November 2011

NMDC Newsletter: November 2011
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NMDC Newsletter: November 2011
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Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update...
In this issue:

and much more…


62m visits to DCMS funded museums and galleries  

There were over almost 43.5m visits to DCMS-sponsored museums in the twelve months to 1 September 2011, and the latest available figures for the Renaissance in the Regions programme show that, between April 2010 and March 2011, 18,780,545 people visited the Renaissance museum venues. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP published this data in response to a Parliamentary Question from Andrew Rosindell MP.  DCMS also publishes the figures monthly on its website.  UK Parliament   DCMS   

Art Fund Prize 2012 opens for entries

The Art Fund Prize 2012 – now in its tenth year - has opened for entries.  The annual prize of £100,000 is awarded to the museum or gallery judged to have undertaken the best project in the previous year, as chosen by a panel of judges.  Nominations have also been invited for the second round of Clore Awards for museum learning.  Entry to both award schemes is open to all museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, and the closing date for submissions is 1 December 2011.  The judging panel for the 2012 award will be announced later this month and the long list will be announced in February 2012.  Art Fund Prize

Telegraph Family-Friendly Museum Award 2012

The charity Kids in Museums has teamed up with a new media partner, The Sunday Telegraph, for this year's Family Friendly Museum Award.  The award was launched by poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen in the 16 October edition of the newspaper, which has carried a series of articles on the competition, including pieces by children's authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr, Philip Pullman outlining their thoughts on why museums matter.  Readers, visitors, volunteers and staff in museums are invited to nominate a museum which they believe to be the most family friendly in the UK: nominations close on 2 December 2011.  The longlist will be published in February and the final winner announced in May 2012.  The shortlist will be selected by a panel of judges, chaired by Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The Telegraph  Kids in Museums

Museums Association research into sales and transfer of collections

Janet Ulph, Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Leicester, has been appointed Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fellow at the Museums Association (MA).  As part of the fellowship, Professor Ulph will look into sales and transfer of museum collections to other museums, analysing past transfers and sales and working alongside the MA's Ethics Committee to provide further guidance on legal issues around sale and transfer.  The fellowship runs until October 2012.  Museums Association

Museums Advocacy toolkit

The Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales officially launched its advocacy work last month.  The Federation's website now includes a pro-forma advocacy document which can be downloaded and adapted to suit the issues and objectives of any museum service and an ‘Advocacy Toolkit Data’ including useful data, reports and projects supporting key messages and statements.  The toolkit data will continue to be expanded over the period of the strategy.  The Federation is also currently working on a calendar of images and statistics to promote museums across Wales, copies of which will be sent to key figures.  Welsh Museum Federation

Festival of Museums funding available

Scotland's next Festival of Museums will take place between 18 and 20 May 2012, the same weekend as Museums at Night.  Once more, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) are offering grants of between £150 and £1,500 per venue to stage an event as part of the Festival programme: submissions are being accepted from 1 November until 1 February 2012, with grants assessed on a "first-come-first-served" basis.  Museums Galleries Scotland

Increase in recorded portable antiquities finds

DCMS has published the annual statistics of the number of objects of treasure found in 2009 (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland); and objects recorded through the portable antiquities scheme in 2009 and 2010 (in England and Wales).  In 2009, 778 finds of Treasure were reported.  In 2010, 90,099 finds were recorded in the Portable Antiquities database, up from 67,089 in 2009-10.  In 2009, 113 parties (finders and landowners) waived their right to a reward in 71 Treasure cases, allowing those treasure finds to be acquired by museums at no (or reduced) public cost.  DCMS

3,200 apply for museum intern programme

An interns programme run by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) received over 3,200 applications for the 20 available vacancies.  The one-year programme, formally launched on 11 October, aims to address sustainability issues around skills-sharing and is intended to produce long-term benefits for the museums and interns alike.  The programme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future scheme, and will provide bursaries of £15,000 for each intern.  Museums Galleries Scotland

Share London programme launched

The London Museums Group has launched Share London, a new programme that will provide a self-sustaining forum where museum professionals can share skills, knowledge and expertise.  The scheme follows the success of the SHARE scheme set up by Renaissance East of England.  It aims to support professional and personal development and make the skill sharing that already goes on more accessible and better recognised.  London Museums Group


ICOM UK is now accepting renewals and new applications for 2012 ICOM Membership.  With more than 28,000 members and 171 groups, ICOM is the world’s largest and most active professional museum community.  Members can access a range of benefits including the ability to join international specialist committees in more than 40 professional disciplines, and free admission to thousands of museums and exhibitions across the world.  ICOM UK's programme for 2012 will include organising a celebration of international partnerships involving UK museums.  ICOM UK Museums Galleries Scotland has created legacy pages for its 'Collaborating to Compete' conference, which took place in September.  The pages include presentations given by the conference speakers as well as a conference Twitter archive, with lots of links to related blog posts.  Museums Galleries Scotland Back to top


Charitable giving to national museums up 11.5%

DCMS-sponsored national museums generated £85.9m in donations and contributed income in 2010-11, an increase of 11.5% on the previous year.  These museums also received donated objects valued at a total of £14.7m.   DCMS has published the total amount of charitable giving received by all DCMS-funded cultural institutions and charitable giving as a ratio of Grant-in-Aid.  These are DCMS impact and input indicators respectively, on which the Department must report annually. Excluding donated objects (which vary greatly from year to year), charitable giving to all cultural institutions funded by DCMS increased from £217.5m in 2009/10 to £233.6m in 2010/11 (an increase of 7.4%).  The ratio of charitable giving to Grant-in-Aid for all DCMS bodies is 23.9%, and for museums alone it is 27.8%.  Together, museums' contributed income was worth 15.5% of their total income in 2010-11.  For comparison, the data shows charitable giving made up to 9.3% of the total income for Arts Council Regularly Funded Organisations in the same period. Fundraising/contributed income is defined as any money or gift received as bequests, legacies, donations or capital grants from individuals, charities, foundations, trusts and private companies; as well as income raised through sponsorship and income from membership schemes.  The DCMS report includes a table with individual breakdowns by cultural institutions, which is intended to show how the totals were calculated rather than to enable comparisons between cultural institutions.  DCMS

Campaign launched to increase legacy giving

Legacy10, a nationwide campaign aiming to increase the number of people who leave money to charity in their wills, was launched at Tate on 2 November.  At present only 7% of people leave money to a charity in their will, though 56% of adults donate to charity in an average month. The Legacy10 campaign encourages people to leave 10% of their legacy to charity.  In his Budget statement this year, the Chancellor announced new Inheritance Tax rules aimed at encouraging charitable giving.  From April 2012, any estate that leaves at least 10% to a charitable or cultural cause will be able to take advantage of a cut in Inheritance Tax from the current level of 40% down to 36%.  A new Populus poll, commissioned by Legacy10, found that over 80% of people in the UK were unaware of the impending changes to the Inheritance Tax rules, but that over 70% would now either make a legacy or consider doing so. Legacy10 is an independent campaign, run a by a committee covering business, culture and the wider charitable sector. It is chaired by Roland Rudd, Chairman of RLM Finsbury.  Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has welcomed the campaign and spoke at the launch.  The campaign will operate as a registered charity but will not collect or distribute funds. A series of events are planned as part of Legacy10, including a National Trust conference on improving legacy programmes for charities, and a new scheme to encourage gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation (to be launched next year).  Legacy10  DCMS

Fundraising activity in arts, culture, heritage and sports organisations

New research commissioned by DCMS examines the impact of the financial crisis on donor behaviour and indicates a number of ways in which fundraising in the cultural sector could be strengthened.  GfK NOP Social Research found that donors were thought to have become more exacting in their expectations, with an increased requirement for tangible and measurable outcomes.  This in turn created a new requirement for organisations to demonstrate sound business planning and financial management, and an ability to generate benefits for potential donors.  Some had become practiced in this, while for others the new environment required a culture shift as they had previously relied heavily upon strong personal relationships with their major funders.  Recommendations include:
  • strengthening fundraising at the organisational level by putting fundraising at the heart of the organisation, building relations with donors and auditing the role of fundraising within the organisation; and
  • strengthening the environment for fundraising by ensuring access to training and skills, brokering relationships and facilitating financial support. 
The research is the latest publication from the Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE) programme, a three-year joint programme of research led by the DCMS in collaboration with  Arts Council England, English Heritage and, previously, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Sport England.  DCMS

Philanthropy award nominations suggest trend change in giving to arts

The nominations for Arts & Business’s Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy provide an interesting snapshot of not just who is giving to culture, but also how they are doing so  This year’s nominations suggest a shift towards funding arts outside of London.  Over 100 people were nominated for the awards this year, and 50% are giving their money to organisations outside the capital.  A third of these people were nominated as part of a couple.  Of the individuals that were nominated alone, three quarters were men.  Just over one fifth were either born or still live outside the UK, and over half of these were American.  The medals have been awarded since 2008 and aim to recognise inspirational philanthropists who support the arts.  The Prince’s Medals for Arts Philanthropy 2011 will be awarded later this month.  Arts and Business

Funding Central website

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is encouraging culture and heritage organisations to register on its free Funding Central website.  The website enables charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to search for grants, contracts and loans at local, regional, national and EU level.  It also has tools and resources to supporting organisations to develop sustainable income strategies.  Registered users can receive a weekly email with details of relevant new funding opportunities.  Funding Central is funded by the Cabinet Office’s Office for Civil Society.  Funding Central

£20m to encourage positive social action

The Office for Civil Society announced a new £20 million revenue grant scheme on 6 October to encourage positive social activity in England.  The Social Action Fund will offer grants of £100,000 and more to projects across England that will expand volunteering and giving of time, money, knowledge and assets.  The programme will be administered by the Social Investment Business and is open to voluntary, public and private sector organisations.  The fund's three priority areas include:
  • Encouraging people in neighbourhoods to work together;
  • Utilising the energy and enthusiasm generated by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games to create a social action legacy; and
  • Encouraging people across all generations to get involved in volunteering and charitable giving.
The first deadline for applications was 2 November 2011 but there will be second round of applications in early 2012.  Cabinet Office  

Free arts surgeries on fundraising and engaging business effectively

Arts & Business is offering free one-to-one consultancy sessions to tackle fundraising queries.  There are five events taking place this month in venues around England.  The 45 minute session with a fundraising expert could involve reviewing a sponsorship proposal; discussing approaches for setting up an individual giving campaign; assessing whether an organisation would benefit from a legacy programme; giving an overview of on-line fundraising techniques; or tackling other, specific issues for your organisation.  Arts and Business

BIG announces £50m response to public funding cuts

The Big Lottery Fund has announced £50m funding to assist voluntary and community sector groups as demand for their services increases.  Writing in the Guardian, BIG Chief Executive Peter Wanless said that the funding, most of which will be distributed in the current financial year was intended to “provide immediate relief, much of it with (almost) no questions asked.”  The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimates that voluntary and community groups will face a reduction in public funding of over £900 million by 2016, losing a total of £2.8 billion in that period.  As part of the funding package, BIG has made £17m available to fund an additional 650 charitable and community projects through its two main open grants programmes, Reaching Communities and Awards for All.  Over the next few months, BIG will also be offering grants of up to £10,000 to almost 1,000 existing BIG grant holders who are in the last 18 months of their projects,  to review the way they work and explore ways of becoming more sustainable, and to extend funding for projects that are having a particularly significant impact.  Big Lottery Fund   Guardian

Improving communication in grant-making

The Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School has published The Art of Refusal: Promising Practice for Grant Makers and Grant Seekers.  The report provides the findings of a study of communication experiences and practices, at the point of grant refusal, between selected grant making and grant seeking organisations.  It suggests ideas for improvement in policy and practice among both grant makers and grant seekers.  Cass Report (PDF) 


Creative England is seeking applications for its Film Culture Fund which will award grants of £2,000-50,000 to organisations in the English regions outside London such as cinemas, film archives, film festivals and mobile cinema and film societies for projects including audience development, the acquisition, preservation and conservation of and access to regional screen heritage and film education activities. Creative England The Institute of Physics provides the Public Engagement Grant Scheme (PEGS) to raise the public's awareness of contemporary physics.  PEGS will offer financial support of up to £1,000 to individuals and organisations running physics-based events that raise public awareness of, and engagement with, contemporary physics, and which reach audiences beyond both the classroom and the workplace.  The deadline for the first round of the 2012 scheme is 7 November.  Institute of Physics Back to top


Harriet Harman heads new Shadow Culture team

The Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Party Chair, was appointed  Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (in addition to her existing responsibilities) in last month’s reshuffle of the Shadow Cabinet.  She replaces Ivan Lewis MP, who has moved to the Department for International Development after holding the post for one year.  Ms Harman has been an MP since 1982 and currently represents Camberwell and Peckham.   Dan Jarvis MP has been appointed shadow Minister for Culture, with a brief that includes museums and galleries as well as, arts, libraries, tourism, creative industries, heritage and the built environment, Royal Parks and the Royal Household and National Lotteries.  Mr Jarvis is a former paratrooper and was elected MP for Barnsley Central in March 2011.  The other members of the Shadow Culture team are Clive Efford MP, Shadow Sports Minister, and Helen Goodman MP, responsible for media and telecoms.  The spokespeople in the House of Lords are Baroness (Maggie) Jones, Baroness (Angela) Billingham and Lord (Wilf) Stevenson.  The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP remains Shadow Minister for London and for the Olympics.  Labour Party

Labour announces report into Arts in the Regions

On 25 October, the new Shadow Culture Minister, Dan Jarvis MP, outlined his priorities and announced he would launch a report into “Arts in the Regions.”  Mr Jarvis said that he wants to “find out if philanthropists with the money to spare are more likely to spend the money on arts organisations in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester than they are in Luton, Barnsley and Middlesbrough?  If that is the case, how are we going to ensure that the arts remain vibrant in these places?” The five key areas on which Mr Jarvis will be focusing over the coming months are:
  • Promoting growth and jobs in the Creative Industries, Arts, Heritage & Tourism;
  • Nurturing creativity in young people across the UK;
  • Celebrating the importance of our heritage across the UK;
  • Developing the cultural and creative legacy of the Olympics; and
  • Articulating a vision for a 21st century library.
Dan Jarvis MP

Government asks public sector works to “tell us how”

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude MP, has called on public sector workers to share their best ideas on ways to deliver public services, quicker, cheaper and simpler.  All public sector workers are invited to share ideas by logging onto the new ‘Tell us How website’.  The crowd-sourcing website will automatically rank the top ideas based on the votes and approval ratings of other public sector workers visiting the site.  From these top ideas, some will be selected for immediate, internal department action and some will be reviewed to assess their potential for implementation by a cross-cutting review team.  “Tell Us How” is a rolling initiative subject to review in 2015.  Public sector workers submitted almost 65,000 ideas to the Spending Challenge website in just two weeks before the Spending Review in 2010.  Tell Us How

Government re-introduces the British Empire Medal for voluntary service

The Prime Minister announced on 29 October that the British Empire Medal (BEM) will be reintroduced to recognise those who make a difference to their local community through volunteering and fundraising.  The BEM will be awarded for "meritorious public or voluntary service, particularly to local communities.”  It will normally be awarded on behalf of The Queen by the Lord Lieutenant of the relevant County or Local Authority.  All those awarded BEMs will also be invited to a Royal Garden Party.  The first BEM awards will be made at the same time as the Diamond Jubilee Honours Lists in June 2012, and it is expected that eventually there will be up to 300 BEMs awarded in each Honours round.  Cabinet Office


In a Parliamentary Question on 25 October, Andrew Rosindell MP asked what steps the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has taken to advertise free museums.  In reply, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said, “the Department has made no steps to advertise the sponsored museums that offer free admission.  Marketing and advertising is an operational matter for each museum.”  UK Parliament In the past 12 months, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has visited eight museums on official business including the British Museum, Tate, Royal Armouries and the National Maritime Museum.  A list of the seventeen visits he has made to museums, galleries and heritage sites was published in response to a Parliamentary Question from Dan Jarvis MP.  UK Parliament    DCMS has published an impact assessment of the extra bank holiday on 5 June 2012 to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, setting out projections for the likely impact on business, public services, retail and tourism.  DCMS Back to top


Arts Council outlines £440m strategic investment of Lottery funds

Arts Council England (ACE) published details on 1 November of how it will invest £440 million of strategic funding between 2012 and 2015.  Funding for all the strategic programmes comes largely from the Arts Council’s lottery income and will be used to complement ACE's £1.04bn investment in National Portfolio organisations.  The investment will be distributed through specific grant commissions as well as targeted grant programmes and a general strategic grant programme.  Targeted programmes include a £180m capital programme, a £45m touring programme that aims to encourage collaboration, as well as the £50m Catalyst fund to encourage private giving which already announced .  Grant commissions include a £7.5m Audience focus fund, which opens for applications on 4 November, and a Creative People and Places fund which will launch in early 2012.  Priorities for the general strategic grant programme will be published in next spring. The Arts Council Plan for 2011-2015, also published on 1 November, sets out in more detail how strategic funding will be used to realise the priorities set out in Achieving great art for everyone – the Arts Council’s ten-year strategic framework for the artsArts Council

UK brand moves up world rankings

The United Kingdom’s image overseas has improved significantly over the last year, driven by better perceptions of British culture, its people and its appeal as a tourist destination, according to the latest Anholt-GFK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI) report released on 12 October.  The UK has overtaken France on the overall rankings to become the third most admired country globally. The results reveal that the UK – now one place higher than it was in 2010 - is also one of the few countries to feature in the top six slots within each of the six brand measurements that the NBI analyses annually: Culture & Heritage; Exports; Governance; Investment & Immigration; People; and Tourism. Britain’s enhanced standing on the world stage has been buoyed by respondents’ views on it as a tourist destination, particularly because of the appeal of its rich historic landmarks and vibrant city life.  It has also improved its aspirational appeal for overseas markets with visitors more likely to make the journey to the UK if money was no object.  Along with these gains, the UK has also enjoyed success for the third consecutive year in being seen as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture, jumping up two spots to fourth place.  The Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI) measures the brand image of 50 nations.  VisitBritain

Guiding principles on cultural learning

The Cultural Learning Alliance has published its “Guiding Principles and Definitions for Cultural Learning.”  It describes cultural learning as "an active engagement with the creation of our arts and heritage.”  The principles are:
  1. Every child should have equality of access to a baseline of quality cultural learning opportunities;
  2. Cultural learning happens inside and outside of schools and colleges, and in a wide range of settings;
  3. Families, parents and carers are important providers of cultural learning;
  4. Young people shape the cultural landscape and are the artist professionals of the future.  They should be empowered and supported to engage with, lead and drive the cultural learning agenda;
  5. Cultural learning involves diverse practice and encompasses the arts, heritage and knowledge valued by all individuals, cultures and communities;
  6. Arts subjects taught in schools and other settings as part of the curriculum have depth, rigour and an established canon of knowledge.  They are of equal weight, status, value and importance within the curriculum as other subjects, and require equal resource and provision;
  7. Partnership, collaboration, a shared commitment and a collegiate approach from those who use cultural learning in their work with young people is key to its successful delivery
  8. Cultural learning enriches our national life and intrinsically makes a contribution to our society.  It is critical to the development of our economy. Through cultural learning young people gain the skills to become creative and cultural professionals and to contribute effectively to the wider workforce;
  9. It inspires civic engagement and helps neighbourhoods to make positive changes through collective ownership of culture. This leads to personal, social and community benefit and a shared sense of place; and
  10. Cultural learning has clearly evidenced educational and social outcomes. Young people who have the opportunity to learn through and about culture are better equipped to achieve across the curriculum, and to take responsibility for their own learning. Attendance, attitude and wellbeing are all improved by engagement with culture. Cultural learning practice should be informed by rigorous research and evaluation into impact and outcome.
Cultural Learning Alliance

“The battle for arts and minds”

Leading figures from the arts and education, including Sir Ken Robinson and Feargal Sharkey, Chief executive of UK Music, have written an open letter to the Government, published in the Observer, urging Ministers to  “come together and adopt coherent and integrated policies which will ensure that creativity and innovation are at the heart of what our future education system offers."  The Guardian  

Arts & Business and BITC enter into merger talks

Arts & Business and BITC have declared that they have entered into merger talks. BITC is a business-led charity with 850 members comprising companies of all sizes.  In October 2010, Arts Council England announced that it would cease funding Arts & Business from April 2012.  BITC works to “advise, support and challenge its members to create a sustainable future for people and the planet and to improve business performance.”  It is also the intention that Arts & Business Scotland, Arts & Business Northern Ireland and Arts & Business Cymru will become independent charities. The negotiations began in July 2011 and there will be further announcements later this year.  Arts and Business

Arts programmes can cut crime and save taxpayers’ money

Arts projects working with offenders save the taxpayer an average of £4.50 for every £1 invested in them, according to a study from New Philanthropy Capital.  The report, Unlocking Value, was commissioned by Arts Alliance and funded by Arts Council England.  It examined the results of three organisations – Clean Break, Only Connect and Unitas – which work with different groups of offenders.  Only Connect more than halves expected rates of re-offending, from an estimated 57.5% without the charity’s involvement to 25.9% with charity involvement, generating savings of over £3.2m to the criminal justice sector over six years.  The report recommends that arts organisations should collect strong data to provide solid evidence of the impact they have on individuals and society, and calls on funders to support arts charities in the criminal justice sector by funding promising interventions and funding proper monitoring and evaluation of these approaches.  New Philanthropy Capital

Heritage, Localism and the Big Society

English Heritage, on behalf of the Historic Environment Forum, has produced an online guide to how local groups can widen and strengthen community involvement in heritage issues.  The Big Society is the theme of this year’s Heritage Counts report, compiled by English Heritage.  English Heritage argues that, as the influence people have over the shape of their local area is set to increase through the Localism Bill, the advice and guidance on planning to communities that heritage organisations can offer will be particularly important.  English Heritage

Media service for 2012 Games

The Government has launched a set of dedicated web pages designed to give the world’s media a single point of access for all Government-related news stories leading up to and during the 2012 Games. The service, provided by the Government Olympic Communication team, will include tailored information on how the Government has prepared the country for the Games; the positive impact the Games will have on Britain; and what the cultural, entrepreneurial and physical face of the UK truly looks like.  Government Olympic Communication


Arts Council England has announced that the second State of the Arts national conference for the arts and culture sector will be held on 14 February 2012 at The Lowry, Salford.  The event will be hosted by Arts Council England in conjunction with the BBC, The Lowry, Salford City Council and Manchester City Council.  This year's conference will feature significant opportunities for pre-event digital involvement and engagement, and an evening of pre-conference arts activities produced by Manchester International Festival on 13 February.  More The supplier of Wi-Fi connectivity to the London Frieze Art Fair reported that attendees transferred nearly 1 terabyte (TB) of data during the four-day event.  The London Frieze Art Fair ran from 13 to 16 October and was attended by 60,000 visitors and 173 galleries.  The Managing Director of Max Wifi said that the Fair showed how the use of on-demand computing and social media has increased the demand for Wi-Fi.  Exhibition News Back to top


New Medal to Honour National Museums’ Supporters

National Museums Scotland has commissioned a medal to honour major service and support to the organisation.  The medal was designed and modelled by Alexander Stoddart, Sculptor in Ordinary to Her Majesty The Queen in Scotland.  It has been funded privately by an anonymous donor.  It will be awarded to those who have given exceptional service and support to National Museums.  The first recipients are Dr Walter Scott and Bruce Minto, recognising their support for the successful transformation of the National Museum of Scotland which opened to the public on 29 July 2011 and has already attracted over 850,000 visitors.  Scottish businessman and former nuclear physicist Dr Walter Scott donated £1 million to fund the new Discoveries gallery.  Edinburgh lawyer Bruce Minto led the highly successful fundraising campaign for the re-development, chairing a voluntary campaign board that raised £13.6 million from over 1,000 donations, and exceeded its target of £12.6 million.  National Museums Scotland

V&A opens new permanent Photographs Gallery

The V&A opened a new permanent Photographs Gallery on 24 October.  In 1858, the V&A became the first museum to exhibit photographs, and the new Photographs Gallery is able to showcase some of the most technically brilliant and artistically accomplished photographs in its collection, chronicling the history of photography from 1839 up to the 1960s.  The display will be re-curated every 18 months.  Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A’s existing photographs gallery. Original architectural features of the room, a former study space, have been restored - including 20 large, semi-circular paintings illustrating the principles and practices of art education, which have been in store since the outbreak of the Second World War.  V&A

Museum of Liverpool announces record visitor figures

The new Museum of Liverpool received half a million visitors in the first three months since opening in July. The Museum has also announced that will open a new floor and more galleries including the Great Port and Liverpool Overhead Railway on Friday 2 December, along with a 38 metre time traveller’s timeline, and a gallery dedicated to Liverpool’s King’s Regiment.  Liverpool Museums

Museum of London text message trail

The Museum of London and HiddenCity have launched an interactive text message trail of the museum.  Teams of two to four players use text messages and a map of the museum to follow clues leading them to different locations within the Museum, where they have to deduce answers from their surroundings.  Participants have to sign up in advance by visiting the HiddenCity website and the trail costs £16 per team.  The trail takes approximately two hours, and players who complete it win a ‘Certified Londoner’ badge by showing Museum staff their final congratulatory text message.  HiddenCity   Museum of London

English National Ballet at Tate Britain

Tate and the English National Ballet have announced that the Ballet will take up residency in Tate Britain's Duveen galleries next March to celebrate the opening of the major exhibition Picasso & Modern British Art and the Company’s Beyond Ballets Russes season. During the residency week visitors will be able to see the full Company of 67 dancers will take their morning ballet class along a barre stretching the length of the North Duveen Gallery and rehearsing pieces including The Rite of Spring and Firebird. There will also be workshops for people of all ages to join, as well as talks, discussions and demonstrations highlighting the links between dance and the visual arts, especially in the legacy of the Ballets Russes. The climax of the residency will be world premiere performances of three newly commissioned ballets at Late at Tate on 2 March 2012, animating works from Picasso & Modern British Art.  Tate

Natural History Museum fossil recognised as type specimen

The Archaeopteryx fossil specimen at the Natural History Museum has been declared the official representative of the Archaeopteryx lithographica species after a five-year strongly contested debate among taxonomists.  Archaeopteryx lived 147 million years ago and had both bird and dinosaur features.  Its discovery in Germany in 1861 provided the first evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs.  Experts at the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) ruled that the Natural History Museum's specimen, which shows the almost complete skeleton of the magpie-sized creature with imprints of the wing and tail feathers, should be the type specimen, rather than a fossil of an imprint of a single feather that previously held the title.  The Natural History Museum has the largest collection of type specimens in the world with more than 850,000 type specimens.  Natural History Museum


Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has been awarded initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project to uncover the legacy of Hadrian's Wall.  The project will take over three years, and involve more than 500 people from the North East taking part in excavations and events and helping to carry out research into the lesser-known Eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall, from its starting point in Wallsend and heading as far West as Hexham and Corbridge.  Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Tate and BMW have announced a major new international partnership, BMW Tate Live which will focus on performance, interdisciplinary art and curating digital space. The four-year programme will be launched with a series of artist performances created specifically to be broadcast ‘live’ online. BMW Tate Live: Performance Room is the first artistic programme created purely for live web broadcast. Tate                 Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology & Engineering at the Science Museum has welcomed the new £50 note with images of Boulton and Watt, which marks a renewed interest in James Watt. The Science Museum has just re-displayed the engineer’s legendary attic workshop in an exhibition that shows his remarkable life and achievements, alongside his iconic early steam engines which line the Museum’s Energy Hall.  Science Museum Police officers assisted by a group of teenagers as part of their community outreach work installed an original Anderson Shelter at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford last month.  Sixteen learners from the Birmingham area under the supervision of the Police Officers helped the museum to transform tis World War II garden for the use of schools.  Royal Air Force Museum back to top


Culture budget protected in France

The French Government has ring-fenced the budget for culture, announcing that the Ministry of Culture and Communication's budget will increase by 0.9% in 2012. Within this, the budget for culture (excluding staff costs) will increase by 2.9% to €2.1bn. Staff costs will increase by 1.6% to €644m, while the budget for cultural research will fall by 0.7% to €124m.  €75.7m are will be spend on arts education and cultural and access to culture.  Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand noted that “while cuts are made in the cultural budgets of most of France's European partners, the budget of the Ministry of Culture and of the Communication in 2012 is a testimony to the attention paid by the [French] Government to the cultural sectors.”  Ministère de la Culture

French national museums visits rise, boosted by free admission for 18-25 year olds

Attendance at the National Museums in France is up by 4% in the first half of 2011, while figures for the summer months showed a 14% increase compared to 2010.  The Ministry of Culture and Communication reports that its sponsored museums received approximately 26.6m visits in 2010, virtually unchanged from 2009. However, after the first half of 2011, it already stands at 13.4 million visits, up 4% over the same period in 2010. This good performance is largely due to a very substantial increase in the attendance at Versailles and the impact of free admission for young people and school groups.  Free visits represent about 35% of overall attendance.  Since 2009, all 18-25 year olds resident in the EU have been granted free admission to permanent collections in the National Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.  This has generated nearly 4.5m visits over the past two years and the number of young people visiting has increased by 22%.  Ministère de la Culture  

Van Gogh Museum to close for six months

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has announced it will have to shut for sixth months from October 2012 to allow for adjustments to meet heightened security requirements for both visitors and the art.  During the Van Gogh Museum’s closure, 75 paintings from the collection will be shown at the Hermitage Amsterdam.  The Art Newspaper reports that all three major museums on Amsterdam's Museumplien will have buildings closed in the last few months of 2012.  The extension of the Stedelijk will open at the end of 2012, while the main building of the Rijksmuseum is due to reopen in 2013, ten years after it closed to the public.  Last year, the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum, where a small part of the collection has continued to be displayed, received 900,000 visitors. When the full Rijksmuseum reopens, it is hoping for 1.7m-2m visitors, compared to 1.1m before it closed. The Art Newspaper also reports that the Rijksmuseum intends to reduce its opening hours, opening at 10am instead of 9am, in response to a 15% budget cut for national museums in the Netherlands.  Van Gogh Museum  Art Newspaper 


The Chinese Museums Association and international museum consultants Lord Cultural Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will enable the two organisations to collaborate for a three-year period on museum study and professional standards, and to realise information and resource sharing, including training opportunities related to museum operation. More  Back to top

Dr Haydn Edwards has been appointed as Vice President of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales by Huw Lewis AM, the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage.   Dr Edwards, who is currently a Trustee of the Museum, is the Former Principal and Chief Executive of Coleg Menai, one of Wales's leading further education colleges.  More The Public Catalogue Foundation has appointed Charles Gregson, Chairman of ICAP, as its new Chairman.  In addition, two new Trustees have joined the Board: Alex Morrison, Managing Director and Founder of Cogapp, and Marc Sands, Director of Audiences and Media at Tate. These changes follow the retirement of PCF Founder, Dr Fred Hohler, as Chairman, and Dr Alan Borg and John van Kuffeler as Trustees.  Public Catalogue Foundation Back to top

Our jobs website,, has details of over 30 current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:
  • Director, Royal Marines Museum
  • Assistant Director (Collections) National Army Museum
  • Community Project Officer, The National Archives
  • Assistant Curator, National Museums Scotland
  • Conservator, Royal Armouries Museum
  • Administrative Assistant, Tate
  • X-ray CT Scan Operator, Natural History Museum
  • Procurement Officer, National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery
For details of these jobs and many more visit

And finally...

National Mining Museum Scotland has transformed the night skies of Midlothian, creating a stunning nocturnal attraction on one of Scotland’s major trunk roads. Called the “Night Time National Landmark,” it uses innovative lighting techniques to create the illusion that the pit wheel at the 19th century Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange is once again turning and that the famous gantry that crosses the A7 to the pithead is thronged with miners – 30 years after the pit closed. More Back to top

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