Archive for September, 2016

NEWS: Lancashire Museums Last Chance

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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Earlier this year Lancashire County Council (LCC) announced a call out to interested third parties seeking to submit detail business plans to take over any of the five museums they could no longer afford to run. The decision was taken following budget cuts which meant the LCC could no longer afford to fund the museums. Its  financial strategy report, published towards the end of last year, concluded that over the five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21 the council needed to make savings of £262m on top of those previously agreed.

Numerous potentially viable business plans were received for the Judges’ Lodgings Museum in Lancaster, the Maritime Museum in Fleetwood, the Museum of Lancashire in Preston, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum in Burnley and Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale.   Plans from four organisations which have applied to take over the five museums were most recently discussed at a cabinet meeting on 8 September. , the meeting decided which of the museums will be transferred to third parties.

Although very little detail was announced following the meeting, the LCC did confirm that all five museums would close to the public on 30 September 2016, while negotiations continue with the four organisations. It is expected that the approved transfers will be made by the end of December this year. Councillor Marcus Johnstone, the cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, explained:

“This is extremely good news for the future of these museums. There is obviously still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging to see such robust and well-thought-through business plans.  In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position but as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future.”

With proper care and maintenance plans having been put in place to ensure each of the venues in question are looked after, preserved properly, and kept safe and secure, the intention is that negotiations can be concluded as soon as possible with a view to the transfers being made by 31 December 2016.

NEWS: NWFED Chair, Katy Ashton, goes on Maternity Leave

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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Katy Ashton has been involved as a Trustee and as the Chair of the North West Federation of Museums Board for just over 5 years. During her time with us, Katy has been a true advocate of everything the NWFed stands for, actively championed the interests of museums and galleries in the North West, and the people who work in them, on both a regional and a national level and recruiting numerous new individual and institutional members.  Overseeing the NWFed’s activities, Katy has played a huge role in planning and delivering the NWFed’s programme of training and networking events for members as well as developing ambitious business plans, successfully creating new partnerships and securing funding for new innovative new development programmes.

Katy will be temporarily stepping down from her role as Chair on 21 October to take maternity leave and in her place, Alex Walker, one of the newer members of the NWFed’s Board will be stepping into Katy’s role as Acting Chair until Katy returns in 2017.  Many of you will already know Alex from her role as the North West’s representative of the Museums Association or as the Head of Arts and Heritage at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery from where she recently retired.  On Alex’s appointment and her temporary departure, Katy shared her thoughts:

“I’m shortly going to be heading off on maternity leave and taking a break from my role as Chair of the NWFed. I’m delighted that Alex Walker has agreed to take on the role of Acting Chair while I’m on leave and I know that the Board and the Federation will be in very safe hands. With her extensive experience as a leader in the sector at the Harris Museum in Preston and with her other roles including NW representative for the Museums Association, Alex is the perfect person to continue to develop the NWFed while I’m away. You can continue to keep up to date with all NWFed news on our website and newsletter over the coming year.”

From everyone at the NWFed, we would like to take this opportunity to wish her all the best at this exciting time for her and her family.

To read Alex Walker’s profile on the NWFed’s Blog, Click Here

NEWS: Introducing New NWFED Board Member, Alex Walker

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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The NWFed is pleased to announce the appointment of new Board member, Alex Walker, who is currently acting as the North West’s representative of the Museums Association.

Despite recently retiring from her position as Head of Arts and Heritage at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Alex is continuing to remain highly active within the sector across the North West and nationally. Alex recently become Vice-chair of the British Association of Friends of Museums, is a member of the Chethams Library Redevelopment Steering Group and is also a committee member of the Lancashire Art Fund.  Alex has extensive experience in museums sector having led the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, known for its community focussed approach and ambitious exhibitions programme, for a number of years and under her leadership won the 2014 Contemporary Arts Society annual award and became a Plus Tate member.  Having been a member of the NW Museums Development Steering Group, Alex has a long association with the NWFed including previously acting as the NWFed’s President, on her appointment, Alex explained:

 “I am privileged to be able to put my experience in the sector to support the NWFed. The NW has an extraordinarily varied and rich museum offer.  In these difficult and uncertain times for museums  networks, mutual support and knowledge sharing are vitally important.  The Fed has an important role to play in this and can help build the resilience of the talented and dedicated people who work in museums across the region.    I am also pleased to be able to support our new development programme for volunteers which will strengthen their skills and benefit the museums in which they work.”

When appointing board members, it is important to us that those appointed are prepared to oversee and support the work of the NWFED while acting as ambassadors for the organisation.  We are excited to be working with Alex and are sure her experience and expertise will make a great edition to the NWFED and our ongoing work.

Alex will also become the NWFed’s Acting Chair stepping in for Katy Ashton as she goes on Maternity leave.  To read the full story on our blog, Click Here.