Museum reopening guidance


New guidance on reopening museums has been published by the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) with support from DCMS and the Museums and Galleries Working Group. As a member of the Working Group, AIM has been closely involved in the development of the guidance and has also worked with Museum Development to produce a related and accompanying checklist.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 NMDC Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums after 4th July 2020 guidance is intended to help the museum sector in England understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a set of practical considerations museums will want to work through whilst considering reopening.

It should:

  • Be used in conjunction with COVID-safe guidelines published by HM Government, the guidance 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.

In addition and in support of this guidance, AIM and Museum Development have developed a related checklist that takes a step-by-step look at reopening considerations.


Is there a date on which museums must open?

  • No, Government has announced that on the current trajectory museums will be allowed  to reopen from 4 July 2020 onwards. There is no date on which museums must open, each 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.

Is this guidance just for national museums?

  • No, 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.

My museum isn’t planning to open yet, will the guidance be updated?

  • Yes, NMDC will work with DCMS to reflect the most up to date Government position and update with any new additional information to consider
  • Once museums begin to open, there will be opportunities to learn from experience and incorporate further considerations as they are identified, for example on social distancing, experience, accessibility and how learning activities can be delivered.

I can’t find the information I need, where do I find more information and support?

  • There is a list of other resources at the end of the guidance document.

How was this guidance developed?

  • NMDC’s Planning and Remobilisation Group worked together with the DCMS Cultural Renewal Taskforce Subgroup on Museums and Galleries and other museum sector colleagues to develop this guidance. The Museums Association, Association for Independent Museums and Arts Council England will also be providing further signposting to additional resources where appropriate.

Read the NMDC Good Practice Guidelines here. 

Read the accompanying AIM/MD Reopening Checklist here.