Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums after 4 July 2020

The National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) with support from DCMS and the Museums and Galleries Working Group, has published the Good Practice Guidance for Reopening Museums. It is intended to help employers, employees, the self-employed and volunteers in the museum sector in England understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guidance 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; it 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.

The guidance will periodically be updated when new Government guidance becomes available as we move through different steps of adjustment to lockdown.

This guidance is for all museums in England. Museums in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will also find the guidance useful, but they should also refer to other relevant guidance for each country within the UK where available.

Alongside this, a checklist has been produced by AIM and Museum Development Network to be used in conjunction with the NMDC Guidelines. The checklist will help museums take a strategic, well informed approach to making decisions on reopening. It will also support implementing a safe and effective plan in conjunction with the national guidance for museums.

The government has announced that on the current trajectory museums will be allowed to reopen from 4 July 2020. There is no date on which museums must open. Each museum will make the decision based on public health advice, safety, financial security and local context.

Once it has been agreed that museums and galleries can – in principle – reopen to the public, it is likely that openings will happen in waves, as reopening becomes more viable for different types of organisation across the sector.

Once museums begin to open, there will be opportunities to learn from experience and incorporate further considerations as they are identified. This might include, for example, social distancing, visitor experience, accessibility and how learning activities can be delivered. This information will be shared on the MDN blog as and when it becomes available.