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DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 18 Oct 21

Below is a link to download the latest coronavirus PDF bulletin from DCMS for the museums and galleries sector, containing links to government information and advice, including:

  • The BBC, together with museums, galleries, libraries and archives, has announced The Art That Made Us festival, which will take place in February 2022. Further info is here



The Climate Museum is the first of its kind in the U.S. — and its founder is on a mission

This article was first published by The Washington Post.

That morning, the last of July, Massie, the founder and director of the Climate Museum, stood in an old military officer’s house on Governors Island, one of the emerald studs in New York City’s shimmering harbor necklace.

First, she rehung a giant orange poster that had fallen overnight. Then she stepped outside, answered a question from a volunteer, another from a staff member, scraped a Dole sticker off a bunch of organic bananas set out for future visitors, tucked on a baseball cap, posed for a picture and quickly shifted gears, her eyes flashing when asked about the fossil fuel industry’s role in climate change.

“Their disinformation has delayed action, resulting in the mayhem we see. But just as there are bad actors isn’t the point, the community and art and coming together we are facilitating today isn’t the point either,” she said, lighting up as she continued to explain.

“The point is to stop their influence on policy. How can you explain their influence on climate policy to a rational person?” She paused. “You can’t.”

Massie was on Governors Island that day to launch a poster campaign called “Beyond Lies,” a collaboration between the museum and Mona Chalabi, data editor at the Guardian US, as well as a journalist and illustrator. The campaign explores the culpability of the fossil fuel industry in stalling climate action.

This mission — better informing the public about the industry’s actions over the last few decades — is a piece of Massie’s larger project with the Climate Museum, which is the first of its kind in the United States.

In the last several years, the organization has had about 80,000 visits to its in-person programming — probably an underestimate, as it’s impossible to know how many people come across a public art installation. It has always aspired to bring discussions about climate change out of the science silo to the broader public. Since its inception in 2015, though, the institution has transformed from an organization using art to raise awareness about climate change to an institution focused on the intersection of art, climate science, justice and activism — and how each can be used in service of the others to urge meaningful climate action in our political system and our culture.

Rather than building an explicitly educational space or a climate-art gallery, Massie has created a museum that aims to make people feel that collective action is both possible and necessary, and the only hope we have of saving the planet.

“The real change comes in what people feel in relation to each other, and in relation to their own capacity, their own agency in the world,” she said. “That’s where the transformation comes, and that’s when people are able to decide to act.”

But Massie used to be like so many of us, kind of. She avoided reading climate change news. For years, she repeatedly rented but never got around to watching “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s 2006 documentary about climate change, because she feared the resulting sense of dread would be overwhelming. And in her one small act of youthful rebellion against her Earth-conscious father, she decided that environmentalism was “the province of the privileged — for people who didn’t have more pressing and immediate concerns.”

But she had the nagging sense that climate change was going to come into her life eventually. If she watched the movie, she thought, she knew deep down she’d have to give up everything else she was doing to try to change the world.

Before that happened, Massie tried to change the world in a different way: She worked as a civil rights attorney and public interest lawyer, fighting for civil rights, affirmative action, environmental justice, immigrant justice and disability rights in Detroit and New York.

But as the crisis inched closer, Massie felt like she couldn’t avoid it anymore.

Starting in 2008, she was working on environmental justice issues in New York. Her main case was about the city’s public schools, where PCBs — highly toxic industrial compounds that can result in severe developmental and neurological problems with prolonged exposure in fetuses, infants and young children — were leaking from light fixtures into several hundred classrooms, including one led by a pregnant teacher.

While fighting that case, she said, she recognized “that without the right and the ability to thrive in your environment, all other claims to equality, all other civil rights, are at best much more difficult to enforce and, at worst, kind of irrelevant.”

In 2012, she further bore witness up close to the reality of environmental justice and the destruction of climate change in the form of Hurricane Sandy. Those events also coincided with a major professional setback — being turned down for a leadership role at her public interest law organization — which taught her not to be afraid of failing in public.

The confluence of those different story lines pushed her to become, rather suddenly, someone completely committed to climate issues. She became someone who, without curatorial training or a background in art, climate science, public education or fundraising, quit her job and changed careers, taking on a significant risk to start the country’s first museum dedicated to climate change.

Getting it off the ground — putting together exhibitions and programming, raising nearly $4 million, amassing grants from the Mellon Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with governmental grants — hasn’t been easy work. But close observers say that if anyone can do it, it’s Massie, though she is practically allergic to centering herself in the narrative or taking credit for almost anything the museum has achieved.

Peter Knight, an early adviser to the Climate Museum and chair of its board, said of Massie, “Many of us in public service are trying to figure out our highest and best use. The fact that she could pivot at that point in her life to say, ‘I was doing some important things, but my highest best use could and should be to solve this problem,’ … well, it’s hard to put into words, but that takes a great deal of courage to do.”

In 2015, the Climate Museum was born.

But this past summer, that day in July at the old officer’s home, it felt a bit like a party. There was music by Dr. Drum, an Afro Rican bomba drummer and social justice activist from the Bronx, joined by two bandmates. Student volunteers from local high schools handed out smaller versions of the posters to passersby for them to read at their leisure or, preferably, to take home and hang in their own neighborhood or share with others. All of the posters are also downloadable, so people everywhere can participate in the campaign.

It was the museum’s first event since the coronavirus pandemic stalled previous plans for exhibitions and opportunities to bring people together to learn and organize for climate action in person. Massie, with a shock of so-white-it’s-almost-purple hair atop a petite frame, was thrilled by how many people stopped by the event, including many who had never heard of the museum before, engaging with her brand of climate activism for the first time.

The Climate Museum still doesn’t have a physical location, though Massie hopes to move into a permanent home in New York in the next few years. The Trust for Governors Island, a nonprofit created by the city to manage and develop the former military base for greater public use, has granted the museum a seasonal exhibition space.

Since each project or exhibition is a negotiation for space and funding, the museum has managed to stay nimble, which was an asset during the pandemic — the staff already knew how to leverage their following and their online presence to engage the community Massie calls “the climate curious” — a group of people identified by researchers as those who are interested in and “freaked out” about climate change, but don’t have anyone to talk to about it.

Part of the museum’s ability to adapt, close observers say, comes from the example Massie sets for the organization. Sloan Leo, an artist and community designer who has worked for years in the world of environmental and social justice nonprofits, said of Massie, “She is willing to fail without judgment. She is open not just for pushback but also critique as a way to improve,” they said. “She is a very rare bird.”

The museum’s success also derives from Massie’s unique ability to engage and inspire. Those who encounter the museum sense that there is work to be done that they, particularly and specifically, can do.

Maggie O’Donnell started as a curatorial intern at the Climate Museum in 2019 after graduating from college, and has stayed to work at the museum since then. She now serves as the research and program coordinator. O’Donnell was previously inclined toward environmentalism and climate action, though she viewed her activism as “more personal,” she said.

Working at the museum, specifically as a docent during the “Taking Action” exhibition, changed how she thought of collective action and movement building, she said. The way that the Climate Museum practices engaging new communities and bringing people along is “not forceful, but a celebration of where people are at on their climate journeys and how can we help you take action and feel part of something bigger than yourself.”

The act of gathering is one thing that generally makes people feel part of something bigger than themselves, and assembling has been difficult during the pandemic. But the museum found a way by putting together a series of virtual panel discussions recorded and uploaded to YouTube entitled “Talking Climate,” covering everything from climate law to displacement, to public health and the food system. According to Massie, 85 percent of viewers surveyed said it would make them take some form of action on climate change.

But one of the museum’s most successful events — in terms of public engagement and press attention, at least — was its 2018 show, “Climate Signals.”

For that, the museum worked with Justin Brice Guariglia, an artist and photographer, and placed solar-powered LED highway signs — far away from roadways so as not to distract drivers — with varying messages about climate change in locations around all five boroughs of New York City. In partnership with neighborhood groups, it targeted locations where the city is especially vulnerable to sea level rise.

Massie also wanted to ensure that the installations drew attention to the social and environmental injustices, placing signs in neighborhoods where people of color experience disproportionately higher temperatures and more pollution than White neighborhoods, as well as sites in Lower Manhattan and Wall Street — icons of global finance and wealth.

For several months, people could see in the languages most commonly spoken in each neighborhood — English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French — signs heralding warnings and messages about climate change: “Climate Change at Work,” “No Icebergs Ahead,” “Alt Facts End Now,” “Abolish Coal-onialism,” “End Climate Injustice,” “Vote Eco Logically” and others.

One day the staff sent scientists out to stand at some of the signs and answer questions visitors might have about climate change. They anticipated questions about climate science. Most of what they got, however, were questions like, “What can I do to make a difference?”

That, Massie said — along with her own evolution as the world hurtles ever faster toward mass extinctions, rising sea levelsincreasingly furious forest fires and more — helped change what she wanted to accomplish with the museum.

“Art is built into who we are and how we’re communal,” she said. “We always try to bring art and science together, and without the science, we’d be nowhere. … But it’s not as important for people to learn the details of climate science as it is for them to feel connected in the human project of changing the world.”

On the Front Line: Arctic Museums and Climate Change – free virtual symposium 2 Nov 21

Coinciding with COP26, a virtual symposium will convene speakers from museums located in or representing the Arctic to address climate change and the imminent threat it poses to the indigenous communities they serve.

Two sessions cover the impact of climate change on indigenous communities and the collections and programmes that explore indigenous ways of life, with panelist from museums in Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Sápmi, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There will also be a keynote from Dr. Jago Cooper and Dr. Amber Lincoln who recently organised the exhibition ‘Arctic Culture and Climate’, with moderation from NMS Director Dr Chris Breward.

The event is hosted by the National Nordic Museum in partnership with the Alliance of American Museums, NMDC, and the International Council of Museums.

The event takes place on 2nd November from 3 – 5pm GMT, and the programme will be published by 12th October.

Tickets are free. https://www.nordicmuseum.org/product/6271 – link to register.

Tate Modern: Power to Change, a week of events in the run-up to COP26

This article was first published by FAD magazine.

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Tate Modern will stage Power to Change, a weekend of free events, installations, and workshops, to energise and empower the public to take positive action in response to the climate emergency. Running Friday 29th to Sunday 31st October and supported by the AKO Foundation, Power to Change features a major outdoor artwork by US artist Jenny Holzer and a host of inspiring activities for all ages, as well as a dedicated Tate Late.

A powerful public light projection by artist Jenny Holzer will headline the weekend’s events – illuminating Tate Modern’s chimney from 17:30 to 22.00 each evening with a collection of inspiring and expert testimony from activists, leaders and many others addressing the climate crisis. Co-curated and produced by Artwise Curators and Shore Art Advisory, this new work is presented in collaboration with Art For Your World, a movement by WWF to engage the art world in the fight against climate change. Inside the galleries, visitors will be invited to get involved in hands-on activities and workshops, meet climate experts, listen to Ten Minute Talks, attend free film screenings, and sample food and drink from a bespoke sustainability-themed menu.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said: 

“Throughout history, art has been a catalyst for change, helping to imagine the world as it could be. As we grapple with the climate emergency, Tate Modern has a critical responsibility to amplify the voices of artists, to visualise a positive climate future and drive social change. So, on the eve of COP26, we are delighted to be hosting an incredible group of organisations, artists, designers, industry leaders and sustainable practitioners for a joyous and inspiring weekend of positive action.”

During the final weekend of October half-term, Tate Modern’s new free family programme, UNIQLO Tate Play, will also invite visitors of all ages to join Reimagination Now! Offering climate-themed activities, the programme will explore how food and horticulture, digital coding and movement can help us re-imagine a positive climate future.

Additional highlights across the weekend include:

  • Tate Modern’s Late on 29 October will stage Eco Exchanges offering the opportunity to meet and learn from climate experts including nature allied psychotherapist Beth Collier, slow fashion expert Justine Porterie, entrepreneur Josephine Philips, designer Christopher Raeburn, activist Guppi Bola and beekeeper Carole Wright. This special Tate Late will bring back Tap Takeover, with an exciting collaboration led by Toast Ale, featuring 25 breweries in the run up to COP26 as well as the original Climate Club with Adapt – join their people’s pledge, climate speed-dating extravaganza with music and special guests.
  • Film screenings of two works by Emilija Škarnulyt? and New Mineral Collective will be presented in the Starr cinema throughout the weekend (Pleasure Prospects and Sirenomelia). Alongside, a never-seen-before installation by the artist, Eternal Return, will take place in the South Tank exploring scientific conditions and technologies related to deep-sea mining and ocean mapping.
  • Drop-in workshops themed around re-use and re-cycling, including an illustration workshop with artist educator Sam Ayre and writer and organic food grower Claire Ratinon re-using discarded items from Tate Modern. Forest Recycling Project will be running an upcycling textiles workshop, inviting visitors to create their own brooches. Alongside, social enterprise Re-Sole will show how we can make a real impact on climate and community through our footwear.
  • Ten Minute Talks exploring specific works within Tate’s collections of art that connect to the themes of sustainability, climate justice and nature, delivered by Tate staff and its network of volunteers as well as members of the local community.
  • A pop-up Sustainable English Mezze menu will be available in the Tanks, alongside drop-in zero food waste cooking demonstrations.

Alongside the Power to Change weekend, Tate Modern’s current exhibitions and displays feature many artists whose work connects to these themes. They include Anicka Yi’s Hyundai Commission, opening in the Turbine Hall on 12 October, which reflects Yi’s ongoing interest in biochemistry, ecology, and the relationship between humans, machines, and the natural world. On the South Terrace, Ackroyd & Harvey’s installation of 100 oak trees also creates a place to rethink our connections with nature. Seven of these saplings will be permanently planted in the local area around Tate Modern next month.

Further artworks addressing climate change and sustainability can be found throughout Tate Modern’s free displays. On Level 2, visitors can trace the impact of industrial activity on the natural world in Photography & Environment. On Level 3, A Year in Art: Australia 1992includes Bonita Ely’s work exploring plans to mine uranium in the Northern Territory and the environmental campaigns ignited by the Mirrar people. On Level 4, a sound installation by Oswaldo Maciá incorporates two thousand birdsongs from around the world, drawing attention to invisible narratives and natural phenomena.

Tate declared a climate and ecological emergency in July 2019, recognising the unique role art and art museums can play in creating fundamental societal change. As an institution, Tate has reduced its carbon emissions by 40% from a baseline year of 2007/8 and is committed to reaching 50% by 2023 and net-zero by 2030. More information about Tate’s progress on sustainability can be found online

Natural History Museum and Science Museum begin moves to show off hidden collections in new countryside venues

This article was first published by inews.

A visit to the Natural History Museum affords visitors a look at just 1 per cent of the institution’s collections. This is a familiar tale at many of the UK’s major cultural institutions, with innumerable treasures hidden away in antiquated storage facilities unfit for the rigours of modern conservation.

To combat this, an ever-growing band of museums are migrating many of their objects to new rural locations – and in doing so, aiming to reinvent how the public interacts with the nation’s heritage.

Having occupied the same South Kensington haunt since 1886, the Natural History Museum is in the throes of a painstaking process to study, catalogue, digitise, pack and transport 27 million objects from London to a new £182m home in Oxfordshire’s Harwell Campus, a business park on the edge of the North Wessex Downs.

This move liberates two of the museum’s largest galleries from use as auxiliary storerooms and will enable the museum to make a much greater percentage of its collections accessible to online audiences – which have been growing steadily since the first UK lockdown.

Rehoming around a third of its artefacts is critical for “unlocking the collection in terms of public access, but also analytically to aid scientific research”, Tim Littlewood, the Natural History Museum’s executive director of science, tells i.

“Even for someone like me, who as a child wanted to be Jacques Cousteau, it is still exciting to open a drawer that contains 19th century Papua New Guinea or 18th century Scotland. We want to share the joy of our collections with as many people as possible – wherever they are.”

The Science Museum Group is another heavyweight transferring swathes of its collections to greener pastures. More than 300,000 objects are being moved to its National Collections Centre in Wiltshire, on the site of a former RAF airfield near Swindon, by 2024. The first items arrived in June this year.

Public tours will take place at a new purpose-built facility, Building One, which has been constructed on a 545-acre plot housing native woodland and one of the UK’s largest solar farms. This state-of-the-art structure is a world away from the archaic Blythe House stores that the Science Museum presently shares with the V&A and the British Museum.

The new site was “built with access in mind” and gives the public “opportunity to see thousands of amazing objects together in one place – not curated as part of a particular exhibition”, according to Laura Humphreys, the Science Museum’s curatorial and collections engagement manager.

Building One also offers a glimpse of the future for heritage conservation. Meticulous humidity controls in a facility powered by photovoltaic roof panels and biomass boilers will provide bespoke care for artefacts while minimising the site’s carbon footprint.

The climate crisis is a key driver for museums across the world hurriedly shipping items out of cities. After the river Seine in Paris came precariously close to bursting its banks in 2016 and 2018, the Louvre relocated 150,000 items from dozens of outdated facilities to a new €60m (£51m) conservation centre in northern France.

This summer’s flooding in London served as a reminder of just how vulnerable many items are here in Britain. Lessons of the past point to the capital offering up meagre resistance to nature’s power: in January 1928 an overflowing Thames swamped the Tate Britain stores, leaving a myriad of artworks lost to future generations.

Engendering a greater connection between the public and items held in storage remains the primary motivator behind museums making these significant moves, however, and the National Army Museum in Chelsea, west London, provides a sanguine prototype of how to achieve this goal.

Pre-pandemic, the organisation had begun a “Tour the Stores” initiative, inviting members of the public to explore the vast arsenal of items housed at its Collections Centre in Hertfordshire.

“People never fail to be amazed when they discover we have pieces of the Berlin Wall in Stevenage,” says Terri Dendy, the museum’s head of collections standards and care, who led the tours – all of which sold out.

“It’s a great method of engaging with the community away from the shiny displays of the museum.” She hopes that the events will be reprised when Covid concerns abate further. “A really important aspect is also that it’s a fundamental right, as a taxpayer, to have access to national collections,” she says. “You shouldn’t have to fill out reams of paperwork and justify your reasons.”

Items going on show

Objects that will be freely accessible to the public at Science Museum’s National Collections Centre near Swindon highlight the quality and variety of items squirrelled away in storerooms throughout the country.

Academic papers and personal objects from the office of Professor Stephen Hawking are currently being processed following their arrival in Wiltshire. Acquired by the Science Museum earlier this year, items set to be displayed include the renowned physicist’s personalised wheelchairs, scripts from his appearance in The Simpsons and scientific bets that Hawking signed with a thumbprint.

The work of another pioneer, Sir Christopher Cockerell, will also be on show for visitors to the National Collections Centre. The engineer’s most famous creation, the world’s first hovercraft, will be flanked by a range of his other inventions.

Researchers and those on public tours of the Natural History Museum’s new facility in Oxfordshire can expect to encounter specimens of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the heft of whale remains to a microscopic ‘water bear’ capable of surviving in outer space.

Much of the institution’s focus is on digital access, however, with almost five million specimens already having been digitised and made openly accessible via its Data Portal. More than 27 billion records have been downloaded since the platform was launched.

Taking online access in a slightly more playful direction, the Science Museum’s Never Been Seen website enables anyone to access a randomly generated item housed in its collection – each of which has never before been viewed by another member of the public.

Royal College of Music Museum opens as a new interactive experience

This article was first published by MuseumNext.

The Royal College of Music Museum opened this month and is part of the college’s £40m four-year campus transformation project.

Since 2017, the College’s iconic Grade II listed South Kensington home – with neighbours on the nearby Exhibition Road including the V&A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum –  has nearly doubled in capacity, with the museum including new exhibition and performance spaces, a triple height atrium and a new café.

The Royal College of Music Museum received a £3.6million investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2015 and the redevelopment has included its old building being demolished and a new museum built in its place.

Interactive experience

Founded in 1882, the Royal College of Music (RCM) is a world leading music conservatoire and the new museum offers visitors an interactive experience with regular performances by RCM musicians and the opportunity to create music in its new Weston Discovery Centre.

“The Royal College of Music Museum is a wonderful addition to London’s cultural scene and it will not be a quiet, stuffy place but a space filled with music,” said Professor Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the Royal College of Music Museum and Professor of Material Culture and Music. “As well as visitors, I am excited to offer our students the unique experience of having such a rich collection on-site, as well as conservation work and historical performances, to complement their education.”

500 years of musical history

Visitors have the unique opportunity to interact with more than 500 years of musical history. Items on permanent display include the world’s oldest guitar and earliest keyboard instrument with strings, along with 56 other fascinating instruments specially chosen from the Royal College of Music’s designated collection of over 15,000 items to bring musical history to life.

The new Royal College of Music Museum brings public access to the heart of the historic institution through three key areas – Music is Creation, Music is Craft and Music is Performance – each exploring phases of the creative process from the birth of a new idea, its realisation through craftsmanship, to performance.

Digitisation centre and digital offer

Prof Rossi Rognoni said the original instruments are played occasionally but cannot be played too often so the museum has created a dedicated digitisation centre to enable digital technology to enhance the learning and visitor experience.

The Museum collection is publicly available in several free specially curated digital exhibitions that explore the core collection and spotlight particular items, composers and themes represented strongly in the Museum.

Also available online is the RCM Library’s extensive collection; together, the Royal College of Music’s Museum and Library collections were awarded prestigious designated status by Arts Council England in recognition of their outstanding cultural significance.

Story through art

The Museum is also able to tell its story through art, including an iconic portrait of Farinelli and a Tischbein featuring an instrument from the collection displayed alongside.

A series of portraits by celebrated German artist Milein Cosman will be on display to the public for the first time in the Lavery Gallery, featuring intimate sketches of RCM alumni Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst and Amaryllis Fleming, alongside many other composers and musicians.

The Royal College of Music Museum will also host a programme of temporary exhibition where visitors can learn how art and music came together with the first Musical Portraits in Bohemian London (1870-1930).

In Bohemeian London, Kensington was home to a lively social circle of famous artists and musicians and through their friendships they inspired each other in new, creative ways. Artists such as Birmingham’s Edward Burne-Jones and Florence-born American John Singer Sargent painted portraits and designed posters of musicians including Jan Paderewski and George Henschel.

Equally, composers who were exposed to the Pre-Raphaelite movement were inspired to write new music and many performed in artists’ studios.

Education and learning spaces

The Royal College of Music Museum provides unparalleled insights into music history for the public and is also an important additional learning space for RCM students. Musicians studying at the renowned institution will have access to the instruments and resident experts, complimenting their research and study with first-hand experience. The new Wolfson Centre in Music & Material Culture will house more of the Museum’s collection and facilitate on-site conservation work.

Students will be able to volunteer for museum-led educational activities aimed at primary, secondary and home-educated children.

The temporary exhibition will run until 8 January 2022. Admission to the museum is free but a ticketing system is in operation and tickets can be booked on the website.

Indonesian museum made from plastic bottles and bags highlights marine crisis

This article was first published by Reuters.

Environmentalists in Indonesia keen to send a message about the world’s worsening ocean plastics crisis have created a museum made entirely from plastics, to convince people to rethink their habits and say no to single-use bags and bottles.

The outdoor exhibition in the town of Gresik in east Java took three months to assemble and is made up of more than 10,000 plastic waste items, from bottles and bags to sachets and straws, all collected from polluted rivers and beaches.

The centrepiece is a statue called “Dewi Sri”, a goddess of prosperity widely worshipped by the Javanese. Her long skirt is made from single-use sachets of household items.

“We want to send information to the people to stop the use of single-use plastic,” said the museum’s founder Prigi Arisandi.

“These plastics are very difficult to recycle… Starting today, we should stop consuming single-use plastic because it will pollute our ocean, which is also our source of food.”

People walk through “Terowongan 4444” or 4444 tunnel, built from plastic bottles collected from several rivers around the city in three years, at the plastic museum constructed by Indonesia’s environmental activist group Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON) in Gresik regency near Surabaya, East Java province, Indonesia, September 28, 2021. Picture taken September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Prasto Wardoyo

The plastics problem is particularly acute in Indonesia, an archipelago nation that ranks second only behind China for its volume of plastics that end up in the seas.

Together with the Philippines and Vietnam, the four countries are responsible for more than half of ocean plastics and Indonesian efforts to regulate use of plastic packaging has had mixed results.

The exhibition has received more than 400 visitors since it opened early last month.

Ahmad Zainuri, a student, said it had opened his eyes to the scale of the problem.

“I will switch to a tote bag and when I buy a drink, I will use a tumbler,” he said.

The museum has become a popular location for selfies shared widely on social media, where visitors pose against a background of thousands of suspended water bottles.

“I will have to buy reusable things such as drinking bottles instead of buying plastic bottles,” said student Ayu Chandra Wulan. “By looking at how much waste there is here, I feel sad.”

World’s first UNESCO trail launched in Scotland

This article was first published on the UNESCO website.

The world’s first ever UNESCO trail, bringing together some of Scotland’s most iconic, diverse and culturally significant sites, was launched on Friday 15 October 2021.

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail connects the country’s 13 place-based UNESCO designations, including World Heritage Sites, Biospheres, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities to form a dedicated digital trail. It aims to take visitors on a cultural journey across the country experiencing everything from history to science, music, design and literature to nature and cityscapes.

Designed specifically to support ambitions to make Scotland a world-leading responsible tourism destination, Scotland’s UNESCO Trail encourages visitors to stay longer, visit all year round, make sustainable travel choices, explore more widely and at the right time of the year, and in turn, contribute to the sustainable quality of life of those communities surrounding the designated sites.

The digital trail – which is available on www.visitscotland.com/unesco-trail – showcases the breadth of culturally astounding UNESCO designations on offer across Scotland, providing information and inspiration to visitors across the world. It also celebrates businesses and communities that are committed to responsible tourism business practices and promotes sustainable travel options.

Scotland is the first nation in the world to create such a pioneering initiative. Developed through a unique partnership between VisitScotland, the Scottish Government, the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, the National Trust for Scotland and Scotland’s 13 UNESCO designations, the project has received £360,000 funding from the Scottish Government to support the strategy for the sustainable recovery of Scottish tourism.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee officially launched the trail today in Dundee, the UNESCO City of Design, by unveiling a specially commissioned design by illustrator and printmaker, Jagoda Sadowska, a graduate of the city’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The design has been printed onto a door, which will be incorporated into the city’s Open Close tour as a permanent legacy of the trail.

Northumberland museum named the UK’s most family friendly in prestigious competition

This article was first published in the Chronicle Live.

A small volunteer-led and run museum and gallery in Northumberland has been crowned the UK’s best museum for families.

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery in Alnwick beat competition from national and London museums to be named winner of the Family Friendly Museum Award 2021.

Run by the charity Kids in Museums, it is presented annually to the museum, gallery, historic home or heritage site that goes the extra mile to provide a great experience for families.

Competing against 19 other shortlisted museums across the UK, the local museum blew families away with its welcoming volunteers and relaxed atmosphere.

Families loved exploring the Viking camp, following the museum mouse trail, being encouraged to get hands-on throughout, seeing information displayed at child height and the practical family facilities.

One family judge said: “This was our first time here and we had no expectations really, but it was such a big hit. We loved how relaxed it felt. The children were actively encouraged to touch and play with the exhibits. The youngest ones loved searching for the museum mice, which was a lovely touch as it gave them something to focus on. The Viking exhibit was small and perfect… we had to drag them out for lunch otherwise I’m sure they would have stayed longer. We would definitely go back.”

Since it launched in 2004, the Family Friendly Museum Award has become a benchmark of excellence in the heritage sector.

Each year Kids in Museums receives hundreds of public nominations, which are whittled down to a shortlist by an expert panel.

The final say goes to families, who visit each shortlisted museum over the summer holidays and decide the winner.

The award was presented in an online ceremony hosted by art dealer and broadcaster, Philip Mould who co-presents BBC’s Fake or Fortune? and is President of Kids in Museums.

He said: “This year’s winner really exemplifies what the Family Friendly Museum Award is all about. At its heart is a group of devoted volunteers working hard to welcome and support their local community. Thanks to their efforts, Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery has excelled in allowing families to feel free to be themselves and to have fun and engage with the history inside the museum. After another difficult year for museums, it is great that we can highlight the excellent work that staff and volunteers are doing in Alnwick and across the UK.”

Previous winners of the award include Leeds City Museum, People’s History Museum in Manchester and the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London.

In 2019, the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle clinched the Medium Museum category.

Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery celebrates its 20th anniversary next year and prides itself on being family-friendly.

A dedicated team of volunteers ensures the content of the changing exhibitions and activities will be exciting and educational for a range of ages, with children able to dress up and get hands-on with the exhibits.

Jean Humphrys, Chair of Trustees, said: “Our volunteer team are absolutely delighted with this award.

“Everyone works so hard to make sure the activities, displays, workshops and guided tours are interesting for all ages, interactive and above all fun. This summer children loved learning about the Vikings and next summer they will enjoy being ‘Beside the Seaside’ in the centre of Alnwick.”


France Is Launching 18 Islamic Art Exhibitions to Counter Islamophobia

This article first appeared in the OBSERVER.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that French ministers of culture and education will soon announce an upcoming initiative in France that will see 18 separate exhibitions in as many cities dedicated to the showcasing of Islamic art. This initiative, which is being bolstered by the Louvre’s Islamic art department, has been put together in the hopes of disseminating, to some degree, the Islamophobia that still persists throughout the country. At each of the separate exhibitions, films will be shown providing context and indicating the placement of monuments that connect to the objects on display.

In order to supplement the exhibitions, the Louvre will be lending 60 major pieces of Islamic art from its collection for the separate shows. “The idea is to show that Islam has been part of French cultural heritage since the Middle Ages,” Yannick Lintz, the head of the Louvre’s Islamic department, told The Art Newspaper. Islamic culture is “both religious and profane, much more varied than the Arab civilization, and includes images of people—even the Prophet Muhammed,” Lintz added.

In accordance with the shows, nineteen artists from countries including Algeria, Iran, Turkey and Egypt have joined the French exhibition initiative and will be prompted to show their various creations with large audiences.

France hasn’t had the best track record in recent years when it comes to combatting Islamophobia. In 2020, the French magazine Charlie Hebdo republished cartoons that took potshots at the Muslim Prophet Muhammad before the trial addressing the 2015 attacks on their offices. Recent attacks have also illustrated the need for action: last October, two Algerian Muslin women were stabbed near the Eiffel Tower and called “dirty Arabs;” later in the same month, two Jordanian nationals were assaulted for speaking Arabic in the city of Angers.