June 2009

NMDC Newsletter: June 2009
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NMDC Newsletter: June 2009
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Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update.

In this issue:

and much more…


Learning to Live: Museums, young people and education

NMDC and the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) have published Learning to Live: Museums, young people and education, a collection of essays by leading figures from the worlds of culture and education.  The book, edited by Kate Bellamy and Carey Oppenheim, explores what more museums and educators, working with policymakers and delivery bodies such as schools, can and should be doing both within and beyond the classroom to inspire learning and creativity among all young people.  The past ten years has seen a revolution in museum education.  Museums have placed learning at the core of their service to the public and have developed extensive learning programmes, establishing their role as centres of knowledge in the community alongside schools and universities. To ensure museums and galleries can make a difference in children and young people’s lives, the book’s recommendations include:
  • Giving children and young people equal status with adults within museums, including them in decision making and display development;
  • A Charter of Cultural Rights for Children;
  • A joint culture and children’s Minister to provide joint leadership on cultural learning;
  • Museums helping to shape the curriculum through involvement with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority;
  • Linking schools and museums, at the local level, through Children’s Services departments.
Speaking at a Downing Street reception to honour museums’ work with young people and launch Learning to Live, the Prime Minister agreed that the educational benefits of museums were enormous.  He said museums are important to the economy, society and the cultural life of the nation, and that they are passing on knowledge to a younger generation and contributing to the quality of life in the UK.  His comments were endorsed by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham MP who spoke about the transformation of museums and galleries over the past ten years, placing children at the centre of the museum experience.   To mark the launch of the book, the UK’s national museums and galleries asked 11 to 18 year olds to nominate two of their favourite exhibits.  These have been published as the ‘Ultimate Kids Museum’ on the website of the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.  Download Learning to Live: museums, young people and education.  Listen to the panel discussion chaired by Jon Snow at the National Portrait Gallery seminar to launch the book.


    Ofsted report highlights value of visits to art galleries

    A new report by Ofsted finds that visits to art galleries and working with visiting artists can have an immediate and lasting impact on pupils’ creative aspirations and achievement.  However, the report - Drawing together: art, craft and design in schools - reveals these experiences were rarely available to all pupils and that sustained links, including those with the creative industries, are underdeveloped.  The report recommends that the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) should promote opportunities for every child and subject teacher to work in an art gallery or with an artist, craft worker or designer as part of their cultural entitlement.  It also proposes dedicating a national gallery space to the achievement of children and young people.  Read full report on Ofsted website. The artist David Hockney has criticised the report for saying boys are turned off art by lessons that are too focused on drawing and painting.  Read more in The Guardian.

    Independent review of primary curriculum

    Sir Jim Rose has published the final report of his review of the primary school curriculum in England.  The new curriculum has been reorganised into six areas of learning:
    • Understanding English, communication and languages;
    • Mathematical understanding;
    • Understanding the arts;
    • Historical, geographical and social understanding;
    • Understanding physical development, health and wellbeing; and
    • Scientific and technological understanding.
    The report states that the range of learning will allow for more cross-curriculum activities and give teachers more opportunities to provide interactive and practical lessons.  Visits to museums, galleries and historic buildings are recommended in the section on historical, geographical and social understanding, promoting breadth of learning about local, British and world history.  A public consultation on the report runs until 23 July.  Read DCSF press release. back to top


    Plans for more than 5,000 new jobs in culture, music and creative industries

    The Government has announced plans to create between five and ten thousand new jobs for young people in the culture and creative industries sectors.  Cultural organisations, third sector groups and local authorities will be able to bid for a share of the £1.1bn Future Jobs Fund announced in the Budget to create new, innovastive jobs.  DCMS is already working with key stakeholders in the cultural sector to put together partnerships that include NMDC members, music and arts leaders, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and many others.  Funding of up to £6,500 per job is available for the creation of extra jobs of at least 25 hours a week for 6 months - for long term unemployed young people or in unemployment hotspots.  Organisations can visit Future Jobs Fund website to express interest in bidding for jobs.  Read DCMS press release 

    Lifting People, Lifting Places - role of culture and sport in economic recovery

    DCMS has published Lifting People, Lifting Places, the Government’s vision for how culture, media and sport can play a part in helping the economy recover.  The report aims to maximise the contribution DCMS sectors can make to providing "real help now for people and places in difficult times" and “nurturing the creative talent and resources for the new economy that will emerge in a highly connected, fully digital world.”  The report cites free admission to national museums as an example of a programme that will help sustain people's well-being during the hard times.   Download Lifting People, Lifting Places.

    Art Fund Museums Survey Online Forum

    The Art Fund has set up an online comments board following the publication of their first nationwide survey assessing how museums and galleries are faring in the recession.  They will be repeating the survey at regular intervals, and would welcome suggestions of questions that should be included in future rounds of the survey.  More on the Art Fund survey  back to top


    Art Fund Prize short list announced

    Four museums and galleries have been shortlisted for the £100,000 Art Fund Prize:
    • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow;
    • Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham;
    • Ruskin Craft Centre: The Centre for the Applied Arts, Denbighshire; and
    • Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent. 
    It is the second time in three years that Kelvingrove has made the shortlist: this time for the Centre of New Enlightenment, its new programme of events and experiences for young people.  The winner will be announced on Thursday 18 June. More on The Art Fund Prize

    13% fall in international visits to the UK

    The number of visits to the UK by overseas residents in the first three months of 2009 has fallen by 13% compared to January-March 2008.  Visit from North America were down by 21%; visits from Europe down by 11% (including a 24% drop in visits from EU accession countries) and visits from other countries by 17%.  VisitBritain says the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics shows that people will not travel to the UK just because the sterling is weak.  Download Office for National Statistics report   Read VisitBritain press release

    Britain Tourism Update – request for contributions

    VisitBritain are producing a new monthly tourism product update for the overseas travel trade and business tourism contacts.  The Britain Tourism Update will feature new exhibitions, gallery openings and initiatives to increase engagement with the travel trade and business tourism market.  Adrian Bevan is producing the briefing and would welcome contributions of stories with a relatively long lead-in time (between 6-12 months).  The deadline for new stories is the last week of each month.  For further details contact Adrian Bevan, 07746 769615, [email protected]

    MLA migration and new communities briefing paper

    A briefing paper by MLA - Museums, libraries and archives - supporting new communities and responding to migration trends - sets out the contribution that museums, libraries and archives can make in responding to and supporting the needs of new communities, and increasing understanding and engagement between people from different backgrounds.  Examples of good practice are included, and links to the National Indicator Set for Local Government are articulated.  More on MLA website

    Plans for enhanced Museum Accreditation Scheme

    The MLA is embarking on a project to explore how the Museum Accreditation Scheme could be strengthened and updated to support development in museums, and how the process can be streamlined.  MLA’s Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK.  An Advisory Panel, including NMDC Projects & Policy Officer, Suzie Tucker, has been convened by MLA to oversee the development of the standard.  Full consultation will take place during summer 2009 with a series of consultation events and an online consultation paper.  More on MLA website

    Government consultation on future policy for archival services

    The Government has published, Archives for the 21st century, a consultation paper on archives policy across England and Wales.  The paper includes five key recommendations:
    • Fewer, bigger, better – increasing sustainability through the integration and collaboration of services;
    • Strengthened leadership and a more responsive, skilled workforce;
    • A co-ordinated response to the growing challenge of managing digital information;
    • Comprehensive online access through catalogues and digitised archive content;
    • Active participation in cultural and learning partnerships
    The consultation runs until 12 August.  More on Archives for the 21st Century

    Government announces site of Stonehenge Visitor Centre

    After decades of debate, the Government has given the go-ahead in principle for a £25m visitor centre about 1.5miles from the current site at the edge of the World Heritage Site.  The scheme includes the closure of the A344.  Work will now begin on designing the visitor centre, seeking planning permission and raising funding to deliver the project.  It is expected to be completed by 2012.  Read DCMS press release

    English Heritage rescues Heritage Open Days

    English Heritage has taken ownership of Heritage Open Days, guaranteeing that the popular cultural event will take place this year.  English Heritage previously helped the Civic Trust to fund and operate Heritage Open Days, but concern had been raised over the event's future since the Civic Trust in England announced in April that it had gone into administration.  No information is yet available about the future of the Civic Trust's other responsibilities.  Read English Heritage press release

    DCMS Culture and Sport Evidence programme

    The research team for DCMS’s new Culture and Sport Evidence initiative (CASE) would like to hear about any research studies or data sources relating to engagement with culture – who visits museums, when and why; as well as any work examining the impact of participation and its value.  CASE is a £1.8 million, 3 year joint programme of research led by the DCMS in collaboration with Arts Council England, English Heritage, the MLA and Sport England.  The overall aim is to strengthen evidence underpinning government policies promoting culture and sporting opportunities of the highest quality to the widest audience.  Read more on DCMS website.

    Gift Aid reform survey

    The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) and a coalition of other umbrella organisations are in discussions with the Treasury about reforming Gift Aid to make it an 'opt-out' system.  Individual organisations have said the reforms proposed could save them millions of pounds a year and are supported by all the major third sector representative groups.  ACEVO are collecting data to provide a broader picture of how the reforms they are proposing would affect charities and the level of support for the proposed measures.  Participate in the survey on ACEVO website.

    DCMS launches Third Sector Strategy

    DCMS has launched a new strategy to engage with and support the voluntary and community sector – the ‘third sector’. Proportionally, DCMS’s investment in the third sector is one of the largest across Government.  Actions contained in the report include forging closer partnerships between DCMS, its sponsored bodies and the third sector and supporting volunteering in the public sector. In Touch, Imperial War Museum North's joint volunteer scheme with Manchester Museum is cited as an example of an innovative programme promoting lifelong learning and skills development for the long term unemployed, the young, underskilled, asylum seekers and refugees.  Download DCMS Third Sector Strategy

    Scotland's first ancestral history hub opens

    Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, has opened Scotland's first custom-built ancestral history hub, The Burns Monument Centre.  The £5m centre in Kilmarnock brings an archive centre, registration service, local and family history library under one roof.  The facility in Kay Park also showcases a Burns Collection of 1,500 volumes containing poetry, songs, letters and a three-dimensional digitised version of the Kilmarnock Edition.  Ancestral tourism is worth £64 million annually to the Scottish economy and it is hoped this new state-of-the-art centre will attract some of Scotland's 40 million diaspora back 'home' to explore their roots.  Read Scottish Government press release

    Increasing re-use of publicly-funded digital content

    Minister for Digital Engagement, Tom Watson MP, has announced plans for an overhaul of Crown Copyright rules to make it easier to re-use government information.  A licence will now be automatically granted to anyone wanting to use the information.  Read Cabinet Office press release. Meanwhile, the producers group Pact is campaigning for a rights framework that gives greater flexibility and exploitation rights to the creators of all publicly funded digital content.  More on Pact website

    Map of European cultural blogging scene

    LabforCulture has launched an interactive cultural blogging map, aiming to create a visual overview of cultural blogs across Europe.  This is part of a wider research programme on the role of blogging in the cultural sector.  More on LabforCulture website.

    Eton College returns antiquities to Egypt

    Eton College has returned more than 450 antiquities to Egypt after it realised they had probably been exported illegally.  The items were donated to the school in 2006 but were originally acquired by the collector after the 1970 UNESCO Convention on illicit trade in cultural property.  Read full story in The Art Newspaper back to top


    £20 million Transformation Fund for Informal Adult Learning

    Museums, libraries and archives can bid for a share of £20 million in government funding to open up new opportunities and build new alliances that will help to secure a thriving informal adult learning movement in the UK.  The Transformation Fund supports the objectives of the Government’s Learning Revolution White Paper published in March.  The deadline for bids is 12 July but an ‘early bird’ funding pot of £1 million is available for ideas submitted by 12 June.  Download Transformation Fund Prospectus 2009-10

    Funding to promote effective use of collections

    The Museums Association (MA) will launch Effective Collections on 2 June.  The four strands of the programme are:
    • a Main Fund of £10,000 per project for museums to review their collections and make better use of them;
    • a Special Project Fund of up to £25,000 per project for museums and partners engaged in innovative projects that include loans and transfers;
    • the Find an object database on the MA’s website which will allow museums to post adverts offering objects for loan or permanent transfer, or to register an interest in borrowing or acquiring objects;
    • Culture Change, which will look at ways of changing museums' attitudes towards the use of their collections.
    The deadline for applications for the first funding round will be 7 September 2009, with successful applications announced at the Museums Association Annual Conference and Exhibition in October.  More on the MA website back to top


    Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill

    The Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 15 May and will now be considered in Committee.  The Private Members Bill, introduced by Andrew Dismore MP, would give the British Library and ten national museums the power to de-accession an object spoliated between 1933 and 1945 for the purposes of returning the object to its original owner or their heirs.  It would only apply to cases in which the Spoliation Advisory Panel had recommended the return of the object and the Secretary of State agrees.  Museum trustees will continue to take the final decision.  The Bill will also have a sunset clause so that it repeals automatically after 10 years.  Culture Minister Barbara Follett MP said the Government supported the intentions of the Bill but will table amendments in Committee to refine the text.  The Minister said the Government is in touch with the Scottish Government about the Bill’s potential Scottish coverage.  The Bill was also supported by the Shadow Culture, Media & Sport team.  More on Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill 

    British Museum Act 1963 (Amendment) Bill

    Debate began on the Second Reading of a Bill which proposes to give the Secretary of State the power to require the Trustees of the British Museum to transfer objects from their collection to another institution for public exhibition.  It is a Private Members Bill introduced by Andrew Dismore MP, who advocates return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece.  Speaking for the Conservative Culture, Media and Sport team, Hugh Robertson MP, raised a number of concerns with the Bill including that the proposed legislation would breach the arm’s-length principle ensuring that Ministers of any party are not able to interfere with the day-to-day running of national museums and galleries.  He went on say: “We believe that the British Museum is unique among world museums, in that its collection is able to tell the whole history of human civilisation under one roof.  It therefore seems wrong to remove the Parthenon sculptures and put at risk that vital collection and that history.   The debate will be resumed on 12 June.  Read full report in Hansard

    Government accepts proposal for Treasure Coroner

    The Government has announced that it is persuaded of the case for establishing a national coroner for treasure (see NMDC newsletter March 2009).  The British Museum, which has a statutory role in administering the Treasure Act, has argued that a dedicated Treasure Coroner would streamline the process and make it more efficient, benefiting finders, landowners and museums.  Government spokesperson, Lord Bach, announced during the Second Reading of the Coroners and Justice Bill that the Government would introduce an amendment in Committee to this effect.  Read Hansard record of Second Reading debate

    Northern Ireland Assembly calls for new RUC museum

    The Northern Ireland Assembly voted to support proposals to establish a new Royal Ulster Constabulary Museum at Brooklyn Headquarters in Belfast near to the Garden of Remembrance and called on the Northern Ireland Office to allocate the necessary funding to enable building to begin during 2009.  The creation of a new RUC museum near the Garden was first announced by then Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid, in 2001.  Read full debate on They Work For You website

    World Collections Programme

    In response to a parliamentary question from Jeremy Hunt MP, the government has published a summary of projects around the world undertaken by the British Museum, the British Library, Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with funding from the £1m World Collection Programme.  Read full response in Hansard  back to top


    Royal Armouries Chair appointed to DCMS board

    Ann Green, Chair of the Royal Armouries, and Alexis Cleveland, Director General of Transformational Government at the Cabinet Office, have been appointed as non-executive board members of the DCMS.  The appointments run for two years.  The DCMS board comprises senior officials from the department plus four non-executives.  Read DCMS press release

    Imperial War Museum

    The Prime Minister has re-appointed Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire as a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum for two years from 19 December 2009.  Sir Peter will continue as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, a position to which he was elected by his fellow Trustees in June 2006.  Read Number 10 press release 

    National Museums Scotland

    Scottish Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP has announced the appointment of three new members to the Board of National Museums Scotland:  Andrew Holmes, who was previously Director of City Development, Edinburgh; Dr Isabel Bruce, who has extensive public sector experience within the Scottish Government and its agencies; and Dr Anna Gregor, a cancer doctor who developed the Scottish national strategy for cancer services and has extensive research experience.  The Minister has also re-appointed Professor Malcolm McLeod and Professor Stuart Monro and extended the appointment of James Fiddes as NMS Trustees.  Read Scottish Government press release

    New Chief Executive of VisitBritain

    VisitBritain has announced the appointment of Sandie Dawe as Chief Executive with immediate effect.  She was previously Deputy Chief Executive and has held a variety of positions in VisitBritain in communications, PR, policy, marketing and strategy since joining the organisation in 1991.  She was awarded an MBE for services to tourism in 2008.  Tom Wright stepped down as Chief Executive in January to take up a new role as Chief Executive of the major new charity to be formed from the merger of Age Concern England and Help the Aged.  Read VisitBritain press release

    MLA new regional managers

    The MLA has appointed five regional managers, as part of the organisation’s new integrated national and regional structure.  All five will come to the MLA straight from local councils, collectively bringing with them decades of experience and professional expertise from across the museums, libraries and archives world.  Read MLA press release back to top


    Sarkozy unveils art for Louvre Abu Dhabi

    President Nicolas Sarkozy attended a ceremony to commemorate the beginning of construction of Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  President Sarkozy and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, officially opened an exhibition that includes nineteen works of art bought over the last 18 months for the museum including Mondrian’s Composition in Blue, Red, Yellow, Black, which fetched €21.5m at the Yves Saint Laurent sale this February.  The museum is due for completion in 2012-2013. Read more in New York Times and The Art Newspaper

    France honours contribution of the Aga Khan

    The French Minister of Culture has presented His Highness The Aga Khan IV the distinction of "Grand Patron" of the Ministry of Culture.  Established in 2003, the distinctions are intended to demonstrate France’s recognition of corporations, foundations, associations and private individuals who, through their acts of patronage or related activities, both in France and abroad, have made an outstanding contribution to French cultural development.  Read Ministry of Culture press release A rehang at the Pompidou Centre, Paris features work by women artists only.  About 500 works by more than 200 women will go on display in the exhibition elles@centrepompidou.  Read more in The LA Times

    Build your own museum - in Lego

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Danish toy-brick makers are launching a Lego version of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum.  The mini-Guggenheim has a suggested retail price of $39.99 and 208 pieces, including dish-shaped pieces that attempt to evoke the building's inverted ziggurat.  Read more in The Chicago Tribune back to top

    National Museums Liverpool has returned an Australian indigenous human skull after agreeing to a request from the Australian Government to return items from its collections to their country of origin.  The remains, believed to be of mixed Australian and European ancestry, were handed over to representatives of the Ngarrindjeri people. This is the first of the remains of three individuals being returned to Australia. The remains will be kept in a “keeping place” at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum Wales and the Three Gorges Museum in Chonqing, China have agreed to explore reciprocal partnership opportunities. Through the offices of the British Council and the International Branch of the Welsh Assembly Government, this project will seek to develop wider cultural co-operation and specific partnership activities.  A statement of intent was agreed in October 2008 and Michael Houlihan, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru, visited the Three Gorges Museum in China last month to view the collections and begin detailed discussion on collaborative projects. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales' website now includes downloads of eight original music tracks inspired by the museum's collections.  The latest work to be published is Layers, Degradation and Underlaying Paintings, a track by South Wales band Cymbient in response to art conservation at National Museum Cardiff.  The music has been created as part of the Respond project which sees artists working with curators from Amgueddfra Cymru's seven museums.   The Great North Museum: Hancock, part of Tyne and Wear Museums, has had thousands of visitors since it opened on 23 May.  In an exit poll conducted last week 100% of those surveyed said the museum deserves to be called 'great' and over 80% rated the museum as excellent. Everyone who took part in the survey said that they would visit again. The Science Museum will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary, and the start of a year-long centenary programme, on 26 June 2009 with a three-day birthday party and the re-opening of two galleries after major redevelopment.  The museum is launching a Centenary Appeal with a target of £1million to help the Museum become one of the most admired in the world. National Museums Liverpool has appointed the branding consultants Pentagram to develop a brand identity for the new Museum of Liverpool, which is opening in 2010.  National Museums Northern Ireland has won the 'Best Care of Collections' category in the Heritage Council's Museum Awards in Dublin.  Meanwhile, the Ulster Museum is beginning a six-month long process of reinstalling objects and collections ahead of its reopening at the end of October. The British Library and the MLA have launched Campaign! Make an Impact, a programme encouraging schools, local museums and archives to work together to help young people learn about historical campaigns and develop the skills to run their own campaign. The British Library is giving readers the chance to test three e-readers - handheld digital books that use e-ink technology and avoid the use of harsh back-lit screens.  In the future, the British Library hopes to exploit e-reader technology to facilitate access to its digital collections, allowing readers to explore rare and often out of print items. The Imperial War Museum Duxford has taken delivery of Typhoon Development Aircraft 4 (ZH590), which was gifted to the Museum by the Ministry of Defence in 2008. The Wallace Collection has re-opened the newly refurbished Boudoir Landing and the enlightenment- and travel-themed West Room. The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is inviting amateur and professional photographers of all ages to enter the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2009 competition, which seeks to find the world's greatest images of the night sky. There is an award category for under-16s.   The latest issue of Tate Papers has been published, the journal of scholarly articles relating to Tate's collection and its programmes.  This edition has a special focus on gallery education. The National Archives is undertaking a study into how archived websites are collected and made available to users. The study aims to define the long-term historical and research value of online content in the UK. The National Gallery's collaborations with the London Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Ballet School have given young people the chance to explore the relationship between visual and performing art.  Last month students at the Royal Ballet School performed works developed through the collaboration with the Gallery.  And this month, six young UK musicians will have the chance to have their compositions inspired by a work in the collection performed by the London Chamber Orchestra at the National Gallery.  More here The V&A is offering a tour of the Museum with a psychic to find out if objects have psychic memory, and whether the stories of their owners and makers can be revealed by the psychic seer. The workshop is part of research being conducted by International Print resident Mona Choo. Tate Britain, the Natural History Museum and the British Library are amongst the venues for a street piano event in London this month.  Play Me I'm Yours, an arts project by Luke Jerram, will see 30 pianos located on streets and public spaces for any member of the public to play.  More here

    back to top

    Our jobs website www.nationalmuseumsjobs.org.uk currently has details of over 30 vacancies at museums around the UK including:
    • Curator of Horology, National Maritime Museum
    • Youth Arts Officer, National Museums Liverpool
    • Conservator, Royal Armouries
    • Office Manager, Natural History Museum
    • Research Co-ordinator, Tate
    For details of these jobs and many more visit www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk This newsletter can also be read online at www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/newsletter.html

    This newsletter can also be read online at ('http://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/news/newsletters/',)

    If you have any comments or contributions for the newsletter please send them to the Editor, Kate Smith, at [email protected].
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