May 2013

NMDC newsletter: May 2013
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NMDC newsletter: May 2013
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  NMDC news

NMDC briefing: Museums and Tourism

Following announcements that eight of the top ten most visited attractions in the UK are national museums and that more UK adults than ever visited museums last year, NMDC felt it was an opportune moment to highlight the importance of museums to tourism.  Our new briefing gives the big statistical picture of how museums represent a substantial economic and reputational asset to the country, and includes snapshots of how dozens of specific projects from museums across the UK contribute to achieving this.  There were more than 50 million visits to UK national museums alone last year, and the success of London 2012 means the view of Britain overseas has never been so positive.  Culture and heritage attracts £4.5 billion worth of spending by inbound visitors annually, more than a quarter of all spending by international visitors.  Museums and galleries are central to tourism - the 5th largest industry in the UK, currently growing at five times the rate of the rest of the economy - making them important drivers of economic growth and local investment around the UK. Read more and download the full briefing from the NMDC website here. 

NMDC responds to consultation on the proposed History National Curriculum

NMDC responded to the Department for Education's consultation on the proposed new History National Curriculum.  The proposals covered Key Stages 1-3, with the Department expected to publish proposals for the new History GCSE and A Levels later this year. In the response NMDC welcomes the aims of the proposed curriculum but expresses serious concerns that the proposed subject content would not deliver these aims.  The proposed curriculum would impact negatively on the opportunities for children to visit museums with their schools, denying them access to these inspirational and enriching experiences. Read more download the full NMDC response to the consultation here.  Back to top

  Secretary of State's speeches

Cultural sector must make economic impact

In a keynote speech at the British Museum on 24th April, Maria Miller emphasised the importance of the cultural sector making an economic case for itself.  She said: “..when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact. To maintain the argument for continued public funding, we must make the case as a two-way street. We must demonstrate the healthy dividends that our investment continues to pay. That’s the argument that I, as Culture Secretary, intend to make in my approach to this spending round – and I need all your help in that endeavour. In going through this period of transition, the Government wants participants, not bystanders, and I need you all to accept this fundamental premise, and work with me to develop the argument.” The speech has met with a mixed reception.  The new Chair of the Arts Council, Sir Peter Bazalgette, welcomed the speech saying that the sector could prove its economic value and adding "As the Secretary of State says, we do need to make the economic case. And while doing so, we won't forget that it is not all about money.” Sir Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, writing in The Telegraph, pointed to the recent large cuts in the sector adding, “Cutting what produces growth seems to me to be not good policy in arts...The lesson is not to ask the question, how do we create the next War Horse? It is rather to continue funding the NT Studio, where much of the most commercially successful stuff starts life. This is why the West End has largely outsourced its need for the new to the subsidised sector. They don’t regard us [National Theatre] as the competition, but as essential to their business model."  Arts Industry,, BBC, Arts Council, The Telegraph

Launch of VisitBritain's Strategy for Growing Inbound Tourism

Maria Miller launched VisitBritain's Strategy for Growing Inbound Tourism, Delivering a Golden Legacy, on 30th April.  In her speech, the Secretary of State said that "tourism has a critical role to play" and "is an important part of economic recovery."  She noted that culture and heritage were reasons why tourists visited the UK and that 40% cite culture as their primary reason to visit.  She said: "There is only one Stonehenge, only one Edinburgh Festival, only one Buckingham Palace and only one Angel of the North – and they’re all right here. That’s a magnet both now and in the future." As in her speech at the British Museum six days earlier, Maria Miller noted the regional economic impact of the arts, using the example of the longer-term economic impact the City of Culture has had on Liverpool.  A recent report estimated that the arts and culture were worth about £3 billion to the city's economy. VisitBritain aims to increase the number of overseas visitors to Britain to 40 million, and in doing so create 200,000 extra jobs and earn £31.5 billion from inbound tourism by 2020. They will hope to achieve this by:
  • Building on Britain’s improved international image;
  • Increasing distribution through the travel trade;
  • Broadening the product range on offer; and 
  • Making it easier to get to Britain.
Full text of Maria Miller's speech   Delivering a Golden Legacy   Back to top


UK tourism holds up despite exceptionally bad weather

The number of domestic overnight trips taken in 2012 has matched 2011 figures, despite 2012 being the wettest year on record. UK nationals took 104 million overnight trips, and domestic tourism spend grew by 9%.  Town and city destinations attracted a greater number of visitors, whereas the countryside attracted 1% fewer.  VisitEngland says there are no signs of a ‘mass exodus’ abroad of Londoners avoiding the Olympics, which some had predicted.  Visit England

Cultural Tourism ‘not a quick fix’

Writing for the Guardian, Helen Palmer of Creative Tourist Consults reflects on cultural tourism in the light of new closer ties between the Arts Council of England and VisitBritain.  She argues that although the combination has benefits it requires ‘brutally honest appraisal’ of what is really attractive in a town, and how very different venues from hotels to restaurants, museums to seafronts will appeal to visitors.  Pruning down what a venue offers to its most attractive highlights, and allowing for the different timescales of businesses and cultural venues are, she says, all part of the art of creating an attractive package.  Guardian Cultural Professionals

Museums shops make record profits despite recession

Museum and gallery shops have thrived despite the recession and made £100m in profit in 2012. Much of the increase has come from moving into high value, exclusive and unusual goods.    The V&A are currently selling a print of the Ziggy Stardust album cover for £2,250 alongside a more modestly priced Bowie guitar pick for 75p. Meanwhile London Transport Museum offer luggage racks from decommissioned trains at £250 each, with purses and bags made from fabric offcuts from tube train upholstery also popular. Smaller museums are also innovating, with volunteers at William Morris’ former home, Kelmscott House, producing handmade gifts including cushions, lavender bags, aprons and scarves which are exclusive to the museum.  The tiny Brunel Museum meanwhile created the ‘Midnight Apothecary’ cocktail bar on their previously barren roof terrace, drawing hundreds of visitors and a ‘top pick’ accolade from Time Out.  Guardian, Museum of London, Museums at Night Back to top

  Public engagement

Museums Association report on public attitudes to museums

A report commissioned by the Museums Association explores what the public thinks museums should be for.  It is the result of a series of workshops across the UK, attended by 90 members of the public. Spontaneously mentioned essential purposes included care and preservation of heritage (and its link to national pride), mounting displays and creating knowledge for and about society.  People also thought that museums should create economic benefit through tourism and regeneration as well as giving individuals educational opportunities. Low priorities included fostering community, supporting the vulnerable and protecting the natural environment. Some proposed purposes were challenged by the public.  They felt that museums should have a neutral voice and not hold controversial debates.  The Museums Association say the report will feed into their larger Museums 2020 initiative. Museums Association, Museums Association (pdf report). Also: The Commonwealth Association of Museum is holding its 40th anniversary conference in Glasgow next year, and has issued a call for papers, particularly focusing on museums and community engagement and civic debate.  Commonwealth Association of Museums (second article down).

Taking Part: Children and museums supplementary report published

Statistics have been released around the cultural engagement of children for the period October 2011 – September 2012.  Adult statistics were released last month, and can be found by following the same link.  Almost all children (99%) were found to have engaged with the arts in the last year, 92% of them in the previous week.  61% of children aged 5-15 had visited a museum in the last 12 months, and 3% of children had visited a museum in the last week. Both these figures have remained steady since 2008/09.  Taking Part

Museums and Happiness research report

The Happy Museum has published a report by economist Daniel Fujiwara on the happiness cost benefit of museums and the arts, using information drawn from Taking Part data.  Director of the Happy Museum project Tony Butler said “Qualitative research has been used by museums as effective advocacy, often influencing the hearts and minds of decision makers at local level. However, we think that quantitative evidence that robustly uncovers cause and effect is more likely to influence policy makers.” The report measured the individual wellbeing value of museums at over £3,000 per year and gives an extensive explanation of how that figure was arrived at.  It also touches on groups who are more or less likely to visit a museum: people with low incomes, low levels of education and smokers are less likely to visit museums and that volunteers, married people, women, and people who live in London.  The Happy Museum (report pdf), Taking Part

Record visitor numbers at National Museum Wales

National Museum Wales, which is spread over seven museum sites, has again broken its own record for visitor figures.  In 2012/13 there were 1.75m visitors compared with 1.69m in 2011/12.  The museums currently face restructuring and the loss of 35 jobs, as they cope with making £2.5m savings over 3 years. Manchester Wired, National Museum Wales Also: The Welsh Government has however announced a further £2m to be made available to libraries and museums.  Half of the money will pay for the modernisation of six public libraries – the rest will cover projects to digitise museum objects and create greater community engagement.  Welsh Government

ACE offer £895k to engage older people with the arts

The Arts Council and the Baring Foundation have launched a new joint fund to engage older people in the arts. The three year programme will focus on older people in residential care.  People over 75 are much less likely to engage in the arts, and the 400,000 people in residential care are often excluded from available opportunities.  The Baring Foundation has focused on arts for older people since 2010. Beamish has also just hosted the ‘Re-activate’ project working with European museums, the Alzheimers Society and Age UK, exploring how museums work with older people.  Museums Association, Arts Council, Beamish

Museums at Night opens in May

Culture24’s festival of late night events runs from 16th–18th May. Hundreds of museums and galleries across the country are taking part. Events include a slumber party at Kensington Palace and a torch-lit tour of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.  Arts Council, Culture24 (programme), Oxford Aspire

English Heritage 'Easy Access' Guides

English Heritage has published new editions of its publications 'Easy Access to History Buildings' and 'Easy Access to Historic Landscapes', which showcase best practise and offer a how-to guide for sympathetic alterations to provide easier access for all visitors.  Both publications can be downloaded for free from the English Heritage website.  English Heritage

Heritage Open Days

Registration has opened now for the next round of Heritage Open Days on 12th– 15th September.  Submissions must be received by August 1st.  Heritage Open Days Back to top

  Web and copyright

Total recall: UK websites archived by leading British libraries

Six major UK libraries have been given the right to collect, preserve and provide access to an archived version of the UK web.  The libraries are: the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Library Dublin. The plans mean that future generations of researchers will be able to get an in-depth picture of how people lived in the 21st century. Access to the archived web will be available from the reading rooms of libraries and will initially be limited in scope, but will increase over time.  To mark the innovation, the British Library has produced a list of 100 websites which it thinks will be of vital interest in the future – from primary school pupil Martha Payne’s Neverseconds blog about school meals, to the NHS website, the contrasting tones and perspectives of the VisitBritain and Shit London websites, and a look at Glamping. British Library,

Best of the web announced

The international Museums and the Web Conference has announced the winners of its annual best of the museum web competition. Among the winners are Tate Modern for its ghostly Gallery of Lost Art, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s Titanic on Twitter. The Guardian also takes a brief look at the best international museum and gallery presences online, highlighting the Tate and V&A for particular praise.  Museums and the Web, Guardian

New primary legislation to allow greater use of orphan works in museum collections 

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill received Royal Assent on 25th April and is now an Act of Parliament. Within this large and wide-ranging Act, there is now the legal framework to create a licensing system for orphan works (including those held in museum collections). It also provides the framework for an extended collective licensing scheme and makes amendments to the duration of copyright in mass produced design works. The Government's Intellectual Property Office is responsible for implementing these changes, and NMDC is a member of their Working Party. NMDC produced this briefing to explain the impact of the proposed changes on larger museums. Back to top

  Arts news 

What Next? Conference

The What Next? movement held their first conference on 29th April. The movement, chaired by David Lan (Artistic Director, Young Vic), is an informal network of arts organisations and aims to better articulate the role of arts and culture in society. What Next? is urging arts organisations to work together, seek the support of their local MPs and ensure their audiences are aware of the impact of their work.  What Next? website

Theatre leaders challenge Ed Vaizey

Playwrights have challenged Culture Minister Ed Vaizey after a speech he gave last month claiming that the arts are in ‘rude health’.  They have written to the department highlighting playwright Fin Kennedy’s report In Battalions which highlights how Arts Council cuts have damaged theatres’ ability to develop new plays and playwrights.  "We believe the findings of In Battalions are to be taken seriously. They are representative of a wider trend within our industry. If the next generation of playwrights is not properly supported, this could seriously affect the out put in a few years' time, and new plays are vital to the future health of British theatre".  DCMS has responded by reiterating that it believes the sector to be in good shape. One of the signatories, Nick Hytner has announced that he will step down as Director of the National Theatre in 2015.  In Battalions, Guardian Back to top 

  Creative industries

Reports call for reinvigoration of the creative industries

Nesta has just published a Manifesto for the Creative Economy looking at what innovations will be needed to keep the sector competitive over the next few years.  They are in particular concerned that “the ubiquitous digital communications technologies which have emerged in the last 15 to 20 years present an epochal challenge to the business models of the UK’s creative businesses threatening to make obsolete the policies and institutions that have been vital to past success. The reaction of policymakers and creative businesses to these disruptive shifts has so far been uncertain.” They point out that the great successes of the turn of the century have been American digital companies – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. As well as business models, they argue that the law on copyright, school curriculums and how the sector is taxed and financed need to be updated, making R&D tax relief more accessible to creative businesses.  Manifesto for a Creative Economy

DCMS launches consultation to classify creative industries

The DCMS is holding a consultation until mid-June to classify what falls within the creative industries sector, partly as a result of controversy over its 2011 economic estimates for the sector.  The consultation’s conclusions are likely to influence future policy work and take greater account of the digital economy.  Creative & Cultural Skills (CCS) has produced their own paper in response, and are encouraging other interested parties including arts organisations, to submit their thoughts to the review. Because the consultation is quite technical, CCS are also offering advice to organisations replying to the consultation.  Creative & Cultural Skills,, BOP Consulting Also: The March budget included an extra £25m to strengthen the Creative Industries. This includes £10m over the next two years for the Skills Investment Fund, which will nurture new talent in the UK digital content sectors.

Historic buildings to become office space for new startups

The HLF has launched a scheme, Heritage Enterprise, to encourage new businesses to use derelict historic industrial buildings as office space.  HLF will be investing  £125m over the next five years, so that huge boarded up buildings, such as Ditherington Flax Mill, can be transformed into business premises and kick start local regeneration. HLF Chair Dame Jenny Abramsky said “New ideas need old buildings - Historic edifices tend to be cheap to rent, adaptable, and can often be occupied quickly – all things that new, growing businesses need. And their very character can encourage creativity.“ HLF say that more than 130,000 businesses work from listed buildings in Britain, providing 1 in 20 of the country’s jobs.  Telegraph, Third Sector, HLF (application forms).

Huge new programme to expand UK film education

The BFI has launched a new organisation, Film Nation UK, which from September 2013 will provide a film education programme which every child aged 5 – 19 in the UK will be able to access.  They hope that the programme will develop a love and understanding of film in young people which will in turn create a new generation of film-makers and a healthy film industry for the UK. Film Nation UK will be working with a wide range of partners including Creative Scotland, Creative Skillset, Film Agency Wales, Northern Ireland Screen, and the devolved governments and assemblies in the nations of the UK.  More detailed information about the programme will be announced in the autumn.  BFI Also: Creative and Cultural Skills has produced After the Crunch Revisited – a new look at issues first explored in a series of essays After the Crunch in 2009. The new report finds that the sector has shrunk by 8% in just four years. Essays based on After the Crunch Revisited will be published on the Creative Blueprint website over the next few weeks.  Creative and Cultural Skills Back to top


‘Pompeii of the North’ excavated in City of London

Excavation around the now underground River Walbrook in the City of London has revealed a huge collection of some of the best preserved archaeology found anywhere in North West Europe.  The conditions around the river mean that objects from leather army boots to furniture, writing tablets and metal objects have survived, spanning the whole period of the Roman occupation from 1st– 5thcentury AD. More than 10,000 objects have been found 23 feet below modern ground level.  A local ‘Romano British’ style also emerges from the objects: one archaeologist comments “we’ve found a lovely enamel flask that’s very similar to pre-Roman, Celtic art in this country.”  Telegraph, Bloomberg, Independent Back to top

  New builds

Plan lodged for £38m new Oxford Science Museum

Plans have been submitted to build a new £38m Science Museum in Oxford, to be known as the Magnet, replacing a 1960s building.  The project, which is being led by Science Oxford, is still at an early stage, and they are seeking responses to a public consultation.  Construction Enquirer, The Magnet

The death of Baroness Thatcher

The death of first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher has led to a re-ignition of political debates of the 80s, and contrasting claims about her long term status in history. Although she did not receive a state funeral, the bells of Big Ben were muffled for the first time since the death of Winston Churchill. The Cherish Freedom Trust has been set up to build a £15m library and museum in memory of Baroness Thatcher, which has been backed by David Cameron.  It will run training courses and exchange programmes, as well as holding artefacts from her time in power including suits and handbags.  Grantham Museum, in her home town, is also planning events to celebrate her life.  BBC, Telegraph, Museums Journal, Cherish Freedom Trust, Grantham Museum

HLF award to help redevelopment of Fort Bovisland

Fort Bovisland near Plymouth had been used as a defence feature from Tudor times to World War II, but is now derelict. Owned  by former BBC Director-General Greg Dyke, there are now plans for a £16m development to turn it into a tourist attraction, hoped to generate £40m a year for the local economy. It will include site renovations, a visitors centre, a café and learning facilities. The Heritage Lottery Fund have just contributed £352,500 to the Fort Bovisland Trust to develop these ideas.  ALVA, BBC Also: Work to double the gallery space at Tate Modern is now well underway.  The Wolfson Foundation has just donated £5m towards the project.  Tate Modern

Rare Quaker war memorial built

Quakers have produced a new memorial as part of the National Memorial Arboretum, to remember those conscientious objectors who worked for the Friends Ambulance Service and Friends Relief Service in the Second World War.  The memorial is a rare piece of ‘iconic building’ by the Quakers, and the result of an unusual partnership between them and the Royal British Legion, who manage the park. National Memorial Arboretum, Guardian

Mary Rose reopening date fixed for May

The Mary Rose, the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world, will finally re-open to the public on 31st May following a £35m project.  Watch a 100 second account of the ship’s recovery here.  HLF, Historic Dockyard

New library and museum for Brecon

Powys Council wants to build a new ‘cultural and community hub’ in Brecon, including refurbishing the existing museum and building a new library. The museum is a Grade II listed former Victorian courthouse which needs repairs to its fabric. It is investing £1m of its own money and currently seeking £2m of funding from the HLF.  It hopes the work will help regenerate the town as a tourist destination. BBC, Brecknock Museum

Hunterian to move to create Glasgow museums quarter

Glasgow’s Hunterian museum is to be moved to Kelvin Hall, creating a museums quarter alongside the nearby Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. The new museum, gallery and store will be built in two phases at a cost of £60m.  It is hoped to quadruple the percentage of the collection on display.  Herald Scotland Back to top


A chance to save the head of an apostle before July

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has put an export bar on Raphael’s Head of a Young Apostle until at least July 3rd, to give a last chance to raise the £29.7m needed to keep it in the UK.  Ed Vaizey will also consider offers from public bodies at less than the recommended price through private treaty sales arrangements. The drawing was collected at Chatsworth by William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire and may have previously belonged to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585 – 1646) described as ‘the first heroic figure in the history of British collecting’.

Sites shortlisted for Europa rescue mission

Europa Nostra has been seeking historical sites across Europe that are in acute danger, and have shortlisted 14 for potential help.  A final list of seven will receive expert and fundraising assistance in an attempt to save them.  The current shortlist includes: buildings in the buffer zone in historic Nicosia, Cyprus; the mining landscape in Rosia Montana, Romania; a Neolithic site near Belgrade, Serbia; the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Aragatsotn, Armenia which is one of the world’s oldest Christian structures; and a Roman Amphitheatre in Durrës, Albania, which was lost until the 1960s and allegedly rediscovered when a tree growing over it began to sink. The final list will be chosen at Europa Nostra’s 50th anniversary conference in Athens on June 16th. Guardian Also: Europa Nostra has also announced the winners of its 2013 prize for cultural heritage.  The 30 winners were chosen from over 200 entries, and include King’s Cross Station in London.  A further selection of six top winners is taking place by public vote until 26th May.  Europa Nostra, Europa Nostra (voting).

Arts consortium saves Rossendale Museum

We reported last month that Rossendale Museum seemed likely to permanently close after Lancashire and Rossendale Councils could not agree a financial package to keep it open. The museum costs £106,000 per year to run. Now the Whitaker Group, an arts consortium, have stepped in to save the museum.  They will work out a plan jointly with the museum’s Friends group. Julian Williams, director of the See Gallery and one of the key partners in the Whitaker Group, said: “We are really pleased with the support we have been given from Rossendale Council and the Friends of Rossendale Museum to develop our ideas. The museum has great potential to be developed into a fantastic hub of activity for the community as a whole.”  Rossendale Free Press, Lancashire Telegraph,

Battlebus restored as centenary plans gather momentum

The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a new round of London based grants, including £750,000 to restore a WW1 bus owned by the London Transport Museum that was once commandeered to take British troops to the front.  David Cameron has announced that £50m will be spent on commemorating the period, and the Imperial War Museum is gathering together history resources and events information on its website HLF,, Huffington Post, Also: The HLF are also to fund the first comprehensive photographic record of Black and Asian people in Britain from the mid 19th century onwards. Partnering with other institutions, Autograph ABP will lead the work.  Contact Renee Mussai on 020 7729 9200 or [email protected] for details.  Autograph ABP, HLF (scroll down past the battlebus story)

Cuming Museum fire update

Following last month’s devastating fire which destroyed much of the Cuming Museum, conservators have been working on damaged objects.  Staff from the British Museum and Horniman in particular have been offering advice, practical help and support. The Cuming building is still being stabilised and access is only for those doing urgent and vital construction support works. Museum staff are helping with plans for recovery but it is likely to be some time before this can happen.  However the museum’s programme of events continues at a local church crypt.  Inspire at St Peters, Walworth Society Back to top

  Not saved...

Old Flo Watch

Although still not on the market, Tower Hamlets’ proposed sale of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman will now definitely go ahead.  Cllr Rania Khan said that no formal challenges to the Council’s ownership of the piece had been received and added “the public outcry has only come from the cultural elite”.  East London Advertiser Back to top


Rhino horn stolen from Irish Museum

Four masked men have stolen four rhino heads from the National Museum Archive in Swords, Ireland.  It is presumed that the rhinos were stolen for their horn, which could be worth up to 0.5m euros on the Asian black market.  The museum had been aware of the risk of theft, and had consequently put all rhino horn into storage a year previously. Nevertheless the thieves overpowered and tied up a security guard and escaped with the objects. This is just the latest in a spate of rhino horn thefts that have led to a database of rhino horn being set up.  Museums are encouraged to contact SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) who will hold samples of DNA for UK owned rhino horn. SASA’s Lucy Webster says: "This database will store a unique DNA profile for each sample submitted. If any are subsequently stolen, these profiles will allow horns recovered to be traced back to their place of origin - helping investigators disentangle the supply chain of this illegal trade."  Christian Science Monitor, National Museum Ireland, Museums Association Also: Two eighteenth century flagons worth £30,000 have been stolen from Clifton Park Museum in Yorkshire.  Thieves smashed a window to steal the objects.  BBC

Strategies for preventing and dealing with theft

A number of cultural organisations have been looking at strategies for dealing with theft. The Collections Trust have launched a long term partnership with Securitas, supported by the Arts Council,  to raise security awareness across the museum sector. Their first event will be part of their Open Culture conference in July. Meanwhile a Museum Practice security webchat emphasised the importance of having a media strategy in place in the event of theft, warning of the further negative effects of not controlling what is said publicly. Another web event hosted by the Guardian drew together art gallery managers, police and art consultants to give live advice on security and insurance and has produced a checklist of ideas to deter theft.  Museums Association, Guardian Cultural Professionals, Collections Link

Fraudulent websites issue fake African artefact authenticity certificates

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) has warned that fraudulent websites are offering fake ‘certificates of authenticity’ to facilitate the export of African objects.  The websites imitate ICOM’s own web presence and charge up to 2,000 euros for a certificate.  ICOM does not issue such certificates which must come from government authorities. A spokeswoman for ICOM said “the scam has been going for a number of years but it is becoming bigger and more professional as it becomes more lucrative." Museums Association Back to top

  Mergers and contractions

Coventry Museums merge following cuts

Two Coventry Museums are to merge following a £393,000 funding cut by Coventry Council.  The move will mean about 20 job losses.  The Herbert Museum and Art Gallery and Coventry Transport Museum will now join Lunt Roman Fort and the Priory Visitor Centre as a single body called Culture Coventry. Arts Council England has awarded the new trust £349,000 for one year to fund new commercial activities and marketing as well as encouraging more volunteers.  The boards of all three trusts and Arts Council England have supported the move. The Herbert failed in a bid to become an ACE major partner museum last year.  Arts Industry, Museums Association, Coventry Telegraph

DCMS moves in with the Treasury

DCMS has left its Cockspur St offices and will share a building with HM Treasury at 100 Parliament Street. The decision follows a 50% cut in the department’s administrative budget. The new address for DCMS is: 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.  DCMS 

Arts Council faces further reorganisation

Following an independent review by David Norgrove, the Arts Council will slightly reduce its non-executive governance.  The National Council will reduce from 17 to 14 members, and six members of the current council will retire in 2013.  Four new council members will be recruited with expertise in museums, fundraising, digital media, and education. Between 2011 and 2015, the Arts Council will have saved £10.6 million in its Grant in aid administration.  Unlike his predecessor, Liz Forgan, Peter Bazalgette has supported the reductions to Arts Council administrative structure.  He says "If it was a given that the Arts Council's grant-in-aid would be cut by 29.6%, then restricting the national portfolio organisations to a 15% cut (a stipulation of Hunt's to keep the worst of the pain from the front line), soaking up the rest centrally was the right response."  IFACCA, Arts Council, Arts Industry Back to top


Portrait of the philanthropist as a young person

A global survey by the Scorpio partnership of wealthy entrepreneurs with an average net worth of more than £1.5m found that those under 30 were significantly more likely to be interested in ethical investment and philanthropy. 65% of wealthy young people rated charitable activity as important, compared to 58% of the over 45s. Two out of five under 30s also saw campaigning for social issues as important as making a profit.  Philanthropy Impact Also: Research reveals that migrants and minorities are much more likely than the general population to give to charity. 42% of households who send money overseas give to UK charities, compared with 29% of other households.  Philanthropy Impact

Digital giving: donating to the cultural sector while you wait for the tube?

Donations to charity may be swinging towards digital methods, and away from more traditional ways of giving like post or phone.  Meanwhile, Nesta’s Innovation in Giving fund is supporting a number of pilots to evolve new ways of giving electronically on the move. ChipIn is one of the projects, which, echoing the London Underground Oyster Cards, is seeking ways people can make quick ‘contactless’ donations, just by putting a card over a sensor, or potentially through more gimmicky installations like a plastic hand you can ‘high five’ to instantly give money.  ChipIn are currently seeking permission from Transport for London to install devices on the underground by 2014.  Since a number of London tube stations are already effectively branded with nearby museums, they may be perfect for capturing thousands of small donations to these venues. Philanthropy Impact, Nesta Also: DigVentures has become the first UK archeological dig crowdsourcing platform.  It has already raised over 80% of the money to begin an £18k dig at Leiston Abbey.  DigVentures

Large gift of contemporary art benefits museums across the UK

In 2012 collectors Eric and Jean Cass donated more than 300 contemporary artworks to the Contemporary Art Society for distribution to public collections across the UK. The Society described it as one of the most important gifts in its 102 year history. Now National Museum Wales has announced that they have received 12 of the works, which will be on display from 4th May.  Contemporary Art Society, National Museum Wales

Making Gift Aid easier

A new HMRC online service, available from late April 2013, makes reclaiming Gift Aid for charities easier.  HMRC will continue to collect paper forms until September and gives guidance on transitional arrangements. Meanwhile the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, also just launched, means that charities can claim gift aid without a form for donations of less than £20 up to a total of such small donations of £5,000 each year.  HMRC, HMRC (Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme)

Heritage Alliance recommences free lecture series

The Heritage Alliance is launching a new series of talks on the current direction and future of the historic environment.  All talks are free but booking is essential: the next one ‘Heritage and Television: who profits more?’ is on 12th June at the Merchant Adventurers Hall, York.  Heritage Alliance Back to top

  Who gets the jobs in museums?

Museums Association publish workforce action plan

The Museums Association has published Working Wonders, a workforce action plan for the museums sector. The plan, developed with funding from Arts Council England, was drawn together following a consultation with individuals and representative groups from the museum sector, funders and skills development organisations. The consultation followed the publication of the Cultural Heritage Blueprint in 2012 which listed five priority areas for workforce development: strengthen leadership and management; develop business, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills; open up entry to the sector and diversify the workforce; commit to continuing professional development for staff; and develop sector specific skills. These are addressed in more detail in the action plan. You can read the full action plan here and there is more information on the Museums Association website.

Diversify: still a long way to go

The Museums Association has produced a final report on Diversify, the scheme which ran from 1998 – 2011 to help more people from BME and poorer backgrounds to join the sector.  The report found that although the scheme was overwhelmingly positive for those who took part, with 90% subsequently finding work in museums, there are fewer signs that the overall demographic of those who get museum jobs has widened much.  The report says: “It is clearly easier for people from more affluent backgrounds to work for free. Moreover, people from affluent backgrounds are more to have contacts in the cultural sector, and can sometimes use these to secure work experience opportunities for themselves and their families. Alan Milburn’s report for the Cabinet Office on fair access to the professions shows this situation is mirrored in many professions. He also made the point that it is not only the poorest in society who are disadvantaged in this way but, increasingly, the average middle classes, who may not have the contacts or insider knowledge to secure internships and other opportunities.” The report adds that 42% of respondents to the final survey report staff cuts, with almost a fifth reporting staffing levels down by 25% or more.  In this environment, the report argues, it is hard to keep workplace diversity high on the agenda. Earlier in the year the DCMS said that it would pay all departmental interns at least the minimum wage.  Museums Association, Museums Association (DCMS interns)

Aim launches new Trustee portal

AIM has created a new portal for independent museums who would like to advertise trustee positions. As well as carrying vacant positions, the portal will also carry adverts for people who would like to be considered for trustee posts.  AIM (news story), AIM (Trustee portal)

Price for women’s art catching up

The price for women’s art in auction houses across the world is noticeably increasing.  New York collector Michael Witmer says "A lot of collectors look for undervalued groups of art, and women could easily be considered the last big group," Nine of the top ten prices for women’s art at auction have occurred in the last 10 years.  Wall Street Journal Also: The government has published a second annual progress report on Women on Boards.  It shows that of March 2013 women now account for 34% of all board appointments in the FTSE 100.  These figures have significantly increased since the government first started work in this area in 2011.

New London museums LGBTQ network formed

With increasing research and exhibitions around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer history in UK museums, a new network has been created for museum staff interested and working in the area.  The network is currently for London museums, but welcomes contact from those elsewhere in the UK with an interest in the field: get in touch with Matthew Storey [email protected] or Dawn Hoskins [email protected] at the V&A.  Upcoming events based on the work of network members include a Tate Britain event on Sunday 30th June at 7.00pm which looks at LGBTQ representation within Tate's British art collection (contact [email protected] for details), and a new publication A Little Gay History from British Museum Press exploring objects from the museum's collection with queer connections from 2000BC to the present. Back to top

  Funding and grants

HLF to launch WW1 small grants programme

From May 2013 until 2019 the HLF will be offering a £6m small grants programme for communities who want to mark events associated with WW1.  £1m will be available for every year of the programme, and each grant will be between £3 - £10k. No further information is online yet, but contact Vicky Wilford, Communications Manager on 020 7591 6046 / 07973 401 937 or [email protected] for further details.

24 Scottish museums to receive capital funding

£500,000 in capital funding is to be shared among 24 Scottish museums. All are successful applicants to Museums Galleries Scotland’s government-funded capital fund.  Included in the work being carried out are a new set of mizzen sails for the The Reaper, a historic herring drifter from the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the re-thatching of Glencoe Museum. The Scottish Government added an extra £100k to the capital fund this year.  Museums Galleries Scotland

Workforce Development Grants for Wales

The Welsh Museum Federation has announced the launch of its Workforce Development Scheme for 2013/14, which offers grants towards professional qualifications and training. No information appears to be online yet: those interested should contact John Marjoram, Federation Development Officer, for further details and an application form. [email protected]  01978 861621 There is no deadline, and applications are accepted at any time if there is still money in the fund. Eligibility will be the similar to the Federation’s small grants programme, which has also just announced its seventh round. Welsh Government, Welsh Museums Federation (small grants scheme), Welsh Museums Federation (grants to attend June AIM conference)

PRISM fund for Science materials now open for 2013/14

The PRISM fund for the preservation of industrial and scientific material is now open for 2013/14.  Managed by Arts Council England it offers grants of £500 - £20,000 with a maximum of £20,000 per institution per year. It has supported objects from the last working Tiger Tank 131 to a papier mache anatomical model of a caterpillar, plus trams, helicopters, aircraft, archives, signs, trains and coaches, agricultural equipment, carts and cars. It covers England and Wales only, but details of schemes for Northern Ireland and Scotland are available on the application page.  Arts Council

Gabo Trust conservation grants

The Gabo Trust offers grants to museums to have their sculpture collections examined by conservators who will make recommendations about their future care. It also funds an annual bursary and research projects.  It is now open for applications.  Gabo Trust

British Council offer UK-China cultural development grants

The British Council has launched the next round of China UK Connections through Culture development grants. The grant scheme offers support for travel to or from China to develop joint projects with Chinese cultural institutions. The deadline for applications for travel between August 2013 and January 2014 is Sunday 9 June. For further information, please contact Jane Weeks, Museums and Heritage Adviser, British Council [email protected].  British Council Connections through Culture Also: Chinese creative industries continue to grow rapidly, and are expected to increase by 20% per year for the next seven years, with its film industry growing particularly strongly.  BOP

Curatorial Arts Society Funds Fellowships

Three fellowships worth £10,000 are open to curatorial fellows to conceive and produce displays to appear at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. They will be an opportunity for in-depth research into the UK’s publicly held collections. The three fellows will be based at museums across the country: Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, plus the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.  Museums Journal Back to top

  Going Green

National Trust’s low carbon plan for 43 properties

The National Trust is spending £3.5m on five pilot projects to radically increase its use of green energy sources.  The pilot will include hydro, biomass and heat pumps, during 2013/14.  If the scheme is successful, it will be expanded to 43 historic properties and the National Trust will produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Once the infrastructure is in place, it is estimated that this will save the National Trust £4m each year which will be released for conservation work.  National Trust

Ironbridge Gorge Museums have appointed a new Chief Executive. Anna Brennand moves up from her post as the Trust’s Deputy CEO and Director of Finance and Resources.  She is also a Board member of the Museums Association.  Ironbridge Gorge In Wales, John Griffiths has been announced as new Minister for Culture and Sport.  Welsh Government Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has appointed Sunny Crouch as its Independent Chair.  She was previously Chief Officer for Tourism and Marketing at Portsmouth City Council.  Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has launched a new strategy and hopes to double visitor figures to 1m within 5 years.  About My Area Back to top

  And finally….
The oldest oak in Wales has been blown down in a storm.  In 1996 a tree expert from the National Trust estimated to be between 1,181 and 1,628 years old and said "I cannot find a record of an oak tree of any of the 500 species internationally which has a greater girth anywhere in the world.” In the 1880s its hollow trunk was measured at over 53ft and six men sat around a table inside it. As the Guardian points out, it was seeded centuries before most cathedrals were built and before England was named.  Moves last year by the Ancient Tree Forum failed to raise money to provide greater support for the tree – but two saplings from its acorns are now believed to be in the Botanical Garden of Wales.  Guardian

A fuller list of jobs is available on our website here.
  • Treasures of Cumbria Digital Project Co-ordinator
  • Content Developer, Large Hadron Collider
  • Director, National Railway Museum
  • Exhibitions Manager, National Army Museum
  • Photographer, National Gallery
  • Curator, Natural History Museum (maternity cover, based at Tring)
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If you have any comments or contributions for the newsletter please send them to the Editor, Kate Smith, at [email protected].
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