Developing new income streams – Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

Tiverton Museum is a much-loved museum providing extensive displays on local history within the Mid Devon area, a schools’ programme and reminiscence service.

The AIM Hallmark project builds upon our work to improve organisational resilience with the intention to diversify our income streams (reducing dependence upon local authority funding) and to ready the museum for a major capital redevelopment in the next few years.

The project had two aims:

  1. Exploring the market for, and developing, children’s birthday parties and celebration events for older people at the Museum
  2. Options appraisal for the creation of workspaces on our site to generate income.

The project was designed to create new, diverse income streams using our assets. The themed parties mean that we can utilise the collections and displays in a new way, and the creation of workspaces would make optimum use of our site.

The project was managed by the Director (and only full-time member of staff), Pippa Griffith, supported by Education and Outreach Officer, Holly Jarrett, and with regular reporting to the Trustees. We appointed Jenifer Macindoe to develop the party offer and Lemon Drizzle to undertake the workspace lettings research. Both elements of the project involved consultation with the local community, including families, older adults, and business and council stakeholders.

We are very pleased with the final party offer; we have two children’s parties fully worked up and resourced (spy training school and retro toys and games). We anticipated that one of the children’s parties would be railway themed linking to our steam engine. However the research revealed that there is a similar offer nearby, so alternative themes were developed following public consultation. We hope to build on these and offer more themes as demand grows.

The adult offer builds on our desire to explore the use of our large social history collections and reminiscence handling collection, tapping into a ‘nostalgia’ market. We have two adult parties (time tunnel and mystery at the museum) which have resulted in new partnerships with local caterers and a murder mystery company. We are recruiting a member of staff to deliver the parties and will launch them in time for the new financial year.

The workspace lettings options appraisal and report came back full of positivity, and provides us with a clear idea of the type of workspace we want to create. This will ensure future investment in these plans will be well spent. The report provides invaluable evidence to support future fundraising applications.

The Hallmarks project has important legacies for the Museum. In the short term we can start to offer parties straightaway and include a new income stream to our budget for 2020/21. It also has a major role in shaping and developing our medium/long term plans, as the creation of workspace lettings is a vital component of our redevelopment plans (and which we are committed to implement even if redevelopment plans are unsuccessful). We just can’t wait to get started and take these innovations further!

‘This project is an important building block in our work to make the museum more resilient. We have an exciting new party offer which has been properly resourced so that we feel confident we’re offering a quality experience. We are already working on plans to take us a step further towards our redevelopment, in which the workspace lettings will be a vital component.’ Pippa Griffith, Director.