Posts Tagged ‘NWFED’

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New NWFED Board Member – Andy Pearce

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Andy Pearce has over 30 years experience in the museum sector in the North West in roles ranging from Education Officer to Director. He has worked in a wide range of heritage organisations from small independents to large nationals, from charitable trusts to local authorities and has had responsibility for the care and display of many different types of collections from social history to fine arts. The institutions he has worked in, or led, have varied greatly in staff numbers from some of the smallest to some of the largest in region. For the last three years he has been lucky enough to work on museums internationally which (he hopes!) has given him a new perspective on our region.

Andy admits to having had two guiding passions throughout his career. Firstly, exploring how museums can uncover and present the stories of those whose history has often been forgotten or supressed. He is fascinated by how heritage can provide unique and revealing insights in to these rich and diverse ‘hidden’ histories. Secondly, encouraging and developing the staff and volunteers whose job it is to lead and encourage this exploration.

He hopes that with these experiences and enthusiasms he can make a worthwhile contribution to the NWFed’s aims to represent and champion 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.

On his appointment to the Board, Andy explained:  “When I first became aware of the North West Fed more than 30 years ago it performed a vital role providing accessible training, and perhaps more importantly, keeping us in touch with our colleagues across the region. The sector has changed beyond recognition since. However, I believe that in its unique position as a member led, regional organisation the NWFed can still play an important part in supporting and developing those who work and volunteer in the North West’s museums and galleries.”

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Rebecca Miles

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Originally from America, Rebecca Miles is now permanently settled in the UK.  Before moving to the UK in 2013, she worked for the University of Kentucky as an archaeologist excavating and surveying prehistoric and historic sites throughout the state of Kentucky.  After arriving in the UK, she started building up her skills and experiences by volunteering for the Manchester Museum, the Science and Industry Museum, the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill, the People’s History Museum, and for an Arts Award project run by the charity Legasee teaching primary students about the history of the Korean War. In 2016, Rebecca was appointed to the Front of House team at Ordsall Hall as a Heritage Facilitator leading primary school learning sessions focused on Tudor history and culture. Outside of her work in museums, Rebecca’s many other interests revolve around handicrafts such as hand and machine knitting, working with felt, embroidery, and hand loom weaving.

When asked about her motivations for joining the board, Rebecca explained: “I wanted to join the board to represent fellow front of house staff who are integral to ensuring all visitors have a positive experience as soon as they walk in through the doors of our museums. As a newly appointed board member, I hope to highlight the efforts and unseen struggles of staff working within our region’s front of house teams and help to find more opportunities to help them develop the skills they have in providing our museum’s visitors with high-quality customer service and in engaging with local our communities.”

 

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Claire Benjamin

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Claire Benjamin is Deputy Director of the Education and Visitors teams at National Museums Liverpool, which includes the International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. She is responsible for the strategic development of education initiatives, community engagement and front of house visitor experience across the museums. Claire is currently providing strategic support for the internationally acclaimed House of Memories dementia awareness programme and wider income generation initiatives for the organisation.

Claire joined National Museums Liverpool in 1998, and has previously worked as Communities Co-ordinator, Education Manager and Public Programmes Officer. She is a Fellow of the Museums Association.

On her appointment to the NWFed’s Board, Claire explained: “I am excited to be joining the NWFed’s Board at such an interesting time for the sector, given the exposure of the All Party Parliamentary report in 2017 on the value of arts and health, and the Mendoza Report looking at how the bigger national museums in the region can engage better with smaller regional museum services. I think the role of the NWFed has a significant part to play in this conversation, and the bigger agenda of a Northern powerhouse.”

NWFED NEWS: Introducing New Board Member – Gordon Chancellor

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Gordon Chancellor moved to Stockport in February 2019 from the East of England, where he had been the Museum Development Officer (MDO) for Cambridgeshire since 2013. Gordon is now freelance and keen to work with museums in the North West. His museum career started as a geologist at the Oxford University Museum in the 1980s, before being appointed Curator of Peterborough Museum in the 1990s, and then taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society in the early 2000s. From there he went on to become an Archive Development Manager for the Museums Libraries and Archives Council, then Business Manager at the UK Data Archive in Essex before returning to museums as an MDO. Over his career, he has managed a considerable number of Heritage Lottery and Arts Council England funded projects and is especially interested in governance and the issues facing independent museums.

Gordon is delighted to be involved with the Federation and has already enjoyed getting to know other Board members. Being new to the North West, he is excited to be learning about the region which he says is very different (in good ways!) from the East of England. So far he has concentrated on visiting the bigger museums, but hopes that being on the Board will give him opportunities to contribute to the small and volunteer-led museums. Having been part of the SEMFed for many years, is keen to use that experience to help the NWFed to develop its programmes for members. He is also very keen to mentor young people who love art and nature and want to make a career in museums.

 

NEWS: The Prince of Wales Opens Lakeland Arts New Windermere Jetty Museum

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
HRH The Prince of Wales is welcomed onboard Osprey by John Eaton, David Dunlop, Paul Pearson and Ian Shirra at Windermere Jetty. Photo Jan Chlebik

After an extensive £20 million development project by Lakeland Arts, the Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories finally opened to the public earlier this year on the 23 March.  Following its public opening, a visit from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, gave the museum a Royal seal of approval as he toured new building with Lakeland Arts staff on 8 April.

The Windermere Jetty sits on the site of a former sand and gravel wharf dock, and the historic boat
museum that George Pattinson opened in 1977. Visitors will see boats on water in the Boathouse, and out on the lake itself and in the exhibition galleries. The Sir John Fisher Foundation Conservation Workshop is open, enabling visitors to see live conservation of the boats as they are restored and repaired to go back on the water or on display.
The museum continues traditional boat-building skills here and will involve apprentices, trainees and young people in keeping a traditional industry alive. Through the learning and skills development programme, science, engineering and ecology will meet the arts and culture to explore the collection and the site’s beautiful surrounding landscape. The museum includes the Wolfson Learning Centre, shop, lakeside café and temporary, as well as permanent exhibition spaces. Lakeland Arts took over the old museum in 2007, after it had closed the previous year. Eleven of the boats were allocated to Lakeland Arts by HM Government’s Acceptance in Lieu Scheme and the rest of the historic boats and a wealth of other objects were transferred from the Windermere Nautical Trust.

NEWS: NWFed Event – Developing University Partnerships Report

Friday, October 28th, 2016

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In the newly re-opened Norton Priory Museum a small group of museum professional from numerous organisations across the North West gathered to listen to case studies from organisations that have successfully established and developed partnerships with universities to aid their research and develop new income streams.

Frank Hargrave, Director of Norton Priory, welcomed everyone and started the day’s presentations with a case study outlining some of the projects he and his team had worked on with PhD students, providing some helpful tips to help those attending understand how to develop similar projects.  Norton Priory has been successfully developing relationships with various universities for some time, an initiative they started when they realised how much research was happening in universities all over the UK that could so easily be applied to the collections of museums.

Frank explained how it’s usually easy to find the right academic to work on your project as their profiles and research interests are always featured on their university’s website making them easy to contact.  Before you contact anyone, it’s good to remember what you as a museum can offer to a university or one of their students and collaborative PhDs are often a good place to start.  Universities are always looking for projects for MA students to move onto PhDs but you can also provide hands-on experience and career advice for students that their lecturers can’t.

Once you’ve sourced an academic partner, new funding sources will be opened up to the project which are specific to academic research, including Arts and Humanities Research Council funding which isn’t usually open to museums but you should remember that you will also open up funding avenues for the university that they are unable to apply to.  When working with universities they can often throw in costs to placements which are easily covered by academic funders but not through museum funds.  Listen to what your academic partner wants but be wary about universities looking to place their students with you so they don’t have to look after them.

Before approaching a university or academic with a project proposal it’s good to remember that your collections contain things numerous items of interest to academics. Lecturers are always looking for PhD opportunities and post-doc research projects and with increasing pressure being put on university departments to demonstrate public impact and engagement, something museums do very well, it makes a positive reaction to a well researched proposal highly likely.  Of course partnerships don’t always work out, in which case move on as there are plenty of other universities you can work with.

Tom Fildes, Norton Priory’s Business Development Director, then went on to explain in detail one of the current projects they are working on with the University of Liverpool’s Engineering Department to develop a portable carbon dating device.  The development of such a device will of course redevelop museum collections by being able to quickly and accurately date artefacts on site at any museum but it will also help to build Norton Priory’s credibility and eventually see revenue from the sale of the device.

To help maintain a good working relationship, Tom explained how he has  needed to maintain a level of flexibility throughout the partnership while keeping an open mind about where the project will go.

Finally, Meg McHugh and Jan Hicks from the Museum of Science and Industry (MoSI) in Manchester focused their case study on REALab, a pilot project which was conducted in partnership with several institutions and provided university students with experience and networking opportunities. The outcome for MoSI was a high quality report without having to bring in a paid consultant and instead bringing in a team of PhD researchers.  The other benefits of the project included getting a different perspective and gaining university contacts which broadened their network.

Having only recently become part of the Science Museum Group MoSI has added research to its objectives and with limited internal resources to do the research they want to they have instead found ways to bring in outside researchers from universities.  MoSI is using its new university network to develop projects examining areas they want to explore further and continuing to think more actively about how university students can become part of the museums work.

Working under the REALab project was MoSI’s first experience of working in partnership with a university and their students.  During the process they learnt a lot about how they could better develop future partnerships and have since changed the way they work creating longer lead in times for projects to allow time for academic research to be undertaken. They now plan to take forward and develop further and plan to develop a research strategy, build up a roster of PhD students, actively blog about research, build the museums research profile and take the time to explain to the universities what they have in their collections.

NEWS: £4 million grants announced for English Museums and Galleries

Friday, April 29th, 2016

£4 million grants announced for English Museums and Galleries under DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund

Grants will allow institutions across the country to increase access, improve displays and enhance public spaces

Grants totalling £4 million have been awarded to improve displays and facilities at museums and galleries across England, Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, announced today.

The grants, jointly funded through a partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Wolfson Foundation, will be used for renovation and improvement projects in 39 museums and galleries.

It will allow institutions across the country to increase access, improve displays and enhance public spaces.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said:

Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions.

We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.

I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.

Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding. The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections. From Egyptian mummies in Leicester to a Roman fort on Tyneside, this is a gloriously diverse set of projects – but all demonstrate excellence and all will improve the visitor experience.

In announcing these awards I also want to pay tribute to Giles Waterfield. He was a brilliant advisor to the programme from its inception and sparkled at an expert panel meeting in the very week in which he tragically and unexpectedly died. We all owe him a great deal.

 

 

NEWS: Introducing New NWFed Board Member Rachel Mulhearn

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

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During the last North West Federation of Museum’s board meeting, held on 15 January 2016 (full meeting minutes available here), we welcomed some new Board members including Rachel Mulhearn who is the Director of Rachel Mulhearn Associates, a cultural heritage consultancy which works across the UK.

Previous to setting up Mulhearn Associates in 2012, Rachel was Director of Merseyside Maritime Museum for 24 years. Also a board member of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Rachel brings extensive experience of working in the North West arts and heritage sector to the Board.  On being appointed Rachel explained:

“My role as a NWFED board member allows me the opportunity to work with colleagues across the region. We have serious challenges, but we also have great talent and skills. I want to bring along my experience of working in museums and use the creativity and innovation out there to work through difficulties, and go from strength to strength as a sector.”

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 Rachel and feel her experience and expertise will make a great edition to organisation.

NWFED NEWS: New Partnership with Museum Development North West

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

The North West Federation of Museums (NWFED) is really pleased announce that we will be working closely with Museum Development North West (MDNW) to assist in the their Museum Development programme for 2015-18.

As part of MDNW’s wide ranging programme of support for the sector, the NWFED has been asked to take the lead with one part of their Museum Development Plan focusing on the Arts Council’s Goal 4 – leadership and the museum workforce’s diversity and skills. Through the development and delivery of a ‘Support Our Skills (SOS)’ programme for volunteers and staff in museums, we will be able to provide tailor made support for the huge number of volunteers in museums across the North West, whilst opening up the programme to NWFED members and other museum staff.

This year the NWFED will carrying out research to find out what volunteers working in our sector would like a training and development programme to involve and what they would find beneficial to their career development. We will be speaking to volunteers across the region through an online survey, various focus groups, site visits and more to find out what the sector needs.  The new programme will then be launched in April 2016 and will run for two years. At this stage there are no concrete ideas of what the programme will include, as it will be shaped by the conversations we have with people across the region.

If you are a volunteer, or would like volunteers in your museum to be involved and have a say in the development of this programme, then please do get in touch with the NWFED. We will be sharing details of the different ways that you can provide ideas and feedback shortly via our website and newsletter.

This is a very exciting time for NWFED and we look forward to working with MDNW over the coming years.

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Katy Ashton:  Chair of NWFED and Director of the People’s History Museum, Manchester