Glasgow Museums for Staff
Museums Staff Update - Thursday 13 August
Dear Museums & Collections Team
It has been a couple of weeks since our last post and in that time much has happened alongside annual leave for many of us. We hope you and your loved ones are all keeping well.
In this post we would like to update you on some of what has been happening over the past few weeks in relation to buildings reopening.
During week commencing Monday 20th July GMRC reopened to some staff groups, initially Logistics and FoH teams. Once all the right plans and documents were in place and physical adjustments were made to the building (incl. one way system, hand sanitizer station, perpsex screen at reception) a walk-around took place with Trade Union Reps. On Thursday 23rd staff briefings started and since then a number of conservators have been working there on a daily basis.
By all accounts this has gone smoothly and staff who have been back in the building have told us how it has been for them.
How did you travel to GMRC and how did the journey feel?
Kat Cobain said “I take the train to GMRC from the Southside. The train is still very quiet, with all passengers that I could see wearing masks. It felt safe and was easy to adhere to social distancing.”
Caroline Currie said “The bus was quiet and seats were marked with what you could sit on and what you couldn’t. I wore my mask and the journey felt ok. It may feel different when the schools go back as this bus can get really busy so that makes me a little apprehensive.”
Julie Taylor said “I travelled by bike, it felt fine as I had started using my bike to commute before lockdown.”
Did you feel comfortable with your access into and through the building?
Kat said “Yes, with the front doors being automatic and new hand sanitising station just as you walk in, it is reassuring to both use and see others engaging with it. The one way system and large corridors also offer plenty of space for social distancing.”
Caroline said “I did – the GA’s were friendly and welcoming as ever and everything was clearly sign posted as to the one way system. The doors being open was good as you didn’t have to physically touch many high touch doors. Once through the doors I had no apprehension.”
Julie said “Yes, I felt comfortable with access into and through the building. The signage was clear, and the one way system easy to follow. Everyone was helpful and kept a safe distance from each other. I thought I might be anxious about returning, but it was ok. It was nice to see some colleagues in person again.”
How do you feel about being back in the workplace – what changes have there been for you?
Kat said “Having worked one or two days a week in the building throughout lockdown, it has been really lovely to welcome others back and catch up with colleagues I haven’t seen in a while! At the reception desk we are signing everyone in, and now sit behind Perspex screens, but are still able to have a chat as people pass by like before.”
Jonny Hanna said “Good, like I say, our teams are focused on reopening the museum buildings, but we’ve been helping out with distribution of hand sanitizer stations, the Perspex screens and the social distancing/one way system posters and stickers across other Glasgow Life venues. It’s nice to be back in work and active again – I can’t face another episode of Loose Women for at least a few weeks.”
How do you feel about returning to work in due course?
Caroline said “Apprehensive – but this is mostly about the travel to work and my use of public transport. Not everyone is wearing a mask and it can be very busy. Also, I sit in many meetings so I am wondering how this will work as the GMRC wifi will never cope with us all joining virtual meetings from our desks!”
Julie said “I feel ok about returning to work in due course having seen the health and safety measures that have been put in place.”
How was the building training /induction different to the online GOLD course? Did you find this useful?
Kat said “I found the induction very useful, as it was tailored to our building and how things were going to change directly within it. The GOLD course provided general awareness and advice, whereas the induction felt like a proper welcome back to work. It was reassuring having an in person brief from a familiar face, which contained specific information relevant to the GMRC.”
Maggie Dobbie said “I did the Gold course some weeks ago and from what I remember I didn’t think there was any information that was not already in the public domain. I thought the induction was more informative naturally a lot was aimed specifically at working in GMRC which was more important to us.”
Many thanks go to John Yates, the FOH team and Christine McLellan who have worked hard to make this a success so far. Over the next few weeks plans will be put in place for a programme of more staff returning to work at GMRC on an agreed, rota basis.
This week Neil Ballantyne, the FOH team at Kelvingrove with Logistics and Conservation teams have been hard at work to prepare the building to reopen this Monday, 17th August at 11am and yesterday afternoon this was announced on our social media channels.
Final building adjustments are being made and a multitude of new procedures are being worked through so the team are ready to welcome visitors and ensure it is a safe, yet relaxed and enjoyable experience.
For the first time all visitors will have to pre-book tickets, and tickets for the first two weeks will be available through the GL booking system https://tickets.glasgowconcerthalls.com?promo=627 from noon today, Thursday 13th August. The team have carefully worked out a safe visitor capacity and will work up to this over the coming weeks. Visiting Kelvingrove will be a special experience for those who do get tickets, because they may feel like they have the place to themselves.
But the experience will look and feel different, and for more details about this please refer to the FAQ, see link here https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/media/6512/060820-museums-faq-additions-13th-august-final.pdf which is available on the website and outlines what visitors should expect.
Once Kelvingrove is open Stewart Thompson and the Riverside FOH team will be supported by Logistics and Conservation colleagues to prepare Riverside for reopening at the end of the month. In this same time period Venue Recovery Plans and associated documents for GoMA and the Mitchell are in development.
There is other good news: the long awaited works to install a Changing Places facility at Riverside and to upgrade the basement toilets in GOMA are programmed to be complete when the buildings reopen to visitors are the end of August and early October respectively.
Even as more of our buildings reopen to visitors, for many of us the request is to continue working from home. In advance of any expected return to a workplace you will be contacted by your manager and then the ‘Return to Workplace’ process will follow.
Many thanks go to all of you – whether for continuing to work at home or if you have been involved in preparing buildings to reopen – your efforts are much appreciated.
Best wishes and thanks,
Duncan, Jane, Katherine
Museums Staff Update - Friday 17th July
Museums Staff Update - Friday 3 July
Museums Staff Update - Monday 29 June
It’s been 13 weeks since government advice led us to close our museums. That was a difficult day for many of us and since then we’ve all had a lot to contend with. It’s encouraging our joint efforts to contain Covid-19 are working and we can begin to move forward. Now we are in phase 2 and restriction are easing I’m sure, like me, you and your family will be pleased to return to some of the simple things we’ve missed.
The Scottish Government’s decision to further ease the lockdown in July also lets us begin preparations to reopen buildings. Before I say a little more on our plans for the gradual, safe, reopening of Glasgow Museums I want to take a moment to say thank you.
Overnight we were catapulted into a surreal working environment. It’s been evident on so many occasions that this proved to be a great motivator. Colleagues across the team adapted quickly and creatively to ensure our audiences could continue to access the culture they craved, albeit in a different way. Some of you have been involved in building checks and checking on collections in our care while others have carried on collection related work from your homes. Thank you for your efforts, energy and enthusiasm.
I’d also like to recognise that I know it has been a challenge for some to keep in touch and connect in easily and this is part of the reason for setting up this page.
In due course, this page will provide an overview of the recovery planning that is underway and as agreement is reached it will outline the changes being introduced to enable us to return safely to workplaces and then allow people to return to our museums. The most important thing in all of this is the safety of every person who works with or visits Glasgow Museums.
In line with sector guidance, and working with Glasgow Life colleagues, we are drafting detailed recovery plans. These plans will consider all aspects necessary to ensure appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures are in place and that our workplaces are as safe as possible. This includes making the appropriate training available to all and ensuring cleaning, maintenance and required risk assessments are completed. Following conversation with your line manager, this will see more of us return to more normal ways of working in the coming weeks and months, although things will not be the same as they were before.
Our expectation is that GMRC will open first to colleagues only, it will be a regular workplace for some staff groups and enable preparation for other buildings to reopen. After that museum openings will be phased and I appreciate everyone’s continued patience as we plan to welcome visitors again.
The timescales for this will continue to be led by the government’s guidance on Covid-19 and our own Museums’ and Glasgow Life planning processes.
We will use this page to keep you up to date with the latest service specific information, including any specific government guidance for museums, so you might want to bookmark this page for ease of reference.
If there is something you would like to know please talk to your manager and we will either put a response on this page or make sure the information gets to you and others in the team.
We have just released our Annual Review, it records another incredible year for Glasgow Museums with in excess of 4,085,000 recorded attendances in 2019/20. This underlines once again that Glaswegians love culture, our museums remain the must-see and most-visited attractions in our city.
This year certainly got off to a very different start, but I will forever be in awe at the contribution you have all made in welcoming visitors and then keeping in touch when our buildings have been closed. I look forward to working with you as we prepare to reopen our doors and welcome people again when it’s safe to do so.