This is now the second time we have re-opened the Museum since the start of the pandemic. We had hoped we might find it easier this time round, but all that seems to have happened is that we are more ambitious for what we want to achieve!
Inside and outside the Museum needs a very big clean and tidy. It has been 6 months since we have regularly had people in the building, so there has been lots of time for nature to have a good go at taking back the site.
Our first priority is getting visitor ready, not just with clean museum spaces, but with signs, hand gel, booking systems, programming and website ready to go. The staff have been making sure the important compliance systems are up to scratch, and the team enjoyed fire warden training.
The charity, Our Barn, have been cleaning the kitchen ready to re-open the café and are starting to work out how the young people will be working in the space.
Outside the word is weeds! It has been wonderful to welcome back the members of Speak Out in Hounslow to the top garden, and they have already started to make a difference to the space. The weeds that line the train track, and the edges of the building are the first target for the gardening volunteers, who have started to book their slots to come and give us a much needed hand once again.
We are also hoping to complete the work that we started with our Emergency Lottery Funding, tidying up the outside spaces of the Museum, clearing garden waste and moving collections items into safer locations. We hope that when visitors return from May 29th there will be a noticeable difference in how the site looks.
There is so much to do, and the 8 page to-do list does feel overwhelming at times, but we have broken each week down, so we know we are on track to get everything done. None of this would have been possible without the funding we received from the Cultural Recovery Fund. It has enabled us to bring in additional support (thank you Melissa, Tom, Anna and Claire) and to make things, like additional cleaning and skips, happen.
The first people we are welcoming back into the Museum are the All Aboard Club, a group for families with autism, which will start off a week of community focus before the arrival of families for half term. We know the moment we see people back in the building, loving our Museum it will make all the hard work worth it.