A roadmap to reopening – dates and resources to support museums

June 15, 2020

With the reopening of non-essential retail and some visitor attractions such as gardens and zoos, many heritage sites in the East Midlands are asking questions about their own situation and when and how to reopen.

The Coronavirus has created a constantly shifting landscape of government guidance, sector advice and support packages but we wanted to provide you with a round up of current information as of the date of publication (30th June).

Reopening guidance for the sector:

The National Museum Directors Council (NMDC) have now published guidance for reopening for the sector. You can view the full downloadable document here: Good Practice Guidelines for Opening Museums

NMDC have also created an accompanying introduction and Q & A documents dealing with some of the most common enquiries.Introduction and Q & A

Furthermore there is a standalone time line to accompany the document which will be regulated updated as information on museums reopening plans is released which you can find here: Timeline Information for Museums 

The government has also released information for safe working practices at heritage locations, which includes all aspects of heritage. You can view the government guidance here. 

The Museum Development Network along with the Association of Independent Museums has created a Reopening Checklist for organisations to use. This is useful to all museums, but particularly focuses on the independent sector. You can view the checklist here.

Please note as the Covid 19 situation evolves, guidance will be updated. Therefore we recommend you check regularly for the latest version which we aim to publish on our website as soon as capacity allows.

The Reopening Museums Toolkit from the South East Museum Development team aims to support museums during these early stages of planning. The Toolkit provides practical advice and offers questions for museums to work through to help define their recovery plans. Please note that the authors are not legal or medical experts and check the latest Government advice.

You can download the full Reopening Museums Toolkit here.

Kids in Museums: Making reopening family friendly

KiM have put together a new guide on how museums can provide a quality experience for children and families when they reopen with social distancing measures.

DCMS: Updated information on regulations effecting museums June 2020

The Department for Culture Media and Sport have provided an updated guidance note on what recent changes to national directives for non-essential retail and visitor attractions such as zoos means for museums. You can download these regulations on our website here.

Icon: Waking up Collections – a post lockdown guide

Icon and the Icon Care of Collections Group have published a new Guide and Checklist to outline how to address collection conservation issues that might have occurred during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown period.

With museum and heritage organisations necessarily closed during the lockdown, collections are being held dormant for a significant period, increasing the risk of deterioration caused by the environment, pollutants, pests and reduced levels of preventive monitoring and control.

The guidance is designed to support organisations holding heritage collections with limited inhouse conservation expertise. Icon hopes organisations will find the guide and checklist a useful starting point to assessing the likelihood of risks impacting collections and to preparing staff for resolving issues when they return to site.

Reopening videos for visitor attractions:

Some organisations in the visitor attraction sector have already opened their doors. Take a look at London Zoo’s ‘welcome back’ video to see what changes they’ve made for visitor safety and how they’ve communicated these in an accessible way to potential visitors.

Historic Royal Palaces are reopening some of their gardens from the 18th June and have crated their own ‘welcome back video’ to help spread the word.

Reopening Risk Assessments:

One of the main requirements that organisations will need to undertake will be a risk assessment of activity to ensure the museum is safe to reopen. The Health and Safety Executive have created a wealth of resources on their website to support organisations with this. Below are some example risk assessments from the UK which you may find useful for inspiration:

COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker from Visit Britain

Visit Britain have commissioned a weekly tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the U.K. and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time.

The survey addresses: the likelihood of U.K. residents to travel; when and where they plan to go; specific trip details such as accommodation type and activities undertaken and the type of reassurances they’re seeking from the sector. The COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker is based on a U.K. nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults aged 16+.  The survey will be repeated across a 13 week period with the first wave published on 1 June 2020.

In the East Midlands:

MDEM are working closely with county forums to provide direct support to museums and heritage organisations across the region who are thinking of reopening in the next few months. We are also holding a meeting of the Emergency and Risk Network and Engaging with Schools network to provide support in this area. Please visit our events sections for more information or contact the MDEM team directly.

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