As we head into a new year, many museums will be thinking of creative ways to use their spaces either as a new venture to raise additional revenue following the difficulties of lockdown, or simply as an extension of existing plans. Whether these spaces are used for events that are museum led, or fronted by third party groups and organisations, they need to be thought through. One of the areas Hayes Parsons Insurance Brokers increasingly gives advice on is around the insurance implications relating to spaces and rooms at museums. This article unpacks just a few key considerations for your museum, whatever its size.
Your own events
As well as your usual pattern of operating, it may be that you put on special one-off events throughout the year. These may be on your premises, or out on local streets or land that is not owned by you. Very small events on your premises may not need your insurer to be updated, but larger scale events that are off site almost certainly do. This will be to make sure your liability insurances extend to cover the event, the attendees, and the personnel you deploy. It’s worth considering the values of any equipment you take out and about with you and have the correct level of “away from premises” insurance in place.
Hosting community events
Many museums have strong links to their communities, and large spaces which lead to requests that the museum host a community event e.g., a summer fete or a fireworks night. If the event is a team effort created by a committee of which you are just one part, then the event itself may need separate insurances and your insurer will want to know about the size and nature of the event, and its activities. If you run the event on behalf of the community, other groups such as stall holders, or artists or performers, will normally need their own Public Liability insurance.
Regular room hire
Regular room or space hire is becoming more common, as a way of linking to the community, and as an income stream. When considering the use of spaces by regular users such as dance classes and toddler groups, then remember it is best they have their own insurance, and that you check they keep insurances up to date when conducting your annual review of hire agreements.
If you have a café on site, and you hire in a company to run it, then again, it’s good to make sure the business concerned keeps its insurances up to date. Any deep fat frying will need to be declared to your insurers, and it is becoming common place for insurers to require fire suppression systems to be installed when professional kitchens are in operation. The necessary food hygiene training, first aid equipment and training, plus cleaning regimes are worth looking at each year.
Some museums allow one off weddings and other family events to take place on site whilst others actively advertise the museum as a wedding venue. If this is an area you are involved in, it’s worth speaking to your insurance broker to see what implications there are on the running of the museum, or indeed what would happen if you could not host the wedding due to something like a fire, flood, or even loss of power.