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.
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
Want to know how to get your industrial archaeology and heritage work published and make an impact with your research? The Association for Industrial Archaeology Young Members Board are hosting a one hour seminar with speakers from Publishers Taylor & Francis alongside the Editors of the Industrial Archaeology Review on 23rd April 2021. This will be followed by a 30 minute Q & A where you get to ask the experts!
This free event is aimed at students and early-career professionals in the fields of history, heritage, archaeology, and engineering, but it will also be a great event for anyone, especially industrial archaeology and heritage volunteers, who wants to brush up on academic publishing best practice.
The second online Industrial Heritage Network meeting was held on 20th November 2020 by the North West IHN group. 15 people joined that meeting. Shane Gould of Historic England talked about current developments relating to Industrial Heritage. The current IHSO, Mike Nevell, then brought everyone up-to-date with the project and some of the impacts of COVID-19.
Mike noted that in October, 10 industrial heritage organisations in North West England received £1.21 million from the Cultural Recovery Fund. This was split into £0.41m from Arts Council England and £0.8m from Historic England. The grants were to support a variety of industrial heritage sites including the British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Catalyst, Leigh Building Preservation Trust, and the Ribble Steam Railway.
Members then discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their work from volunteering to maintenance and visitor numbers. Only 50% of protected industrial heritage sites in England open to the public were able to re-open their doors after the first pandemic. More than 50 sites decided in July and August not to open at all during 2020. Most of these were smaller, largely volunteer-run, industrial heritage sites.
In general IHN NW members recorded no drop-off in volunteer numbers and enthusiasm, despite the first lockdown and continuing restrictions across much of the North West. Tim Kirker of the Calderdale Industrial Museum noted that although the museum was closed in the first lockdown, volunteers were keen to return once it re-opened. Anthony Pilling of the Heritage Trust for the North West also noted a strong desire by volunteers to continue to help, even during lockdown and even though some of their sites remained closed after July. Tony Nixon of Bancroft Mills also observed that whilst they were unable to open to the public after the first lockdown the entirely volunteer-run museum has continued to function with strong volunteer support. Andrew Fielding of ECOSAL commented that virtual meetings were a very useful way of staying in contact with volunteers and that such meetings were not only financially beneficial, but also reached a wider audience.
Finally, Mike Nevell noted that during the first lockdown the UK Government had issued guidelines for safe COVID-19 working by volunteers and that Historic England had issued specific guidance on adapting heritage sites for safe COVID-19 working. There is a link to the latter on the IHSO website site.
As announced in the summer of 2020, the Industrial Heritage Network meetings have gone online. The first online meeting was held on 25th October 2020 by the IHN London group. 18 people joined that meeting and the current IHSO, Michael Nevell, brought everyone up-to-date with the project and some of the impacts of COVID-19. Shane Gould of Historic England and Helen O’Hara of London Museum Development talked about current developments relating to Industrial Heritage and resources available to London-based groups.
Mike noted that in October, 18 industrial heritage organisations in London & the South East received £4.67 million from the Cultural Recovery Fund. This was split into £1.32m from Arts Council England and £3.35m from Historic England. The grants were to support a variety of industrial heritage sites including the Kent & East Sussex Railway, London Transport Museum, and Waltham Abbey. Members then discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their work from volunteering to maintenance and visitor numbers.
One of the themes to emerge from the two hour meeting was the role of new online communication and interaction, this being the first IHN to meet online via the ZOOM platform. As part of this discussion, Oliver Pearcy from the London Museum of Water and Steam noted that they had been using an online booking system for visitors post-lockdown. Martin Wicks from the Kempton Steam Museum reported that they had been using an Instagram account to reach out and engage with members of the public. And Mary Mills of the Greenwich Industrial Historical Group noted that they had used a variety of online forms of communication during lockdown which had produced a good response from members and non-members. There was also some debate about the value of online meetings versus in person, experiential, meetings, many people noting that the two serve slightly different purposes and audiences.
With that in mind, the next IHN London meeting, online, will be in 2021. Hopefully an in-person meeting with remote access, will follow later in 2021.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are running an online survey to help them develop guidance for volunteer-involving organisations, groups, and bodies based in England. This is so that volunteering can be done safely and effectively during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of this guidance development, DCMS are inviting employees and volunteers from volunteer-involving organisations, groups, and bodies to complete a short survey, the results of which will be used to help ensure this guidance effectively meets the needs of its users. The deadline for completing the survey is 5pm on Monday 12 October. Responses are restricted to individuals and organisations in England.