This week I have to start by passing on the sad news that Oliver Merrington died on Sunday. Oliver was Curator of the Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum and was one of the best known people in the County’s independent museums. He is a considerable loss to our community and to me personally. It is doubly sad that the aviation trail launched just two weeks ago in MiC News 58 was his in many ways his brainchild.
The good news is that the County Council’s application to ACE’s Resilience Fund for a project we are calling SWIM 2 has been successful. We have been awarded almost £124k to support the recruitment and training of volunteers and trustees for fourteen of the independent museums in the County. The money, plus partnership funding from MiC, will allow the employment of two Volunteer Co-ordinators who will work across the County from late 2016 to the Spring of 2018. They will focus especially on increasing the diversity of the volunteer museums workforce, for example by recruiting from groups who have not traditionally volunteered in museums. SWIM 2 (i.e. strengthening the workforce in museums) builds on the earlier project called SWIM which ran from July 2015 to march 2016. Among many other benefits, SWIM built up a group of volunteers to keep the Cromwell Museum open when it passed from Council control to an independent trust in April 2016.