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Tenby Museum and Art Gallery is a charity run by a board of trustees who employ a professional curator and assistant, supported by a number of long- term volunteers. The museum owns a significant collection, only about a third of which is currently exhibited due to space limitations.
With a review of the building lease on the horizon, and reliance on a local authority revenue grant, the trustees felt it was timely to carry out a study to see whether their ideas for the future of the museum were viable, sustainable and wanted. The scoping study commissioned architect’s drawings to create realistic outline plans, as well as market research and an audience development plan, all contributing to a larger development plan to fund the museum sustainably, increase visitor numbers and improve the buildings.
The audience development report included recommendations for improving the visitor experience, creating more volunteer opportunities, and promoting and developing activities and events for new audiences.
The scoping study led to the trustees securing £25K from PCC Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant to employ a Community Engagement and Events Officer, full-time for one year, to build community support and involvement in the museum and strengthen the volunteer base.
In addition, since the study gave them a clearer vision and renewed enthusiasm, it has encouraged the trustees to submit an expression of interest to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to engage a project manager and work towards creating a more iconic flagship museum with engaging content.
The scoping study process and reports have enabled the trustees and staff to clarify and crystallise their vision for the museum. The architect’s drawings have helped them move their ideas from a wish-list to something that now seems achievable, which has brought the trustees together and galvanised their work.
The trustees also learned that they needed to improve communications both internally, among trustees and staff, and externally with friends of the museum and the wider body of stakeholders.
The LEADER experience has encouraged the museum to apply for further funding and given them the confidence to believe that they will be successful if they enthuse about their project and personalise their funding bids, bringing their ideas to life.
The trustees and staff have also learned the importance and value of actively continuing to get visitor feedback and taking it into account in their planning.