Heritage Digital Free Guidelines on Social Media & Volunteers

The latest free downloadable guidelines from Heritage Digital have been released to celebrate the end of Volunteers Week. Heritage Digital are also running an online webinar on 175th June on recruiting, retaining, and managing digital volunteers.

The first digital guide is ‘Working with volunteers’ and offers advice to when it comes to the rights of volunteers and the material they create. This can be downloaded from here: Charity Digital – Resources – Digital guide: Working with volunteers: Copyright consideration The second digital guide is a template that can be used as a starting point to ensure that your social media remains on brand and consistent. This can be downloaded from here: Charity Digital – Resources – Digital Template: Social Media Guidelines

Heritage Digital is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Digital Skills for Heritage funding stream, and aims to increase the amount of free digital skills training and support available to heritage organisations. Booking for the free webinar on the 15th June can be made here: Charity Digital – Heritage Digital Events

New Industrial Heritage Networks for East Midlands & East of England

Do you help run or volunteer at an industrial site open to the public in the East Midlands or East of England? Then now is the time to get involved with two new Industrial Heritage Networks being setup by the IHSO project. The Industrial Heritage Networks (IHN) are part of the Industrial Heritage Support project run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, funded by Historic England, and support by a range of partners including the Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Association of Independent Museums.

Since 2018, seven regional Industrial Heritage Networks have been established in England. These are voluntary groups, organised with the support of the IHSO project, which meet twice a year. This is an opportunity to discuss and share the experiences of running and presenting to the public some of the most important industrial sites in the country.

With the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 the network meetings went online, providing support to those running and volunteering at hundreds of sites, and gathering the experiences of dozens of staff and volunteers in adapting to the global pandemic. With many industrial heritage sites re-opening this month (June 2021) and more planning to re-open over the rest of the summer the IHSO project is looking to establish the next two regional IHNs. The new East Midlands and East of England networks will meet online initially, although as the pandemic conditions ease the intention is to mix online meetings and in-person meetings at industrial sites.

If you want to get involved with these two new networks, sharing knowledge and experience, and discussing the current challenges and opportunities in the industrial heritage sector, then contact the Industrial Heritage Support Officer, Dr Mike Nevell, at Ironbridge, on the following email: mike.nevell@ironbridge.org.uk

Supporting, Sharing, Strengthening: AIM’s Annual Conference & AGM, 16-18 June 2021

What hard lessons are we learning in the face of the pandemic? Have our reflections resulted in changes for good? What skills or new ways of working have we developed – and might they help us prepare for an uncertain future? The Association of Independent Museums’ (AIM) virtual Conference faces these questions head on, helping delegates build on their organisational and personal strengths to meet the challenges of the future with confidence and creativity.

The annual conference will look at the importance of leadership and good governance during hard times, sharing the new ways of working we adopted and forecasting what next for the sector. From practical sessions to personal reflections, expert plenaries to virtual networking, the conference brings together delegates from across the UK for engaging sessions led by practitioners, professionals, experts, and policymakers. It will cover the latest insights and advice and encourage you to make new contacts, catch-up and share best practice, too. Conference programme details can be found here: AIM National Conference 2021 – AIM – Association of Independent Museums (aim-museums.co.uk). Booking here: Supporting, Sharing, Strengthening: AIM Conference 2021

AIM’s 2021  Annual General Meeting will also take place online at 13.30 on the first day of the the AIM Annual Conference, Wednesday 16th June.

For any queries do contact us on info@aim-museums.co.uk 

Rebuilding Heritage Webinars, ‘Survival to Sustainability’, now booking

The Heritage Alliance’s Rebuilding Heritage programme is now taking bookings for its latest round of free webinars during late May through to July. The theme for the latest series of webinars is the post-pandemic recovery and moving from ‘survival to sustainability’.

The Rebuilding Heritage programme is also providing free one-to-one and group support for organisations and individuals in the heritage sector. This support is open to organisations (including voluntary organisations) and to individuals. Applications are now open to receive support July to August. Deadline for applications is 1st June 2021.

Webinar bookings can be made here: Rebuilding Heritage webinars


COVID Re-opening – Roundup of Latest Guidance for May 2021

With confirmation that the museum sector can re-open its doors from Monday 17th May, now is good time to review the latest guidance relevant for Industrial Heritage sites normally open to the public. The following list of advice and links is not comprehensive but is a useful starting point/reminder for those running and/or volunteering at Industrial Heritage sites.

Latest Government informationLatest information and advice

National Museums Directors Council – Good practice Guidelines for Reopening Updated (5th May)

NMDC has updated its Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums in the light of recent Government announcements. The tier system has now moved to a step system with Step 3 starting from May 17th when museums can re-open their buildings.

Arts Council England – COVID-19 Updates to the Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS)

The Heritage Alliance – Rebuilding Heritage Programme

ICOM – Follow-up survey: the impact of COVID-19 on the museum sector

EMBED – Post COVID-19 Reopening Guidance

The ‘EMBED Reopening Recommendation’ guidance has been created to support organisations in their decision making prior to reopening following COVID-19 lockdown. It considers potential barriers faced by disabled visitors and customers and offers solution based guidance for organisations of all types with the ultimate aim of keeping stakeholders, staff, volunteers visitors, students or customers as safe as possible. 

Association of Independent MuseumsCoronavirus Resources

Museums Association – COVID-19 Support Scheme

This scheme has been set up to offer grants of £500 to individual MA members whose finances have been significantly affected by the current pandemic. It is open to individual members who have held membership for two or more years and can demonstrate a genuine and measurable need.

National Lottery Heritage Fund – National Lottery Grants for Heritage

A reminder that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is now accepting applications again for larger projects (from £100,000 up to £5million) as well as small and medium project funding applications. 

Join the AIA Young Members Board

In July 2020, the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) established a Young Members Board (YMB) as a sub-committee of the Association, comprising early or mid-career people with an interest in industrial heritage. The AIA recognises the current demographic of both the membership and Council, and believe that by engaging with younger, more diverse, people they can together better deliver the aim of the Association to ‘give our industrial past a future’.

The YMB provides an exciting new opportunity for individuals to work with like-minded people to influence the direction of the Association and industrial archaeology generally, raise your own profile, develop your personal skills and knowledge, build your CV, network with interesting and knowledgeable people, and take on real responsibility.

The YMB are seeking new members to join them and fill vacancies on the Board. To apply, please submit your CV and a short description of why you would like to joint to: ymbcontact@industrial-archaoelogy.org by 31sdt May 2021.

Welcome to the Seaton Tramway – the Newest Addition to Our Cornwall & Devon IHN

Seaton Tramway is the trading name of Modern Electric Tramways Ltd and is a registered charity (number 1164157). Sited in the UNESCO Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and laid on the track bed of the former British Rail Seaton Branch, the Tramway opened to the public in August 1970.

It is the only 2’9″ gauge railway/tramway in operation, with a fleet of 14 heritage trams, including unique open-top double decker trams and single deck heritage trams from the early 20th century. The trams travel a 3-mile stretch between Seaton, Colyford and Colyton in East Devon’s Axe Valley, alongside the River Axe estuary through two nature reserves and giving an unrivalled view of the abundant wading bird life.

Image courtesy of the Seaton Tramway

Help Raise the Profile of Railway Heritage During the European Year of Rail

EFAITH, the European platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences of volunteers and associations concerning industrial and technical heritage, is looking to highlight and raise awareness about railway heritage across Europe during the European Year of Rail. Since railway heritage receives little attention within the concept and program of the European Year of Rail, EFAITH are in the process of building a specific website, as a way of highlighting the heritage dimension of the European Year of Rail.

At the moment the website consists of four databases:

  • 1) Who’s who – a list of organisations involved in the preservation and mise en valeur of railway heritage in Europe – to encourage networking
  • 2) a list of good examples of conservation and re-use of railway heritage (both buildings and infrastructure and lines)
  • 3) a list of activities that will be organised, i.e. a calendar
  • 4) a series of news items and press releases.

EFAITH are looking for organisations and volunteers to help build the website by adding railway news, events, and best practice items. If you would like to add material either go directly to the website above or contact the IHSO for further details (mike.nevell@ironbridge.org.uk). In addition, EFAITH is running two online railway heritage webinars, the first on 10 May and the second on 7 June and are inviting short conference papers  from organisations presenting their experiences briefly (max. 15 minutes), in French or English. The English presentations will be summarised in French and vice versa.

EFAITH aims to encourage cross-border contacts and cooperation between industrial heritage organisations across more than 47 European countries. Details about what they do and who they are, can be found on there website here: EFAITH Home

Registration Open for Archaeology Festival 17 July to 1 August 2021

The annual Festival of Archaeology, coordinated by the CBA in partnership with Historic England, showcases the very best of archaeology, with special events right across the UK. Many industrial heritage and industrial archaeology sites and groups take part each year. For 2021, the theme is Exploring local places. Discover the archaeology that is all around you by exploring your local area and the stories of the people and communities who lived there.

Join the CBA for the 2021 Festival of Archaeology from 17 July – 1 August. CBA wants you to help them celebrate local sites, stories, and the people who lived and shaped our local places. Archaeology is a great tool to help you do this and to find out more about places through time such as:

  • How have they changed and how do we use them today?
  • Who lived and worked there in the past and do we use them in the same way today?
  • What can you see today that would have been in the landscape 10, 100 or even a 1,000 years ago?

Follow this link to register your event: Welcome | Festival of Archaeology (archaeologyuk.org)

Ironbridge Museum Awarded £1.14m From Culture Recovery Fund

Longwarehouse, Ironbridge

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire has been awarded more than £1.1 million Government funding to help it get back on track after being hit hard by the pandemic, with visitor revenue down by almost £3 million last year. The Trust, a registered charity, saw around 340,000 fewer visitors than expected last year due to restrictions and closures introduced in response to the pandemic. And with 80 per cent of its revenue coming from visitors and the Trust costing £6 million annually to run, bosses said the funding will be a ‘lifeline’.

The funding announced on 2 April 2021 – £1.14 million – is part of the Government’s  £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help organisations in the arts, culture & heritage sector recover and reopen. It will allow the Trust, which runs 10 individual museums in and around the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, to get back onto an even keel over the next three months as visitors are allowed to slowly return.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including the Trust, in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today. Trust boss Nick Ralls said after surviving the most challenging 12 months in its history, the funding news was extremely welcome.

“The last year has been difficult for everyone, and as a tourist attraction and an independent charity, we’ve been hit hard,” said Mr Ralls, Trust Chief Executive. Some of our attractions have been closed for more than 12 months now, and while we have a robust recovery plan in place to ensure each of our 10 museums has a strong future, severely reduced visitor numbers over the last year have left our reserves severely depleted. Given that 80 per cent of our revenue comes from ticket sales and visitor spending, this funding is a lifeline and will help us replace some – but not all – of that lost income, giving us some much-needed stability. This financial boost is not only vital for us, but for the wider community and local tourism economy – the local hotels, cafes and B&Bs that rely on trade from our visitors to survive.”

Mr Ralls revealed that some of the money will be used to install a new lighting system at Blists Hill Victorian Town that will allow the outdoor attraction, which is running at a reduced capacity, to open for longer during the autumn and winter, with an exciting programme of evening events planned for later on in the year. “Being able to offer people the chance to see Blists Hill lit up in the evening with our new lighting will add a new dimension to the special atmosphere people know and love. Culturally, we’re proud custodians of the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and we’re one of only 32 World Heritage Sites in the UK. We’re responsible for 35 historic buildings and structures in the Gorge and that the maintenance and keeping these buildings secure comes with considerable costs. There’s a real sense of history as you come through the Gorge, its importance cannot be underestimated and we’re very conscious that we have a duty to our visitors, the region and the nation to ensure we’re able to give people the best experience possible when they are with us – and this funding will ensure we’re allowed to continue to do so.”

The Trust recently announced it would be reopening Blists Hill to visitors at weekends only, kicking off on April 17 – 18, with a special celebration of steam weekend. Tickets need to be pre-booked ahead of time at http://www.ironbridge.org.uk. The ever-popular Furnace Kitchen, Coalbrookdale will also reopen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for takeaway and outdoor table service from April 16 onwards.

“We can’t wait to welcome people back through our doors and we know our visitors are desperate to get out and about again. Being immersed in culture and heritage lifts the spirits and has an important part to play in the wellbeing recovery of the nation.”

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced. Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded in Round 2 is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.