The future of Museums -Thoughts from our Chairman

posted Jul 3, 2020, 7:46 AM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Jul 3, 2020, 7:47 AM ]

The Museum world is also facing its share of exacting challenges as we endeavour to look ahead, adapt and prepare for the 'new normal.' We continue to be well-supported and briefed by the various professional organisations the Museum is associated with.

Locally, the Cornwall Museums Partnership [CMP] is always willing to advise and support. Some of you may have seen the poignant article 'Protect our cultural assets now or run the risk that they will never come back,' written by Emmie Kell [Chief Executive of CMP] and featured in the Cornish Guardian [dated 10.06.20]. Whilst Emmie focuses on the impact of coronavirus on the creative and cultural businesses she also highlights that ''Museums face particular challenges. Some occupy older, cramped buildings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and a positive visitor experience, and many are totally reliant on elderly volunteers, who remain in the high risk category.......''

In the review section of The Times [dated 23.05.20] Rachel Campbell-Johnston in her article 'Our heritage is at risk, but we can't save everybody,' reports on the battle to save the nation's smaller museums. Whilst grim reading overall, there are also some encouraging glimmers of hope for the small, independent museums run entirely by volunteers.

One of our advantages is that we don't have the obvious massive overheads endured by the larger institutions. Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, comments that......''one of our nation's great success stories has been the way we have created these small and highly distinctive museums.'' The final paragraph states ''Don't let our small museums grind to a painful stop. How many bits of our heritage can we afford to allow to fall away before we can't see our cultural picture any more ?'' Both these articles offer some serious thought-provoking issues for us to consider.

MUSEUM WINDOW DISPLAY

posted Jun 4, 2020, 10:36 AM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Jun 4, 2020, 10:37 AM ]

: 2020 is a special year for the Friends of St Bart's [FOSB]. To celebrate this significant Anniversary the Museum window was designated to play host to memories of their by-gone years. Sadly, this hasn't been able to go ahead as planned but we are still hoping that there will be an opportunity to do this before too long so please bear with us.

MUSEUM ACCREDITATION

posted Jun 4, 2020, 10:35 AM by Lostwithiel Museum

The Museum Accreditation Scheme is intended to encourage all museums to meet an agreed standard in how they are run, how their collections are managed and how they engage with their users. To be awarded full Accreditation status is an accolade that Lostwithiel Museum is proud to have achieved in 2007, 2010 and 2014.

In February 2020 we submitted our 4th application to the Arts Council for England for re-Accreditation. Intervention was to come in a guise that none of could have expected ie.the coronavirus lockdown which resulted in the Arts Council museum professionals being furloughed. It has now been confirmed that the new review date for our submission will be April 2021. This is a disappointment but one that we must accept as we are powerless to do anything about the situation.

Another update from Museum Chairman Christine Walton

posted Jun 4, 2020, 10:32 AM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Jun 4, 2020, 10:33 AM ]

It's the 20th of May and the weather is idyllic which makes it all the harder to believe that we're in the midst of a pandemic of epic proportions. At the time of writing there is no further information from the Government as to when Museums will be allowed to re-open to visitors.

It seems only a short time ago that we were talking about looking forward to the day when we can 'get back to normal.' As more time passes we have become increasingly aware that 'the old normal' is fast becoming something called 'the new normal.' Bearing that in mind we are in the process of trying to visualise what 'the new normal' might look like and how our Museum will adapt and move forward to meet a new and very different set of challenges.

There will inevitably be some challenges ahead that will be less easy to cope with than others but throughout this forthcoming period of adaptation there will also be some opportunities for new developments. It is therefore important to remain positive and optimistic about the future and what that might represent for Lostwithiel Museum. Whatever date the Government might give for Museums to re-open we will only do so when we are ready and when we believe that it is the right thing to do at that time. Lostwithiel Museum Association's primary objective will always be to safeguard our team of volunteers whose health and safety is our major priority.

CHALLENGING TIMES - Message from Museum Chairman Christine Walton

posted Apr 30, 2020, 6:24 AM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Apr 30, 2020, 6:27 AM ]

 Since first becoming aware of Coronavirus a whole 'other language' seems to have crept into my vocabulary with words or terms like 'unprecedented, pandemic, lockdown, social distancing, self-isolation and furloughed' increasingly creeping into my conversations to illustrate the current situation. The severity of this crisis touches every single one of us in different ways as we grapple with this sudden and very different way of life. I have been inspired by the kind, generous, practical and inventive ways in which small communities like Lostwithiel have responded to the challenges presented. An appreciation for the preciousness of life and all that we hold dear is perhaps being tested more acutely than ever before, certainly in my lifetime. I would like to thank all of you for the varied and vital contributions you are making to support this special town and help it to continue to thrive.

Following our official closure period in response to the Coronavirus enforced lockdown period we have received a few enquiries as to when the Museum plans to re-open to visitors. The simple answer is that we have no idea. Although, at the time of writing, there is no specific date we are still busily working behind the scenes [at home] to ensure that when the Government announces that it's safe for Museums to re-open we will be ready. It is hoped that we will still be able to open from 10.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday but that depends on a number of factors, not least our ability to maintain sufficient numbers of volunteers. Lostwithiel Museum is run entirely by volunteers and without this valued team of special people the Museum has no future. This is also a challenging period for the life of Lostwithiel Museum which is looking forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2021.

 With my special thanks for your interest and continued support for the Museum throughout this difficult period. Take care, stay safe and keep well.

With very good wishes to one and all,

Christine Walton [Chairman]

Re-opening of Museum delayed

posted Mar 13, 2020, 1:29 PM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Mar 13, 2020, 1:30 PM ]

 At the Museum Committee Meeting held on 12th March 2020 it was decided that, in light of issues related to Coronavirus, it would be wise to delay re-opening the Museum, originally planned for 6th April, until further notice.

The Committee Members and Trustees acknowledge their duty of care towards our volunteers and visitors, a responsibility which is taken very seriously. They will, therefore, do their best to protect your health and safety by monitoring the situation, taking professional advice and acting accordingly. It is therefore impossible at this stage to say when the Museum will re-open.

As the Museum will not be re-opening on 6th April we will also postpone the Social Get-together planned for 24th March. This event will take place closer to the new date for re-opening the Museum.

Committee members will continue to work behind the scenes in readiness for re-opening the Museum, whenever that might be.  If there are any volunteers who would like to be involved with our 'Winter Projects' we would be delighted to work with you. Please contact The Chairman.

With kind regards,

Lostwithiel Museum Association Committee

FIVE YEAR FORWARD PLAN

posted Mar 7, 2020, 7:46 AM by Keith Southgate   [ updated Mar 7, 2020, 7:47 AM ]

 The re-application for Museum Accreditation includes a Five Year Forward Plan. Five key priorities have been highlighted by the museum committee:

a] The conservation of Joseph Burnett's [Lostwitiel's Peace Officer in 1814] cloak which is in need of some costly professional repair work so will require grant-funding. The cloak is owned by Lostwithiel Town Council and on loan to Lostwithiel Museum.

b] Replacing one or more display cabinets that do not conform to museum standard requirements. Again, grant-funding will be needed as one display case could cost a minimum of £6000.

c] Extending the current Window Display Sponsorship Scheme to include objects, projects and events.

d] Attracting and retaining more volunteers, and resolving succession issues [in particular for museum committee members and trustees].

e] The long-term future and siting of Lostwithiel Museum.

All of the above represents a major challenge for a small independent museum, dependent on volunteers who also have to concentrate on the day-to-day tasks presented by running a museum in today's very different world.

VACANCY FOR VOLUNTEER WINDOW DISPLAY CO-ORDINATOR

posted Feb 5, 2020, 1:27 PM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Feb 5, 2020, 1:28 PM ]

 It is no exaggeration to say that Lostwithiel Museum's 'Window on the High Street' is the envy of many larger museums that do not have this display facility. This vacancy offers an exciting opportunity to demonstrate your creative flair.The role can be tailored to suit individual interests and skills. Please contact Christine Walton on 01208 871456 for more information

VACANCY FOR VOLUNTEER CURATOR

posted Feb 5, 2020, 1:24 PM by Lostwithiel Museum   [ updated Feb 5, 2020, 1:24 PM ]

 Without a collection of objects to exhibit there wouldn't be a Museum. Lostwithiel Museum has been collecting objects associated with the local area since it first opened to visitors in 1971. In order for a collection of objects to survive it needs to be appropriately cared for and displayed. Every object tells a story and discovering those stories is fascinating and rewarding. We have a vacancy for someone who is interested in caring for our unique collection and sharing it with others. Previous experience isn't vital as the Museum has access to a variety of excellent learning opportunities. The role commitment time is flexible and can be accomodated to suit individual requirements. If you think you might like to be involved then please contact Christine Walton on 01208 871456 for more information.

VOLUNTEER STEWARDS:

posted Feb 5, 2020, 5:54 AM by Keith Southgate   [ updated Feb 5, 2020, 6:00 AM ]

The new season starts on Monday 6th April so there's lots of preparation going on behind the scenes to ensure that we are ready for visitors. As the Museum is completely dependent on volunteers we are checking that we have sufficient numbers of Stewards available to cover 3 sessions a day, Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 4.30pm. It would be a bonus to also open on a Saturday, if only for the morning session.

To check on availability we will be contacting the Stewards who have previously volunteered for this role whilst also looking for new recruits. To join our team of Stewards doesn't necessarily require any specialist knowledge or previous experience as help will be provided. Key to the role is welcoming visitors and helping them to get to know this fascinating town.

All volunteers automatically become members of Lostwithiel Museum Association, receive complimentary
copies of Museum Matters [in-house magazine] and a free guided Town Heritage Walk.

If you think you might be interested but need more information please contact Maggie Lancaster on 01208 873093.

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