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DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 26 July 2021

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

  • There is no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings.
  • The government expects and recommends that members of the public continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet.
  • You should use your judgement in deciding where you should wear one.
  • Businesses can ask their employees and visitors to wear face coverings.


Thanks to Arts Emergency, Amie Kirby is doing an online placement with ICOM UK

We’re delighted to welcome Amie Kirby, a student at the University of Manchester, who will be with us for an online work placement 26 – 30 July 2021, thanks to Arts Emergency.

We asked Amie to introduce herself to ICOM UK members.


Hi, I’m Amie. I’m a student at the University of Manchester, studying for an MA in Art Gallery & Museum Studies, after having studied BA Archaeology at Durham University.  I’m currently writing my Dissertation on the collaboration of museums with their refugee communities, incorporating a grassroots activist-based methodology informed by relationality and radical care. 

Alongside my studies, I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter and also organise with local and regional community aid groups.  I’m really looking forward to working with the ICOM UK team and exploring how museums can connect to their audiences through social media.  I’m also a mentee with Arts Emergency, with whom I’ve been lucky enough to secure this placement. 


You can follow me on Twitter at @_amiekirby and read my writing on my blog, amiewritesthings.wordpress.com

Xilin (Lin) from Leicester University is doing an online placement with ICOM UK

One of the upsides of the pandemic is that ICOM UK has been able to offer online placement opportunities to students and emerging professionals.  Traditionally, such placements have only been open to organisations with a physical office, which has prevented ICOM UK from participating.

We’re delighted to welcome Xilin (Lin), a student at Leicester University who will be with us 19 July – 10 September for her online placement.  We asked Xilin (Lin) to introduce herself to ICOM UK members.

It’s my honour to have the opportunity to do a placement at ICOM UK. During my placement, I hope to learn more about museums. Especially marketing and promotion, because this is something that I have learned less about in my past studies. The opportunity to have practical experience is very precious to me. I am more than willing to have the opportunity to practice.

I am a passionate student of Museum Studies who is eager to learn. With academic background in Museum Studies, Ethnography and English Literature. I am interested in: museum audience engagement, museum operations, museum promotion, and museum event planning. Almost everything related to museums is of interest to me. I would like to have the opportunity to learn and practice anything related to museums.

I am happy to have more opportunities to communicate with others. I would also like to have more opportunities to practice my English language skills. I do enjoy archaeology, history, and table tennis. I used to be a member of the amateur table tennis team.

Finally, I am very grateful to ICOM UK for giving me this opportunity!

If any ICOM UK members would like to get in touch with Xilin (Lin), write to us at uk.icom.museum@gmail.com and we will connect you.


Booking V&A exhibition tickets with your ICOM card

The V&A has confirmed that ICOM members can book tickets online for temporary exhibitions using their ICOM card for reciprocal entry.

Here are instructions on how to do so:

  • Visit the ‘What’s On’ page of the V&A website and select the temporary exhibition you wish to visit.
  • Click on the ‘Get Tickets’ button.
  • Select a date when tickets are available.  Please note that V&A temporary exhibitions are very popular and get booked up far in advance.
  • Select the Time Slot for your visit.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the ticket types to the ‘Concession Tickets’ button and click on the arrow to open up a dropdown menu of concession tickets.
  • Select ‘ Reciprocal Entry – Valid for staff from participating cultural or heritage institutions, such as NMDC, ICOM and Museum’s Association.
  • Select a ticket then click on the ‘Checkout’ button and continue the booking process.

After booking your ticket, if you are no longer able to visit the V&A then please cancel your ticket so it can be made available to someone else.  For popular exhibitions with limited capacity, it is important that museums minimise the number of no-shows for reciprocal entry.

When visiting at your allotted time, please make sure you have your ICOM card and photo ID with you, along with your ticket (digital or printed).

We will provide updates in due course about the process for booking reciprocal entry tickets for exhibitions at other major UK museums and galleries.

If you work at a museum or gallery anywhere in the UK that offers reciprocal entry with the ICOM card, please get in touch with us at uk.icom.museum@gmail.com to let us know so we can update our website.

The V&A is an Institutional Member of ICOM UK.

NEMO map update shows that museums across all of Europe are open

NEMO has updated its interactive map of museum reopenings and closings and is happy to confirm that all countries across Europe included in the map allow museums to be open. The last country to officially allow all museums to reopen was Italy on 21 June 2021.

Most museums in the Balkan countries and the South Caucasus region never had to close again after the first wave in spring 2020. Other countries, such as Poland, have had to shut the museum doors to the public several times. Some countries such as Slovenia and Italy follow colour code systems that indicate which regulations the region and consequently the museums have to follow.

Iceland is the first country in Europe that completely drops the pandemic regulations. This means that since 26 June 2021, museums can operate without having to take the previous safety precautions into consideration.

NEMO is also in the process of confirming and updating the information on the page with more detailed country specific overviews.

Webinar 28 July: Heritage Lab & Smithsonian Transcription Center (Digital Public Engagement Strategies)

TaNC International Webinar Series:
Digital Public Engagement Strategies
Wednesday 28th July | 14:00-15:30 BST

The Towards a National Collection Directorate is pleased to announce the fourth instalment in our International Seminar Series: Digital Public Engagement Strategies. Next Wednesday speakers from The Smithsonian Transcription Center and The Heritage Lab, will share their digital engagement strategies for engaging the public in collections, research, and education resources.

Speakers:Medhavi Gandhi (Founder, The Heritage Lab)

An award-winning cultural practitioner, Medhavi Gandhi, the founder of Heritage Lab in Chandigarh, has been working in the Indian museum sector for close to a decade. Gandhi founded The Heritage Lab in November 2015. It is India’s first digital platform connecting museums and citizens through engaging campaigns, content and resources. The site is a blend of school programming, consulting for museums and cultural festivals and brand-collaboration and lies at the intersection of art, culture and museums. A champion for museums in India, Ghandi has been a driving force in getting most museums in India on social media. She has also encouraged Indian museums’ participation in global social media events such as #AskaCurator, #MuseumWeek and #Museumgames.


Caitlin Haynes (Program Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center)

Caitlin Haynes is the Program Coordinator for the Smithsonian Transcription Center, where she collaborates with staff around the Smithsonian and worldwide digital volunteers to improve accessibility to the Smithsonian’s digitized historic collections. Caitlin holds an MA in U.S. History, with a special emphasis on the 19th century South, and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland, College Park; as well as a BA in History and Anthropology from Emory University.


Emily Cain (Community Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center)

Emily Cain is the Community Coordinator for the Smithsonian Transcription Center. With previous experience as a digitization specialist, curatorial assistant, and project manager, she specializes in building community around and connections to museum collections and information. Emily holds an MA in Museum Studies, with an emphasis on collections management and museum anthropology, from the George Washington University, and a BA in Anthropology from Marshall University.

Date: 28 July 2021, 14:00-15:30 BST


14:00BST: Welcome

14:05BST: Medhavi Gandhi (Founder, The Heritage Lab)

14:35BST: Caitlin Haynes & Emily Cain (Coordinator and Community Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center)

15:05BST: Webinar Q&A

15:30BST: Webinar ends

Note: The event will be recorded and available on the Towards a National Collection YouTube Channel

More information and registration here

Call for Speakers: Digital Collections Summit – deadline 10 August 2021

MuseumNext Digital Collections Summit
4 – 6 October 2021

Call for Speakers Deadline: 10 August 2021

MuseumNext is a global conference on the future of museums. Since 2009 it has acted as a platform for showcasing best practice today to shine a light on the museum of tomorrow.

Over the past year we have pivoted to virtual events, bringing together more than 12,000 museum professionals to learn from one another at what has been a challenging time.

In October we will be holding the MuseumNext Digital Collections Summit, an event focused on digital collections in museums. Digital has become indispensable to museums as they catalogue, share and grow their collections. But what’s next for digital collections?

A few subjects which you might wish to discuss?

  • What’s the latest digital tools and techniques for managing collections?
  • How can big data help us to get more out of our collections?
  • What’s next for digitisation of collections?
  • How can we make our collections accessible to more people with digital?
  • What role does crowdsourcing play in building better digital collections?
  • How can we enable contemporary collecting with digital?
  • How are you rethinking your museums online collections post covid?
  • How can digital take your collections beyond the museum’s walls?
  • How can we bring personalisation into our online collections?

Or you may have your own ideas.

We’re open to any presentation on digital collections within the museum sector, however we’re not looking for sales pitches and would point businesses wishing to promote their services to our sponsorship packages.

Presentation format
MuseumNext follows a fast-paced format of twenty-minute presentations with the focus very much on practice rather than theory (please note that this is the only format we’ll use at this event and we aren’t seeking longer presentations or panels).

All MuseumNext talks are to be pre-recorded by the speaker. This does not require an overly complicated set up, but we’ve found that pre-recording talks creates higher quality presentations and reduces technical difficulties during the live event.

All speakers are asked to be available for a live Q&A should time zones allow for this (the event runs 3pm – 8pm London time zone).

All MuseumNext presentations need to be in English.

How to Apply
Proposals for presentations should be made using this form.

Your proposal should contain a title, names of presenters, a summary of the themes to be addressed, relevant links as well as a description of the expected learning outcomes.

Deadline 10 August 2021.

What happens next?
All proposals will be read by our conference peer panel which will be responsible for putting together the programme for this event. We will come back to all those who put forward a proposal by 20th August 2021.

The Whitworth launches the first Museum-accredited NFT for an exhibition

The Whitworth, in partnership with Vastari Labs, is entering into the emerging world of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to test alternative models of financing social art practice. The first UK museum-accredited NFT has been created as part of the gallery’s major exhibition and research project, Economics the Blockbuster.

The NFT image is generated from William Blake’s The Ancient of Days, one of the most iconic and widely reproduced images within the gallery’s collection. Reproduced endlessly since its original print for mass circulation in the 19th century, The Ancient of Days formed the frontispiece for Blake’s illuminated book Europe: a Prophecy, and has since been realised in all kinds of forms, from postcards and posters, to a projection onto the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The NFT image is a new digital visualisation of Blake’s original work, generated by the extraordinary imaging expertise held at The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester. Using multispectral imaging software (MSI), the NFT image is created through the processing and analysis of images of Blake’s The Ancient of Days which had been created using different wavelengths of light, from UV to infrared. MSI analysis works using algorithms and data science, reminding us of the exceptional research capacity within arts and cultural institutions such as The University of Manchester.

Economics the Blockbuster explores the problems of existing economic models and proposes new ones that offer wider social benefit – culminating in a large-scale exhibition in 2023. At a time of great economic and social instability, this NFT project explores the potentials of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to test new ways of diverting private capital into social funds. Sale proceeds will go to a Whitworth community fund to be used in socially beneficial projects in partnership with communities, organisations and constituents of the gallery’s surrounding neighbourhoods and networks. These projects will be dedicated to applying artistic thinking to education, health and environment.

The Ancient of Days NFT can be viewed here from 14 July and will go on sale on 28 July 2021 on the Tezos-supported platform Hic et Nunc in an edition of 50, with two editions retained by the Whitworth for perpetuity. A 20% creator royalty will be written into each NFT and all sales activity will be recorded to analyse the impact of this emerging phenomena on the established operations of the museum. The low carbon footprint of Tezos means developers and users can prioritise innovation without compromising sustainability.

The Ancient of Days NFT is a project by the Whitworth, The University of Manchester, in partnership with Vastari Labs.

Visit the project here: https://whitworth.vastari.com/theancientofdaysnft

DCMS Museums and Galleries Sector Coronavirus Bulletin 19 July 2021

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 Prime Minister urges caution in Step 4 and calls for all adults to come forward for both vaccine doses.
  • National Museum Directors’ guidance has been updated.
  • Government guidance on events and attractions has been published.
  • Although no longer a legal requirement in England, businesses are encouraged to display QR codes for visitors to check in using the NHS COVID app, to support Test and Trace.
  • How to get the NHS covid pass.
  • The Museum partnerships reports for 2018/19 and 2019/20 have been published.


Welsh Government Coronavirus COVID-19 News 14 July 2021

“Next steps towards a future with fewer covid rules” – First Minister

Wales will take its next step towards a future with fewer covid legal restrictions as First Minister Mark Drakeford today set out a longer-term plan for the summer.

Face coverings to continue to help keep Wales safe

Ministers have confirmed face coverings will continue to play an important role in helping keep us all safe from coronavirus in Wales.

£500 self-isolation support payment scheme extended

The Welsh Government scheme which supports people on low-pay with a £500 payment if they have to self-isolate is being extended until March 2022

Get the NHS COVID Pass to show your vaccination status for travel

How you can prove that you are fully vaccinated for international travel.

Economy Minister confirms further Welsh Government support for businesses impacted by Covid restrictions

Businesses in Wales that continue to be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions will receive up to £25,000 of additional support from the Welsh Government, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, announced.

Coronavirus control plan: alert level 0 (zero)

Describes the measures to control coronavirus at alert level 0.

Keep Wales Safe: creating COVID-aware events

Guidance for event organisers of regulated gatherings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rules for foreign travel to and from Wales: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Explains what you must do if you are travelling to or from Wales.

COVID-19 workforce risk assessment tool

This tool helps you consider your personal risk factors for COVID-19 and suggests how to stay safe