to the climate emergency. They are open to all workers in Scottish museums. Topics include relating climate to social issues and culture; exploring how museum collections and programmes can engage with audiences around these issues; and anticipating the museums of the future in a changing world, and planning pathways of action. Workshops are free, and can be taken individually or as a series. MGS (Grasping the situation: what is the Earth crisis?, 26th July) MGS (Eco Lens, 16th August), MGS, (Cultural Change in a Changing World, 18th October)
Heritage Digital Academy – online roundtables to chat with the sector
As many heritage organisations have switched to more virtual ways of working, there has been some loss of information spaces to connect and compare notes with others across the sector. In response, Heritage Digital Academy is offering a new series of online roundtable discussions for those in the sector. It will allow sharing of sector-specific challenges, as well as shaping the resources and training offered by HDA. HDA, (signup 14th July), HDA (signup 17th August)
REMIX Summit, London - Culture, Technology & Entrepreneurship
REMIX Summit has returned, offering a mixture of culture and technology at a hybrid event hosted at the National Gallery, Google HQ and online. It brings together pioneers including Historic Royal Palaces presenting the new ‘Gunpowder Plot’ immersive experience at the Tower of London, Barbican, Museum of London, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Punchdrunk, the Global Head of Immersive Learning at Meta and dozens more speakers. The event takes place from 1st – 2nd September. Tickets range from £300 including VAT for one day, or £418 for two days in person, with reductions for students and digital attendance tickets. NMDC newsletter readers can get 25% off early bird tickets by using the code NMDC25. REMIX
Governance training: Emerging Chairs and Trustee Leadership
Cause4 is running two events to support those involved in governance of arts and heritage organisations. ‘Emerging Chairs’ covers topics from supporting senior management to business planning, fundraising and challenges. It takes place on 21st September and is £85 + VAT. The Trustee Leadership programme covers an overview of the charity sector, strategic planning, financial management and an introduction to fundraising. The event takes place from 17th – 18th August and costs £109 (including VAT). Cause4 (chairs), Cause4 (trustees)
Culture24 digital leadership seminars cover inclusion and digital enterprise
Culture24 is holding two more seminars in its series on leadership and digital, open to all but especially designed for leaders of medium and large cultural organisations.
‘Digital Leadership – Inclusion, equity and digital’ on 18th July discusses how digital skill-building can give a voice to people often excluded, including older and younger people and vulnerable adults.
Digital enterprise in heritage is on 25th July discusses topics including how digital changes visitor expectations and behaviours, and how to borrow from the wider world of digital enterprise in your approach.
Heritage Digital: improving engagement and outreach with younger audiences
Some smaller heritage organisations can lack the skills needed to reach younger audiences on the platforms they use. This Heritage Digital webinar, delivered by Media Trust, will look at creating good content, using effective platforms, and using data to optimise performance. The event takes place online at 10am on 20th July. Heritage Digital
MuseumNext is holding a ‘New Generation summit’ which will bring together presentations by 30 young professionals in the sector, with new perspectives on topics including accessibility, representation, workers’ rights, sustainability, audiences, and technology. The event takes place on 18th – 20th July. Tickets are £120 for individual, £240 for a museum team and £60 for freelancers. MuseumNext
Museum watch report: some European museums ‘seen as leverage for reinforcing national identity’
A report by the Museum Watch Governance Management Project has tracked growing levels of political interference in museums in central and south eastern Europe. The report, created by the International Committee for Museum Management (Intercom) and the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (Cimam) say that these museums are generally run by direct government control, rather than the arm’s length principal, compounded by governance arrangements in place for decades breaking down. It argues that history museums in particular can be used by politicians “to confirm their version of history and therefore as a means to influence cultural and international policy” The report will be discussed by the International Council of Museums at its conference in Prague in August. Its writers are proposing a code for museums with a badge of compliance, so that potential partners can see if a museum meets an international standard in its governance. CIMAM’s Bart de Baere, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp adds “there are paradoxes here. There’s a tendency to think politicians should be excluded from governance. But there’s also the awareness that it is fundamentally important to have direct contact with those politicians, and preferable to be in a continuous discussion with them.”Museums Journal, CIMAM (whole report), Art Newspaper
Cultural heritage responses to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine this month include:
UNESCO is setting up processes, including satellite imagery, to accurately measure the level of damage to cultural heritage in the country. As of mid June, it estimates 143 culturally significant buildings have been damaged, including 12 museums and 27 historic buildings. Kharkiv, where 30 sites have been destroyed or seriously damaged, is of particular concern. Dezeen
There is also growing evidence that Russia is deliberately targeting cultural sites, including the Palace of Culture in Lozova. Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said that amidst the destruction, Ukraine is “already working with international partners on a plan to restore our cultural heritage". Art Newspaper
The British Council and Ukrainian Institute have launched a new season ‘Ukraine Reimagined’ to support the Ukrainian cultural sector. It will run to 2023, with live events in the UK and online which will support Ukrainian artists and bring profile to their work. British Council, Art Newspaper
Museums Worcester has expanded an existing programme for refugees, to cater for Ukrainians. Social history curator David Nash says that while local authorities deal with practicalities, there is a gap for cultural acclimatisation work: “it doesn’t feel like anyone is saying ‘this is what Britain is like’”. Museum sessions initially give children a place to play while adults get advice – but some people return for the ‘oasis of calm’ that the space provides in the longer term. Museums Journal
Also: The Guardian reports on how European museum workers are leaving the UK for the continent after many years – and in doing so importing UK approaches to create outreach programmes and lower bars to museum access, especially in German museums. Guardian
‘Normalising conversations about failure’ CMP becomes Failspace Champion
Cornwall Museums Partnership has become a Failspace Champion – supporting a project that normalises the idea that some initiatives will fail, and helping the cultural sector to talk more openly about what has not worked as a route to better outcomes in the long run. CMP’s Charlotte Morgan says that a first step is avoiding bureaucratic euphemisms and “actually using the word ‘failure’ and not just talking about ‘hurdles’, ‘challenges’, or ‘learning opportunities’!” In practical terms, this means that CMP will begin carrying Failspace logos, and running workshops within the organisation and in its networks. The AHRC funded Failspace project has run since 2019, led by Leila Jancovich of the University of Leeds and David Stevenson of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. It is based on the premise that learning from failure should be part of every cultural project – acknowledging that between the extremes of total success and total failure, most activity will have elements of both. Its toolkit offers a framework for organisations of all sizes, running from delivery to evaluation. The programme ends in December, but through champions like CMP it hopes its findings will have an effect over the longer term, and encourage a more open and constructive approach to what has not worked. CMP, Centre for Cultural Value, Failspace (workshop tools), International Journal of Cultural Policy, (‘failure seems the hardest word to say’)
‘People actually doing things’ – a visit to the Museum of Making
Guardian culture writer Charlotte Higgins has reviewed the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill, which is on the shortlist for Art Fund Museum of the Year. She says that whereas some industrial museums in a post-industrial age can convey a sense of decline and nostalgia, the practical approach at the Museum of Making avoids this. As well as a maker in residence scheme and bench space for hobbyists with access to heavy duty equipment, “everywhere you go, you are confronted by people actually doing things, whether it’s staff doing a bit of crafting while looking after the tills, or a volunteer helping visitors have a go on a hand loom.” She adds that museum interpretation is clear sighted about the exploitative aspects of the industrial revolution, at home and abroad, while celebrating the feats of engineering that have emerged from the city, including the Trent 1000 Rolls-Royce engine suspended from the museum’s ceiling. She suggests that In a time when retail-led city centre regeneration is no longer an option, the Museum of Making’s formula may offer a new approach. The Museum of Making’s Workshop Supervisor Steve Smith also recently featured on BBC Front Row. Guardian, BBC (Front Row), Art Newspaper
Ignite Yorkshire on Involving younger people in industrial heritage
Ignite Yorkshire is a project to connect young people aged 14 – 19 with the county’s industrial heritage. It is funded by NLHF’s youth funding strand ‘Kicking the Dust’, and project manager Marie Millward has recently blogged about its new approach. She says that from the 1960s on, the industrial heritage movement was inspired by the loss of major industries from coal mining to steam railways, and the immediate connection communities felt for these formerly large employers. For younger generations, that personal connection and level of nostalgia is evaporating, and a new type of conversation is needed. The project has balanced civic pride with conversations about pollution and exploitation – topics that are engaging for young people and also speak to the present. Those involved have also been reimbursed for their time, producing materials, including an audio guide ‘Locks to Legacies’ connecting waterways in Leeds to Black histories. Over the four year period of the project, some young people have been able to take on leadership roles and develop demonstrable life skills. Millward says “for some of the young people, due to the pandemic, they were not able to do their GCSEs. But we know that the experience they have had with us has helped them get into agricultural college or onto an archaeology degree, for example.”NLHF, Locks to Legacies
Drone footage captures the scale of restoration at the Science and Industry Museum
The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester has captured the scale of the restoration project across its seven acre site with new drone footage. Work is ongoing to its 1830 station and warehouse – one of the earliest station buildings in the world and new special exhibitions galleries. It will include the development of a railroad and locomotive experience to tell the railway story, and a dedicated STEM learning space. There will also be significant work to make the building environmentally sustainable, including a huge borehole to an aquifer, where water at 10 – 11 degrees will be extracted, creating a new heating source. Much of the work will be complete by 2024, with plans to 2033 to achieve net zero emissions. Blooloop, Science and Industry Museum, S+IM (timeline of work to 2030), Whitworth (boreholes and aquifer at S+IM)
UNESCO World Heritage status bid by Port Sunlight,
Port Sunlight, the Merseyside model village built by Lever Brothers in the 19th century for workers at the Sunlight Soap factory, is to seek UNESCO World Heritage Site Status. The village also has a concert hall, local history museum, swimming pool and public gardens. Speaking at the AIM conference, Paul Harris, Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust said that the site is ‘not under development pressures’ which is important for UNESCO, but that it also intends to build new housing for young families, and offer ‘conversations around the building of the site’ that are relevant to the present as well as the past. Museums Journal
Europa Nostra call for nominations as ‘seven most endangered’ 2022
Europa Nostra is seeking nominations to create a list of seven most endangered heritage sites across Europe for 2022. Nominations can range from private to publicly owned heritage, intangible heritage, industrial and archaeological sites and more. Those making the final list will be given expert advice from specialists. Past nominees have also found that listing has led to effective action campaigns by the public or governments. Nominations are open until 15th September. Europa Nostra, Europa Nostra (nomination form)
Derwent Valley Mills site may be at risk of losing its World Heritage Site status
It was announced last month that Strutt North Mill in Belper would close as a museum site in September, after Amber Valley Borough Council withdrew funding. Although Strutt Mill’s collections may be shown at a new site in Belper, that plan is 5 – 10 years away. These facts may contribute to putting the World Heritage Site status of Derwent Valley Mills – the wider area with a long mill history - at risk. UNESCO has been enquiring why some developments in the area have been allowed to proceed. Meanwhile, a new group Our Belper Mills has formed to represent the community in discussions about the mills and be part of ‘an alternative solution and to put a stop to years of deterioration’. Museums Journal
Increased warnings of metal theft from heritage buildings as prices spiral
The International Monetary Fund reports that metal prices are up by 72% compared to pre-pandemic levels. This makes theft from historic buildings especially profitable, and insurer Ecclesiastical says there has been a rise in claims for the first half of 2022. It offers a checklist of steps to take to deter criminals – from CCTV to restricting vehicle access and using materials less attractive to thieves. Museums Journal
Visual artists work with scientists to explore Future Foods at Kew – as museums host a Climavore diet
Major global food crops such as wheat, rice and maize are becoming harder to grow because of climate change, or because they are too costly to the planet. Therefore Kew Gardens is part of research into ‘future foods’ that could be much more widely eaten by 2050, including cacti, Ethiopia’s ‘false banana’, wild rice, seaweed and akkoub, a thistle-like plant found in the Middle East. It will feature some of these in its Future Foods programme for visitors this summer, including collaboration with artists Sharp and Sour, who have created a museum of endangered foods. Meanwhile at Serpentine, Cooking Sections are working on the CLIMAVORE project in partnership with scientists, policymakers and chefs – including Benugo, which runs many museum cafes. Some museums have removed farmed salmon from their menus as part of the CLIMAVORE intervention and at Serpentine, Benugo is serving seaweed soda bread, rope grown mussels and an agar panna cotta as an edible extension of the discussion. The Climavore menu is available at a dozen more museums across the UK, including the Science Museum, Ashmolean, Royal Museums Greenwich, V&A and Tate. Kew, BBC, (Radio 4 Food Programme), Serpentine, Climavore
Repositioning for a local audience: the Horniman’s reset during the pandemic
The Horniman Museum is on the shortlist for Museum of the Year, and its Director Nick Merriman has been discussing how it used the relative stasis of the 2021’s still pandemic-stricken year to bring about a reset in its approach to audiences, collections and nature. Merriman says that although pre-Covid the Horniman was attracting nearly 1m people a year, they were mostly middle class – driven partly by the gentrification of the Forest Hill area but also because of a shift in commercial strategy that excluded a less well-off audience. “So 20 or 30 years ago, it had a much more diverse audience, even though it was smaller.” New programming has included the 696 music festival featuring Afrofuturist hip-hop to reggae, jazz and soul, and the return of the Jerk Cookout event after some years, especially connecting to people of Caribbean descent. The museum is also renewing its galleries and labelling, with greater clarity and the decolonisation of collections in mind. Meanwhile its natural history collections and 16 acre gardens to spearhead its work on the climate emergency. Currently the museum’s Head of Horticulture Errol Reuben Fernandes is reaching a wide audience as a co-presenter of the second series of Channel 4’s the Great Garden Revolution, applying insights from the museum’s climate-driven approach to its own green space to ordinary gardens. Evening Standard, Horniman, (Great Garden revolution), Art Newspaper
Design Museum’s Future Observatory runs £25m fund to help ‘design the green transition’
The Design Museum and AHRC have launched a £25m fund bringing UK design researchers, universities and businesses together to catalyse the transition to net zero and a green economy. The work will be carried out over the next three years following the success of the museum’s pilot Future Observatory, which champions climate solutions through design. The investment will directly fund and benefit over 100 higher education institutions and 75 industry and local authority partners across the UK. AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said “our collaboration with the Design Museum once again proves the vital role the arts and humanities can play in solving the most urgent contemporary challenges”.Future Observatory
Environmental activists glue themselves to picture frames in galleries across the UK
In a co-ordinated campaign, young activists from Just Stop Oil have been glueing themselves to picture frames as well as causing other damage at museums and galleries across the UK. Elsewhere in the past month they have also invaded the track at Silverstone and spray painted the Treasury in red to symbolise blood. Most recently, five activists sprayed the walls of the Royal Academy, before attaching themselves to the frame of Giampietrino’s ‘Last Supper’. A briefing from the National Police Coordination Centre (NPCC) says that the attacks are likely to continue and warns galleries to be on high alert. Previous very recent actions include two campaigners glueing themselves to Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ in the National Gallery, also attaching a picture of a ‘revised’ Hay Wain in a polluted future, on pieces of paper draped over the painting itself. ‘Thomson’s Aeolian Harp’ by JWM Turner in Manchester Art Gallery, a van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery and a Horatio McCulloch artwork at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow have been similarly targeted. Asked if it would continue to target museums, a Just Stop Oil spokesperson said “we love our history and culture too much to just allow it all to be destroyed by the breakdown of our society… Supporters of Just Stop Oil will continue to peacefully disrupt whatever it takes until the government agrees to halt all new fossil fuel projects.” The galleries affected have generally not so far commented – given the ongoing police investigation – except to confirm that conservators are assessing the works for any damage. ‘The Hay Wain’ has now been moved and rehung after minor damage to the frame and ‘some disruption to the surface of the varnish on the painting’ was successfully dealt with. Guardian, Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
Charities Act 2022 - changes that affect museum trustees
The Charities Act 2022 received Royal Assent in February, with changes that will affect museums with charitable status, and will be enforced in stages from autumn 2022 to autumn 2023. The legislation covers England and Wales only. Some changes will make it more difficult for charities to change their charitable Objects, and 75% of trustees will also have to agree to changes to a governing document. Fundraising rules will change, so that if a fundraising appeal fails, it will be possible to spend small donations on other projects - but it will be important to make this clear in fundraising literature. Ex-gratia payments become possible without the Charity Commission's permission, but there is a cap and a sliding scale. Museums will also have greater freedom to borrow from a permanent endowment. AIM's guide to the Charities Act lists the full run down of changes, and invites museums to consider if there are some actions that it will be easier to carry out either before or after the new act comes into effect. AIM
Ivory Act comes into force with exemptions for museums
In June the UK wide ban on the sale of elephant ivory came into force, largely making its sale illegal, with a few exemptions open to dealers and museums. These will either need registration before a transaction takes place, or an exemption certificate. Items requiring registration include:
musical instruments made before 1975 with less that 20% ivory by volume.
items made before 3rd March 1947 with less than 10% ivory by volume.
portrait miniatures made before 1918 with a surface area smaller than 320sq cm
items that a qualifying museum intends to buy or hire.
There is also an exemption for pre-1918 items of outstandingly high artistic, cultural or historical value; these will need an exemption certificate. AIM, Gov.uk (ivory guidance), Gov.uk (register or apply for exemption certificate), Museums Journal,
Empire, Slavery & Scotland's Museums recommends next steps including dedicated space
The Empire, Slavery & Scotland's Museums Steering Group has reported back to the Scottish Government with recommendations on how museums should address Scotland's involvement in empire, colonialism, and historic slavery. The recommendations follow extensive consultations with community groups, the wider public and museum workers. It proposes:
A new dedicated space to address Scotland’s role in empire, colonialism and historic slavery, run by a newly created organisation, and with funding from the Scottish Government of £5m over the first four years.
Museums should have anti-racism embedded in their practice. A majority of museums consulted said they lacked understanding or confidence to implement this well, compounded by a lack of staff diversity.
All communities in Scotland should be involved in shaping museum work through co-production. Currently those facing racism are under-represented, and short term and superficial projects have led to tokenism.
Museums should commit to research, interpret, and share the histories of Scotland's links to empire, colonialism, and historic slavery. At the moment only a minority of museums address the issue. The proposed new organisation should be a resource offering expertise for this work.
Museums should support teaching and learning to embed race equality in curriculums.
The Scottish Government should support restitution and repatriation of looted or unethically acquired items in Scottish collections.
MGS welcomes the report and is reviewing the recommendations which it will respond to in coming weeks. It also invites comments at [email protected]. MGS (report recommendations), MGS, (guide to the consultation), Museums Journal
Museums to help delivering Welsh Government's Anti-Racist action plan
The Welsh Government has published its Anti-Racist action plan, which covers all areas of government and offers a vision for the country to be anti-racist by 2030. The work will include working with cultural and heritage bodies to create a 'balanced, authentic and decolonised' account of the past, maximise the participation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and support anti-racist education. Museums Journal, Welsh Government,
Two new public artworks have been unveiled in London to commemorate the Windrush generation. Basil Watson’s work at Waterloo Station shows a man, woman and child standing on suitcases; ‘Warm Shores’ by Thomas J Price, stands outside Hackney Town Hall and represents local Windrush residents and their descendants. Art Newspaper
The MA is among 100 signatories to a public call to make Windrush Day 2023 a ‘significant public moment’ – raising the profile of the day for the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush. New research by British Future shows that 57% of the public think that the arrival of the ship was a significant moment in British history. 46% of the public, and 55% of ethnic minority citizens would like the 75th anniversary to be marked with a major event. Museums Journal
100 globe shaped sculptures will be unveiled in seven cities across the UK in August to highlight the impact of the slave trade. The British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare designed the form of the globe sculpture and over 100 artists have adapted them for sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool City Region, London, and Swansea. The work comes from art organisation ‘The World Reimagined’ which aims to create ‘one of the largest education projects for racial justice the UK has seen’. Art Newspaper
Locals have voted to keep four statues on the façade of a Goldsmiths, University of London building with connections to slavery, including Sir Francis Drake and Lord Nelson. 58% of those surveyed around New Cross disagreed with removing the statues; the most popular option was interpretation panels alongside resources for schools. Evening Standard
NLHF launches new Heritage Innovation Fund with £25k grants to develop new solutions
NLHF is launching a new pilot Heritage Innovation Fund to help organisations find solutions to issues including diversifying the workforce, developing digital or developing volunteering opportunities. The fund is delivered in partnership with The Young Foundation, which will offer expert advice and collaboration to successful projects. It is divided into three phases: ‘Explore’ to define problems and develop potential solutions; ‘Test’ for prototyping and ‘Grow’ for implementation and sharing good practice. The first ‘Explore’ phase is now open, offering up to £25k per project. There is a webinar introducing the new fund on 21st July at 11am, plus a choice of three workshops in August and September. The deadline for applications is 27th September. NLHF, M + H, NLHF (webinar for applicants)
£2m in Art Fund new grants includes Reimagine and Weston Loan Programme
The Art Fund has opened two new rounds of funding which will distribute £2m in support to museums and galleries. These are:
Reimagine grants, aimed to increased stability post-pandemic and inspire creativity. Organisations can apply for £10k - £50k for projects to reimagine engagement with audiences, communities, collections, resources and their own workforces. £200k of this funding will be distributed to small to medium museums through Museum Development UK, for reset grants and resilience programmes. This fund is open until 12th September.
The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund enables museums to borrow important works from major lending museums and galleries. The scheme has been shown to dramatically grow visitor numbers at smaller venues while widening the pool of lending objects. The funding covers a whole range of assistance from transportation to conservation and training. The Art Fund is seeking ambitious, exciting and high-profile loan projects that have the potential to be genuinely transformative for the borrowing museum or gallery. The deadline for applications is 12th August.
Art Fund gave £5.8m in support across all its programmes in 2021, and by the end of 2022 will have given £6m in pandemic response support, made possible by 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass. Art Fund (Reimagine), Art Fund (Weston Loan), Museums Journal
DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund new round
The DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund has opened a new round which offers £4m over two years from 2022-24. Up to £300k is available per application for capital projects in museums and galleries in England with Designated collections, those which are or have been part of ACE development schemes (eg NPOs) and those sponsored by DCMS. Projects supported include improving display and interpretation of collections, enhancing disabled access or addressing environmental controls or collection storage. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 1st August. Gov.uk
The Space Digital R&D 2022 commissions now open for applications
The Space is inviting cultural bodies in England, including museums, libraries and community organisations the chance to apply for one of its £14k Digital R&D commissions. The fund supports developing and delivering creative digital projects for online audiences – which might range from a video or audio project, to an interactive or immersive experience. The Space hopes that this work will help organisation work towards a hybrid future, building on new developments that emerged during the pandemic. Successful applicants can also get help from The Space on specific issues, for example digital production, content distribution, audience development or online rights. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 21st July. The Space, The Space (immersive audience experiences using 360 and VR)
UKRI seeks EOIs: Research infrastructure for conservation and heritage science
UKRI is inviting organisations and individuals working in the heritage sector and beyond to express an interest in funding for research infrastructure in conservation and heritage science. AHRC’s one-off and heavily oversubscribed Capability for Collections Fund, launched in 2020, was a first attempt at addressing long-standing systemic failures and inefficiencies caused by inadequate or ageing facilities. This new funding aims to support a more comprehensive approach to upgrading. Through the programme, UK hopes to support work that secures the UK’s reputation for excellence in heritage science and grows capability beyond the sector. The opportunity is open to museums and galleries, freelance conservators, Higher Education institutions and IROs, among others. There will be a webinar at noon on 14th July to answer questions on appropriate bids. The closing date for expressing an interest is 4pm on 1st August. UKRI, UKRI, (webinar)
Cultural resources for local authorities making bids to Levelling Up funds
Local authorities can bid for significant amounts from the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, which can partly be spent on cultural heritage assets, where that is for the wider purpose of regeneration, wellbeing and prosperity in underserved areas. To assist these bids, the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has brought together useful statistics, case studies and research findings, to help inform and underpin bids that have a heritage or creative industries angle. The Levelling Up fund runs to 2024 – 25. Creative PEC, Gov.uk (round 2 Levelling Up fund), Creative PEC (finding out more about local creative industries)
NLHF commits a further £2m towards seven business development programmes for heritage
NLHF is extending work aimed to help museum and heritage organisations become more resilient and business minded for another year, with additional funding of £2m. The seven programme strands include Rebuilding Heritage, which offered free and one-to-one group support for heritage; leadership training in Scotland through Surviving to Thriving; Catalyst Cymru: Broadening Horizons and Heritage Trade Up, which supports entrepreneurialism. These programmes and more will open new rounds in coming months. NLHF
Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance open awards for 2022
The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance awards have opened for 2022. The three categories are Climate, in collaboration with Happy Museum, Practising Well, for practitioners embedding good practice, and Collective Power for grassroots movements or consortiums. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 31st July, the winners will be announced in November. CHWA, CHWA (climate)
Nominations open for Blooloop 50 Museum Influencer List 2022
Attractions news website Blooloop is inviting nominations to its 50 Museum Influencer list for 2022. In the third year of this list, it is seeking nominations of museum people globally who have demonstrated creativity and resilience, whether as part of a digital transition, community work or using innovative image technologies, including virtual and augmented reality content. The deadline for nominations is 18th September. Blooloop
Also: Black Country Living Museum won gold in the Resilience and Innovation category of VisitEngland’s 2022 Awards for Excellence. VisitBritain
The Museums Association has launched its Museums Change Lives Awards for 2022, with three awards for institutions and one for an individual. Entrants must be members of the MA, either individually or institutionally. Best Museums Change Lives project is for best practice in social impact by museums; Best Small Museum project is for social impact with an operating budget of less than £320k. The Reimagining the Museum Award is for a museum using decolonising practice and recognising the legacy and slavery. The Radical Changemaker Award will recognise an individual who has delivered social impact in one or more museums. The deadline for entries is 5.30pm on 25th August. Museums Journal
Achates Philanthropy Prize celebrates those who give to cultural organisations
Now in its sixth year, the Achates Philanthropy Prize is seeking nominations of those who have given philanthropically to cultural organisations. There are two categories: one for an individual or trust, and one for a company who have set an example in supporting culture for the first time in the last year. The prize is intended to highlight cultural organisations as charities in need of support, and to promote the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist. The winners will receive an award specially commissioned from sculptor Peter Brooke-Ball MRBS, and the cultural organisation that they supported will receive £5k. The deadline for nominations is 5pm on 12th September. Achates Philanthropy
Kids in Museums has published a shortlist of 16 museums for its Family Friendly Museum Award 2022. The categories are best large, medium and small museums, best accessible museum and best family engagement team. PK Porthcurno, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, the National Maritime Museum, Museum of Making Derby, Ely Museum, London Museum of Water and Steam, Museum of London Docklands, Egypt Museum Swansea and Riverside Museum Glasgow are among the museums on the varied shortlist. Family judges will visit over the summer, and the winners will be announced in October. Kids in Museums
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