Making a success of your Museum re-opening

As part of its long-awaited third step out of lockdown, museums and galleries in England can finally reopen. Visitors may attend in a group of up to six from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of six) or in a group of any size from up to two households. Each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible.

The news will be especially welcome for museums up and down the country, many of whom have been shut to visitors since the first lockdown in March 2020, with painstakingly assembled exhibitions having to be postponed or even cancelled.

However, with the welcome news of re-opening come a host of questions. As an independent broker who secures cover for many museums, we wanted to share our top tips on how to ensure your insurance protection is robust, both while your premises are closed and when you are able to re-open them.

As an initial piece of advice, we would advise that you make sure that wage roll figures and associated information for staff and volunteers are updated, and that you also revise your income figures.

You will also need to ensure that you comply with COVID regulations, which means the following:

  • Ask every customer or visitor to provide their name and contact details.
  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day, and their contact details.
  • Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.
  • Display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option, as an alternative to providing their contact details.
  • Ensure you manage this information in line with data protection regulations.

A key point of readiness for re-opening concerns your insurance protection, and you will need to ensure that you have adequate cover in place. This will mean checking that the type of policy you have is actually for a museum, and is not simply a general commercial policy. This is extremely important when it comes to valuing important art or exhibitions/artefacts in the event of a claim. A general commercial policy might not cater for the specifics of your collection.

We would also urge you to take this opportunity to revisit your basic sums insured. Why?  This will make sure that you have the appropriate level of cover in place and that you are not unintentionally ‘underinsuring’ your museum or gallery. You would be surprised to discover how many museums and galleries do not have the right level of cover in place.

Finally, we would urge you to revisit the level of indemnity cover you have for trustees and directors, to ensure that this cover is both appropriate and up to date.

Happy re-opening!