Museum Reopening Guidance and Checklist

Update – Following the 31 October statement by the Prime Minister museums and galleries in England will be required to close between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December.

Construction work can continue and the Coronavirus Job Restriction Scheme will be extended through November to December. More on the new national restrictions in England can be found here

The Coronavirus Covid-19 NMDC Good Practice Guidelines on the Reopening of Museums after July 4, 2020 (hereafter Guidelines) has been developed by the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) Planning and Remobilisation Group with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and contributions from across the museum sector, including AIM. It is intended for use by museums in England.

Alongside this, a checklist has been produced by AIM and the Museum Development Network (MDN) to be used in conjunction with the Guidelines and to help museums take a strategic, well informed approach to making decisions on reopening and implementing a safe and effective plan in conjunction with the national guidance for museums.

You can work through the AIM / MDN checklist via the links below.

The checklist does not tell you exactly how your reopened museum should operate – individual circumstances will vary enormously – it is intended to help you develop your reopening plans and provides you with a methodology to follow.

Depending on the nature of your operation, you may also look to draw on other government guidance. The Guidelines references other guidance relevant to museums, including that for heritage, workplaces, shops and accessing green spaces.

The Welsh government has issued ‘Culture and heritage destinations and venues: guidance for a phased return‘ for AIM members in Wales.

The Scottish government has issued ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19): guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions‘ for AIM members in Scotland.

AIM/MDN Checklist

Step 1 – Consult 
Step 2 – Assess risk
Step 3 – Check financial viability
Step 4 – Plan 
Step 5 – Communicate with staff and volunteers
Step 6 – Check in on wellbeing 
Step 7 – Communicate with visitors
Step 8 – Use your local network
Step 9 – Use museum networks
Step 10 – Be flexible


Coronavirus COVID-19 NMDC Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums after 4th July 2020
Download AIM/MDN Checklist as a pdf document.
Download AIM/MDN Checklist infographic.
Download and print Test and Trace explainer posters

Scottish government Coronavirus (Covid 19): guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions

Welsh government Culture and heritage destinations and venues: guidance for a phased reopening

Learning services – Space for Learning, Clore Duffield Foundation, GEM Heritage, Engage and the Theatre Education Forum have put together Covid secure guidance for museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites. They aim to provide a practical framework to think about what is needed to continue, or restart, learning services during the Covid-19 pandemic and to support the health and wellbeing of workers and audiences.  Read the guidance here. 

EMBED Reopening Recommendations – Created in collaboration with the Disability Collaborative Network and University of East Anglia, EMBED guidance considers and offers solutions to the potential barriers faced by disabled visitors and customers. Read the guidance here. 

Watch reopening case studies from AIM members here. Hear about their experiences, what they’ve learnt and the one piece of advice they want to share with other museums.