Museums come up with new ways of working amid pandemic

Undated handout photo of a general view of The Box in Plymouth, which is to open in May 16 with major exhibition, Mayflower 4
Undated handout photo of a general view of The Box in Plymouth, which is to open in May 16 with major exhibition, Mayflower 400: Legend And Legacy, to mark 400 years since the English ship set sail from the Devon city for America in 1620.

More than £600,000 has been awarded to museums and galleries to make changes amid the pandemic – including taking work to a shopping centre and using actor-guides to manage social distancing.

Art Fund has announced 18 projects which will receive grants to “meet immediate needs connected to Covid-19 and re-imagine future ways of working”.

The National Glass Centre in Sunderland gets £40,000, including to adapt its glassmaking demonstrations safely for visitors.

The National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, which is creating an online gallery, also gets £40,000.

The Florence Nightingale Museum in London receives almost £46,000, including to “work with actor-guides to manage social distancing whilst simultaneously immersing visitors in the nurse’s world and legacy”.

Wycombe Museum – which is planning a pop-up exhibition space and community hub in a High Wycombe shopping centre – receives £35,000.

The Box in Plymouth receives just over £25,000, part of which will be used to supply visitors with a stylus so “they can safely interact with the exhibits”.

Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth gets £40,000 and wants to memorialise local experiences of Covid-19 through a digital quilt, inspired by the museum’s collection of Welsh quilts.

Other recipients include the Foundling Museum in London, Void art centre in Londonderry, and Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Ceredigion Museum is hoping to make digital quilts (Art Fund/PA)

Art Fund director Jenny Waldman said the organisation was “inundated with applications…  evidence of the vast need amongst museums and galleries whose funding models have been shattered by this crisis”.

“But it is hugely encouraging to see ambitious and creative proposals from museums all over the country who are passionate about serving their local communities and engaging audiences, despite very challenging circumstances and devastating loss of income,” she said.

The £630,729 is the first round of Art Fund’s £1.5 million funding programme.

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