August 2010

NMDC Newsletter: August 2010
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NMDC Newsletter: August 2010
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Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update...
In this issue:

    and much more…


    NMDC briefing on Museums and Tourism

    NMDC has produced a new briefing paper on museums and tourism, highlighting the role of museums as drivers of British tourism, the fifth largest industry in the UK.  The briefing is full of facts and figures and analysis of the role of museums in building the UK brand, attracting international visitors and contributing to the UK’s tourism economy, including:
    • The top five UK visitor attractions in 2009, and eight of the top ten, were museums and galleries.
    • Three UK museums – the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern – were in the top five most visited international art museums in 2009.
    • World-renowned cultural assets act as a magnet for potential tourists from many parts of the world, with visitors citing Britain’s culture and heritage-related assets and activities (including the country’s many free museums) as key reasons for coming here. 
    • In 2008/09 14 million visits were made by visitors from overseas to 17 UK museums. Overseas visitors made up 59% of visitors to the British Museum, 35% of visitors to the National Gallery and 51% of visitors to the National Maritime Museum.
    • By attracting overseas visitors, museums contribute significantly to the tourist economy.  At least £350 million a year is generated by overseas visitors attracted by major museums and galleries.
    NMDC argues that developing and promoting museums’ offer could help to attract new visitors to the UK, encourage them to stay longer and improve the quality of the visitor 'welcome' in the UK. NMDC is calling on the Government to involve museums in the development of tourism policy to ensure full consideration of museums’ offer, potential, knowledge and experience, and to invest in transport infrastructure and public spaces in which museums operate to improve the visitor experience.  Read the full briefing paper on our website.

    Meeting with Tourism Minister

    In July NMDC Directors met with John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, to highlight the vital role museums play in the UK visitor economy.  Directors discussed with the Minister how Government can support museums and capitalise on their contribution to the tourist economy, as well as how museums can contribute to Government tourism strategy and improving the tourism offer around the UK.

    Related news - Tourism contributes £115bn a year to UK economy

    New research by Deloitte and Oxford Economics calculates that the total economic contribution that home and overseas visitors make to the UK is currently £115 billion a year. The research, commissioned by VisitBritain, predicts that if all goes well the figure is set to rise to £188 billion a year in 2020, an increase of more than 60%. Deloitte predicts spending by overseas visitors will almost double from £16 billion now to £31 billion in 2020.  The number of jobs supported by tourism over that period is predicted to rise from 2.63 million now to 2.89 million.  VisitBritain back to top


    Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to be abolished

    On 26 July, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP announced plans to abolish the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) by April 2012 “to focus efforts on front-line, essential services and ensure greater value for money”.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was explicit however that “Government support for museums, libraries and archives will continue”.  MLA is one of a number of DCMS public bodies that will be merged, abolished or “streamlined” as part of the Government's drive "to cut costs and increase transparency, accountability and efficiency". MLA’s Chief Executive, Roy Clare, and Chair, Andrew Motion, issued a joint statement entitled “Stormy seas call for cool heads and steady hands”, asserting that they would continue to provide strong and visible national leadership: “We will work methodically and calmly to continue to deliver a vibrant and effective expert service for the public who rightly expect excellent, sustainable museums, libraries and record offices in their local neighbourhoods. Our accent is on strong strategic leadership; access to expert advice which can help people to weather the effects of recession; strong investment programmes; joining up across the network; good links into local government, and provision of resources that demonstrate good practice.  We are committed to arguing for these to be reflected clearly in the new arrangements”.  MLA, originally known as Resource, was created in 2000 by a merger of the Museums & Galleries Commission and the Library and Information Commission.  MLA manages the Renaissance in the Regions programme which has channelled more than £300m of Government funding into regional museums since 2002.  The MLA statement on 26 July quoted Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP as saying “there is now an opportunity to integrate Renaissance and the other important functions of the MLA into the wider cultural framework.”  MLA also provides core services such as the accreditation scheme, security advice, research and evidence, and export licensing.  NMDC statement on the abolition of the MLA NMDC understands the need for DCMS, like all government departments, to cut costs and welcomes DCMS’s commitment to focus efforts on maintaining essential front-line services in the museums, libraries and archives sector.    Our key concern is that the vital functions carried out by the MLA – most notably Renaissance in the Regions, as well as programmes such as Acceptance in Lieu and the Government Indemnity Scheme – are retained and adequately administered.  NMDC is committed to ensuring that museums remain high on the DCMS agenda.  We will be keeping in close contact with DCMS and museum sector colleagues as decisions on the future management of MLA’s programming and strategic functions are made. DCMS press release    Written Ministerial Statement    MLA statement   

    Changes to other DCMS sponsored bodies

    DCMS also announced on 26 July the abolition of the UK Film Council (UKFC), with a direct relationship being re-established between DCMS and the British Film Institute, which has been funded via the UKFC since 2000.  In a statement, Tim Bevan, Chair of UKFC described the abolition of UKFC as “a bad decision, imposed without any consultation or evaluation”.  The Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites will be abolished and the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships will be declassified and its functions transferred to another body.  The Government is also considering the role and remit of English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the role of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and whether to change the status, role and functions of Visit England and Visit Britain.  In a written statement to Parliament on 26 July about the NDPB changes, Mr  Hunt said that he had applied the tests agreed by the coalition government to each of DCMS’s public bodies: “does it perform a technical function?; does it need to be politically impartial?; and does it act independently to establish facts?”.  He continued to say that “public bodies which do not meet one of the three tests outlined will be bought back into departments or devolved if their function is necessary, or abolished if not”.  DCMS press release    Written Ministerial Statement    UK Film Council statement

    Hunt says "Government's support for the arts remains rock solid"

    In a letter to The Guardian on 31 July, Mr Hunt  dismissed claims that the Government wants to see public funding of the arts replaced with private money, saying that  “private funding should be in addition to, not instead of, public money”.  Mr Hunt suggested that "state funding offers stability over many years which usually philanthropy cannot.  It also, with a proper arms-length relationship, allows creative risk-taking and artistic freedom that is not always possible with other forms of funding.  But the arts, too, should play their part in helping to reduce the deficit."

    DCMS Structural Reform Plan sets out priorities for next 3 years

    The Prime Minister announced last month that all Government Departments are to publish a Structural Reform Plan (SRP), setting out each Department’s commitments under the Coalition Agreement and how these will be measured.  These replace the Public Service Agreements used by the previous administration.  DCMS’s draft SRP, setting out its priorities for the next three years, was published on 15 July and contains no specific mention of museums.  The Department plans to set out its policies and plans for culture and heritage in a more detailed announcement later in the year.  DCMS’s five SRP priorities are:
    1. 2012 Olympics and Paralympics
      Deliver a safe and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, and urgently form plans to deliver a genuine and lasting legacy throughout the country
    2. Boost the Big Society
      Encourage philanthropic giving and return the National Lottery to its founding principles. Foster the development of a new breed of strong local media groups, by removing local cross- media ownership rules to encourage local TV
    3. Media Reform
      Reform the media regulatory regime for the digital age to reduce regulation, encourage investment and create the conditions for sustainable growth
    4. Universal Broadband
      Deliver universal broadband at speeds of 2mbps and stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015
    5. Encourage Competitive Sport in Schools
      Use 2012 to encourage competitive sport in schools by establishing an annual Olympic and Paralympic-style schools event, improving local sports facilities and supporting sports clubs.
    Specific action points of relevance to museums include:
    • Facilitate fundraising by cultural and charitable institutions by giving them greater freedom to operate independently from government - by November 2011
    • Publish strategy to boost giving from private individuals - by December 2010
    • Examine present barriers to giving and propose appropriate remedies - by December 2012
    • Issue new policy directions to the Big Lottery Fund to ensure only voluntary and community sector projects are funded - by September 2010
    • Publish an overall legacy plan for London 2012 and a new strategy to maximise the tourism legacy of the Games - by December 2010.
    Every draft SRP published to date can be found on the Number 10 website, along with a monthly report on progress.  The plans will be confirmed after the Spending Review.  DCMS Structural Reform Plan   Number 10 website

    DCMS staff numbers may be cut by 50%

    The Guardian reported on 20 July that DCMS is planning up to a 50% cut in staff levels as part of its Spending Review proposals.  The newspaper also speculated that the Culture Secretary was seeking an early Spending Review settlement, which would enable him to join a ‘star chamber’ of Cabinet Ministers assessing the Spending Review bids of other Departments.  Guardian, 20 July Figures published in response to a Parliamentary Question from Andrew Rosindell MP on 20 July, reveal that there are currently 479 full and part-time staff employed by DCMS, down from 527 in 2007.  The Department was not able to provide figures back to1997 as requested, because electronic records were only held from 2004.  Hansard report

    MPs launch inquiry into arts and heritage funding

    The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in the House of Commons has launched a new inquiry and call for evidence into “the funding of the arts and heritage”.  The Committee is inviting written submissions and requesting responses on a range of questions.  Issues covered include: the impact of spending cuts, scope for collaboration between arts organisations to produce economies of scale, the impact on the sector of changes to the National Lottery and to MLA, and scope to encourage and promote philanthropy.  The Committee will also examine other areas of interest that are raised during the course of its inquiry.  Submissions should be received by Thursday 2nd September 2010.  CMS Committee Also

    Local Government Minister questions need for audience development

    Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP announced on 6 July that the Government will work with local government to ensure that all local authorities will publish job vacancies online, in an open and standardised format, for anyone to use, re-publish and 'mash up' without charge.  As well as driving down advertising costs, his statement said that the intention was “to call time on so-called 'non-jobs’… that appear superfluous to the key services local people look to their council to provide".  Mr Pickles suggested audience development was an example of a job that may not be needed, saying: "What does an audience development officer do? Is a 'cheerleading development officer' what taxpayers want?"   DCLG statement

    Regional bodies abolished

    Mr Pickles also announced on 22 July the Government's intention in principle to abolish the remaining eight Government Offices for the Regions across England. The Government has already announced the abolition of the Government Office for London, the Regional Spatial Strategies, the Regional Assemblies/Regional Leaders' Boards and the Regional Development Agencies. DCLG statement back to top


    Neil MacGregor to advise Government on developing endowments

    The Culture Secretary has commissioned Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, to prepare a report on the feasibility of developing endowments.  A number of UK cultural institutions already have endowments of varying sizes, but these have developed independently. The Government is keen to understand the advantages and disadvantages of endowments, and whether there would be advantages to using them more widely.  The report, which will be delivered in September, will form part of a strategy to encourage philanthropic giving.  Making the announcement on 21 July, Jeremy Hunt said: "I don’t expect endowments to generate a significant additional revenue stream in the short term, but in the long term - three, five, ten or twenty years – this journey could lead to significant dividends".  DCMS website

    Big Society at National Museums Liverpool

    The Prime Minister, in his speech to launch the Big Society on 19 July, highlighted National Museums Liverpool’s plans to build a volunteer programme to extend opening hours.  Liverpool will be one of four pilot areas for the Big Society.  National Museums Liverpool currently has over 250 volunteers, many of who are based on the galleries working with the public, or within the Learning division facilitating exhibitions, workshops and activities with all age groups. The Prime Minister also announced that a Big Society Bank will be established to help finance social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups through intermediaries, using money from dormant bank and building society accounts in England.  Prime Minister's speech

    Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Collaboration with India

    The Culture Secretary and the Directors of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum and the British Library joined the Prime Minister's trade delegation to India at the end of July. Sir Mark Jones, Dame Lynne Brindley and Neil MacGregor were among the witnesses to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation between the UK Government and the Government of India.  The agreement is intended to give a boost to cultural exchanges between the UK and India, and will lead to an extensive programme of activity in both countries over the next five years.  Initial plans outlined by the partner museums include joint digitisation projects, curatorial exchanges, conservation projects and exhibitions.   DCMS Statement    Outline of initial projects

    Derry wins UK City of Culture 2013

    Derry/Londonderry has won the competition to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013.  The decision was announced by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP in Liverpool on 15 July.  A DCMS statement said “Derry / Londonderry has been awarded the title because of the strong cultural programme put forward and the way it draws on the city’s past; the passion and commitment of the city and its supporters and the strong evidence of engagement across all parties.”  Derry-Londonderry has plans to invest more than £200m in its infrastructure to create a national cultural treasure at Ebrington and pursue World Heritage Status for the City Walls.  The city’s “promise for 2013 is to connect and reconnect people through culture”.  There are four core programmes within the city’s 2013 programme, focusing on: children and young people; becoming the UK Digital Cultural Champion; hosting an international cultural programme of events; and creating a cultural platform to explore issues of identity.  The City of Culture team hope that the programme will create over 3,000 jobs, double visitor numbers and reach out to communities across Northern Ireland, the UK, Republic of Ireland and the nine million Diaspora worldwide. The UK City of Culture competition was inspired by Liverpool’s huge success as European Capital of Culture in 2008.  There is no funding for the UK City of Culture, but the host city is expected to devise a programme of events and projects which reflects its identity, showcases its culture and raises its profile, opening the doors to increased private investment and regeneration.   UK City of Culture 2013     DCMS announcement

    Ozeaneum wins the European Museum of the Year Award

    The Ozeaneum Museum in Stralsund, Germany has won the European Museum of the Year Award for 2010. The museum, which opened in 2008, has five exhibition areas and a series of aquaria.  In their decision, the judges recognised that Ozeaneum represents a new step, combining aquaria and zoos with modern scientific museums. Other awards went to the Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna, Austria for its significant contribution to the development of the public quality of museums, and to the Agbar Water Museum, Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain for the most promising technical or industrial museum.  The Council of Europe Prize went to the Museum of Portimao, Portugal.  Special commendations were also given to the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, the Science Gallery in Dublin, and the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. The European Museums Forum (EMF), which awards these prizes, has announced new governance structures intended to make the organisation more open, transparent and inclusive.  David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool (NML), is Vice-Chair of the European Museums Forum, and the Secretariat is now based at NML.   European Museum Forum   Ozeaneum

    Copyright infringement risks for museums providing public internet access

    MLA is warning that museums, libraries and archives offering public internet access could be liable to serious financial, reputational and legal costs if online copyright infringements are found. The Digital Economy Act 2010 introduced new legislation about online infringement of copyright and the related duties of those providing internet access services to the public.  To mitigate risks to the sector, the MLA, the British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) have produced a number of briefing documents and templates to help the sector understand the Act and Ofcom’s new code of practice.  Several cultural organisations also responded to the Ofcom consultation on the implementation of the Act, which closed on 31 July.  MLA Digital Economy Briefing

    BBC News feature on museum disposal

    BBC Two's Newsnight programme reported on 8 July on the disposal of museum collections.  The piece included an interview with Jeremy Knight, Curator of Horsham Museum in Sussex, who has been selling items from the collection over the past 20 years to revitalise and expand the collection on display, including building from scratch one of the UK's largest collections on Shelley, who was born in Horsham.  Newsnight

    Cultural Leadership International 2010 - Applications Open

    The British Council, with support from the Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP), is looking for the UK’s most promising cultural leaders to take part in its 2010 Cultural Leadership International (CLI) programme.  Applications are invited from mid-career potential leaders in the creative, educational and sports sectors who are interested in international networking and opportunities, and the impact culture can have in addressing global social and economic issues.  The successful candidates will all take part in a leadership skills workshop in Beirut in September with the CLI 2010’s participants from Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Lebanon, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.  Each participant will receive a grant of £5,000 to implement a professional development plan.  The deadline for applications is 9 August 2010.  British Council 

    Core skills development for learning professionals

    MLA is offering a series of funded half-day and “twilight” training sessions focusing for learning professionals on Inspiring Learning for All, Leadership Development and Teaching Outside the Classroom for during September 2010, as part of the MLA Strategic Commissioning CPD programme.  These activities are designed to support the development of core skills for the sector.  Participants can ‘mix and match’ up to three training offers per day.  MLA Strategic Commissioning back to top


    Heritage Lottery Fund announces more money for major projects and greater flexibility in tough economic climate

    The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced its continuing commitment to support major transformational projects (HLF grants of £5m and over) in the tough economic climate.  This will be achieved in two ways:
    • By increasing HLF’s allocation for major projects from £20m to £30m a year from 2011 onwards;
    • By removing, with immediate effect, HLF’s second-round submission deadline so that applicants can work to timetables that suit their project.  This means that projects can work more effectively with other funders. 
    The Government is currently consulting on proposals that the HLF will receive a larger share of Lottery good cause money from next year which would mean a further £19m for heritage projects in 2011-12 and then £50m a year from 2012 onwards.  HLF statement

    HLF announces £10.5m major grants

    The Heritage Lottery Fund has also announced £10.5m confirmed funding¹ for four projects in Scotland, Wales and England: Sir Walter Scott’s home, ‘Abbotsford’, in the Borders; Newbridge Memorial Hall in Caerphilly; a Tudor dwelling house known as ‘The Walronds’ in Devon; and the 18th-century Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. A further four projects have received initial HLF support with development funding to develop the next stage of their plans: National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire; Old Newcastle: Where the Story Begins, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich; and the National Trust's restoration of Croome Courte, Worcestershire.  HLF statement

    “You can cut us but don’t kill us” say cultural leaders

    The directors of the Tate, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Serpentine Gallery, Sadlers Wells Theatre and the South Bank Centre issued a direct appeal to the Prime Minister on 15 July not to cause “irreparable damage to the UK’s most economically successful sector” in the imminent Spending Review.  In a joint statement, the Directors warned that the cumulative effect of 25-40% cuts would be catastrophic and could lead to the closure or partial closure of leading national museums, galleries and theatres, as well as of many arts organisations across the country.”  In The Guardian, Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, said: "Of course some savings can be made. On a 10% cut there is going to be a serious impact an all the things we do but we can maintain the character of what we do, albeit in a slightly reduced form.  But as soon as they go over a certain level they start to cut into the heart of what we do".   The Guardian reports that a group of leading British philanthropists, including Anthony D’Offay, Sir John Ritblat and Lord Stevenson, have also written to the Government warning that “philanthropy is in addition to, not a substitute for, state funding and that tax breaks for living donors – over which the Treasury has been agonising for years – are essential for any major expansion in donations.”  Tate press release  MLA statement  Guardian   

    Culture Forum meets to discuss public funding crisis

    The Culture Forum, set up by Arts and Business and the National Campaign for the Arts, met for the first time on Tuesday 27 July in a meeting focused on ”the crisis around public funding for culture in England”.  The Culture Forum was established “to ensure leading cultural minds have a direct line to Government” and to discuss views, ideas and actions on how to reenergise investment and funding for culture in England. The 26 members of the Forum were selected last month.  They include two people connected to museums: film producer Michael Wilson and a Trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry, and Matthew Rowe, Director of Towner - The Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne. The Culture Forum meetings are intended to be as open as possible (within “Chatham House rules”). To provide a way for the wider sector to observe and contribute, Arts and Business have created a ‘digital open door’ by tweeting the meetings live on the hashtag #cultureforum from the Arts & Business twitter account:  The meeting minutes will also be published online shortly.  The next meeting on 24 August will focus on earned income and the final meeting of this series on 21 September will look at the private sector.  Arts & Business

    Arts & Business reports on tax breaks in UK and US

    Arts & Business has published a short summary of the similarities and differences between the UK and US tax systems regarding donations of money or assets to charities.  Arts & Business

    Charity Commission guidance on fundraising

    The Charity Commission has published updated guidance to help charities and fundraisers work in a way that complies with legal requirements and good practice.  The guidance includes information on charity law as it applies to fundraising, general principles charities should follow when developing a fundraising strategy, where the sector's self-regulatory Codes of Fundraising Practice apply and information on issues that charities may encounter.  Charity Commission

    Historic building rescues slowed by recession

    The Heritage at Risk Register 2010 published by English Heritage on 7 July shows a significant slow-down in the number of Grade I and II* buildings being saved from neglect and decay.  Between 1999 and 2007 the number of Grade I and II* buildings on the Heritage at Risk Register fell by 17% but since then there has been no percentage change in the number coming off the Register after being rescued. Other key facts revealed by the Heritage at Risk Register this year are that:
    • 1 in 32 grade I and II* listed buildings are at risk
    • 1 in 14 conservation areas surveyed are at risk
    • 1 in 6 scheduled monuments are at risk
    • 1 in 16 registered parks and gardens at risk
    • 1 in 7 registered battlefields are at risk
    • 1 in 6 protected wreck sites are at risk
    English Heritage back to top


    Government has no plans to review free admission policy

    In a Parliamentary Question, Lord Myners, former Chair of Tate, asked "Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering introducing entrance charges to national museums and galleries to offset any reduction in Government funding; whether they will discuss with trustees of such institutions reintroducing entrance charges; and, if charges are introduced, whether the level of charges and any concessions will be determined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport or by the trustees of the institution”.  Responding for the Government on 9 July, Lord Shutt of Greetland said: “No, the Government are not considering introducing entrance charges to national museums and galleries." In response to a separate question from Lord Freyberg on 21 July, Lord Shuttland said the Government has “no plans to review the policy of free admission to the national museums and galleries." Hansard, 9 July

    Support for public investment in the arts

    32 MPs have signed the following Early Day Motion on arts funding tabled by Alison McGovern MP: “That this House celebrates the cultural value of the arts and entertainment sector; notes that the creative industries are a large employer and are currently growing at more than twice the rate of the rest of the economy, contributing 11.4 billion to the UK's balance of trade; and therefore reaffirms a commitment to public investment in the arts because the sector generates more for the economy than the amount invested, and provides a solid basis for the wider creative industries”.  Parliament website

    Minister describes role of Big Lottery Fund in the Big Society

    MPs held a two-hour debate on National Lottery Reform on 22 July, much of which focused on the future of the Big Lottery Fund.  Opening the debate on National Lottery Reform, DCMS Minister John Penrose MP, said that the four areas to which [the National Lottery] gives money -heritage, sport, culture and what is now called the big society - all go to making the soul of the country work. They go to make Britain a better place to live in, rather than just somewhere that works okay".  Paul Farrelly MP asked the Minister whether increased lottery funding for the arts would simply replace grants withdrawn by DCMS. The Minister replied that the Government would be scrupulously careful about upholding the National Lottery principle of additionality, and there should be a "firewall" between grants DCMS make and those made by the relevant lottery distributors. Responding to a question from Mark Field MP on the future of the Big Lottery Fund, Mr Penrose went on to say: "It is vital that Big continues to donate to the voluntary and community sector - it is an essential piece of the Government's agenda for the big society, as a way of building up and maintaining the kind of voluntary and local community action that is central to the Government's vision”.  Mr Penrose thanked Mr Field for his subsequent suggestion that the Big Lottery Fund should be rebranded as the Big Society Fund. Several MPs sought assurances from the Government that the proposed changes that ensure the Big Lottery Fund supports only voluntary and community sector projects would not have a negative impact on statutory bodies and social enterprises.  The Minister confirmed that non-charities would still qualify for Big funding saying: "We have no intention of phrasing the revised policy direction that we are aiming to come up with so narrowly that we end up with the unintended consequence that, if a voluntary and community sector organisation is partnering the local library or whatever local organisation it may be, it would be discounted". Hansard report Also In the Scottish Parliament, Irene Oldfather MSP asked a number of written questions about funding for the industrial museums and the Scottish Maritime Museum.  Responding for the Scottish Government, Fiona Hyslop MSP said the Museums Think Tank is considering the financial situation of these museums and the benefits of greater collaborative working.  More In the House of Lords Lord Shutt of Greenland outlined plans by National Maritime Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland and Southampton Sea City Museum to mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic.  More   MPs debated and approved proposals for simplifying the Government's spending controls and financial reporting to Parliament.  The changes include the extension of the departmental estimates and accounting boundaries to accommodate non-departmental public bodies and other bodies classified to the central Government sector, bringing their expenditure within the coverage of estimates presented to Parliament for approval. More back to top


    David Anderson is new Director General of National Museum Wales

    David Anderson, Director of Learning and Interpretation at the Victoria and Albert Museum, has been appointed as the new Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.  Mr Anderson is an established international authority on learning initiatives in museums and an adviser to Government on many projects, including national museum and gallery education strategy.  In 1999, he was awarded an OBE for services to museums and education.  More   Michael Houlihan, who has been Director General for seven years, is leaving the museum this month to take up his new post as Chief Executive of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.  In a lecture at the National Museum Wales on 15 July, he reflected on his time as head of the organisation and the future of culture in Wales.  More

    Janice Murray becomes Director of National Army Museum

    Janice Murray has been appointed as the new Director of the National Army Museum.  She was previously Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Armouries and before that Deputy Head of the National Railway Museum from 2002 to 2008.  She takes up her new post on 2 August. Janice Murray replaces Dr Alan J. Guy, who is retiring from the Museum after 33 years’ service, including 6 years as Director.  More 

    Trustee appointments

    The Prime Minister has made the following appointments:
    • Maja Hoffman as a Tate Trustee.  Ms Hoffmann is a contemporary art collector, and a supporter and producer of international art, film, publishing and environmental projects.  She is President of the Kunsthalle Zurich Foundation, and Vice-President of the Council of the Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung in Basel.  More
    • Patience Wheatcroft to the Board of the British Museum.  Ms Wheatcroft is the Editor in Chief, Europe, of The Wall Street Journal and was previously a non-executive director of Barclays plc and Shaftesbury plc, as well as a consultant on business and public affairs. More
    • Dr Christopher Lintott as a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum.  Dr Lintott is currently Researcher in Astrophysics at Oxford University, as well as Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford, co-presenter of the BBC's Sky at Night programme and Executive Chair of the Citizen Science Alliance.
    • The Prime Minister has also decided to extend the current term of appointment of Nigel Macdonald, who is a serving Trustee of the National Maritime Museum. More
    The Queen has approved the appointment of Catherine Hardman and Thomas Lloyd as Commissioners of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of WalesMore

    MLA seeks new chair for Acceptance in Lieu Panel

    MLA is seeking to appoint a new Chair for the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, which provides advice to Ministers on the suitability of items offered in lieu of Inheritance Tax.  MLA is looking for someone able to provide leadership to the Panel, and win the confidence of Government and of those who makes offers in lieu.  The role requires a good knowledge of the museums, libraries and archives sector, the art market and of the interaction of taxation and heritage chattels.  MLA website Also Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.  More Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Collections Trust has been elected Chair of the ICOM UK Committee.  Jane Weeks, British Council and Chris Bailey, Northern Ireland Museums Council have also been appointed as Trustees.  The Committee is still actively seeking new members, particularly people who have experience in fundraising, bursary administration and marketing or membership skills to assist in the future of ICOM UK.  More    Former Culture and Olympics Minister, Tessa Jowell MP has been invited to join the Olympic Board. Ms Jowell will now sit alongside Conservative Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson, London Mayor Boris Johnson and 2012 chairman Lord Coe at key meetings.  Announcing the decision in the House of Commons, Jeremy Hunt MP said a Liberal Democrat representative would also be appointed. More Former Culture Secretary, James Purnell, is to become the new chair of the think tank, ippr. ippr's New Director is Nick Pearce, who is returning to ippr after three years as Head of the Policy Unit at Number 10 Downing Street.  More Professor Paul Boyle has been appointed as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  He was previously Head of the School of Geography and Geosciences at the University of St Andrews.  More


    Leopold Museum pays $19m to settle Schiele spoliation claim

    The Leopold Museum in Vienna has agreed to pay $19m to the heirs of Lea Bondi Jaray, in settlement of a spoliation claim for Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally".  This resolves one of the longest running Nazi-looted art cases in the US.  The work was seized by US federal authorities in 1999, after being sent to New York on loan for an exhibition in 1997.  Dr Leopold died on 29 June this year, and the claim was finally settled a week before the case was due to begin trial in Manhattan Federal District Court.  The Art Newspaper reports that the settlement includes agreement by the Leopold Museum to permanently display signage next to the painting giving details of its Nazi-looted history.  The Art Newspaper

    Hungary sued in US district court for $100m looted art

    The heirs of the Hungarian Jewish art collector, Baron Mor Lipot Herzog have filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in Washington against the government of Hungary and several museums that it oversees. The New York Times reports that the heirs are seeking return of more than 40 works including paintings, sculptures and other works by masters like El Greco, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Zurbarán, van Dyck, Velázquez and Monet, valued at about $100m. The heirs have been pursuing the claim against Hungary for 20 years, and have already reached settlement with Germany and Austria.  New York Times  

    $250m expansion of SFMOMA

    The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has selected the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta to be its partner for a major expansion.  The expansion will provide approximately 100,000 sq ft of additional gallery and public space, and 60,000 sq ft of support space, including conservation facilities and an expanded library. The current project budget is $480m, including $250m for the expansion and $230m for SFMOMA's endowment.  The expansion has been prompted by the growth of the museum's audiences, educational programmes, exhibitions, and collections.  During the past 15 years, SFMOMA's annual average attendance has more than tripled to 700,000, membership has grown to 40,000, and the collection has more than doubled to 27,000 works.  SFMOMA

    Israel Museum unveils $100m redevelopment

    The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, has completed $100m upgrade of its 20-acre campus including comprehensive renovation and reconfiguration of the Museum’s three collection wings – for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life – and the reinstallation of its collections.  The capital campaign for the project was the largest collective philanthropic initiative ever undertaken for a single cultural institution in the State of Israel.  The Museum is also in the midst of an endowment campaign and has raised nearly $60m toward its $75m goal, which will double its institutional endowment to $150m.  Israel Museum   

    University offers museum collection for rent rather than sale

    Brandeis University, which last year decided to sell works from the Rose Art Museum collection, is now reported to have signed a deal with Sotheby's to lease out works of art, though the sale has not been completely ruled out.  The Boston Herald quoted the outgoing President of the University, Jehuda Reinharz, as saying: “Ideally, we will continue to own the art but find an innovative way to get value from it.  That’s our preference.  Since the 1970s, some of the most acclaimed museums in the world have used a variety of methods to realise value from their collections.  Sotheby’s will guide us as we explore those options”.   Boston Herald back to top

    Scientists and archaeologists from institutes including the Natural History Museum and British Museum, University College London and Queen Mary, University of London, have uncovered evidence of the first known human settlement in Northern Europe, at Happisburgh in Norfolk. The finds show ancient humans lived in Britain more than 800,000 years ago.  These finds are by far the earliest known evidence of humans in Britain, dating at least 100,000 years earlier than previous discoveries.  More National Museums Liverpool (NML) has said that the National Conservation Centre and Piermaster’s House may close as visitor attractions at the end of October if budget cuts go ahead as expected.  NML is encouraging people to sign an online petition urging "government to do all in its power to maintain adequate funding for our museums to keep these museums open".  The petition will be presented to the Government in October.  NML receives 95% of its funding from Government.  If the National Conservation Centre closes to visitors it will still retain its existing conservation arm.  Sudley House in Aigburth could also move to seasonal opening.  The Museum’s Dale Street offices, housing most of NML’s staff, are set to be marketed for sale and employees transferred to the National Conservation Centre.  More    No. 1 Smithery: National Treasures Inspiring Culture, a £13m new museum experience and cultural venue developed in partnership between the Historic Dockyard Chatham, the Imperial War Museum and National Maritime Museum has opened in Chatham. No. 1 Smithery has five main areas including new galleries displaying maritime models, art and other objects from the national museums’ collections, exhibition space and National Museums Collections and Research - providing state of the art storage space for over 4000 models and artefacts together with new research facilities.  More Tate Liverpool has been given the Freedom of the City award in recognition of its two decades as a major cultural presence in the city.  Since it opened in 1988, the Gallery has hosted more than 150 exhibitions, and now works with 60,000 local school and community participants each year.  Artist and long-serving Tate Liverpool supporter Sir Peter Blake has created a new artwork as a gift to the city in recognition of Tate Liverpool’s Freedom award.  Tate’s new status means it has the freedom, should it choose to do so, to herd sheep in front of the Council’s offices!  More The Victoria & Albert Museum is currently displaying concept designs by eight internationally renowned architects for a hypothetical redevelopment of the V&A's Boilerhouse Yard.  The designs, comprising architectural models and plans, respond to a brief to create 1500 sq m of temporary exhibition space below ground and a courtyard at street level off Exhibition Road.  The project is not a competition, but intended to help the museum communicate what is potentially achievable in visual and experiential terms for the site.  More   The V&A has also invited expressions of interest from architects and designers to lead the development of its new Textile and Fashion Study and Conservation Centre. The centre will be created within the V&A's existing storage and archive facility at Blythe House, a Grade II listed building at Olympia, London. It will provide improved storage for the collection of 104,000 textiles, a public study room, and a textiles conservation studio.  More National Museum Cardiff has opened its new Clore Discovery Centre, where visitors can handle pieces from the collection including geological objects, natural history specimens, archaeological artefacts and view historic documents.  Amgueddfa Cymru will open more learning spaces next year, which will greatly extend the service they are able to offer families, schools and visitors of all ages.  More The Lady Lever Art Gallery has opened a new Activity Rooms learning resource for visitors of all ages.  The Activity Rooms include new features exploring Lord Leverhulme's collection, as well as flexible workshop area, lunch space and picnic area, meeting room and exhibition area.  More National Museums Scotland has appointed Beck Interiors Ltd to carry out the fit-out of galleries for the £46.4 million Royal Museum Project.  Beck Interiors will fit out the 16 new galleries, along with a 18m high object wall in the Victorian atrium of the Grand Gallery, holding nearly 1000 items from the Museum’s collections. The contract is worth approximately £5 million and is expected to run from September 2010 to May 2011, with the redeveloped National Museum of Scotland due to open in summer 2011.  More Ashmolean Museum has shortlisted for RIBA Stirling Prize 2010. The redevelopment by Rick Mather Architects has been shortlisted alongside Zaha Hadid's MAXXI Museum in Rome, David Chipperfield's Neues Museum in Berlin, as well as two schools and a home and office building.  The winner of the £20,000 prize will be announced on 2 October 2010, and broadcast live on BBC TWO’s The Culture Show.  More  The Royal Armouries has been awarded a Sandford Award for Heritage Education.  The judges commended the Museum's imagination and dedication in using the collections to provide learning that goes well beyond warfare and armour and spans a wide age range from Early Years to AS/A Level, particularly support given to qualifications aimed at the over-14s. These include the GCSE History Pilot - covering heritage marketing and campaigning - plus support for various travel and tourism qualifications.  Steven Burt, Museum Director at the Royal Armouries has also been awarded an honorary degree by Leeds Metropolitan University in recognition of his major achievements in the field of education.  More The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford won the ‘Small Employer of the Year Award 2010’ at The National Apprenticeship Awards 2010. The Museums' Michael Beetham Conservation Centre currently has a team of five apprentices and in 2011 will manage Conservation courses for aviation engineering communities globally.  More The Royal Air Force Museum is also publishing a daily blog about the Battle of Britain, taken from the diary of a young pilot from the Auxiliary Air Force.  More The Great North Museum: Hancock is through to the final round of The National Lottery Awards 2010, in the Best Heritage Project category.  The prize will be awarded following a public vote. Voting for the finals ends at midday on Friday 13 August. More  Click here to vote Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has launched a new blog More    A BFI Mediatheque has opened at Newcastle's Discovery Museum, enabling visitors to watch over 1,800 films and television programmes free of charge.  The Mediatheque is a digital jukebox of film and tv programmes from the British Film Institute's collections.  Visitors can watch as many titles as they like and around 85% of the content of the BFI Mediatheque is unavailable on DVD or online.  This is the fourth BFI Mediatheque to be opened in sites around the UK.  More The National Gallery is launching an online resource dedicated to the history of the National Gallery during the Second World War. A series of special concerts will also be held at the Gallery celebrating Dame Myra Hess, the pianist who conceived the idea to turn the National Gallery into a venue for musical concerts during the Blitz.  Images on the online resource show the queues which formed outside the Gallery in Trafalgar Square for the wartime concerts, which were attended by a total of 750,000 people.  More The British Library has been awarded the 'opening the world of knowledge' award for Timelines: Sources from History by the Nominet Internet Awards.  The judges praised the British Library's interactive timeline for the way it brings global quality content to life for a worldwide audience and for its impressive use of multimedia and historical context setting.  More back to top

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    And finally...

    The National Trust has launched its own version of the Top Trumps card game featuring 30 of its historic buildings.  The categories in which players can battle head to head include: acreage, film and TV appearances, hauntings and cups of tea consumed.  The game follows the successful National Trust Monopoly launched last year which gave people the chance to buy up their favourite places and develop visitor centres and holiday cottages. More     If you would like to receive this newsletter by email or change your contact details, please email: [email protected]

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