October 2011

NMDC Newsletter: October 2011
Download a PDF version for printing
Logo dc National Museum Directors´ Council
NMDC Newsletter: October 2011
logo nm

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

and much more…


NMDC responds to the Government consultation Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art for the Nation

The NMDC has submitted a response to the Government consultation on a new scheme to encourage the giving of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the Nation.  NMDC warmly welcomes proposals to increase cultural philanthropy in this way.  The proposed scheme will, if it is well designed, crucially help to support the formation of long-term and life-time relationships between individual and corporate donors and cultural organisations. The NMDC response outlines a series of key issues that should be considered to ensure that the proposed scheme achieves its full potential.  These include proposals for a definite £20m annual cap on the value of gifts, and sharing this cap with the already successful (and over-subscribed) Acceptance in Lieu (AiL) scheme, which may have the unfortunate effect of compromising the potential of both schemes rather than maximising the opportunity to increase giving.  The response also outlines some of the practical issues which arise from donating works to the Nation rather than to a specific institution, and illustrates the need for greater clarification on this aspect of the proposals.   The full response is available on the NMDC website.  For more information on the consultation for the proposed scheme see the HM Treasury website.

Applications open for £100m Catalyst scheme to boost private giving

Arts Council England (ACE), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced further details on 29 September of the £100 million Catalyst scheme to boost private giving to the cultural sector and build long-term resilience, sustainability and innovation: 
  • Catalyst: endowments, a £55m culture sector wide scheme funded jointly by the DCMS, HLF and ACE will offer match funding of between £500,000-£5m to build a new endowment fund, or increasing an existing one.  Applications are now open for Heritage endowment awards, with applications for Arts endowment awards opening on 1 November and closing on 16 January 2012.  An independent Advisory Panel chaired by Michael Portillo will assist with the assessment process and make recommendations to the relevant funding body on awards to organisations based in England;
  • The £30m Catalyst Arts: capacity building and match funding scheme will support arts organisations in building their fundraising capacity and capability over a three-year period, via grants of between £120,000 and £240,000.  Applications are invited from1 November to 31 January, but applicants are advised to attend a Catalyst Arts workshop before applying ;
  • Catalyst Arts and Catalyst Heritage fundraising capacity building grants, will distribute a total of £12m to organisations with little or no fundraising experience.  Applications will open on 1 April 2012 for awards of between £15,000 and £25,000.  Arts Council   HLF    Catalyst  

DCMS/Wolfson investment in museums and galleries improvement

DCMS has published a report outlining the achievements of the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund over the past eight years.  The DCMS/Wolfson Fund, financed equally by the Government and the Wolfson Foundation, supports projects to improve the quality of displays, public spaces, collection interpretation and disabled access in museums and galleries across England.  Over the past 8 years, almost £28m of funding has been invested in museum improvement projects comprising £12.3m in DCMS sponsored museums, £13m in museums with Designated collections and £2.6m regional hubs without Designation.  Earlier this year, DCMS confirmed that the DCMS/Wolfson partnership would continue until at least 2015, with the Government investing £4m over the next four years, a sum to be matched by the Wolfson Foundation.  DCMS


Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP has welcomed an announcement by the bank J.P. Morgan of £600,000 investment as part of its collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, National Theatre and Southbank Centre.  The J.P. Morgan Signature Series is a new one-year programme which aims to support the on-going work of these three leading UK arts institutions while also creating an extensive programme of activities for the firm’s clients and guests. The firm’s financial commitment to the UK arts sector in 2011 will total more than £1 million.  Recently confirmed grants include support for Plus Tate and the production of Babel, the centrepiece theatrical event of World Stages London.  DCMS back to top


Arts Council England takes over responsibility for museums and libraries

On 1 October, Arts Council England (ACE) assumed the responsibilities for museums and libraries previously held by the Museums and Libraries Archives Council (MLA).  The National Archives assumes responsibility for providing strategic leadership to the archives sector and advising the Government on its development. ACE has introduced a new staffing structure, with 53 new roles focusing on museums and libraries.  A new Acquisitions, Exports, Loans and Collections Unit will be split between London and Birmingham:  the Acquisitions, Exports, and Loans team in London, while Accreditation, Designation, PRISM fund, Security Advice and Government Indemnity teams remain in Birmingham.  The MLA is now winding down, with a skeleton staff remaining until May 2012 to complete the management of existing Renaissance contracts and outstanding financial and contractual arrangements, and to prepare for the appointment of a liquidator.  The website will remain live until 31st March, providing access to good practice case studies, toolkits, guidance and a range of other publications, but it will no longer be updated.  ACE and The National Archives will transfer relevant content to their websites as appropriate.  MLA   Arts Council

Arts Council England publishes framework for museums and libraries

On 13 September, ACE published Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone, a companion document to ACE’s 10-year strategic framework, Achieving great art for everyone.  The document clarifies ACE’s programmes and framework for the decisions for the remainder of this spending period (2011–15), and aims to encourage further debate about the directions ACE should take in the longer term.  In her foreword, ACE Chair Dame Liz Forgan says the organisation will   “unashamedly focus our support on the most excellent; we will seek out originality and innovation, curatorial and scholarly endeavour, inspiring interpretation and real engagement with people and communities.” The framework sets out five 10-year goals that sit alongside ACE’s existing goals for the arts:
  1. Excellence is thriving and celebrated in museums and libraries
  2. More people experience and are inspired by museums and libraries
  3. Museums and libraries are sustainable, resilient and innovativ
  4. The leadership and workforce in museums and libraries are diverse and highly skilled
  5. Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of museums and libraries.
The framework also outlines ACE’s priorities in supporting the sector through its three roles - championing, developing and investing.  These include:
  • Focusing investment on  “excellent, forward thinking and enterprising museums and libraries best able to drive innovation, care for their collections and share learning”;
  • Using Renaissance to “drive development and deliver excellence in England’s regional museums, focusing in particular on strengthening the foundations of excellence, resilience and leadership in 2012–15”; 
  • Supporting organisations to embrace diversity through co-production with users, giving priority to those who are developing their offer in consultation and partnership with the people using their services;
  • Focusing museums advocacy work on the regional museums that benefit from the Renaissance funding programme, working with partners including NMDC, to build an excellence agenda to which all museums can contribute;
  • Working to strengthen networks within the sector, for example by building relationships between national and regional museums, and collaborations exploring the boundaries between different cultural forms or between culture and science and technology;
  • Piloting programmes that look to encourage collaboration between museums, libraries and arts organisations, focusing in particular on participation and children and young people.
ACE has invited responses to the new framework and will run an informal consultation over the next six months, including a further programme of regional 2conversations” in spring 2012.  Arts Council ACE has also published a supporting document, A review of research and literature on museums and libraries, summarising existing evidence on the needs and priorities of these sectors, compiled by ACE this year as part of its preparation for its extended remit.  Arts Council

£20m Renaissance Major Grants Programme for leading museums

ACE opened applications on 13 September for the new Renaissance in the Regions major grants programme for regional museums.  The programme, which replaces the MLA's core museums fund, will distribute £20 million each year, awarding with grants of between £500,000 and £2 million for the three years from April 2012 - March 2015.  ACE expects to fund a slightly larger group than the 8-12 ‘core’ museums that MLA proposed.  Grants will be awarded via an open application process for accredited single museums or consortia with designated, multi-themed collections, a minimum footfall of 150,000 visitors and a track record in leading, partnering, research and scholarship and financial resilience.  Successful applicants will need to demonstrate how they aim to achieve excellence in at least two strategic goals, as well as a leadership role – contribution to wider health of sector.  As with the national portfolio funding process for arts organisations earlier this year, ACE will assess proposals against published criteria and consider how they fit into an overall balanced portfolio.  The balancing criteria are: appropriate distribution of leadership; geographical spread; and imaginative approaches to resilience of the sector.  Applications close on 2 November 2011 and funding decisions will be announced by 27 January 2012. The Arts Council will also develop a complementary funding stream similar to the MLA’s plans for a challenge fund.  This will take effect later in 2012 and will target those development gaps within the ACE’s five goals that are not addressed by the recipients of major grants.  Arts Council

Museums sector told to be enterprising, happy and take risks

Key themes at the Museums Association's (MA) annual conference in Brighton 3-4 October were developing new ways of doing things, making good use of networks and innovative use of assets.  Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP gave the first keynote speech, listing many major projects that have opened this year and calling for enterprising organisations, seizing digital opportunities and building relationships with local authorities.  In the second keynote Tim Smit, Chief Executive and co-founder of the Eden Project, urged museums to take risks, ignore negative thinking and to do more exploit the value of their collections.  Henry Stewart, CEO of Happy Ltd, challenged the sector to make their organisations happy places. Althea Efunshile, Chief Operating Offer at the Arts Council, spoke on 4 October, introducing ACE’s approach to museums and their desire for a “grown-up” relationship with the sector.  She said “We’re not really interested in projects, we want to know what they’re going to contribute.  And we don’t micro-manage.”  Vanessa Trevelyan's Presidential address was reported in the Independent.  She said “To suggest that cuts of anything from 15 to 30 per cent can be borne without debilitating cuts in our public services is naive at best and disingenuous at worst...”  Maurice Davis, MA Head of Policy, told Radio 4’s PM programme that the Minister had been “rattled” by discussion on the impact of cuts on frontline services.  In the final session, the Great Debate, there was a small majority of votes against the motion that “cuts will make museums more resilient.”  Social media was a big feature of the conference, with a big stream of comments using the hashtag #museum2011.  Highlights of the Conference including articles and comments on all the major sessions are available on the MA Website.  Museums Association  Independent   BBC Radio 4 (at 44 mins)

Art Fund announces £1m to boost collections and curatorial expertise

As part of its commitment to boost funding to museums and galleries by over 50% by 2014, the Art Fund announced on 19 September details of £1m funding for collections and curatorial expertise: 
  • Six museums and galleries have secured a share of £600,000 funding for new collections from the RENEW scheme which aims to build future centres of excellence by supporting fresh areas of collecting.  The recipients include Wolverhampton Art Gallery in partnership with the Imperial War Museum to build a collection about conflict in Israel, Palestine and its implications in the wider Middle East.  The initiative is funded by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation;
  • Manchester Art Gallery and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums have been announced as the partners for the National Gallery Curatorial Traineeships.  The National Gallery will provide mentoring and support for two trainees to work with the collections before they begin placements with the scheme’s chosen partners;
  • Philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer has given £250,000 funding for curatorial development.  The Art Fund will use this to award grants totalling £50,000 per year for 5 years, giving curators greater opportunities to travel and pursue research in their specialist areas.  There are two categories of award: £20,000 will be allocated in grants of between £200 and £2000; £30,000 will be allocated in grants of £2,001 and above.  Art Fund

Public consultation on national strategy for museums in Scotland

Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, has launched a public consultation on a national strategy for museums in Scotland.  The consultation document, published by Museums Galleries Scotland, outlines the proposed guiding principles, vision, themes and objectives for the national strategy.  Comments can be submitted via an online survey until 8 November, and two major consultation events are planned for 14 October in Edinburgh and 2 November 2 in Glasgow. The final strategy will be launched in January 2012.  The national Strategy will inform the business plan for a new National Development Body for Scotland's museum which will be launched in 2012.  Museums Galleries Scotland have been invited to take on this role by the Scottish Government and are currently making the necessary transitional arrangements. Scottish Government 

The Creative Case for diversity

ACE has launched The Creative Case, a new and different approach to diversity and equality, setting out how this can enrich the arts for artists, audiences and wider society.  The Creative Case is based upon the “simple observation that diversity, in the widest sense, is an integral part of the artistic process.”  ACE’s 's definition of diversity "encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from participating in and enjoying the art."  ACE’s new approach demands three interlocking progressions: equality, recognition and a new vision - “a new framework for viewing diversity, one that takes it out of a negative or ‘deficit’ model and places it in an artistic context.” The Creative Case was launched at a symposium on 12 September, along with two new documents: What is the Creative Case for diversity? and The role of diversity in building adaptive resilience.  A new Creative Case website, run by Disability Arts Online, has also been launched and will host a variety of resources for artists and cultural organisations including videos from the symposium, articles, blogs and case studies.  Arts Council   Creative Case

CBI says skills shortages holding back UK creative industries

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a brief on the Creative Industries which argues that skills shortages holding back growth.  The briefing sets out the steps CBI members believe are required to ensure the UK’s creative industries have the skills to retain their competitive edge including:
  • Building the right pipeline of talent – ensuring the sector has a competitive skills base
  • Ensuring young people leave school with a strong grasp of the basics, including building STEM skills and adding a creative subject to the English Baccalaureate. 
  • Developing up-to-date knowledge and skills through university programmes
  • Supporting employers to develop the abilities of the current workforce, promoting SME collaboration and sector-led apprenticeships.
The brief is part of the CBI’s contribution to the work of the Creative Industries Council, and the CBI’s wider programme on creating the conditions for generating private sector growth.  CBI

MA seeks view on loans principles to encourage more sharing

The Museums Association (MA) is seeking views on its draft publication Smarter Loans: Principles for lending and borrowing from UK museums, which calls for more loans with greater impact between all types and sizes of museums and with other publicly funded organisations across the UK.  The ethical guiding principles, drawn up by a working group which has met throughout the year, include a commitment to minimise costs and the environmental impact of loans;  and the balancing of security, conservation and environmental requirements with the need to share collections.  The work is part of the Esmée Fairbairn-funded Effective Collections programme which aims to increase the use of stored collections.  The consultation will run until 21 October 2011.  Museums Association The principles build on NMDC’s 2003 publication Loans between National and Non-National Museums: New standards and practical guidelines.

Audiences Insight

Arts Council England has published Arts Audiences: Insight, an update on its 2008 segmentation of current and potential arts audiences across England.  The report uses Taking Part and TGI data to profile the 13 segments, providing information on socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, media consumption, digital behaviour and attitudes.  The segments, ranging from the highly engaged Urban arts eclectic to the not yet engaged A quiet pint with the match, each have graphics designed by artists which highlight their key characteristics.  Arts Council

Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day

Kids in Museums is joining forces with the Children’s Commissioner for the second year to support Takeover Day on Friday 11th November.  Takeover Day gives children and young people the chance to work with adults for the day and be involved in decision-making.  Last year over 500 children took part in museum takeovers, with over 50 museums opening their doors to children to take over all kinds of roles.  Kids In Museums

China-UK Connections through Culture – new criteria

The twelfth round of the Connections through Culture development grant is now open for application.  The criteria for funding has changed slightly: grants are now available to further the face-to-face discussions needed to develop projects which will result in an exhibition, performance or public event held in China demonstrating the best of UK arts and creativity.   This round of grant is for visits between February and July 2012, and the deadline for application is 13 November.  British Council


Applications are now open for the commemorative use of Royal names and titles for community events, buildings and projects for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, which takes place next year.  There will be a blanket approval for the phrases “Diamond Jubilee” and “Jubilee” providing they are used for non-commercial purposes.  However, phrases such as “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee” or “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” will need permission.  DCMS back to top


Scotland’s National Collections frozen at 2011-12 level

The Scottish Government published its Spending Review 2011 on 21 September, setting out Scottish public spending plans for the next three financial years.  The total budget for culture will be cut by 3.49% to £149.2m in 2012/13, with further 3.62% cut in 2013/14 to £143.8 and a further 0.42% reduction in 2014/15 to £143.2m.  However, the Government will maintain revenue budgets for the National Collections, including National Museums Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland, and the National Performing Companies, at 2011-12 levels.  This follows a 4.2% cut last year.  £4.6m will be allocated to capital funding in 2012-13 to continue three projects: the V&A at Dundee, and the redevelopment of two cultural venues in Glasgow in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.  The core budget for Creative Scotland will be cut by 2% in 2012-13.  Scottish Government

Welsh Government publishes Budget and Programme for Government

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones published his Programme for Government for the current Assembly term, on 27 September. The Programme includes actions Ministers will be taking, how progress will be measured and the outcomes the Government wants to see.  One of four priority outcomes is: "a society with a vital sense of its own culture and heritage."  Actions described in Chapter 12, Culture and Heritage of Wales, include:
  • Further develop St Fagans as a significant cultural attraction and visitor gateway to Wales.
  • Maintain free admission to Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) and National Library of Wales in order to maximise their impact.
  • Strengthen regional collaboration in the delivery of library, museum and archive services and ensure that local authorities meet national standards of public library provision.
  • Develop the potential of digital media to promote culture through Casgliad y Werin (People’s Collection Wales) and other on-line initiatives.  Welsh Government
The Welsh Government’s spending plans for the next three years were announced by Finance Minister Jane Hutt on 4 October with the publication of the Draft Budget for 2012-13.  It is proposed that the revenue budget for museums is cut by £0.5m to £23.5m in 2012-13 and then frozen at this level  until March 2015.  There will be £2.1m available for capital investment in each of the three years, down from £3.1m in the current financial year.  The Final Budget will be presented to the National Assembly for Wales in December.  Welsh Government  

Prime Minister launches GREAT Britain campaign

On 21 September, the Prime Minister launched the GREAT campaign designed to promote the UK abroad as “one of the very best places to visit, study, work, invest and do business.”  The campaign aims to deliver long-term economic benefits from the unprecedented level of interest generated by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, attracting four million extra visitors over the next four years and generating a £1bn business boost.  The GREAT campaign centres on ten key areas of British excellence: technology and innovation; entrepreneurship; creativity; knowledge; green issues; heritage; sport; shopping; music; and countryside. The promotional material points to the fact that “Britain is home to three of the top five museums and galleries in the world” as one of the top reasons to visit. The creative communications agency Mother was appointed in June to co-ordinate and develop communications activity to maximise the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics in 2012.  The campaign materials will be used by UK Trade & Investment, DCMS, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Visit Britain and other Government departments “to ensure the whole of Government speaks with one voice.” The Prime Minister also announced plans for a ‘Global Investment Conference’ for investors and business leaders to be held in London on the eve of the Games; a programme of business summits including the ‘British Business Embassy’ highlighting key sectors for global growth; and an on-line ‘British Business Club’.  DCMS

Parliament Week (31 October- 6 November)

Parliament Week is a new national initiative that aims to build greater awareness and engagement with parliamentary democracy in the UK.  The initiative has been launched by the House of Commons and House of Lords and is supported by Culture 24.  The theme for this year is “Stories of Democracy”, focusing on the real, human stories behind political events in the UK.  Organisations with collections or buildings connected to a political event, person or movement are being invited to become partners and register events via Culture 24 to be included in the official programme and promotional activities.  Partners can also contribute online content and may be able to host an event in Parliament and attend the opening reception.  UK Parliament

Tourism becomes priority sector in Wales

On 22 September, Business Minister Edwina Hart announced the expansion of the Welsh Government’s priority sectors with the addition of three new priority sectors – including tourism as well as food and Farming and Construction.  By making tourism a priority sector the Government aims to "strengthen the distinctive national identity Wales has in the UK and internationally as a place to visit, invest in and as a place to do business.”  An advisory sector panel will be formed for each sector to "ensure that the views and priorities of their industries will inform the Welsh Government’s policy development.”  The tourism panel will be chaired by Dan Clayton Jones, Deputy Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Welsh Government

National Museum Charitable Trusts

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has confirmed that National Museum charitable trusts will be set up and operational by the end of the financial year.  In response to a Parliamentary question from Ivan Lewis MP about whether the Government would publish details of the framework for the creation of charitable trusts, Mr Hunt said that "a framework was verbally agreed, and is necessarily individual to each body, given their range of circumstances and commercial sensitivities.  There are no plans to publish a document."  UK Parliament

Reducing regulation for hospitality and tourism businesses

Tourism Minister John Penrose MP has announced plans to remove or modify regulations relating to food, tourism and hospitality, as part of the Government's “Red Tape Challenge.”  Twelve regulations will be scrapped altogether, with a further 50 being merged or simplified.  The changes include measures to make licensing applications simpler, and relaxing the regulations covering the location and design of no smoking signs in premises which are required to be smoke free, as well as a number of changes to food regulations.  DCMS

Party Conferences

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference focused on the Olympic legacy, including plans for a legacy for tourism that will attract an additional 4 million tourists coming to the UK in the years that follow.  Echoing the messages of the GREAT Britain campaign, he concluded: “We have so much to offer.  Not just sport, but the best culture including 3 of the world’s top 5 museums.”  e-Politix Labour
Although Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis MP focused on media regulation in his speech to delegates, he also asserted that: “We should be proud of Labour’s ground-breaking free admissions to museums and galleries.  And proud of our great local, national and global arts institutions.  This party should celebrate, not be embarrassed by cultural excellence.”  Mr Lewis   called for a new debate on what fair access to the arts and heritage should mean saying “cultural inequality offends Labour values.  In the same way that every community expects fair access to education, the NHS and policing.  We should ask how do we harness the excellence of our great cultural institutions to enrich the lives of all our citizens from the great metropolitan centres to the inner cities and rural communities.”  Labour Party  (or for a version with nice graphics - Telegraph Liberal Democrats
Don Foster MP spoke at Cultural value - creative industries in a digital world, a fringe event organised by NESTA at the Liberal Democrats Party Conference on 20 September.  He expressed concern about skills development for the creative industries and voiced concern that the curriculum review would not take account of creative or innovative subjects, and neither would the English Baccalaureate.  Mr Foster was joined on the panel by Brian Gambles, Assistant Director of Culture in Birmingham, who is leading work on the new Library of Birmingham, which he aims to make the most visited cultural institution in the UK outside of London.  NESTA

Launch of Labour Party's Creative Industries Network

Labour leader Ed Miliband MP launched a Creative Industries Network on 7 September, bringing together businesses, sector bodies, arts organisations and trade unions.   The Network will "facilitate business to business contact, signpost creators to business support, build relationships between businesses, cultural and educational organisations, host regular events on issues of interest and ensure Labour’s policy development is informed by the experiences and priorities of the people on the frontline of the UK’s creative industries".  Andrew McGuinness, Chair of the Advertising Association and founding partner of Beattie McGuinness Bungay, will chair the Creative Network.  A Labour Party policy document, Our Creative Futures: Nurturing World Class Creative Industries, published on the Creative Coalition Campaign website explains that Labour will also use the Creative Network to pilot a new ‘fairness pledge’.  Creative organisations will be encouraged to sign up to a pledge that in future they will take positive steps to ensure internships, apprenticeships and jobs are opened up to people based on their “talent, not their social background”.  Creative Coalition Campaign


Duncan Hames MP asked the Government whether it would consider extending support for the free museum entry policy to enable educational visits to Historic Royal Palaces.  Responding in DCMS oral questions, Heritage Minister John Penrose MP said: "The Historic Royal Palaces...makes every effort to reach out to educational organisations.  Unfortunately, if we start to introduce additional subsidies, that would require additional money, and, as my hon. Friend will know, there is not much money available."  UK Parliament back to top


Huge competition for NESTA/ACE digital R&D funding

Eight pioneering projects that will harness digital technologies for the benefit of the arts and cultural sector have been selected to receive a total of £0.5m funding from the Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture run by Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and NESTA.  Demand far outstripped the funding available.  Following the launch Fund in early June, applications were submitted by 495 projects requesting a total of £28.5m funding.  The successful organisations include:
  • Imperial War Museum with Knowledge Integration and University College, London (£84,500) to develop a system that will enable the interpretation, discussion, collection and sharing of cultural experiences with, and between, audiences;.
  • The Exhibition Road Cultural Group, in partnership with the Dickens Museum and Seren Partners, (£70,200) will create new app that will allow users to go on a digital cultural journey across London.  The first journey will be 'DigiDickens', a journey across the capital inspired by the life, work and interests of Charles Dickens. 
All eight projects will be undertaken over the next 12 months and each will be rigorously evaluated to produce new data and research insights that can be shared with, and benefit, other organisations in the arts and culture sector.  NESTA

Digital participation and learning case studies

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Imagemakers have published a report presenting 22 case studies, illustrating a range of approaches to using digital media to engage people with culture and heritage.  There are many case studies from museums in the UK and around the world including:
  • ArtBabble, the ‘You Tube of the arts’ created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  • ChinaHeart an interactive ‘story driven’ heritage game for smartphones published by the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney;
  • The National Gallery’s Grand Tour , large-scale digital prints with interactive map;
  • I Like... Museums’, an online directory of 80 museums located in the North East of England and funded by Renaissance;
  • Museum Metadata Games created for the Science Museum;
  • A digital Pledge Wall created for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum;
  • People’s Collection Wales;
  • The Museum of London's Streetmuseum app giving mobile, in-situ  access to hundreds of archive images;
  • Virtual Classroom created for the National Archives.
The report summarises key lessons from the case study review on audiences and their motivations, experiences, resources, sustainability, technology, social media, promotion/marketing and project management.  HLF

British Museum releases collection on Semantic Web

The British Museum has become the first UK arts organisation to publish its collection data semantically.  The Museum has released a semantic web version of its Collection Online database with nearly 2 million object records.  The new service brings the British Museum into the ‘linked data’ world and will allow software developers to produce their own applications that can directly manipulate and reuse the data.  It will also allow researchers and scholars a way to search and find data more precisely and facilitate automatic updates.  British Museum


Channel 4 News has featured a piece on Orphan Works focusing on the collections of the British Library.  The film explains what orphan works are and how current copyright law restricts public access to these collections. The piece can be viewed YouTube back to top


Imperial War Museums

The Imperial War Museum will be launching a new brand this month.  The new brand brings the IWM family of museums together under the initials IWM - to stand for Imperial War Museums.  It is intended to enable IWM to have greater impact in the market place and a consistency across its five branches, placing the Museum’s collections at the centre of the new identity.  A new logo and visual identity have been designed to encapsulate the brand and the overwhelming force of war.  It can be viewed on the IWM's new beta website.  IWM  beta-IWM site

Which? names museum UK’s Favourite Tourist Attraction

St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff is ‘The UK’s Favourite Tourist Attraction’ according to research by consumer champions Which? In May 2011, Which? Travel magazine asked 3001 members of the public for their views on UK visitor attractions they had visited in the last two years.  St Fagans: National History Museum come top of the ‘Museum and Art Galleries category’ and a customer score of 90% based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood to recommend made it the UK public’s favourite attraction.  Which? named Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as Scotland's best attraction, gaining a five-star rating in four out of six categories, including value for money, quality of information, customer engagement and length of queues. National Museum Wales   Glasgow Life

Tate Modern redevelopment to open during London 2012 Festival

Tate Trustees have announced that the first phase of the new development of Tate Modern will open in the summer of 2012.  The launch will be part of the London 2012 Festival, which will be the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.  The first phase of the development includes the opening of the former power station’s enormous circular Oil Tanks; Phase 2, which is planned to open at the latest in 2016, will completet the building and providing further floors of galleries.  The opportunity to complete the first phase of the building has been made possible by a number of major donations to the campaign which have together raised 70% of the total capital costs of £215 million.  At this stage, the donors wish to remain anonymous.  Tate


The Museum of London is mounting an exhibition on the external walls of its rotunda displaying the winning entries from the prestigious national press photo competition.  The project, developed in collaboration with the UK Picture Editors' Guild and Photobox, uses innovative high quality waterproof prints to create large prints, and aims to attract a new and wider audience,.  More The National Archives has been presented with the Queen's Award for Enterprise at a ceremony in St Catherine's College, Oxford on 16 September.  The prestigious Innovation Award was made jointly with private company Tessella for developing the Safety Deposit Box (SDB), a system for preserving digital information over long periods of time, regardless of changes in technology.  More The Royal Armouries in Leeds has launched a new hands-on, interactive schools programme led by the Museum’s new Visitor Experience Team.  The sessions will run three days a week and cover four subject areas for Key Stage 2 and 3.  More back to top


Director of the Wallace Collection

Dame Rosalind Savill DBE, Director of the Wallace Collection since 1992, retires this month.  Over the past 19 years, Dame Rosalind has transformed the museum increasing the visitor space at Hertford House by 30% with the Centenary Project, and leading the spectacular refurbishment of the twelve rooms now filled with eighteenth-century French works of art, as well as publishing her seminal work on Sevres porcelain.  During this time, visits to the museum have increased by 164%.  The Trustees of the Wallace Collection have decided to celebrate this dedication with an endowment fund in Dame Rosalind Savill's honour, to ensure that curatorial expertise and scholarship in this area remain at the forefront of life at the Wallace Collection in the future.  The Dame Rosalind Savill Endowment for 18th-century French Decorative Arts will support a Curator specialising in 18th-century French furniture, porcelain or goldsmiths’ work. Dr Christoph Vogtherr will take up post as Director of the Wallace Collection on 24 October.  Since 2007, he has been Curator of Pictures pre-1800 at the Wallace Collection, from 2008-10 he was Acting Head of Collections, and he is the curator of two exhibitions on Watteau.  Wallace Collection 

Trustee appointments

The Prime Minister has reappointed Paul Ruddock as Chair of the Victoria & Albert Museum and reappointed Michelle Ogundehin and Bob Stefanowski as trustees.  Professor Sir John Holman, Professor in the Chemistry Department of the University of York with wide experience as an educational policymaker, curriculum developer and school principal, has been appointed to the Board of the Natural History Museum.   Number 10 back to top


Jim Forrester has announced he will retire as Director of Imperial War Museum North in March 2012.  He will be leaving the Museum 10 years after he joined as part of the original project team who created IWM North.  The Museum has welcomed nearly 2.5m visitors since it opened in 2002 and won over 30 awards including being named as one of the top four large visitor attractions in England in 2010.  IWM Roger Highfield will be the new Director of External Affairs, National Museum of Science and Industry with overall responsibility for press, marketing, corporate communications, advocacy and internal communications across all three museums: Science Museum, the National Railway Museum and the National Media Museum. Mr Highfield has been Editor of New Scientist since 2008 and prior to that was Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph.  He will take up his appointment on 28 November.  More  Elvira Dyangani Ose has been appointed Curator International Art at Tate Modern, supported by Guaranty Trust Bank.  The post is supported as part of the partnership between Tate and Guaranty Trust Bank, announced in July 2011, and the new Curator will help to broaden Tate’s international reach in Africa.  More

Our jobs website, www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk also has details of over 30 current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:
  • Director, Imperial War Museum North
  • Electronics Engineer - Special Effects, Natural History Museum
  • Assistant Librarian, V&A
  • Marketing & Communications Assistant, National Museums Scotland
  • Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool
  • Senior Archaeologist, Museum of London
  • Visitor Fundraisers, Science Museum
For details of these jobs and many more visit www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk

And finally… why museums are tiring

The Guardian's Notes and Queries column on 20 September asked why walking around a museum is so tiring.  Answers included the double-whammy of “standing and pondering,” the “supermarket shuffle” and how the Alexander Technique can help avoid “museum feet.”  Guardian back to top

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].
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
© 2012 National Museum Directors' Council