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Advice for Museums

In response to the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on museums across the country we will be regularly adding to and updating the advice and support we offer to our colleagues in other Scottish museums.

We will also be working with support agencies across the country to target our input, to respond to the developing needs of our sector and to plan for the future together.

We will post regular updates on our website and on Twitter (@NMSPartnerships).

We can currently offer the following situation-specific advice: 

  • Collections Care: advice and guidance on monitoring collections during COVID-19 outbreak and in response to restrictions in place
  • Loans: advice and guidance on rearranging loans and temporary exhibitions
  • Schools: Developing your work with schools, either through online delivery or in preparation for the return of in person visits

Initially, requests for advice in these areas should be made by contacting the Partnerships team.

Partnerships team

Museum fundraising guidance

Museums and heritage organisations, large and small, have quickly felt the impact of closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many face significant financial challenges as they try to model what the future holds for both their teams and the collections they care for. Whatever the organisation’s business model, good fundraising practice can be a cornerstone to recovery. National Museums Scotland have produced guidance suggesting practical ways to fundraise in consideration of the limitations of lockdown and closure

Museum Fundraising Guidance
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Collections care during lockdown

Anna Starkey, Collections Care Manager, spoke to Museums Galleries Scotland as part of the Museum Social Stand Up series about the processes in use across National Museums Scotland during lockdown. In the video below, Anna describes the measures taken to perform collection care checks while all five NMS sites were closed.

UK Heads of Conservation Group shared this guidance on the conservation and care of collections during the shutdown resulting from COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

UK Heads Of Conservation Group Guidance For Conservation And Care Of Collections During Covid 19 (Coronavirus)
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GIS Advice On Meeting Security And Environmental Conditions
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Waking up collections

With museums and heritage organisation necessarily closed during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown, collections were held dormant for a significant period, increasing the risk of general deterioration caused by the environment, pollutants and pests, as well as reduced levels of preventive monitoring and control. The UK Heads of Conservation Group and ICON have produced a guidance document on 'waking up' collections post-lockdown

Waking Up Collections
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Schools programming during lockdown

Sarah Cowie, Schools Learning Officer spoke to Museums Galleries Scotland as part of the Museum Social Stand Up series about changes to our Schools programme. In the video below, Sarah describes how the approach shifted during remote working.

National Museums Scotland’s Learning and Programmes team produced guidance to offer practical ways in which museums can continue to develop their schools learning offer during COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

NMS Guidance For Schools Work
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Teachers' survey on digital learning

The closure of Scottish schools on 20 March 2020 due to COVID -19 led to a wholesale move to digital, home-based learning for pupils and teachers. National Museums Scotland launched a survey on 19 June 2020 to capture the experiences of teachers providing digital learning across Scotland during this time period, as well as ideas for ongoing engagement in the new school year.

This teachers' survey report sets out the key findings of the questionnaire from 19 June until 2 July (the end of the Scottish summer term) during which time 333 responses were collected.

Teachers Survey on Digital Learning Results Report
PDF (1.6 MB)
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Teachers Questionnaire on Digital Learning
PDF (217.9 KB)
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Digital Schools Sessions evaluation report

National Museums Scotland established a new programme of Digital Schools Sessions in November 2020 to engage directly with schools whilst they were unable to visit in person. Between November and December 2020, we delivered 22 live online schools workshops. Following the second closure of museums and the move to learning from home in January 2021, we adapted this offer to pre-recorded sessions. To assist us in assessing the impact and reach of our sessions, we evaluated a range of data. The key findings, and suggestions for the future can be found in our Digital Schools Sessions evaluation report.

Digital Schools Sessions Evaluation Report
PDF (2 MB)
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Special Funding Scheme
The National Fund for Acquisitions has launched a Special Funding Scheme to help museums which are struggling to raise match funding for acquisitions.

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