September 2012

NMDC Newsletter: September 2012
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NMDC Newsletter: September 2012
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Welcome to the monthly news update from the National Museum Directors’ Council.  In this issue:

And much more...


New museums and schools programme

Ten NMDC members are taking part in a new museums and schools programme. The programme, funded by the Department for Education and administered by Arts Council England, was developed in response to recommendations from the review of cultural education undertaken by Darren Henley last year. It aims to increase the increase the quantity and quality of the education offer to schools in areas around the country that currently have lower than average cultural engagement. The programme involves ten regional museums each working with a national museum partner, together with Arts Council bridge organisations and clusters of local schools. It will include a wide range of specialisms and collections, linking to curriculum subjects including history, science, design and technology, art and citizenship. The ten partnerships are:
  • Barnsley: Barnsley Museums supported by the Wallace Collection
  • Blackburn and Lancashire: Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery and Lancashire museums supported by Sir John Soane's Museum and the V&A Museum
  • Bristol: Great Britain supported by the Science Museum
  • Coventry: Coventry Transport Museum with the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery supported by the V&A Museum
  • Great Yarmouth: Great Yarmouth Museums supported by the Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Kent: Maidstone Museum supported by the British Museum
  • Lincolnshire: the Aviation Heritage Partnership supported by the Royal Air Force Museum
  • London: Jewish Museum and Valence House supported by the Imperial War Museum
  • Peterborough: Peterborough Museum supported by the Natural History Museum
  • Tees Valley: Redcar Museums with Middlesborough, Hartlepool, Stockton and Darlington Museums supported by the National Portrait Gallery.
NMDC Chair Michael Dixon said: “The new museums and schools programme is a great opportunity for national and regional museums to work together to reach out to young audiences right across the country. National museums already work closely with their regional counterparts and this new funding will enable us to share and build on this experience, ensuring access to the collections and expertise of national museums for schoolchildren around the country. Museums are one of the nation’s great learning resources and we welcome this recognition by the Department for Education of the unique value of museums’ educational offer.”  Arts Council

Sharing international experience

NMDC and the V&A are running a session at this year’s Museums Association conference in Edinburgh (Thursday 8th November, 12.20pm – 13.20pm) to discuss the practicalities of developing partnerships with museums in India. The event will take a critical look at what can be learnt from museums involved in cultural exchange with India, including what Indian partner museums are seeking from collaboration and how a range of museums can work more closely with the country. The session will be chaired by Henrietta Lidchi, Keeper of the Department of World Cultures at National Museums Scotland, and the speakers are Martin Roth, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tasmeena Mehta, Managing Trustee at the Bhau Daji Lad in Mumbai and Sujata Sen, Director of British Council East India. It will include group sessions facilitated by colleagues from the British Library, V&A, National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, CSMVS Mumbai, the British Council and Horniman Museum and Gardens.  Museums Association Katie Childs, Projects and Policy Officer at NMDC, has also written a blog for London Museums Group sharing her insights into museums' international work. Katie was previously International Manager at the British Museum, running the World Collections Programme, and is now leading NMDC activity to find better ways to share knowledge and experience of international working across the museum sector. London Museums Group runs the Share London programme, which facilitates the sharing of experience and expertise between museum professionals in the capital.  London Museums Group blog


Maria Miller MP is the new Culture Secretary

Maria Miller MP has been appointed as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in the Cabinet reshuffle. She will also become Minister for Women and Equalities in addition to her DCMS responsibilities. Ms Miller has been Minister for Disabled People in the Department for Work and Pensions since May 2010, and was elected as MP for Basingstoke in 2005. She was previously Shadow Minister for the Family (2007-10) and also served on two Select Committees: Trade and Industry (2005-06) and Children, Schools and Families (2007-10). Before joining Parliament, she worked in advertising and marketing. Jeremy Hunt MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Health. John Penrose MP  has left his post as Heritage Minister at DCMS. Helen Grant MP has been appointed as a Minister jointly between DCMS and the Ministry of Justice. She will share the Women and Equalities brief with Maria Miller MP.  Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson Don Foster MP has become a Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government.   Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games will be appointed to the House of Lords and become a Treasury Minister in January 2013.

Shadow Culture Minister contributes to Museums 2020 debate

Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Minister for Culture, has written an article on the Museums Association (MA) website setting out his priorities for Museums 2020.  He described the National Coal Mining Museum as "the essence of what a museum is about: it not only helps children understand an industry which made Barnsley what it is today, but does it in a way that helps them think about how they can shape their own futures." He said museums had done great work in the past decade to reinvent themselves and said he wanted to see this evolution continue, adding: “It would be amazing for example to have a single, easily accessible online visual archive of all the items in UK museums, including the millions of objects not on display." Mr Jarvis also said that he would like to see museums "working in a wider and stronger network of partnerships" and moving "beyond their established channels and fixed sites."  The MA's Museums 2020 Consultation runs until 31 October.  Museums Association Back to top


Post-Olympics strategy to “turbo-charge” tourism industry

On 14 August Jeremy Hunt announced a new strategy to boost visitors by building on the success of London 2012, potentially including a ‘London or UK-wide Biennale’ – a biannual arts festival. In a speech to tourism leaders at Tate Modern, the then Culture Secretary said: “Whatever the doomsters may say about the economy, we should be proud that our cultural and tourism sectors are investing in the future with optimism, confidence and panache.” He said he wanted to “build on the incredible success of the London Festival 2012 by binding the cultural and tourism industries much more closely together as we develop Britain’s reputation as the global capital of culture.” Mr Hunt has asked Tony Hall (Chair, London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board) and Ruth Mackenzie (Director, London Festival 2012) to report on the feasibility of a ‘London or UK-wide Biennale’. Other key planks of the strategy will include:
  • Investing £8 million to expand the GREAT marketing campaign from 2013 with a strong focus on China, aiming to attract 500,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2015. The UK attracted only 150,000 visitors from China last year, far fewer than major competitors France and Germany. DCMS estimates that achieving this target could generate more than £500 million in extra visitor spend;
  • Investing a further £2 million in domestic tourism marketing, with match funding from the industry, to build on the success of VisitEngland’s 20.12 per cent ‘Holiday at Home’ campaign;
  • Doubling the number of domestic package breaks being booked online by asking VisitEngland to bring together website retailers, car rental groups, train companies, airlines and hotel groups;
  • Encourage sport tourism by making the most of the opportunities of hosting upcoming world cups in rugby league, rugby union, and cricket - as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the World Athletic Championships in 2017.

Edinburgh hosts first International Culture Summit

The first International Culture Summit took place in Edinburgh on 13-14 August and was attended by Culture Ministers and civil servants from 32 countries including Brazil, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa.  The Summit’s theme was 'Culture as an International Dialogue' and the programme was 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 - with speakers including Amir Nizar Zuabi, one of the leading theatre directors in the Middle East and Haris Pasovic, artistic leader of the East West Centre in Sarajevo, who continued to produce plays during siege of the city in the 1990s;
  • Sustaining private and public support for culture - with philanthropist Harold Mitchell discussing his involvement in music education in schools in East Timor;
  • Future skills for the creative industries and the role of technology - with participants including Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop and Richard Harper, principal researcher at Microsoft Research. 
The Summit was a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the British Council and the Edinburgh International Festival. There were speeches in the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber which were attended by members of the public and available to watch online, as well as private policy discussion sessions in the committee rooms. Transcripts of the keynote speeches are available on the Summit’s website.  Edinburgh International Culture Summit

Scottish Government to explore proposal for Academy of Cultural Diplomacy

Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP has announced that the Scottish Government will explore a proposal for an “Academy of Cultural Diplomacy” to promote Scotland’s global economic and cultural interests. James Boyle, British Council Trustee, and Stuart MacDonald, an independent culture consultant, are behind the proposal. Speaking at the end of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Ms Hyslop said that the Scottish Government would work with the University of Edinburgh and the British Council to explore the proposal further.  Scottish Government

The World Cities Culture Report 2012

The inaugural World Cities Culture Summit was held in London on 1 August to mark the launch of the World Cities Culture Report 2012. The report explores the culture of twelve of the world's most important cities through data and policy analysis, using more than 60 measures for cultural provision, consumption and participation. It argues that world cities are as important in culture terms as they are in finance or trade, and that culture is at heart of public policy in world cities.  In the data section, London tops the tables with more museums than any other featured city; the highest number of visits - 25 million - to the top 5 most visited museums and galleries; and the highest number of visits per head of population.  The report was commissioned by the Mayor of London in partnership with nine of the cities featured.  World Cities Report

Over 12 million people attended London 2012 Festival events

The London 2012 Festival, the nationwide cultural celebration running alongside the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has been hailed by organisers as a huge success. It is estimated that the 12 week festival, of which Arts Council England (ACE) is a principal funder, has so far attracted an audience in excess of 12 million people. This comprises 9.6 million people taking part in free events and a further 2.5 million enjoying paid-for events. The biggest attraction in terms of numbers so far has been All The Bells, artist Martin Creed's mass call to action which saw nearly three million people ring bells to mark the start of the London 2012 Games. The festival, which has featured more than 25,000 artists and 12,000 events and performances, continues until the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September.  Arts Council England

Digital distribution of arts and cultural content

The third in the Arts Council's Arts Digital R&D podcast series is now live on the Arts Council's iTunes and SoundCloud channels.  Podcast 3: digital distribution of arts and cultural content, features discussions with leading arts organisations about their experiences of live streaming and dissects the opportunities and issues involved in sharing content digitally such as licensing and copyright, strategic partnerships with the likes of YouTube and SkyArts, the new dawn of social literature projects in China and the risks around cannibalising ticket sales with live streams iTunes  Arts Council

Winning More Visitors

VisitEngland has launched “Winning More Visitors” – a new online guide designed to help destinations attract more visitors with access needs by providing access information on their websites. The online resource was developed following a survey by the Visit England which revealed that 83% of people looking for access information to plan a trip use destination websites - but only one in three (39%) find it easy to locate the information they need. The research also showed that three-quarters (74%) of people with access needs say they would be a lot more likely to choose a destination that offered the best guidance.  Visit England


The Visitor Attractions Conference 2012 will take place on 11 October at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London. There will be sessions on the visitor economy, promotional pricing, social media and managing volunteers, as well as analysis of 2012 tourism trends and briefing on legal issues.  Visitor Attractions Conference Back to top


Sir Peter Bazalgette appointed as Arts Council England Chair

Television executive Sir Peter Bazalgette has been appointed chairman of Arts Council England. Jeremy Hunt made the appointment on 4 September in one of his final acts as Secretary of State for Culture. Sir Peter was Creative Director of Endemol until 2007 and creator of several television formats including Big Brother and Ready Steady Cook. He is currently chair of the English National Opera and Non-Executive Director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and serves on the advisory board of The Space, the joint venture between ACE the BBC. Sir Peter also has experience of museums having chaired the Crossness Engines Trust, a steam attraction in South East London. He is also president of the Royal Television Society and a former Non-Executive Director of Channel 4. He was knighted for his services to Broadcasting in 2012. Sir Peter will succeed Dame Liz Forgan, who will remain in the role until the end of her four-year term on 31 January. The position carries a remuneration of £40,000 per annum, for a time commitment of up to two days per week.  Arts Council England  DCMS

Director-General of the National Trust

Dame Helen Ghosh DCB will be the next Director-General of the National Trust.  She is currently Permanent Secretary to the Home Office. Previously, Dame Helen held a variety of Civil Service roles including as Permanent Secretary to Defra between 2005 and 2010.  She takes over from Dame Fiona Reynolds, who will become Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2013.  National Trust

Royal Armouries Interim CEO

Chris Walker, Finance Director at the Royal Armouries, has been appointed as the Armouries' interim CEO and Accounting Officer. Chris’s previous posts include working as Finance Director at UK Sport and eight years at the National Theatre and Arts Council. He took up his new post on August 24 and replaces Andrew Scott who has been Interim CEO since May. The Director General and Master of the Royal Armouries, Lt-Gen Jonathon Riley, was placed under temporary suspension in May pending the outcome of a review of issues raised by the Museum’s auditors.  Royal Armouries


Arts Council England are looking to appoint up to 10 new members to the Museum Accreditation Committee who can bring recent and extensive experience of museum management at a senior level and a broad understanding of the role and purpose of museums. Appointments to these honorary posts are initially for three years with an option for a subsequent three years. The deadline for expressions of interest is 19 September.  Arts Council England   Back to top


Museum visiting associated with higher levels of happiness

DCMS has published the latest data from the Taking Part survey in England, including annual data on children's participation in culture and sport. While museum visiting amongst 11-15 year olds has remained steady, the percentage of 5-10 year olds who have visited a museum in the past 12 months has fallen from 67.6% to 60.9%.  The report also explores the impact of engagement and participation within DCMS sectors on subjective happiness as a proxy measure of well-being. It concludes that between 2005/06 and 2011/12 there was an increase in levels of individuals’ subjective happiness, and that engagement with a wide range of cultural activities including heritage, arts and museum and galleries was associated with significantly higher levels of subjective happiness. In particular, engagement with museums and galleries was associated with greater levels of happiness amongst women.  DCMS

Rise in museum visits in Scotland

Figures from the latest Scottish Household survey reveal that 87% of adults in Scotland have engaged in culture in 2011, either through attending or visiting a cultural event or place or participating in a cultural activity. The figures show an increase in the percentage of people who visited a museum or gallery in the past year. Visits to museums increased from 26% in 2010 to 28% in 2011. Visits to galleries rose from 17% in 2010 to 18% in 2011. Viewing a film at the cinema has been consistently the most popular form of cultural attendance and this increased from 51% in 2010 to 54% in 2011.  The data also shows high level of satisfaction with local authority museum services. 90% of respondents who had visited a museum in the past year were “very satisfied” or “fairly satisfied” with the service. Among all respondents, including non-visitors, satisfaction with the local authority museums service rose from 38% in 2010 to 44% in 2011.  Scottish Government

Taxpayers' Alliance on free admission to museums

In a debate on public funding of the arts in The Economist website, 61% of participants voted in favour of Government funding. The debate started with opening statements from Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and Pete Spence of the Adam Smith Institute. John O'Connell of the Tax Payers' Alliance lambasted some examples of previous public art projects but conceded that "on the flip side, many are probably happy to see some of their tax money used to subsidise free entry to major art galleries and museums."  The Economist

Ask a Curator Day - 19 September

Ask a Curator Day takes place on Twitter on 19 September.  The unique worldwide question and answer session aims to open the door to museum experts and introduce museums to new audiences.  Ask a Curator 2012 follows a successful event in 2010 which involved over 340 museums in 23 countries and became the top global trend on Twitter.   hashtag #askacurator

New dates for Museums at Night 2013

Next year's Museums at Night festival will run from Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 May 2013, rather than from Friday to Sunday. The change follows consultation which found that this would make it easier for more museums to take part. Each year since 2009 Museums at Night has run over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nearest to International Museums Day - yet every year, almost all of the events take place on Thursday and Friday, with fewer than 20 on the Sunday night.  Museums at Night

Marsh awards for gallery education – deadline extended

The deadline for nominations for this year's Marsh Award has been extended to 24 September. The awards run by engage and the Marsh Christian Trust celebrate the achievements of those working in learning and education within gallery or visual arts contexts. Four awards of £500 each will be offered to the winning individuals, to be spent on their Continuing Professional Development.  Nominees should have exceeded the expectations of their role, by showing dedication or innovation in their work.  They can be working or volunteering at any visual arts organisation or gallery and be at any stage in their career.  Engage

Public Catalogue Foundation completes photographs of nation’s oil paintings

This month, the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) will take the final photographs in its 10 year project to photograph the nation's entire collection of oil paintings.  The remaining images will be uploaded in the next few months taking the final number of paintings to around 208,000. Two more national museum collections – Tate and the National Maritime Museum – will join the site in September. In December the UK will become the first country in the world to have its entire national collection of oil paintings on one website. The PCF is also working with the BBC on events in early 2013 that will celebrate and highlight the completion of the oil paintings cataloguing programme. Meanwhile, the management and Trustees of the PCF are developing plans for a future project including digitising works in another medium - with sculpture being a leading contender. Work will also continue to enhance the oil painting records through collaboration with collections, the public and experts.  Public Catalogue Foundation

US museum persuades residents to vote for tax rise in return for free admission

Visitor numbers to the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) have tripled since it introduced free entry for residents in three local counties on 8 August. The museum has successfully campaigned to persuade residents in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties to vote for a tax rise to provide secure funding for the museum. In return the museum has offered free entry to all residents of these three counties and additional education and community programmes. The museum will now receive about $23m public funding a year for 10 years. The property tax will cost homeowners about $20 a year on a home with a market value of $200,000. DIA mustered an army of volunteers to canvas support and warned that losing the vote would mean dramatic cuts in programmes and potential closure. The Institute will now concentrate on fundraising to increase its endowment from $100m to $400m in the next 10 years to provide $20m income when the public funding expires.  Denver Institute of Arts  Detroit Free Press


In a recent blog, Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Collections Trust argues that before we make the instrumentalist case for investment in museums "we need to shout, whoop, celebrate and generally be joyful about Britain's fantastic museums, collections and professional community." Collections Trust The J. Paul Getty Museum and Capitoline Superintendency of Roma Capitale have signed a bilateral agreement for cultural collaboration. The agreement establishes a general framework for cooperation on conservation and restoration projects, exhibitions, long-term loans, conferences, publications, and will encourage the exchange of scientists and scholars in fields from archaeology to cultural information technology.  J Paul Getty Museum A gallery in Norway has lost a Rembrandt etching which was sent in the post to save money. The Soli Brug Gallery purchased the etching of Lieven Willemsz van Coppenol, Writing-Master, made around 1658, from a British dealer. The picture, which is worth up to £5,400, has now been lost in the Norwegian postal system.  The gallery's chairman Ole Derje said that the museum had used regular mail as couriers and insurance were "quite expensive".  BBC News


Scottish Government increases arts match funding

Scotland's Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP has allocated an additional £150,000 to the New Arts Sponsorship Grants scheme, bringing the total level of Government support this financial year to £450,000. The scheme has attracted £300,000 of additional investment from 45 new businesses across Scotland and beyond since the start of this financial year.  Scottish Government

Second round of Time to Change grants fund

Cultural organisations can apply for the second round of Time to Change grants fund, an open grants scheme funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief. The grants fund will distribute approximately £2.7 million to around 75 community projects across England from May 2012-March 2015, with individual grants ranging from £10-£100,000. These will be social contact projects which aim to change public attitudes and behaviour by engaging local communities and bringing people with no experience of mental health problems together with those who have. The grants fund will support projects in England only. The deadline for round 2 applications is 21 September.  Time to Change

Happy Museum announces new £60,000 Commission Fund

The Happy Museum project has announced its second open application fund of £60,000. Launched in April 2011 and funded by an award to Tony Butler by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund, the Happy Museum Project (HMP) looks at how the UK museum sector can respond to the challenges presented by the need to create a more sustainable future. Its proposition is that museums are well placed to play an active part, but may need to re-imagine some key aspects of their role both in terms of the kinds of experience they provide to their visitors and the way they relate to their collections, their communities and the pressing issues of the day. The initial phase of the Happy Museum Project involved a co-ordinated programme of six funded commissions, papers, a symposium, press and social media activity. Grants of £6-£20,000 are now available to museums to demonstrate how thinking around happiness and well-being, brought together with issues of sustainability, can leave a legacy of cultural change within their organisations and communities.   The deadline for applications 5 October 2012.  Happy Museum

2012 Culture programme deadlines extended

The European Commission's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) has announced that deadlines for the remaining Culture programme strands for 2012 are as follows:
  • Support for Organisations active at European level, Strand 2 - 10 October 2012
  • Co-operation Projects, Strands 1.1 and 1.2.1 - 7 November 2012
  • Cultural Policy Analysis Cooperation Projects, Strand 3.2 - 7 November 2012
  • European cultural festivals, Strand 1.3.6 - 5 December 2012
The deadlines have been extended due to new and simplified budget rules coming into effect in 2013.  EACEA


The Institute of Physics is inviting applications for the first round of its 2013 public engagement grant scheme. The scheme provides up to £1,500 to individuals and organisations running physics-based events and activities in the UK and Ireland. The deadline for applications is 22 October.  Institute of Physics Arts Council England has announced a new service to give arts and culture organisations access to lower energy costs via Government Procurement Services.  Arts Council    back to top


£8.7m for National Museums Collection Centre

The Scottish Government is providing a grant of £8.7m to enable National Museums Scotland to develop the National Museums Collection Centre.  The museum will build a new 4,000 square metre storage building on its Granton site in Edinburgh which already houses National Museums’ main storage and conservation facilities and vacate old storage premises at Port Edgar in the area of the construction site for the new Forth Road Bridge crossing. Following a competitive tendering process, Gareth Hoskins Architects, who were responsible for the hugely successful redesign of the National Museum of Scotland in 2011, have been appointed to create a Masterplan for the Collections Centre site and design the new storage facility, which is due for completion by spring 2015. Three existing buildings on the west of the Granton site, which are no longer fit for purpose, will be demolished to make way for the new facility. Sustainability and energy efficiency will be a strong focus in designing the new building. National Museums Scotland  

Royal Pavilion and Museums invites coders to use collection data

The Royal Pavilion and Museums has recently published its first sets of collection data as open data. In order to encourage people to use this data, the museum is inviting coders, developers, and digital artists to show their work in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery during the Brighton Digital Festival. £8,000 of funding is also available for one developer to create a completed product which the Museums can use online or in its galleries, on the theme of “ 'New Cabinets for New Curiosities': how can digital technology enable new ways of ordering and presenting museum objects and facilitate new ways of being curious?”  Brighton Digital Festival

Climate Science Outreach project

The second year of the Science Museum Climate Science Outreach project reached over 1,000 year-9 students and their teachers from 51 schools across England and Wales. The project, a collaboration between the Science Museum, National Railway Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, At-Bristol and Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, aims to generate an interest in climate change amongst young people by equipping them and their teachers with the skills to explore and discuss the subject in a creative way. The resulting magazine ATMOS showcases the students’ work and formed part of an exhibition at each Museum. Next year, the team will work with students and teachers from 90 schools.  Science Museum Science Museum Learning, in partnership with London Boroughs, has also launched a three-year Building Bridges project to students, teachers and families. The Museum will deliver teacher training, science communication workshops, and onsite learning activities for teachers, students and their families in order to enhance scientific literacy, increase young people’s interest in science and involve parents in the science learning of their children. The museum will also be working with researchers from Sheffield Hallam to assess the impact of and identify transferable lessons around early interventions on attitudes towards science. This work will be disseminated across the sector. The project will be funded by the BG Group.  Science Museum

Picasso exhibition poster censored by Edinburgh airport

Edinburgh Airport has reinstated posters advertising the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Images of Nude Woman in a Red Armchair by Picasso were covered up following complaints from passengers. John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "It is obviously bizarre that all kinds of images of women in various states of dress and undress can be used in contemporary advertising without comment, but somehow a painted nude by one of the world's most famous artists is found to be disturbing and has to be removed”. An Edinburgh Airport spokesperson apologised to the Gallery and said: "We have now reviewed our original decision and reinstated the image."  BBC News

National Portrait Gallery allows free image downloads

The National Portrait Gallery has introduced a Creative Commons licence allowing free downloads of images from its website for non-commercial use. More than 53,000 low-resolution images are now available free of charge to non-commercial users. Over 87,000 high-resolution images are also available for free for academic use through the Gallery’s own licence. Users of the service are being invited to give a donation to support the work of the Gallery and sustain the service.  NPG  Museums Journal  

Ironbridge supports England’s preserved industrial sites

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has been awarded funding by English Heritage to host a new post aiming to support England’s preserved industrial sites and make them accessible for future generations. Ian Bapty, currently Senior Project Archaeologist at Herefordshire Council, has been appointed and takes up the post this month. He will develop a national strategy to improve the sustainability and conservation standards of industrial sites preserved with public access and identified as needing support. The project will be delivered in partnership with several key organisations including the Ironbridge Institute and the University of Birmingham, the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA). The project will also work with a special network of industrial sites across Europe – the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).  Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Dino Snores for Grown-ups

The Natural History Museum held its first adult sleepover last month. Building on the success of the Museum’s Dino Snores sleepovers for children, the event for 200 people included a 3-course dinner and cooked breakfast in the Museum’s restaurant, science shows, stand-up comedy, cash bar, natural horror movie marathon and a midnight feast with edible insect tasting. A follow up event is planned for January 2013.  Natural History Museum


In an article in the Guardian, Paralympic Games swimming medallist Andy Gilbert included Tate Modern, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, British Museum and the V&A in his list of top 10 accessible days out in London.  Guardian Back to top

Our jobs website now includes the latest vacancies from NMDC’s new member organisations too.  Current vacancies include:
  • Research Officer, Beamish
  • Touring Exhibitions Engineer, Natural History Museum
  • Senior Museums Manager (Public Programming and Customer Service), Glasgow Museums
  • Head of Business Development, National Portrait Gallery
  • Senior Designer, The National Archives
  • National Partnership Officer, National Museums Scotland
  • Mechanical Project Manager, National Gallery
  • Senior Curator British Art, National Galleries of Scotland
  • Events Officer, Wallace Collection
  • Associate Curator, Science Museum
  • Curator of Artefacts, Royal Marines Museum
  • Samsung Curator of Korean Art, V&A
For details of these jobs and many more visit


Thousands sign petition to save “world’s worst restoration”.

Thousands of people have signed a petition to save the "world's worst restoration". The 19th century fresco Ecco Homo by Elias Garcia Martinez in Zaragoza, Spain became an internet sensation when pictures of the botched restoration by 80 year old Cecilia Gimenez went viral. More than 22,000 people have now signed an online petition to halt the town's plan to return the painting to its pre-restoration glory. The petition argues that the restoration "reveals a subtle criticism of the Church's creationist theories while questioning a resurgence of new idols," and compares the retouched painting to the work of Goya, Munch and Modigliani.  More back to top

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