Balancing Optimism with Realism – AIM Report on COVID Survey

In January 2022, the Association of Independent Museums surveyed its members on the immediate impact of the Omicron variant and related strengthening of restrictions in all nations of the UK over the Christmas and New Year season. AIM received almost 200 responses.

These responses show a picture of a sector looking ahead to the rest of winter and the rest of the year largely expecting to survive financially, but with significant concerns about visitor figures and income throughout 2022, and a need for support with core funding, capital (including maintenance) projects, one-off projects, and particularly to support staff resilience and wellbeing.

The detailed report can be downloaded here:

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. 

Industrial Heritage Sites Receive Share of Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund

Three industrial heritage sites were amongst 22 heritage projects to receive further pandemic financial support in February 2021. The grants, awarded through the National Heritage Lottery’s Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund, will help revive heritage sites impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). Regeneration and maintenance projects that were planned before the pandemic, and are facing delays or increased costs, can now resume for the successful organisations. The Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund is distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund package.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “These are all ongoing major refurbishment and restoration projects, funded by us, which have been threatened by the pandemic. From the oldest surviving outdoor swimming baths to a Victorian pier, and from a much-loved park to an historic abbey, these are all places that will enrich hundreds of lives when they reopen. We are delighted this extra funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that these exciting projects will go ahead.”

The Black Country Living Museum receives the single largest grant, of £3,740,000, towards the largest development in its 46-year history to create historical areas spanning the 1940s–1960s, as well as a new visitor centre. The museum is currently operating as a vaccination centre, but when the development starts, it will create new opportunities for work and skills development in the local area.

The North Yorkshire Moors Historic Railway Trust receives a grant of £296,000 for their for their Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project. The project will see major restorations of the Goathland Station bridges, expansion of the railway’s conservation and heritage apprenticeship programmes, improvement to their lineside ecological conservation work, and improved access for disabled visitors.

The third industrial heritage site to receive an award is the Beamish Museum. They receive a grant of £975,500 to be used for the restart and completion of the major Remaking Beamish project, which includes a 1950s Town, 1950s Farm, and expansion of the 1820s area. The 1950s Town includes houses, shops, a café, cinema, and playground. Aged miners’ homes will provide a centre for people living with dementia, older people, and their families and carers.

Further details of the fund’s recipients can found here: £13.5million to kickstart 22 heritage projects | The National Lottery Heritage Fund