At the end of May we re-opened the Museum. That in itself was a massive achievement and came after 6 weeks of hard work by the staff and volunteers getting the Museum ready after another 6 months of closure and staff on furlough.
We were delighted to once again open first for the local community, and then to families over the half term. Funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund 2 paid for the reopening work needed, and meant we could afford to, even though we knew the visitor numbers would be lower.
And although back open, the Museum is certainly not ‘back to normal’. We are now open less; with weekends open to the public during term time, and the site open for community groups, staff and volunteers just on Thursdays and Fridays. Even over the school summer holidays we were only open Wednesday to Sunday.
We are still being covid secure, particularly important when you have such a small staff team, with masks on, numbers in the office and mess room limited and risk assessment being regularly reviewed.
But the summer holidays where a great achievement, with families returning at 2019 levels, which brought into the Museum much needed income. It was wonderful to see our new café partner, charity Our Barn, in full swing, with the young people they work with learning the skills needed for working in the café.
We are a very tired staff team. We have been delighted to have been join by 3 new duty managers who can support us. This started to make life easier in September as everyone was trained and took over some of the work from the core 3 of us (Liz, Joanna and Emma). They have also now been joined by Harry, who is with us on a Kickstart placement 3 days a week, and has quickly settled in and become one of the team.
As we moved into the Autumn the Museum feels very alive. Community groups and the return of school visits make Thursdays and Fridays extra fun and busy. With funding from Awards For All, we were able to deliver the first of our young people’s volunteering project Steam Team, which looks to build skills though volunteering. We are delighted that more of this work will be happening in the Museum in 2022.
As we head into a hard winter, we are delighted to have received funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund 3, which will support us through the new few months. We will be working on volunteering, membership, events for the winter as well as bringing back our schools programme. This is a real boost for our income, as well as the energy an exciting project brings to the Museum.
So, 6 months back open and even though we are still in a pandemic we feel that we are in a good place, and now planning for the new future. Massive thank you to everyone to their support and encouragement, we would not be back open without you all!