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  • Covid-19 Update (Weekly bulletin, 10 April 2020)

    Posted on April 10, 2020

    Latest news from the INTO Secretariat

    Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, presenting at INTO Bali 2017

    As we have reached out to the INTO membership this week, we see that national trusts around the world are trying to work through their various responses at this difficult and challenging time.  Covid-19 is already impacting (and will continue to do so for some time) organisations across the INTO family and wider sector.  The national trust model is based on bringing people together to visit special places: A membership offer that relies on free entry to these sites, and an income stream from gate fees, special events, exhibitions.  Many INTO members are grappling with what this will look like post-coronavirus.

    Following on from these conversations, we have arranged some discussion groups next week.  These ‘task forces’ will bring together a selection of our members to brainstorm Covid-19 issues.  Namely membership and plans for reopening, both proposed by INTO members.  We may consider other themes (like volunteering, for example) so do please let us know what’s on your mind.  (With sites closed, and many older volunteers in the ‘at risk’ category, organisations are at danger of losing the volunteer base upon which they rely.)

    Keep sharing your ideas and content with us!  Through our ongoing discussions with the INTO family, we know how much value there is in working together.   However, we also know that some of you are simply focusing on basic survival at the moment.  We wish you the very best and will be here for you when you need us.

    – Catherine and the Secretariat team


    Personal messages are really cutting through, like this one from Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the NTEWNI, about staying at home this Easter


    The Gelderland Trust shared this beautiful personal journey showing spring’s progress in the Southern Netherlands


    Simple ideas also work well, like this introduction to Jersey’s wild flowers

    Take a peek inside Georgina McCrae’s beautiful sewing box

    With our friends at the National Trust of Fiji, we join in wishing you a Happy Easter

    Over the course of the past week, we have again been humbled and inspired by our amazing INTO members.  How they have taken their work online, what they are doing to engage their core audiences and the support they are offering the wider sector.

    The ability to offer ongoing virtual access and online content is proving vital to protecting their membership, visitor and supporter base.   Alex has therefore been collecting examples from across the INTO network which we are sharing on our social media @intoheritage.  We list some of these below. Do please continue to share your ideas and content.  It is incredibly valuable, especially when we might be feeling alone, to feel part of something bigger!  And to gain joy and inspiration from others.

    Stay at home this Easter

    Here is the National Trust (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)’s appeal to stay at home this Easter.  Normally, Easter is a time when we all welcome hundreds of people to our places. Please take a few minutes to listen to Director-General, Hilary McGrady’s personal message.  Aimed at members and supporters, she talks movingly about enjoying Easter fun and connection with nature while staying home.   Nature, beauty and history are more important in people’s lives than ever.

    The NTEWNI’s Great Easter Scavenger Hunt (to be done in the comfort of your own home!) can be found here.

    To be reminded of the Easter story, why not tune in this introduction to the beautiful 15th century frescoes at FAI’s Castello della Manta?  Daniela Bruno of FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the National Trust for Italy, walks us through the Passion of Jesus depicted here at the Church of Santa Maria.

    Love in the time of Covid-19

    Longing for nature?  INTO members around the world are overcoming the challenges posed by coronavirus, using technology to enable #virtualvisits. Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we’re regularly featuring the innovative ways that you can still enjoy your favourite natural places from your living room.  We are loving these ideas:

    Parked at home? 

    Our INTO members are being so creative in the sorts of things they are offering their members and supporters online.  I have already shared a number of these in previous blogs (including in last week’s update, which you can find here).   And here are a few more to inspire and entertain you:

    The Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts have gathered lots of incredible resources together here.  From getting your (virtual) dose of nature to gardening tips or keeping the children busy, its full of ideas that INTO members can ‘steal with pride’!

    Having visited Castle Hill in November, I’m quietly obsessed with Little Women.  (The Trustees’ Crane Estate was used as a location in the recent film.)  So, imagine my delight at finding Fruitlands Museum Engagement Manager, Catherine Shortliffe, reading from the novel!  (Fruitlands was a Utopian agrarian commune which Louisa May Alcott’s father established in the 1840s.)

    On the subject of movie escapism, National Trust for Canada has shared a list of ten movies filmed at Canadian historic places.

    Or how about peeking inside Georgina McCrae’s Sewing Box from the comfort of your sofa? These wonderfully intricate items are shared as part of National Trust of Australia (Victoria)‘s keep the lights on appeal, seeking to cover costs at their head office Tasma Terrace.

    Keep following @intoheritage for more of these in the coming weeks – and do please share your content with us too!

    Team-building tips

    We are all developing our own strategies for dealing with the isolation of home-working.  From virtual team happy hours to meetings where team members have introduced items from the ‘collection’.  (Everyday things from their own homes!)  And we’ve all seen photographs on social media of our colleagues dressed as famous portraits.  Here’s a link to #notthenationaltrust on Twitter – people doing brilliant spoof tours of their own houses. Guaranteed to make you smile!

    And lastly, the US National Parks Service tips for home-working.  (They also have some more slightly more serious content available (!) particularly Find your ‘Virtual’ Park).

    We’re in this together

    Thanks to your suggestions, we now have a Covid-19 page on our website.  Here you can find shared ideas, resources and inspiration from the INTO family in response to the pandemic.

    Our members also continue to share materials with their communities.  Here, for example. Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and INTO Trustee, provides a variety of ways in which to champion preservation in this challenging time.

    Coming up … 

    Over the past days, we’ve celebrated the birthdays of INTO members in Australia, Bermuda and the Netherlands. Congratulations to you all!

    We look forward to sharing the results of our ‘task force’ conversations amongst the wider INTO membership in a week or so.

    Firstly, a small group to look at approaches to managing membership during the Covid-19 pandemic.  How to proactively mitigate against cancellations; strategies for handling requests for extensions or refunds of annual memberships; how to build member value when sites are closed.   It will also look at unresolved challenges and plans for addressing them.

    Secondly, a forward look to reopening.  We all had to react so quickly to close properties that we mostly acted individually.  As we think about reopening, there is an opportunity to pool insights and develop a combined, global approach.  Sharing experiences will be particularly important as we will be doing this consecutively because each country has its own particular circumstances and Covid-19 restrictions.

    Finally, we will be hosting an online discussion on Saturday 18 April at 1pm GMT as part of BPPI (Indonesian Heritage Trust)’s World Heritage Day celebrations.  Full details to follow – Watch this space!

    And remember, the first of our TAP-INTO webinars will take place on 21 April at 1pm GMT.  More details can be found here.

    The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is a non-profit organisation registered as a charity England and Wales (No 1175994). The Secretariat is based at our registered address, 20 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH, UK

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