January 2012

NMDC Newsletter: January 2012
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NMDC Newsletter: January 2012
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Welcome to the national museums' monthly news update.
In this issue:

and much more...


Leading regional museums will be invited to join NMDC

Members of the National Museum Directors’ Conference agreed at their last meeting to expand the membership criteria of the NMDC and invite all major grant funded museums in the Renaissance in the Regions programme to join.  The decision follows a consultation with members and stakeholders across the sector on NMDC’s purpose, priorities and membership.  Four regional museums have been members of NMDC since 2007: the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, and the new membership changes will build on this positive experience.  NMDC Chair Dr Michael Dixon said “National museums are committed to supporting and working in partnership with their regional counterparts, and we hope that widening NMDC membership will result in even closer collaboration and communication between national and major regional museums.  The current economic climate means an extremely difficult period for museums of all kinds and expanding our membership to include Renaissance museums will enable the NMDC to be a clear voice advocating for the nationally-funded network of museums across the UK.  The NMDC is also keen to work closely with other bodies representing museums on issues of mutual concern, and is committed to collaborating with them to promote the interests of the whole museum sector and avoid duplication of effort.” From April 2012, membership of NMDC will therefore be open to national museums funded by Central Government or devolved administrations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, plus regional museums in receipt of Renaissance major grant funding from Arts Council England.  National libraries and the National Archives will continue to be eligible for associate membership.  The intention is for the NMDC to represent the interests of those institutions in receipt of funding which is voted on by Parliament or the devolved administrations.  Details of how the new membership structure will work are still to be agreed, pending decisions on Renaissance major grant recipients.  Full details will be announced in Spring 2012.


Arts Index shows fall in private investment

The first UK Arts Index report was launched on 5 December, intended as an annual “measure of the vitality of arts and culture in the UK.”  Bringing together key data about the sector’s health, the Index plots trends in relation to twenty indicators including tickets sales, corporate sponsorship, philanthropy and public sector funding, as well as other performance measures such as attendance levels for adults and young people, satisfaction levels and the number of people volunteering in the arts.  This first Arts Index covers the years 2007/08 to 2009/10.  The data reveals a sustained decline in private sector support.  Business contributions and individual giving fell by 17% and 13% respectively from 2007/08 to 2009/10.  Employment in the arts fell by nine points between 2008/09 and 2009/10.  Meanwhile, earned income by Regularly Funded Organisations of Arts Council England rose by 10% in 2008/9.  The overall UK Arts Index (20 indicators combined) remained relatively constant from 2007/08 to 2009/10, despite the recession.  This relative stability was largely attributed to a big increase in Lottery funds in England in 2009/10. The Arts Index is produced by the National Campaign for the Arts in partnership with Audiences UK and Audiences London and based on a similar index in the USA.  Audiences UK (Executive Summary)   National Campaign for the Arts

Guidance on the Cultural Gifts Scheme published for comment

The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has published guidance on the Cultural Gifts Scheme (CGS) which will enable individuals and companies to donate pre-eminent and associated objects to cultural institutions in exchange for reductions in income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax.  These provisions will be introduced in the Finance Act 2012. The document provides practical guidance on how to make an application to donate an object under the Scheme and provides a point of reference for museums and other cultural institutions.  It explains who is eligible to apply and the types of objects that may be considered for donation, how objects to be donated will be valued, aspects of how the tax reduction will be calculated, and which institutions will be eligible to hold objects accepted for the benefit of the public or the nation.  The Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Panel will consider all applications and assess the pre-eminence of objects offered.  The total combined value of tax reductions available under the CGS and inheritance taxes offset under the AIL Scheme will be up to £30 million in any tax year and applications will be considered on a “first come, first served” basis. Eligible institutions include any museum, art gallery, library or other similar institution having as its purpose the preservation for the public benefit of a collection of historic, artistic or scientific interest; or any body having as one of its purposes the provision, improvement or preservation of amenities enjoyed or to be enjoyed by the public.  The title to objects accepted under the Scheme will transfer from the donor to the relevant Minister in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, who will make arrangements for title to the object to then be transferred to an eligible institution or, if appropriate, for the object to be lent to an eligible institution.  Unlike the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme, which relates to Inheritance Tax, the CGS does not allow the recipient institution to fund the difference between the tax reduction and the object’s market value (called “hybrid offers”).  Nor does it allow donations of property which is jointly-owned.  Also, under the CGS, objects must be allocated and displayed for at least 100 days in eligible institutions (although short-term loans to other institutions may be permitted).   Interested parties have until 29 February to comment on the Guidance.  DCMS

Billionaire offers to save Wedgwood collection

Mobile phone tycoon John Caudwell has offered to buy the collection of the Wedgwood Museum to preserve it for the region.  The High Court ruled on 18 December that Staffordshire pottery collection owned by the Wedgwood Museum Trust was an asset of the Wedgwood company that went into administration in 2009 and could now be sold to pay creditors - including £134m owed to the Pension Protection Fund.  In an interview with BBC News, Mr Caudwell, who founded mobile phone giant Phones 4u, spoke of his intentions to keep the collection together and preserve the history of Wedgwood’s contribution to the British economy and society.  BBC News   Birmingham Post

Record growth in Art Fund membership

The Art Fund has announced a 15% increase in membership in 2011 with 18,000 new members joining during the year.  Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar observed, “At a time when Britain’s museums are facing cuts of at least 15%, our success with the National Art Pass in bringing a 15% growth in membership this year has shown that the public’s appetite for great art remains undiminished.”  During 2011, the charity committed over £4.4 million to support the acquisition of almost 150 works of art by museums and galleries in the UK.  It now has 90,000 members.  Art Fund 

Donor says £15m Zurbarán deal threatened by “evasions and disappointments”

Businessman and philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer published an article in the Church Times on 16 December explaining why he has withdrawn his offer to purchase 12 paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán for £15m to keep them at Auckland Castle.  The collapse of the deal was reported in the media on 8 December.  Mr Ruffer, who was awarded the Prince of Wales Medal for Philanthropy in November, claimed Church Commissioners who own the paintings had put “unachievable conditions” on the deal.  He was highly critical of the way his offer had been handled and those involved and said “The evasions and disappointments have come like grouse — sometimes singly, sometimes in coveys.”  However, BBC News reported on 23 December that the Church Commissioner representatives and Mr Ruffer have reached a new agreement to keep the paintings at the castle.  The paintings have hung in Auckland Castle, the home of the Bishop of Durham, in a room specifically designed and built for them for 250 years.  Church Times   BBC News 

Google gifts to Bletchley Park and Science Museum

Google has donated £550,000 to the Bletchley Park Trust for the restoration of its World War Two codebreaking huts.  The Trust needs to raise match funding to secure a £4.6m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.  Google executive Simon Meacham has been supporting Bletchley Park's fundraising efforts and last year helped the Trust to purchase Alan Turing's papers.  Peter Barron, head of external relations for Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the BBC: "I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without Alan Turing, Google in the form we know it would not exist.”  In 2011, Google gave more than $100 million to various organisations around the world. Google and the Science Museum have also announced that the Museum will use a gift from Google to fund an exhibition in 2013 marking the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth and a new permanent display, Making Modern Communications, that will explore the history of information and communication technologies and is scheduled to open in Summer 2014.  Peter Barron, Director of External Relations at Google added: "The work of the Science Museum plays such an important role in educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers."  www.sciencemuseum.org.uk   BBC   Google back to top


Acceptance in Lieu scheme brings a dozen new gifts to the nation

Arts Council England announced on 17 December that twelve works of art and objects of cultural significance had been acquired for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. Rubens’ painting The Triumph of Venus settled £4.4m of tax and has been temporarily allocated to the National Gallery pending a decision on permanent allocation.  The Ashmolean Museum has been allocated a collection of 30 paintings, drawings and etchings by Walter Sickert which settled £680,000 of tax.  Books, papers and scientific instruments of Nevil Maskelyne settled £397,264 of tax and have been temporarily allocated to the National Maritime Museum, the British Library and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.  Other recipients include the Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, National Galleries of Scotland and the Laing Art Gallery.  Arts Council

Export Committee calls for owners to compensate museums if items are withdrawn

The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest published its annual report for 2010-11 on 13 December.  Four objects, worth over £3.7 million, were saved from export in the last year and purchased for public collections across the UK, including a silver wine cistern of Thomas Wentworth and a zodiac settle by William Burges.  However, matching funds could not be raised for seven items valued at over £66m, which were subsequently exported.  These included a painting attributed to Sir Peter Paul Rubens, JMW Turner’s Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino, Nicolas Poussin’s  Ordination and Frans Hals’s Family Portrait in a Landscape.  A further three items of outstanding significance remain in the United Kingdom instead of being exported abroad. The Reviewing Committee’s report welcomes the tax changes to encourage lifetime gifts of cultural objects but notes with regret the reduction in funding for the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Scotland’s National Fund for Acquisitions and in particular the National Heritage Memorial Fund.  The Committee “urges Ministers most strongly” to restore the NHMF’s level of grant-in-aid funding to £10m a year. The Committee has also suggested a change to the system to tackle the practice of applicants withdrawing licence applications after an institution has raised funds to purchase the object and despite a written undertaking to sell given by the applicant.  The Committee reports that this has led to some public institutions wasting considerable time, effort and fundraising credibility.  The Committee has proposed to DCMS that the system be changed so that those who have made a serious expression of interest and raised funds to make a matching offer should be compensated for all 'loss and damage' they have suffered as a result of relying on the owner’s undertaking, just as if a binding contract to sell were in place.  Such compensation should extend to funding bodies which have also suffered loss and damage as a result of the owner’s refusal to accept a matching offer.  DCMS

Treasure and Portable Antiquities Scheme reports

The Treasure Report published on 14 December reveals 778 reported cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland during 2009.  Of these finds, 261 have been, or are in the process of being, acquired by museums across the country, including the Staffordshire Hoard acquired by Birmingham City Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.  The number of cases where one or more parties have waived their right to a reward has increased from 51 in 2008 to 71 in 2009, enabling museums to acquire such finds at no or reduced cost.  381 finds were disclaimed and subsequently returned to the finders/landowners.  As in previous years, metal-detecting accounts for the vast majority (94.73%) of Treasure cases reported in England and Wales.  Archaeological finds account for only 2.69% of 2009 Treasure cases. The Portable Antiquities Scheme Report was also published on 14 December and highlights a further 157,188 recorded finds in 2009/2010.  The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a voluntary scheme (managed by the British Museum) to record archaeological objects (not necessarily Treasure) found by members of the public in England and Wales.  DCMS

Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from London park

A 2-metre high sculpture by Barbara Hepworth was stolen from Dulwich Park in South London on 20 December.  The work was one of six casts called Two Forms (Divided Circle), made in 1969.  It was acquired by the Greater London Council in 1970.  The Guardian back to top


Revised Accreditation Scheme for museums emphasises visitors' needs

Arts Council England, in partnership with CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, Museums Galleries Scotland and the Northern Ireland Museums Council, has launched a revised Accreditation Scheme for museums and galleries across the United Kingdom.  The revised scheme puts a greater emphasis on visitors’ needs, encouraging museums to develop new and imaginative ways for visitors to interact with collections.  The process for obtaining Accredited status has also been streamlined to allow museums to focus on their aims and ambitions for the future.  The changes are intended to make the Accreditation a focused development tool for museums aiming to improve, encouraging greater resilience through effective forward planning.  The scheme re-opened for applications on 13 December. Accreditation is a renewable status.  Museums currently Accredited under the 2004 standard will be invited to renew their status against the new standard over a five year period, which will respect their existing planning cycles.  There are currently 1,713 fully Accredited museums in the UK.  Arts Council    

Arts Council opens strategic touring programme

The Arts Council’s strategic touring programme was launched on 5 December 2011.  The Arts Council also published guidance for applicants on 20 December.  This £45 million programme aims to encourage collaboration between cultural organisations and reach audiences across England.  £15 million of funding is available in the first year of the programme (2012/13).  The scheme will support touring across all artforms with award of £10,000 and above.  The Arts Council welcomes applications from museums for the touring of projects which are explicitly linked with arts activity through the strategic programme.  Museums can apply to fund projects under any of ACE’s six artforms: combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre and visual arts. In a statement explaining how museums now fit within the Arts Council funding programmes, ACE said: “We will not be able to support museums touring through this programme which has no explicit link with artistic activity.  We expect the main source of funding for museums activity between 2012-15 to be our Renaissance programme and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with arts activity supported through other Arts Council programmes including the strategic touring programme.  However, during this three-year period we will continue to explore the wider issue of museums touring as one of the future opportunities for further integration between arts and museums work.”   There will be a series of briefing events in February 2012 for applicants looking to apply for the strategic touring programme.  Arts Council England

Latest Taking Part data published

The latest results from the Taking Part household survey, which has been run by DCMS since 2005, have been published.  The figures, which cover October 2010 to September 2011, show the highest levels of engagement with the arts and attendance at heritage sites, museums and galleries since the survey began. Museums
  • Between 2005/06 and 2011 the proportion of people visiting a museum or gallery in the last year significantly increased (from 42.3% to 47.1%);
  • While people who live in rural areas are just as likely as people in urban areas to have visited a museum or gallery in the last year, there are variations by region;
  • In 2011, Londoners (56.1%) had the highest levels of attendance, while those in the East Midlands (39.5%) had the lowest levels of attendance. Since 2005/06, the proportion of people visiting museums or galleries increased in all regions except for East Midlands and the South West;
  • The most recent period shows a significant increase in the proportion of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups visiting a museum or gallery in the last year from 35.4 per cent (in 2005/06) to 40.6%. However, this level is significantly lower than the percentage of white adults visiting (47.9%);
  • 25.9% adults had visited a museum or gallery website, an increase from 15.8 per cent in 2005/06. The Taking Part Survey added new questions on museum or gallery websites from July 2011. In this period, of those who had visited a museum or gallery website, 17.6% had taken a virtual tour of a museum or gallery and 13.5% had viewed or downloaded an event or exhibition.
  • In 2011, 39% of adults had used a library in the last 12 months, a significant decrease from 48.2% in 2005/06, but showing no further change from 2009/10.
Big Society
  • The proportion of adults volunteering in the last 12 months remained at 23.8% in 2011.  7.1% of all adults had volunteered in any DCMS sector.  Of those who volunteered, 8.8% had done so in the arts sector which is a significant increase from 2005/06 (6.3%).
  • Almost two thirds (64.5%) of adults are slightly or strongly supportive of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; 
  • 85.6 % of adults intend to follow the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games; with 25.3 % of adults actively getting involved in the Games.  DCMS

Catalyst: Endowments deadline

The closing date for Catalyst: Endowments applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund is 16 January.  Catalyst: Endowments is a £30m investment in a match-funding initiative for the creation of endowments to support the UK’s heritage from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).  Organisations who intend to apply should already have registered a pre-application enquiry online.  Final decisions will be taken by DCMS Ministers and the HLF Board of Trustees (for applications across the UK) and will be announced at the end of March 2012.  HLF

Sharing Treasures scheme of national museum loans extended

Sharing Treasures, the Welsh Government’s flagship scheme to allow museums to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales, is to be widened, Heritage Minister Huw Lewis AM has announced.  Under the scheme, local museums can apply for grants to put on exhibitions and raise gallery standards so that they can borrow items from national collections for display. Following an independent review, the scheme will now be more flexible to allow museums to apply for grants to develop touring exhibitions as well as apply for a grant more than once so that they can develop successful projects. The scheme will also be extended to allow libraries and archives to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales and other UK national organisations.  It was also announced that up to £100,000 will be made available from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012/13 to support the scheme, which will match the Welsh Government’s investment.  Welsh Government

£1 million for Scotland's museums and galleries

The Scottish Government has allocated project funding of £970,000 and £100,000 capital funding to museums from its 2012-13 draft budget.  More than 260 accredited museums and galleries are eligible to apply for the funding, which is administered by Museums Galleries Scotland on the Scottish Government's behalf.  £400,000 revenue funding is available for accredited museums and galleries, with the remaining funds ring-fenced for the Recognised Collections which are of national and international significance.  Scottish Government

National Museum of Science and Industry changes

MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester) is to join the National Museum of Science and Industry group (NMSI) in January 2012.  Both organisations have been exploring the benefits of a merger for several months and have now concluded that “the cultural synergies and visitor benefits would be significant.”  MOSI is one of the most popular attractions in the North West, attracting up to 800,000 visitors a year.  NMSI currently comprises the Science Museum, National Railway Museum and National Media Museum.  The merger means the new museum group will reach over five million visitors annually.  Meanwhile, Colin Philpott has announced that he will step down as Director of the National Media Museum in the spring.  He has been Director since 2004 and has now decided to take the opportunity to pursue long term and creative projects beyond the National Media Museum which include the publication of a book next year.    The announcement is part of a reorganisation at the senior levels of the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI).  As a result, there will no longer be a Director-level role at the National Media Museum.  A newly created position of Head of the National Media Museum will report into the Deputy Director of the Science Museum.   NMSI announcement   National Media Museum


Roger Highfield, NMSI’s new Director of External Affairs and the former Editor of New Scientist has written a blog for DCMS looking at how “geek chic” and the popularity of Professor Brian Cox have transformed perceptions of scientific heritage.  DCMS

London parking charges could affect success of cultural organisations

In a letter to the Guardian published on 11 December, the Directors of leading cultural venues in central London, including the National Portrait Gallery, Science Museum and Tate, urged Westminster Council to reconsider new parking policies which, they argued, "will have such a detrimental effect on the success of cultural organisations in Westminster and the economy of London in general.”  The letter said the proposals, which would introduce charges up to £4.40 an hour from 6.30pm to midnight Monday to Saturday and 1pm to 6pm on Sunday, are "likely to have a serious impact on our visitors and audiences at a time when arts budgets are already being severely challenged by cuts in government spending." The London Evening Standard reported on 15 December that a High Court Judge has ordered Westminster Council to postpone the introduction of the charges until after the Olympic Games. London Evening Standard  Guardian

Brain responds differently to art we believe is fake

Research at the University of Oxford using brain scanners has found that being told that a work of art is authentic or fake alters the brain’s response to the visual content of artwork.  Fourteen participants were placed in a brain scanner and shown images of works by ‘Rembrandt’ – some were genuine, others were convincing imitations painted by different artists.  Neither the participants nor their brain signals could distinguish between genuine and fake paintings. However, when a participant was told that a work was genuine, it raised activity in the part of the brain that deals with rewarding events, such as tasting pleasant food or winning a gamble.  Being told a work is not by the master triggered a complex set of responses in areas of the brain involved in planning new strategies. The study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, was carried out by Professor Andrew Parker and Mengfei Huang of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, in collaboration with Dr Holly Bridge at the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) and Professor Martin Kemp of University of Oxford's History Faculty. University of Oxford

Launch of International Museum Day 2012

The worldwide community of museums will celebrate the 35th anniversary of International Museum Day around 18 May 2012.  The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has announced that the theme for 2012 will be Museums in a Changing World: New Challenges, New inspirations.  In 2011, International Museum Day garnered record-breaking participation with almost 30,000 museums hosting events in more than 120 countries.  In the UK, the event coincides with Museums at Night and Scotland's Festival of Museums.  ICOM

Museums at Night – Connect 10

Culture 24 has announced that Museums at Night 2012 will be able, for the first time, to use some of its funding to provide financial support for events in museums.  The Arts Council are funding Connect 10, a national competition for cultural venues to win the opportunity for an artist to appear at a meet-the-artist event during Museums at Night 2012 (18-20 May).  Bob and Roberta Smith, Martin Parr and Polly Morgan are among the ten artists who have signed up to the project.  Up to thirty venues will compete to ‘win’ one of the artists, and will need to mobilise support from their communities to get as many public votes as possible for their event.  The venues will also win a small bursary to fund an event.  The deadline for submitting event ideas is 31 January.  Voting will take place throughout February and close in early March, when the results will be announced.  Museums at Night also has support from HLF to fund clusters of venues coming together on joint event offers in North Lincolnshire around Scunthorpe, and in North Norfolk around Sheringham.  Connect 10   Museums at Night


The actor Meryl Streep has donated the fee she earned for playing Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady to help establish a National Women's History Museum in Washington DC.  Ms Streep is a spokesperson for the National Women's History Museum, and has donated $1 million to the $400m project.  The proposed location is adjacent to the National Mall, home to many major museums including the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural History and National Air and Space Museum.  More  Applications are now open for the Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence 2012 with 11 categories of award including a new Sustainability Award.  The deadline for entry is Friday 10 February.  Museums + Heritage  


Cultural organisations urged to respond to ONS Well-being consultation

The Office of National Statistics has published its proposed indicators for measuring national well-being, which currently include no reference to culture.  The ONS is now consulting on the proposed set of domains and headline indicators.  These include individual well-being and the factors directly affecting it: relationships, health, what we do, where we live, personal finance, education and skills; as well as more contextual domains: governance; the economy, the natural environment.  Cultural organisations are being urged to respond to the consultation and emphasise the role of culture in well-being. The Office for National Statistics' Measuring National Well-being (MNW) Programme was launched in November 2010 to provide a fuller understanding of ‘how society is doing’ than economic measures alone can provide.  The aim of the programme is to develop and publish an accepted and trusted set of National Statistics that helps people to understand and monitor national well-being. The consultation closes on 23 JanuaryOffice of National Statistics

Government plans to improve UK's copyright laws

The Intellectual Property Office is consulting on proposals to modernise the copyright system and remove unnecessary barriers to growth, following the recommendations in the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth.  The proposals include establishing licensing and clearance procedures for ‘orphan works’ (material with unknown copyright owners).  This would open up a range of works that are currently locked away in libraries and museums and are unavailable for consumer or research purposes.  The British Library, Collections Trust and major museums have been arguing for this change for several years.  Other proposals that may be relevant to museums include:  
  • Introducing an exception for parody and pastiche, to give comedians and other people the creative freedom to parody someone else’s work without seeking permission from the copyright holder.
  • Introducing provision for voluntary extended collective licensing schemes, which would make it simpler to get permission to use copyrighted works and help ensure rights owners are paid.
  • Modernising other exceptions to copyright including those for education, quotation, and people with disabilities. 
The consultation period runs until 21 March.  Intellectual Property Office

Government consults on €1.8bn Creative Europeprogramme

The UK Government is seeking views on the European Commission's proposals for a new €1.8 billion Creative Europe programme.  The programme, which was unveiled last month, would run from 2014 to 2020 and has three strands:
  • €210m cross-sectoral strand for all the cultural and creative sectors, including a new financial facility to provide loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises, develop financial institutions’ expertise and understanding of the cultural and creative sectors, and improve the sectors’ ability to attract loans and private investment;
  • €500m Culture strand for the cultural and creative sectors, which will seek to strengthen  business and technical capacity, promote transnational policy coordination and support prizes and actions to make cultural and creative products more widely visible and accessible across Europe; and
  • £900m MEDIA strand for the audiovisual sector.
The overall aim of the programme is to promote European cultural and linguistic diversity and to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors in Europe. DCMS invites views on the proposals to inform the UK Government’s approach to negotiations in the EU Council and European Parliament during 2012.   Consultation questions include:
  • What benefit has the current Culture/MEDIA/MEDIA Mundus programme brought to your organisation/sector?
  • Is there still a need for EU action in the cultural and creative sectors? If so, why?
  • That would be the impact if there were no EU programmes for the cultural and creative sectors?
The consultation will run until Friday 16 March 2012.  UK Consultation   DCMS  European Commission

Year of Creative Scotland 2012

The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 was launched on 1 January and is intended to “put Scotland's creativity in the global spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing our creative sector and events industry.”  Creative Scotland will invest £6.5 million of National Lottery funds in the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 programme.  Programmes include:
  • Creative Place Awards celebrating the creativity of smaller communities across Scotland;
  • Celebration of Contemporary Scottish Printmaking between July-September;
  • The City of Literature Trust's enLIGHTen project which will see building-sized dynamic projections in Edinburgh using material from the Scottish Enlightenment period; and
  • RockNess Express, a bespoke train service to the annual Rock Ness Festival from Kings Cross Station featuring on-board music and Scottish food and drink.  
There are still opportunities to apply for funding. The second and final deadline for both the Culture and Tourism Opportunity and the First in a Lifetime award is 31 January, 2012. More announcements of projects and programmes for the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 are expected throughout the year.  Creative Scotland    

Edinburgh to host first ever International culture summit

Culture Ministers from around the world will gather in Edinburgh on 13-14 August 2012 to debate the power and profile of culture in forging and fostering international relationships. The first International Culture Summit will follow immediately after the Olympic Games closing ceremony, and take place during the Edinburgh Festivals.   The Summit is a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the Edinburgh International Festival and the British Council.  It will bring together Culture Ministers with prominent artists, thinkers and others involved in developing and implementing cultural policy. The conference theme will be 'Culture as an International Dialogue'. The programme is being devised around three strategic strands:
  • The role of the arts and culture in deepening and broadening our understanding of the complex relationships between cultures and nations;
  • Sustaining private and public support for culture; and
  • Future skills for the creative industries and the role of technology.
The venue and detailed programme for the Summit will be announced in due course.  Scottish Government

Scots-Chinese cultural agreement

A Memorandum of Understanding on Culture between China and Scotland was signed on 5 December, committing the Governments in Beijing and Edinburgh to supporting greater exchange and collaboration across the arts, creative industries, heritage and national collections.  The intergovernmental MoU commits to closer ties across four key areas: cultural collaboration; best practice; educational outreach; and networking opportunities.  First Minister Alex Salmond MSP signed the MoU along with China's Minister of Culture Mr Cai Wu at a ceremony in Beijing.  Examples of Sino-Scots cultural exchange in recent years include collaborations between the National Museum of Scotland and both the National Geological Museum of China and the Chinese Aviation Museum.  In November, a nine-person delegation of museum directors from China came to Scotland to visit museums including the National Museum of Scotland and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  In the same ceremony at China's Ministry of Culture, a formal agreement was also signed between Historic Scotland and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage to incorporate the Eastern Qing Tombs into the 'Scottish 10' digital mapping project, using cutting-edge laser scanning technology.  Scottish Government

New museums could be part of family day out plan for Olympic venues

The Olympic Park venues should be marketed as a family day out after the Games, with joint tickets and extra visitor attractions to help boost the local economy, says a report published by the London Assembly on 8 December.  Recognising that the venues are likely to need continued public subsidy after the Games, the report stresses the importance of increasing visitor numbers to encourage local regeneration.  It also suggests that the Olympic Park Legacy Company look at developing complementary visitor attractions around the venues such as museums and sports taster sessions, as well as shops and markets, to broaden their appeal. Park Life, by the Assembly’s Economy, Culture and Sport Committee, focuses on the legacy plans for the Aquatics Centre, Velopark, Handball Arena, and the Eton Manor hockey and tennis centre.  It recommends that the Olympic Park Legacy Company and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority work together to promote the four venues as a single destination open to the public.  Greater London Authority

Budget for Olympic Ceremonies doubled to £81m

The Government has announced an additional £41m for the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, doubling the budget for the four events to £81m.  The announcement was included in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Report, published by DCMS on 5 December.  It said that the additional funding was "to support LOCOG in delivering the Government’s ambitions for the four London 2012 Opening and Closing ceremonies, to ensure four excellent events that will showcase the tremendous creative talent that the UK possesses." It is widely reported that the additional funding, which comes from within the £9.3bn Olympic funding package, followed a discussion with the Prime Minister about plans for the events.  In the same report, the Government announced an additional £271m for security. DCMS Meanwhile, the Head of the National Audit Office warned on 6 December that more money may be required to fund the London 2012 Olympics.  Introducing the NAO publication Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Progress report December 2011, Amyas Morse said: "In my view, the likelihood that the Games can still be funded within the existing £9.3 billion public sector funding package is so finely balanced that there is a real risk more money will be needed."  The report concluded that the Olympic Delivery Authority remains on course to deliver its work on the Olympic Park on time, within budget and to the standard required. On current projections, however, almost the whole of the £9.298 billion Public Sector Funding Package for the 2012 Games is likely to be required, with little scope for further unforeseen costs to emerge in the eight months left.  National Audit Office  

Mayor seeks 2,000 volunteers for Love Libraries scheme

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced on 6 December that he wants to recruit 2,000 'Library Champions' volunteers.  £100,000 is being invested to develop the Team London Love Libraries scheme, which will see people recruited over the next six months to help provide a range of library based activities including supporting reading and literacy, helping to set up reading groups and helping people to use the internet.  The Love Libraries programme is being delivered by a consortium of organisations made up of the Association of London Chief Librarians, the Reading Agency, and Chief Leisure Officers Association. London has around 380 public libraries.  Love Libraries is part of the Team London programme, which has received £2m from the Reuben Foundation and through which the Mayor aims to mobilise an extra 10,000 volunteers across the capital by May 2012.  Greater London Authority

Culture Secretary unveils first 20 locations of local TV

The 20 towns and cities across the UK which are expected to be the first to have their own local TV stations were announced by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP on 13 December.  The ‘pioneer areas’ will be Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth, Preston, Southampton and Swansea.  It is anticipated that the first local television licences will be awarded from summer 2012, and then the first of the new stations could be broadcasting from 2013.  DCMS

NESTA Centre for Innovation Prizes

NESTA is establishing a centre for innovation prizes.  This will be a hub for expertise in designing, setting up and running challenge prizes to tackle social and technological challenges in the public interest.  Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will also invest £250,000 per year in a Innovation Prize Fund, to be used by the Centre to run inducement prizes that spur new innovations.  The Centre is being established in response to the growing interest in the use of challenge prizes in recent years.  NESTA


Dame Lynne Brindley to step down in 2012

The British Library has announced that, after twelve years as Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley is to step down at the end of July 2012.  Under her leadership, the British Library has developed as a major cultural and scholarly institution in its new flagship building at St Pancras and has become more accessible to researchers, business users, and the public.  Dame Lynne has led a major strategic development and modernisation programme to ensure that the Library is relevant, innovative and accessible in the digital age.  Dame Lynne plans to add to her portfolio of interests, which include non-executive Board membership of Ofcom, the Court of the Goldsmiths’ Company and several research and higher education bodies.  The British Library Board has begun the process of recruiting a successor.  British Library

Contributions to culture recognised in New Year Honours List

Paul Ruddock, Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum was awarded a Knighthood for services to the Arts.  Dr Andrew Burnett, Deputy Director, British Museum was awarded a CBE for services to the British Museum and Numismatics.  James Holloway, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was awarded a CBE for services to the Arts.  Eddie Davies, a Trustee of the V&A, was awarded a CBE for services to charitable services.  James Lupton, lately Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, was awarded a CBE for services to the Arts and Philanthropy. Those awarded OBEs for services to culture included:  
  • Amanda Sharp and Mathew Slotover, Co-Founders of the Frieze Art Fair, for services to the visual arts;
  • Sarah Weir, Arts and Culture Director at Olympic Park Legacy Company and previously Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy for London 2012;
  • David Posnett, Chairman of Trustees, Holburne Museum, Bath;
  • Nicholas Payne for services to the Arts and Heritage in the North West;
  • Robin Hodge, Publisher, The List, for services to Arts and Culture;
  • Christopher Pemberton, Director of National Collections, English Heritage;
  • Colin Pyrah, Special Projects Director, Paragon Creative for services to the UK Heritage Industry.
Museum volunteers were recognised with MBEs including Peter Hollins for voluntary service to the Royal Naval Museum and Dr Pieter Thomas Van Der Merwe, General Editor, National Maritime Museum. There was an OBE for the Master Framer, John Jones, for services to the arts.  Cabinet Office

Trustee Appointments

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, has appointed Wesley Irwin Paul as Chair of the Royal Armouries.  Mr Paul has worked in the financial industry for 35 years, including as Managing Director and Global Head of Investments at J.P Morgan.  He is currently Chairman of a private equity and financing firm specialising in identifying innovative and breakthrough technologies in the security sector.  Mr Paul is a keen art collector, especially of antique arms and armour, and has developed a strong interest in museums and how they connect to their target audiences.  He has led a project to develop an Earth Sciences Museum for the UAE.  Mr Paul is currently working to raise finances for several charities and sits on the Boards of several start-up companies around the globe.  DCMS The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of João Baptista, Mark Damazer CBE, Professor Edmund De Waal OBE, Theresa Sackler and Harold Tillman CBE as Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  More The Prime Minister has also approved the reappointment of Professor David Drewry and Dr Derek Langlsow as Trustees of the Natural History Museum.  More

The Royal Parks

Linda Lennon CBE has been selected as the next Chief Executive of The Royal Parks. Linda is currently Chief Executive of the Parole Board. Prior to this, she was Area Director for the Civil and Family Courts in London and has thirty years of experience of working in the Courts in London and the South East. Linda will take up her new role formally on 5 March.  DCMS announced in October that Mark Camley would be leaving the Royal Parks to take up a new post at the Olympic Park Legacy Company where he will be responsible for setting up the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  DCMS

Tate Liverpool

Francesco Manacorda, Director of Artissima, the international fair of contemporary art in Turin, has been appointed the new Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool.  He has been Visiting Lecturer in Exhibition History and Critical Theory at the Curating Contemporary Art department at the Royal College of Art, London since 2006 and between 2007 and 2009, he was Curator at Barbican Art Gallery.  Francesco Manacorda will take up the appointment in April 2012, working with Andrea Nixon, Executive Director, Tate Liverpool.  Tate


Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has announced that Suzanna Taverne has been appointed as a member of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the BBC.  Suzanna Taverne was previously Managing Director of the British Museum and is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Nationwide Building Society and Ford Credit Europe.  She is also a Trustee of the Design Museum.  DCMS Harry Cliff has been named by the Science Museum and the Cavendish Laboratory as the first Science Museum Fellow of Modern Science.  The fellowship builds on a close working relationship with Professor Gibson and the Cambridge High Energy Particle Physics group.  As well as searching for new phenomena in high-energy proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, Mr Cliff will be involved in communicating fundamental science to Science Museum visitors through the CERN exhibition and new galleries.  The post runs until October 2014 and is funded by the Newton Trust. Patrick Greene CEO of Museum Victoria has been appointed the new Chair of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD).  CAMD brings together the leaders of the major national, state and regional museums in Australia and New Zealand.  Dr Greene was Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (1983-2002) and is a former President of the UK Museums Association.

Our jobs website, www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk also has details of current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:
  • Visual Merchandiser, Natural History Museum
  • Informal Learning Assistants, Imperial War Museum Duxford
  • Head of Corporate Events, Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Curator - Lepidoptera, Natural History Museum
  • Senior Archivist - Future Catalogue, National Archives
  • Events Officer, Wallace Collection.
For details of these jobs and many more visit www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk back to top

Many of the top museum exhibitions this year feature as part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale to the Cultural Olympiad.  Museums across the country are also staging exhibitions and events to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Other notable anniveraries this year include the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanicand the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.  Here is a round up of some of the highlights across NMDC member institutions:

Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales

With the support of the Welsh Government, the Creu Hanes – Making History project group will submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in February, as part of a £25m project to transform St Fagans: National History Museum.  Following the success of the BBC’s two series about the history of Scotland and Ireland, Amgueddfa Cymru has played a key role in a new landmark series about the history of Wales, commissioned by BBC Cymru Wales. The Story of Wales will be shown in Wales in early 2012 and on the BBC Network later in the year. Amgueddfa Cymru will also work in partnership with Artes Mundi, the international arts exhibition and prize (under the leadership of new Director Ben Borthwick) to stage the Artes Mundi V exhibition at National Museum Cardiff in the autumn. Elsewhere, the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, which has welcomed over 2 million people since 1972, will be celebrating its 40th Birthday in May.  National Museum Wales

Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology  

The artist Howard Hodgkin has been a passionate collector of Indian paintings since his school days.  His entire collection will be displayed for the first time in Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin opening at the Ashmolean Museum in February. To celebrate the 2012 London Olympics , the Ashmolean will display a group of bronze sculptures from Art At The Edge, a commissioned series of sculptural studies representing different Olympic and Paralympic sports, which will be placed in the Ashmolean’s Human Image gallery amongst the permanent collection.  The major exhibition opening in May is The English Major Prize: The Capture of the Westmorland, a mix of detective work and colourful characters from the 18th century using material from the merchant ship that was captured by the French in 1779 with a cargo laden with art, books and antiquities collected by Grand Tourists on their travels through Italy.  Ashmolean Museum

British Museum

Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam, opening later this month, has been produced in partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library in Saudi Arabia and is the first major exhibition dedicated to the Hajj.  The exhibition will bring together loans from Saudi Arabia, the Khalili collection and the British Library to examine the significance of the Hajj and how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history.  To coincide with the Olympic Games, the British Museum will present Shakespeare: Staging the World, in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The major exhibition will include objects, digital media and performance.  The Museum's Director, Neil MacGregor will also present a new BBC Radio 4 series using museum objects to explore Shakespeare’s world. The Museum's programme of UK touring exhibitions continues, with Weston Park Museum hosting the final stop for China: Journey to the East, which has already been seen by more than 400,000 visitors around the UK.  The British Museum will use the prize money from the 2011 Art Fund Museum of the Year Prize to fund a series of significant single object loans around the country from 2012 – 2014.  The first of these will be the Mildenhall Dish, displayed at Ipswich Museum. The Museum will also open a new gallery in June: the Citi Money Gallery, featuring 1,200 objects from the near-million objects in the Museum’s money collections.  British Museum

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

The £9m Birmingham – A City in the Making capital development project is due to be completed in late 2012, transforming the top floor of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with innovative new galleries telling the global story of Birmingham and its people, from prehistory to the present day.  BMAG will be the first venue Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration, a UK tour of some of the Royal Collection’s finest drawings.  Children's Lives opening in March will reveal both how the experience of childhood has changed and how it has been understood and constructed by adults from the 18th century to present. Birmingham Museums

Glasgow Museums

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is staging Essence of Beauty: 500 Years of Italian Art from April, which features Glasgow’s best-loved paintings alongside other objects from the period. The Gallery of Modern Art celebrates the relationship between Glasgow, the Art Fund and the Common Guild which has been adding to the city’s international works with exhibitions opening throughout the year.  April sees the return of the Glasgow International Festival, which will continue its tradition of bringing together exhibitions by the best international and local artists.  It will showcase 130 artists with 90% of works new or previously unseen in the UK.  Kelvingrove will also be exploring the lives of the Victorians with events running from early in the New Year until March with a two day celebration of The Victorians Uncovered.  Glasgow Museums 

Imperial War Museum

Highlights at the Imperial War Museums include A Family in Wartime at IWM London from 5 April, where visitors will be able to take a step back in time to the Second World War and experience life on the Home Front through the eyes of a real London-based family; a major photographic exhibition, Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War at IWM London from 6 September, featuring the work of one of the most celebrated photographers of the twentieth century; and Frontline Medicine, at IWM North from 13 October, which will explore health, fitness and disease, as well as the treatment of battlefield casualties in the maelstrom of the front line.   IWM North celebrates its tenth birthday in 2012 with 10@10: a decade of surprising stories, an interactive display revealing ten of the most remarkable tales the museum has uncovered in its first decade.  Work will also continue on the Imperial War Museums’ plans to mark the centenary of the First World War by leading a four year programme of cultural activities across the country, including the opening of brand new First World War galleries at IWM London in 2014.  Imperial War Museums

Museum of London

Dickens and London, which opened last month and runs until June, will be the largest exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth in 2012.  Original and rarely seen manuscripts of his most famous novels, including Bleak House and David Copperfield, will be on show, and visitors will be taken on a memorable and haunting journey, discovering the places and subjects which sparked his imagination.  The Museum of London is launching a new iPhone and iPad graphic novel app which will take users on a journey through the darker side of Charles Dickens’ London, with new chapters released each month on iTunes.   The Museum of London is marking the Diamond Jubilee with an exhibition opening in May, At Home with the Queen, which will feature Londoners photographed in their own homes with their cherished souvenirs of Queen Elizabeth II. Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men, opening in October, will explore the early 19th century history of human dissection and the illegal trade in dead bodies in an exhibition inspired by an archaeological excavation at the Royal London Hospital in 2006.  The Museum of London Docklands will host the German Olympic team (Deutsche Haus), which will take up residence in the Museum from July to September.  As well as hosting Germany’s leading athletes, the Museum will be home to the German Olympic Committee and a series of official receptions and press conferences.  The Deutsche Haus’ Fan Fest will enable visitors to sample food and drink and culture.  The Museum will reopen to the public later in 2012 with improved facilities.  Museum of London

National Army Museum

The National Army Museum will be entering into the patriotic spirit in the spring with the launch of an exhibition celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. In partnership with Disney DreamWorks, the Museum’s War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition will include costumes from the upcoming film. The Museum will also be undertaking a partnership with Ancestry.co.uk, offering the opportunity for “horsey” stories from people's own family histories to feature in the exhibition.  The Museum will be marking the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War and will launch an online poll and exhibition to search for Britain's Greatest Enemy Commander, following the success of a similar event last year.  2012 will also see the launch of the Museum’s Online Collection and the appointment of a Regimental Liaison Officer to build upon the Museum’s work with the nationwide network of Regimental Museums.  National Army Museum

National Gallery

Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude, opening in March, is a collaboration between the National Gallery and Tate Britain, looking at the influence Claude’s mastery of light and landscape had on Turner.  The exhibition also introduces visitors to the story of the Turner Bequest, with archive material illustrating the importance of this relationship in the history of the National Gallery.  As part of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 Festival, the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House will collaborate to create Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, a free exhibition in the Sainsbury Wing opening in July. This will bring together a specially commissioned works by contemporary artists, poets, choreographers and composers in response to three of Titian’s paintings – Diana and Actaeon, The Death of Actaeon and Diana and Callisto – all inspired by Ovid’s poem Metamorphoses.  British artists Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger will design sets for three new ballets at the Royal Opera House, and their preparatory work will be displayed at the Gallery.  2012 also sees the continuation of the National Gallery’s support for regional galleries as Titian’s masterpiece, Diana and Actaeon, commences a UK tour that takes the work to galleries where it has never been seen before including the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and the National Museum Cardiff.  National Gallery

National Galleries of Scotland

Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Landscapes of the Imagination opening at the Scottish National Gallery in July is an international collaboration, between the National Galleries of Scotland, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Ateneum Art Museum - the Finnish National Gallery - in Helsinki. It is the first exhibition dedicated to Symbolist Landscape in Europe. The Sculpture Show, a major exhibition running until June at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art looks at 110 years of sculpture including works by Auguste Rodin and Martin Boyce. The highlight of the summer season at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is Picasso and Modern British Art (also showing at Tate Brtiain in the spring), and this is the first exhibition to explore Pablo Picasso’s lifelong connections with Britain. John Bellany: A Passion for Life, opening in November at the Scottish National Gallery marks the artist’s 70th birthday and will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of John Bellany’s work for 25 years.  Romantic Camera: Scottish Photography and the Modern World is the first exhibition within the new Photography Gallery in the refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The second phase of the fundraising campaign for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will also run until the spring of 2012 to fund the programme of exhibitions and a brand new education and outreach programme.  National Galleries of Scotland

National Maritime Museum

In 2012, the National Maritime Museum will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of its opening by King George in April 1937.  The Museum is marking the Diamond Jubilee with Royal River: Power Pageantry and the Thames, guest-curated by David Starkey.  This is followed by Ansel Adams: At the Water’s Edge – one of the largest retrospectives of the renowned American photographer and environmentalist’s work ever to be held in the UK.  The museum also commemorates the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic with 'Titanic' Remembered displaying for the first time part of a unique collection, including survivors’ letters, compiled by Walter Lord and William MacQuitty.  Next year also sees Greenwich Park host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with Queen’s House, part of Royal Museums Greenwich, as a backdrop to the equestrian events.  Royal Museums Greenwich 

National Museums Liverpool

The Walker Art Gallery is the first of three venues throughout the UK that will display Titian ‘Diana and Actaeon’: On tour from the National Gallery.  The display is part of the National Gallery’s programme to support regional galleries by touring works where they have not been seen before.  The John Moores Painting Prize 2012 opening in September is a major exhibition of contemporary paintings, selected through open competition and will be part of the Liverpool Biennial.  Merseyside Maritime Museum opens Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story in March will include the only known surviving Titanic First Class ticket and other rarely-seen items linked to the disaster and tell the story from the perspective of key personalities in the drama.  This exhibition is part of the Liverpool and the World Exhibition Series, part-funded by the European Union.  National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Northern Ireland

National Museums Northern Ireland will be marking the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic in April 1911 with a new exhibition at the Ulster American Folk Park in March entitled Titanic: A Window on Emigration focusing on individual passenger stories from the ill-fated liner.  Record numbers are expected to visit the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum’s TITANICa exhibition featuring salvaged items from the ship itself and items from the recently acquired White Star Line collection. Major exhibitions at the Ulster Museum include a dynamic and entertaining Dinosaurs exhibition which has proven a huge hit with visiting families in other UK museums, and in June Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee CelebrationNational Museums Northern Ireland

National Museum of Science and Industry

Visitors to the Science Museum’s exhibition Me in 3D, opening in January, will be invited to participate in scientific study investigating the structure of different faces, adding 3D images of their faces to create the largest database of its kind in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College Hospital and the Eastman Dental Hospital and Institute. Also from January, the Professor Stephen Hawking Exhibition will celebrate Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday, his life and achievements, and will feature objects and papers primarily sourced from Hawking’s own archives.  March will see the UK premiere of the exhibition ‘HEXEN 2.0’ by British artist Suzanne Treister.  In May, a virtual Philharmonia will take up residence at the Science Museum.  Universe of Sound is a hi-definition interactive immersive experience, taking Gustav Holst’s The Planets and using giant screens, touch screens, unconventional projecting surfaces, movement-based interaction and planetarium-style fulldome projection to enable visitors to step inside each section of the orchestra.  Science Museum Highlights at the National Railway Museum include a magical Wizard Week with the steam star of the Harry Potter movies, the return of the Flying Scotsman following the completion of its 6-year restoration project and Britain’s biggest rail celebration, Railfest, which will see a space the size of 11 football pitches filled with iconic locomotives and railway-related activities. Exhibitions in the Museum's new Art Gallery include Fear and Fascination exploring some of the Museum’s earliest prints, cartoons, drawings and paintings from the dawn of the railways.  National Railway Museum The National Media Museum will open its new Life Online gallery in March, the world’s first gallery to explore the social, technological and cultural impact of the internet and the web.  The show launching Life Online’s dedicated new exhibition space is entitled [Open Source] looking at the culture of sharing, collaboration, co-creation and openness as well as threats to net neutrality. The Museum presents the new-style Bradford International Film Festival in Partnership with Virgin Media in April and during the London 2012 Olympic Games will screen highlights of the London 2012 Olympic Games in a Super Hi-Vision (Ultra High Definition) cinema, one of three to be created in the UK in partnership with the BBC.   National Media Museum

National Museum of the Royal Navy

In autumn 2012, the NMRN will break ground with a major project to deliver the 20th and 21st Centuries Gallery at its Portsmouth site and bring the telling of the story of the Royal Navy up to the present day.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has just announced £1.4m funding for the £4.5m project.  The Museums will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign with events in the NMRN at Portsmouth, in the Royal Marines Museum and with an exhibition at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. 2012 will also see significant progress in the work to save Jutland’s last floating survivor, HMS Caroline, and NMRM will continue to work to develop the visitor-facing role of HMS Victory. A major initiative in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will be set in train with support from Lockheed Martin, the Museum’s first corporate partner in this enterprise.  A new Mary Rose Museum will open in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard later in 2012, 30 years after the  raising of the Tudor warship. The £35 million heritage project by the Mary Rose Trust will reunite the Mary Rose hull and many of the 19,000 artefacts, placed in context, in a brand new boat-shaped museum.  National Museum of the Royal Navy

National Museums Scotland

Following the success of an overwhelming one million visitors to its flagship site, National Museums Scotland will be revealing a major new space for international exhibitions at the heart of the National Museum of Scotland. The first exhibition in this space, Fascinating Mummies opens in February with treasures from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.  Catherine the Great, An Enlightened Empress opening in the summer, has been co-developed with the State Hermitage Museum and will show exclusively in Edinburgh. It will include outstanding paintings, magnificent costumes and uniforms, gold and silver and strong personal stories of Catherine and her reign.  It will be the first time that many of the 300 items on display will have been shown outside of Russia.  In June, Sounds Global will be the first display in the new National Museum of Scotland created by and for young people and is part of the Stories of the World 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. Dr Livingstone, I Presume?,  opening in the autumn and in partnership with National Museums of Malawi, anticipates the bicentenary of Dr David Livingstone and traces his life story from his early working life in a cotton mill to studying medicine and divinity and becoming a missionary in Africa. At the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle, Reconstructing Lives looks at the experience of those who have lost limbs in war, whether military or civilian, and the technology which helps rebuild their lives. From April at the National Museum of Costume, visitors can reminisce about bygone fashion with Off the Peg: Fashion from the ’40s and ’50s. A Sense of Place, opening in May, will showcase new work by a group of emerging and established jewelry artists from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Scotland.  National Museums Scotland

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is participating in the London 2012 Festival through the major exhibition Lucian Freud Portraits, BT Road to 2012 and BP Portrait Award: Next Generation. Other highlights of 2012 include The Queen: Art and Image, a touring exhibition to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, BP Portrait Award 2012, Henry Prince of Wales and the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012. The renewal and extension of the long-standing partnerships with BP has just been announced and will sustain funding for the BP Portrait Award through 2017, allowing the Gallery to continue to encourage new and established artists to enter the award and to develop work with young people, through the BP Portrait Award: Next Generation project. In 2011 the Gallery announced the appointment of Dr Tarnya Cooper, Curator of Sixteenth Century Portraits, as Chief Curator, following the retirement of Jacob Simon.  National Portrait Gallery

Natural History Museum

Scott’s Last Expedition opening at the Natural History Museum this month goes beyond the familiar tales of the journey to the Pole and the death of the Polar party, to explore the Terra Nova expedition’s from every angle. Wild Planet opening in March is a free outdoor exhibition featuring 80 classic shots from Wildlife Photographer of the Year. From April, the Museum is hosting the UK premiere of Animal Bodyworks in the exhibition Animal Inside Out.  The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opens in October.  The Museum is also opening a new permanent gallery in November, showcasing our greatest Treasures, selected for their historical, scientific and cultural worth.  Natural History Museum

Royal Air Force Museum

Royal Air Force Photographer of the Year opens at the Royal Air Force Museum London this month displaying photographs taken by serving Personnel at home and in the field.  Aeronauts, the interactive gallery for children will be transformed by September this year following a grant from the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for the purpose of upgrading its interactive gallery for children.  The upgrade will create a new teaching space for school visits, a new interactive activity area for younger visitors and families and allow the Museum to develop advanced scientific information displays for older visitors.  Events at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford include a special Open Cockpits evening on Saturday 19th May 2012 with a selection of historic aircraft and cockpits available for close viewing for a limited number of visitors, allowing rare inside access to some of the World’s most historic aircraft.  RAF Museum  

Royal Armouries

Power House is a new permanent exhibition curated by the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London which explores the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of royal business behind the mighty Tower wall from 1100 to the present day including the Royal Mint, Ordinance Survey and Royal Observatory.  A new permanent display at the Royal Armouries Museum Leeds houses an installation of original carved wood panels by the West Riding Woodcarvers Association on the themes of the First and Second World Wars, a project funded in part by the Leeds Community Foundation.  Royal Armouries

Sir John Soane's Museum  

In January the first tranche of never-before catalogued Adam drawings will be published on the Museum’s website, making valuable information on this highly influential architectural style widely accessible. Later, the Soane’s £7m restoration programme, Opening Up the Soane, will celebrate completion of work in Number 12 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with the launch of new education space, lifts  and a new shop and visitors entrance. The second phase of restoration, reinstating the private rooms in Number 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, will begin in Spring/Summer 2012 bringing the Soane’s past firmly into the present.  Stadia: Sport and Vision in Architecture, a ground breaking exhibition charting the history of sports stadia from antiquity to the fabulous 2012 Olympic Stadium will open stunning, new temporary exhibition galleries in July. The second phase of restoration, reinstating the private rooms in Number 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, will begin in Spring/Summer 2012 bringing the Soane’s past firmly into the present.  Sir John Soane's Museum


The major exhibitions at Tate Britain this year are: Picasso and Modern British Art, opening in February, and is the first exhibition to explore Pablo Picasso’s lifelong connections with Britain; and the Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde opening in September which sets out to show that the Pre-Raphaelites constitute Britain’s first modern art movement. Artist and film-maker Patrick Keiller, will create an ambitious new project for the Tate Britain Commission 2012. In April, Tate Modern will present the first substantial survey of Damien Hirst’s work to be held in the UK, sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority.  This exhibition is part of the London 2012 Festival.  Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye, opening in June aims to radically reassess the work of Norwegian painter looking at the relationship between his early 20th century paintings and drawings and his interest in photography, film and stage production.  William Klein / Daido Moriyama in the autumn will be the first exhibition to examine the relationship between one of the twentieth century’s most important photographers and film-makers and the most celebrated photographer to emerge from the Japanese Provoke movement.  Tino Sehgal, whose works which consist purely of live encounters between people will undertake the annual commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in summer 2012. The first phase of the new development of Tate Modern will open in the summer of 2012 which will include the opening of the former power station’s Oil Tanks, space for live performances, two raw concrete galleries and a unique steel-lined gallery. Turner Monet Twomby opens at Tate Liverpool in June and Tate St Ives has an exhibition on Alex Katz from May.  Tate

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

2012 sees a range of major events and exhibitions at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums venues including Family Matters, on show at the Laing Art Gallery in May. The exhibition brings together works from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Tate, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service and Museums Sheffield and is part of the Great British Art Debate. Also in May is The Late Shows, NewcastleGateshead's Museums at Night event which last year attracted more than 24,000 visits. A number of venues will also be hosting exhibitions on a sporting theme including the Shipley Art Gallery which hosts Athletes and Olympians from the National Portrait Gallery and Monkwearmouth Station Museum which will be showing Olympic Posters, showing posters by artists such as David Hockney, Serge Paliokov, Allen Jones and Max Bill, from the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums' collection.  Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums

Victoria & Albert Museum

British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age is the major exhibition at the V&A this spring, examining the ways in which designers born, trained or working in the UK have produced innovative and internationally acclaimed works. To celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the V&A is holding an exhibition of portraits of Her Majesty The Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950 opening in May will present over 60 ballgowns created by British fashion designers. Hollywood Costume, the major exhibition in the autumn will feature Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of Oz, Audrey Hepburn's dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's as wells as film clips and specially commissioned interviews.   Light from the Middle East: Contemporary Photographs opening in November has been enabled through the establishment of the Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum.  The V&A will also open its new Furniture Gallery in November, telling the story of 600 years of furniture production.  The Furniture Gallery is fully funded with a lead gift from an anonymous donor.  V&A

Wallace Collection

The major exhibition opening this year is The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe, featuring weapons and related works of art from the Wallace Collection; never-before-seen illustrated works on fencing drawn from the Lord Howard de Walden library; loans from a number of the great collections of arms and armour; and portraits, prints and drawings that will help place the Renaissance civilian sword in its social and artistic context.  Fencing is one of only nine original Olympic events practised since the first Olympiad of the modern era of 1896 and this exhibition will explore the ancient origins of the modern sport of fencing.  Wallace Collection

  And finally...

Heroin found in National Archives file

A visitor in the National Archives reading rooms discovered sachets of heroin in a sealed pouch inside a Foreign Office file dating from 1928.  The file, which originated from the British Consulate in Cairo, detailed a criminal assault court case involving possession of narcotics.  When the visitor asked if the pouch could be opened, conservation specialists in the archives' Collection Care Laboratory analysed a sample of the powder and identified it as heroin.  The file was temporarily removed from public access and the pouch and its contents were transferred into the custody of the Metropolitan Police.  The National Archives back to top

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