Posts Tagged ‘NWFed Member’

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 – 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.”

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.

IN PROFILE: Norton Priory’s Sustainable Redevelopment

Thursday, May 5th, 2016



As you approach Runcorn’s Norton Priory site, tucked behind a modern industrial estate, there is very little clue of this 12th century monastery site’s historical significance.  Currently undergoing significant redevelopment as part of a HLF funded capital project ‘Monastery to Museum 900’, the priory is due to reopen its doors this coming August showcasing a fully redeveloped museum and newly conserved undercroft.

As the most excavated medieval monastic site in Europe, Norton Priory boasts some of the most incredible stories and objects which will be displayed more fully than was previously possible in new innovative first floor viewing gallery which will help visitors better understand the ruins while also carefully preserving the grade 1 listed 12th century undercroft to properly demonstrate the sites national historical significance.

Although visitors are obviously an important focus of Norton Priory’s ‘Monastery to Museum 900’ development project, one of the aims of the £4.5m redevelopment is also to help with the Priory’s future sustainability.  Engaging larger audiences will be integral to this, with visitors to the museum anticipated to increase by 60%, greater audiences will of course increase admission and secondary spend income.  In consultation with local teachers, the project will also double the size of the learning suite to provide facilities for larger school groups helping to deal with the rising costs in transport and further pressures on their pupils time in school.

Central to all of the decisions made during the project’s development was the need for flexibility, particularly for providing means to offer event, wedding and conference facilities. The learning suite will not only double in size, it will also have a moveable partition allowing for the space to seat 100 people theatre style. In one of the new exhibition spaces, an area has been opened to provide an activity space designed to demonstrate traditional skills, linked to the Priory’s traditional skills programme which provides another source of income.

Although Norton Priory’s redevelopment project concentrates greatly on visitors experience, there are also significant development taking place behind the scenes.  In recent years, the Priory has developed significant research partnerships with the Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster, Leicester, Liverpool John Moores, Nottingham, Birmingham and Sheffield. These partnerships have not only helped to better understand the Priory’s collections, but they have also provided financial opportunities.  Frank Hargrave, Norton Priory’s Director explained:

“We have found that [our partnerships with Universities] has increased our profile with the media and many of the research areas have attracted significant funding not limited specifically to research time but to outputs such as exhibitions, matchfunding for the capital project and even for core costs and new revenues streams.”

Given the continuous squeezing of local government budgets, it feels important to note that Norton Priory’s redevelopment will not only demonstrate the historical significance of this important monastery site, it will also put in place a solid structure for in-house income generation to help secure the museum’s future.