Guidance on reopening museums
Reopening guidance for the museum sector was published by National Museums Directors’ Council (NMDC) and Association of Independent Museums (AIM) in July 2020. These guidelines are periodically updated when new Government guidance becomes available so please ensure you continue to check back regularly for new updates.
England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in this guidance.
The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021‘ setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how restrictions will be eased over time. From 8 March some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will be changing.
‘NMDC Good Practice Guidelines on Opening Museums After July 4th’
Published by NMDC with support from DCMS and the Museums and Galleries Working Group, these guidelines are intended to help employers, employees and the self-employed, and volunteers in the museum sector in England understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines should:
- provide a set of practical considerations museums will want to work through before a museum is ready to reopen
- be used in conjunction with COVID-safe guidelines published by HM Government, and is intended to enhance, not supplant existing regulations
- sit alongside and inform existing business practices and standard structures museums already consider when managing risk and conducting business planning activities
To read more and to download the guidance click here.
EMBED has produced Reopening Recommendations Support Services which is a live document in identifying barriers and implementing actions for disabled and neurodivergent people as organisations reopen, read more in Other guidance and support below.
AIM and Museum Development Network (MDN) Checklist
AIM and MDN have produced a checklist to be used in conjunction with the NMDC Guidelines. These are designed to help museums take a strategic, well informed approach to making decisions on reopening and implementing a safe and effective plan in conjunction with the national guidance for museums.
You can work through the AIM / MDN checklist via the links on the AIM website here.
The checklist does not tell you exactly how your reopened museum should operate – individual circumstances will vary enormously – it is intended to help you develop your reopening plans and provides you with a methodology to follow.
Depending on the nature of your operation, you may also look to draw on other government guidance. The NMDC Guidelines references other guidance relevant to museums, including that for heritage, workplaces, shops and accessing green spaces.
NHS Test and Trace
Museums and heritage organisations have been asked to collect contact details of their visitors to help the NHS Test and Trace service in the national effort to contain and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Read more here.
Ticketing for Museums and Galleries
Digital Culture Network has produced a guidance for museums and galleries to introduce a timed ticketing operation to comply with the latest government guidance on reopening.
The guide covers topics such as free to use ticketing platform recommendations, managing visitor capacity numbers, NHS Test and Trace data capture and storage and website integration and accessibility. It also provides ticketing solution examples in the sector. You can download a copy of the guide here.
Wider government advice
The government has published wider guidance to be used in conjunction with sector specific guidance. The working safely during coronavirus guidance in different settings now includes:
Guidance for DCMS sectors in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the government website here.
You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules. Check if your business or venue can open.
Other guidance and support
The ‘EMBED Reopening Recommendation’ guidance, created in collaboration with the Disability Collaborative Network (DCN) and the School of Health Sciences University of East Anglia, 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.
Bletchley Park has published its Visitor Risk Assessment as a guide for other museums. All museums using this as a template must adapt it to incorporate their site specific criteria. View the risk assessment.
The Audience Agency has developed Bounce Forwards, innovation services to help you re-group, re-open, and re-imagine. In its recent survey, colleagues asked The Audience Agency to help them anticipate changes, looking particularly at what audiences and communities want next; how to harness digital; when and how to re-open; the new business models we need. Informed by its work on resilience, The Audience Agency has designed a package of accessible support and insight to help you to innovate in the face of new challenges. To bounce forwards, not back. Click here to learn more.
The Heritage Alliance’s new Heritage Digital project offers free training, masterclasses and guides to help heritage organisations make digital work for them. Keep informed of all upcoming webinars, events and resources by registering on the Heritage Digital website.
Kid in Museums have produced a guide to how museums can provide a quality experience for children and families when they reopen with social distancing measures. Read it here.
Toilets play an important part in the visitor experience, what should you take into consideration for reopening. Watch this webinar
Visit Britain launch the ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard. You can now apply for a free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance. Find out more here
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. Read it here
South East Museums Development Reopening Museums Toolkit aims to support museums during the early stages of planning. The Toolkit provides practical advice and offers questions for museums to work through to help define their recovery pans. Find out more here
London Museum Development have produced a list of articles and resources to help museums that are currently planning for re-opening. Find out more here
Share Museum East have published two risk assessment templates to cover reopening, one for site works and one for inside premises. These have been produced by Ian Reed of the SHARE Heritage Engineering Network. They can also be found on the SHARE website Resources section at http://www.sharemuseumseast.org.uk/resources-2/share-resources/ – under “Leadership, Governance & Resilience Resources”
Heritage Volunteering Group (HVG) have been working with DCMS on new guidance to support Covid Secure Volunteering. This guidance has new been published and that you can access it here
International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Museums and end of lockdown: Ensuring the safety of the public and staff. While National regulations vary depending on the specific evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICOM have published some basic measures that can be taken to protect the health of both visitors and staff. Read the full article here
Post Covid-19 – reopening museums around the world. Watch the ICOM webinar from 25 June.
International examples provided by DCMS updated 25 June
- Belgium – Museums reopened 19 May. Old Masters Museum protective measures here.
- France – Museums reopened from 2 June. The Louvre plans to reopen on 6 July with strict rules for social distancing and 70% of the museum open to the public.
- Germany – Museums reopening. The Museumsbund, Brandenburg museums association and the Saxony region have published guidelines.
- Ireland – Museums will reopen as part of phase 3 – 29 June with safety measures in place.
- Italy – Museums reopened from 18 May with social distancing measures, including buying tickets in advance, wearing a mask, and clearly indicating routes to take.
- Netherlands – reopened from 01/06. Dutch museums association reopening protocol.
- USA – American Alliance of Museums has published information and some basic guidelines including a collection of sample museum reopening plans.
NEMO Museums in Europe during the covid-19 crisis
Map of museums prepared by NEMO that gives a quick overview of European countries’ plans to re-open museums to the public.
Global museum reopening summary
Visual representation of reopening of museums. Tweet by Ben Melham.
Museum Development Network (MDN)
Colleagues from across MDN have also collated resources from across the globe. View the full list here (please note this page was compiled w/c 13 May 2020)
The National Archives
The National Archives have published some principles and operational factors that an archive service should take into account when planning for its re-opening. Read more here
Public Sentiment Trackers
You can track public sentiments, both nationally and internationally, around COVID-19 that are relevant to visitor attractions:
ALVA Attractions Recovery Tracker
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has published the results of Wave 3 of its Attractions Recovery Tracker with insights into public attitudes towards returning to visitor attractions.
Wave 3 9-12 June: Read the full report here
Previous versions can be found below
YouGov has a range of trackers to monitor global opinions and behaviours to a range of COVID-19 related issues.
Visit website here