As a former Arts Minister and someone who is acutely concerned about the recovery of the Arts sector following lockdown, I was particularly pleased to be invited to the Science Museum in London by its Director, Sir Ian Blatchford, ahead of its much-anticipated reopening.
The Culture Secretary and I explored the great attraction, seeing the excellent work that has been done to allow its reopening. The world-famous museum is large and social distancing is therefore very manageable. A mask must be worn, and the staff have been working hard in introducing floor markings, barriers, and hand sanitisers, whilst upholding the authenticity and breath-taking nature of the venue.
It is excellent to see such attractions reopening as we move towards a more “normal” life once again. The Natural History Museum and the V&A have already reopened. Visitors must book a free slot to ensure social distancing. You can find out more about the changes the museum have made to make visits safe and enjoyable, and book free tickets, here: https://bit.ly/311uLeC
Indeed, I am delighted that the Chancellor has announced a substantial financial package for the arts industry. The £1.57 billion announced by this Government to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions includes £900 million in grants plus additional £270 million in repayable loans. This is an unprecedented package widely hailed by the arts and creative industries.
I am particularly looking forward to the re-opening of the Northampton Museum after its refurbishment.
Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors, including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will benefit from access to emergency grants and loans. The £1.57 billion government package represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture and will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic, ensuring they stay afloat and protecting multi-billion pound industries that are famous around the world for the future.