East Midlands Museum Service/Renaissance East Midlands Practitioners’ Panel Meeting Wednesday 7 July 2010 at 10:30 Melton Carnegie Museum Present: Ann Inscker (Nottingham City Museums & Galleries) – Chair Carole Bancroft Turner (Oundle Museum), Greta Bentley (Fleckney History Group), Liz Blood (Leics Heritage Service), Clare Bowyer (Kettering Museum & Art Gallery), Claire Browne (Renaissance East Midlands), Peter Carter (Lutterworth Museum), Robin Clarke (Renaissance East Midlands), Jenny Dancey (Melton Carnegie Museum), Simon Davies (Renaissance East Midlands), Julian Ellis (Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum), Dean Emery (Leicester New Walk Museum), Rachael Evans (Nottingham City Museums & Galleries), Diana Friendship-Taylor (Piddington Roman Villa Museum), Victoria Gabbitas (Piddington Roman Villa Museum), Melissa Hall (Newark Millgate Museum), Jane Hardstaff (Derby Museum & Art Gallery), David Henderson (The Canal Museum), Mary Hider (Leicester City Museums), Mick Holtby (Queen's Royal Lancers Regt Museum), Joyce Jefford (Lincs Vintage Vehicle Society), Susan Lansdale (EMMS), Antony Lee (Renaissance East Midlands), Betty Morley (Fleckney History Group), Robert Osborn (Queen's Royal Lancers Regt Museum), Laura Simpson (Derby Museum & Art Gallery), Deb Skinner (Nottingham Trent University), Lucy Veale (Nottingham University), Nigel Wright (NT Hardwick Hall), Lucy Yarham (NT Sudbury Hall). 1. Welcome & introductions. Apologies for absence. Ann Inscker welcomed attendees to Practitioners’ Panel, and thanked Jenny Dancey for hosting the meeting at Melton Carnegie Museum. Apologies for absence were received from: Andrew Barber (National Trust), Sara Blair- Manning (Alford Manor House Museum), Claire Cooper (Leicester City Museums), Yolanda Courtney (Leics Heritage Service), Gill Crawley (Newstead Abbey), Billy Dalziel (Corby Borough Council), Megan Doole (Mr Straw's House), Sam Glaswell (Bassetlaw Museum), Fiona Graham (Newarke Houses Museum), Ron Inglis (Nottingham City Museums & Galleries), Paul Jefford (Lincs Vintage Vehicle Society), Julie Mckinnon (Corby Borough Council), David Radford (Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum) 2. Minutes of the last Meeting & Matters Arising It was agreed to approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday 2 December 2009 as a true record. There were no matters arising. 3. The Learning Revolution in Nottingham – The Brough Project Rachael Evans, Audience Engagement Officer, Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, introduced a current adult informal learning project on the restoration of a 1936 Brough Superior Motorcar, before playing a video. Enabled by £100,000 funding from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, the project has been part of The Learning Revolution transformation fund, a national initiative based on the premise that learning is fun for all ages. The project was launched on October 2009 and will run to September 2010. It has involved working with adult learners on a weekly basis, involving more than 3000 hours and a huge commitment by approx 120 volunteers. Although the project focuses on the restoration of the car, it has also involved volunteers working in teams on research, documentation and filming. The video was made by volunteers and offers a volunteer perspective. There has been considerable support from local businesses such as Ristes Garage and the Nottingham Evening Post with expertise and resources. Funding supported travel expenses and childcare, although minimal amounts have been claimed. Social days were introduced into the prpject and have proved very popular. Those involved would like to do something else after the prpject ends. The Brough car was chosen for the project as it was made in Nottingham, and is extremely rare. It will be launched, then on display, at Nottingham’s Industrial Museum on 13 August 2010; Rachael offered to send invitations to everyone at the meeting and hoped they could attend. 4. Developing the Community Gallery and a Community Programme Jenny Dancey, Keeper at Melton Carnegie Museum spoke about the museum’s current community development project, Town and County in the 21st Century (budget £1.1 million, mainly Heritage Lottery Fund). The new refurbishment of the ground and first floors has doubled the size of the museum, creating a new Community Room (location for this meeting!) a new Community Gallery, nearing completion, and housing for a Community Archive. The museum has been open for 30 years, but only had its own curator for the past 12 years. The project arose out of the need for greater space and resources for the work that has been developed during that time. Since the community room opened in January 2010, community use has increased by 160%. Jenny spoke in depth about the process of developing the project, which included a great deal of community engagement and consultation. She hoped that people would see the museum as the gateway to their local history and a spur for contemporary collecting e.g. A Year in the Country, a monthly oral history recording project, and collecting a photographic record of all villages in the borough. The new gallery will include digital photo frames and sound listening posts. The museum is not shying away from difficult themes, but will ensure there is balanced reporting. The Community Archive strand of the project has revealed areas that were not apparent in the original business plan. For example, the need amongst local heritage groups for a means of cataloguing and communicating their material; this will be addressed in a new funding application to HLF. Jenny emphasised the importance of building long-term partnerships, identifying community champions, and encouraging involvement and ownership as vital to sustain the work of, and funding for, the museum. 5. Demonstrating Social Outcomes Robin Clarke, Museum Development Officer, outlined a KISS approach to collecting and collating data to show evidence of the impact of museums’ work that he had be using with forum members in Leics & Rutland. He spoke of the importance of being able to demonstrate that a community was better off because it had a museum. Museums needed to be able to capture how they were making a difference to people’s lives and providing outcomes that long-term social benefit. Having identified and captured outcomes e.g. economic activity, bringing different age groups together, they could then be linked to wider strategies such as a county council’s community strategy. Robin outlined ways that Leics & Rutland museums had been capturing information, in a common approach, though a template diary and simple data collection. He encouraged other museums to undertake this work that could be pulled together as an evidence base, possibly useful for new opportunities that may emerge through the Coalition Government’s Big Society. 6. Encouraging Volunteering Claire Browne, REM Regional Museum Development Manager, continued the theme by talking about understanding the demographics of volunteering: she referred to the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) commissioned research on this topic and the Cultural Volunteering in the East Midlands report, 2009. The findings of both had helped to create a basis for the REM Flagship Volunteer Providers programme. It was estimated that approx 5000 people volunteered in the region’s museums, committed and generous with their time; however, the age and gender profile was narrow and needed to be addressed. The REM Flagships Volunteer providers programme aims to provide a legacy beyond Renaissance through: providing champions of best practice; raising standards; diversifying the workforce; and increasing volunteer numbers. There are four ‘cluster’ groups of museums across the region – 28 in all – working in different areas. They will report back on their work early in 2011, and it is hoped a Toolkit to support others will be one of the outcomes of the programme. 7. Accreditation Modernisation Simon Davies, REM Accreditation Officer, outlined the background and timetable of the modernisation of Accreditation, provided an update on the consultation process, and requested people to contribute their views. He planned to take feedback form the meeting to the next discussion at MLA. It was generally felt that the proposals were reasonable. However, people were a little confused about how much detail was needed i.e. what was ‘appropriate’ depending on the size of the museum, and concerned about the time that changes would take; they suggested that templates and guidance would be helpful. Regarding the point about Understanding your primary audience…. Practitioners requested guidance about what degree of evidence was required and what support would be offered. They also pointed out that not all museums consider that they have a primary audience. Simon offered reassurance that MLA is not expecting separate policies for the Collections Management Framework; there had been a degree of concern that the wording implied more and new documents. It was greed that Environmental Sustainability should not be included; although an ideal, it would be expensive to undertake assessments, may not be possible to reduce impact, and in any case could be premature. Simon thanked practitioners for their comments, and requested that any other thoughts be emailed to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org A copy of the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied presentations 5, 6 7 is attached. 8. Open Forum 8.1 Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum has acquired the contents of a specialist library on knitting technology, and can provide expertise on this topic. 8.2 Practitioners were reminded that the new EMMS website is updated on a regaulr basis, contains news about events and training courses, and welcomes articles and news from members. EMMS has also just launched a new insurance scheme for members. 8.3 The Queen’s Royal Lancers Regimental Museum, currently in storage, will open at a new site at Thoresby by May 2011. Any donations of equipment, shelving, display cases, exhibition panels etc would be appreciated for the fit-out; please contact Mick Holtby, email@example.com. 8.4 The National Trust has recently undergone a restructure – the West and East midlands have been merged. 8.5 The University of Nottingham is hosting two MuBu Bursary projects. Lucy Veale is concentrating on representations of climate change (though equipment, interpretations, resources etc) in the region’s museums. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated; please contact Lucy Veale, firstname.lastname@example.org 8.6 Alfred East Gallery in Kettering has changed its opening hours. The museum manager left last August and won’t be replaced for the foreseeable future. 8.7 The Public catalogue Foundation for Leics is due to be published soon. 9. Date of next meeting It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the Practitioners’ Panel on Wednesday 1st December 2010 (NB not 8th as originally proposed), at Nottingham Castle Museum. Ann Inscker invited people to provide suggestions for topics and speakers. She thanked Jenny Dancey for hosting the meeting, Susan Lansdale for the arrangements, the speakers for their presentations, and everyone for their contributions to the discussion. After lunch, Jenny Dancey provided a tour of the new Community Gallery.