As the Scottish museum sector prepares to welcome visitors back, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has launched a £332,000 fund to help institutions meet the costs of reopening.
The Covid-19 Adaptation Fund will help museums buy items such as personal protective equipment (PPE), additional cleaning equipment and products, and screens to protect front-of-house staff.
The fund will be open to Accredited and non-Accredited museums and galleries in Scotland. The Art Fund has contributed £62,720 to the total funding pot of £332,720, and this sum will be used to prioritise smaller non-Accredited museums that fulfil specific cultural or local needs.
MGS is part of a working group that is developing reopening guidance for the museums and heritage sector, due to be published by the Scottish government later this month.
The funding body is working with Scotland Excel to enable museums and galleries to take advantage of the procurement contracts that it provides to all 32 local authorities, supplying items such as first aid, janitorial and PPE equipment.
The Adaptation Fund will open for applications as soon as the Scottish government guidelines are published. It will be open to all Accredited and non-Accredited museums and galleries in Scotland. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis.
Accredited museums can apply for up to £7,500 and non-Accredited museums can apply for up to £1,500, with partnerships of museums eligible for up to £10,000.
Lucy Casot, chief executive of MGS, said: “Museums and galleries are entering another challenging period as they navigate the process of reopening in a way that is safe for staff, volunteers, and visitors. I hope that our Covid-19 Adaptation Fund will help to plan ways to meet immediate needs and ease some of the pressures of reopening. Our support and funding will remain flexible to adapt to the needs of the sector, as we learn together how museums and galleries can safely operate in line with physical distancing.
“We urge museums and galleries to keep us informed of the challenges they face and their needs during reopening, so that our support can remain responsive for the sector.”
MGS has also launched a survey to understand museums and galleries' readiness to reopen and what support is required, and is urging people to respond as quickly as possible. Results will be shared with Scottish government, the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions and members of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group, and through MGS's wider advocacy work.
The Scottish government announced last week that the country could gradually move into the second phase of its route map out of lockdown. Confirmation of whether the country can progress to phase 3, when museums and galleries will be allowed to reopen, is expected in early July.