Torfaen Museum Trust, Amgueddfa Torfaen Museum – AIM Hallmarks in Wales

Volunteers merchanding the china bazaar at Torfaen Museum

AIM grant: £5,910
A Co-Ordinator for Income Streams 

Torfaen Museum Trust was established in 1978 to tell the story the easternmost Valley of South Wales. The site at Torfaen Museum, Pontypool now houses c.20,000 artefacts, has two full-time and six part-time staff and c.20 volunteers caring for the collections, seven galleries, a local studies reference archive and library, schoolroom, gift, donated vintage china and book shops. The Trust is constituted by a Membership scheme for individuals, families and clubs/ groups/societies with annual fees attached.

We applied for the AIM grant to increase sustainable income streams via both online sales and to increase annual Memberships with a dedicated Coordinator post for one year.

Despite extending the post, the project still got caught in three lockdowns. The Coordinator was able to do the research and establishment of online sales working from home, but two years of planned Membership campaigns (March / April 2020 and March / April 2021) were unable to be fulfilled to the maximum.

Although not all of the postholder’s aims were fully implemented, many policies and procedures are now in place thanks to her hard work and include:

  • Online shop sales points established
  • A system of recording online sales and procedures written
  • Online sales and interest growing e.g. the re-published museum book ‘The Story of Torfaen’ sold over 100 copies during lockdowns
  • Ability to now move forward with a new sales point on our new website
  • Membership Campaign procedures in place – to be re-deployed next March (2022).

We would love to have retained the post but the postholder is staying on at the Trust as a volunteer: “I feel that the Membership recruitment campaigns and new ways forward for online sales have yet to reach their full potential and so I am happy to continue to help the museum in achieving that potential and ensuring sustainability by volunteering. Increasing their Membership and their reach for possible shop and china sales is absolutely the way forward to increased sustainability for the museum. I am happy to stay on and help them achieve their goals” Mary Mahabir-Jenks, AIM funded Coordinator.

We are confident and positive on taking our sustainable income streams forward into the future thanks to this funding for this crucial post from AIM and the Welsh Government.

Deborah A Wildgust, Curator, Torfaen Museum Trust 

Pictured: Volunteers merchandising the china bazaar at Torfaen Museum