Hallmarks at Home – Ready to reopen

Are you ready to reopen?

This session will help inform your reopening plans and give you the opportunity to swap questions and experiences with other AIM members.

This session will explore the experiences of three very different independent museums, as they take lessons learnt in 2020 and prepare to reopen in May. The three speakers will share their thoughts on:

  • Staff confidence, morale, and mental health
  • Visitor confidence, preparedness to return and expectations, including communication, keeping in touch, and what they’ve learnt from their visitors
  • Volunteer communication, training, and confidence building
  • Health and safety (social distancing/redesigning museum routes, procedures).

There will be time for questions and discussion with the panel at the end as well as with other participants to help you shape your own reopening plans and share your experiences too.

Stuart Orme is Curator/Museum Manager at The Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon, housed in an 800-year-old building. He is the only paid member of staff. They are one of the country’s smallest museums (70m square in terms of public space) with an internationally important collection to the significant and controversial 17th century soldier and statesman Oliver Cromwell. They had just undergone a major refurbishment (the first in 30 years) to display more collections, make their space more welcoming and tell Cromwell’s story ‘Warts and All’, funded by several grants including ones from AIM, and reopened on 1 March 2020, only to have to close again two weeks later.

Marilyn Scott is Director of the Lightbox, Woking. It is far more than just an independent museum and art gallery and is used as a community hub for the town, including community events. The café is very much a destination. Pre-Covid they received 100,000 visitors a year with 23 staff and 150 volunteers. Last year they opened and closed three times due to moving tiers.

Natasha Eden is Chief Operating Officer, Black Country Living Museum, Dudley. They tell stories related to 300 years of industrial history and had budgeted for circa 360,000 visitors in 2020, and got 90,000. Alongside Covid they’ve just embarked on their largest ever capital project – a £30m development including a major new historic 1940s-1960s town and industrial area, new learning spaces and a brand-new visitor centre, taking the story up to the closure of the Baggeridge Coal Mine in 1968 which brought about the end of a unique era for the Black Country.

11am – 12.30pm Wednesday 5 May.

Click here to register your place on Zoom>>