Historic Buildings and Museums and Galleries: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 15th March 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Benjamin Baroness Benjamin Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) educational, (2) well-being, and (3) cultural, impact of allowing museums, galleries and heritage buildings to re-open.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

There is clear evidence of an association between arts and culture participation and self-reported subjective wellbeing, even when social, economic and lifestyle factors are taken into account. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing found evidence that cultural engagement reduces stress and helps people to live longer and happier lives. During the first national lockdown, a DCMS study showed well-being increased with access to outdoor space, often accessed at heritage sites.

Learning is at the heart of museums, galleries and heritage sites. Many identify as delivering education as their primary function. In the public consultation for the Mendoza Review, 85% of over 1,200 respondents felt that museums and galleries are primarily places for education.

Museums, galleries and heritage sites contribute to positive social outcomes at a local level, making places more attractive to businesses and residents.

Our roadmap is driven by the latest evidence on the risk of transmission. We are therefore reopening outdoor settings before indoor settings, and reopening relatively low risk indoor settings where household mixing is less likely to take place at an earlier step, including retail, personal care and exercise facilities.

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