Cambridgeshire Museums Small Grants 2019-20

Each year Cambridgeshire County Council awards small grants to Cambridgeshire’s Accredited museums. The funding is from the ACE Museum Development Programme for the East of England through SHARE Museums East.

In 2019-20 grants were up to £500 and were allocated in October 2019 for projects to be completed by March 2020. Museums were required to demonstrate how their plans fitted with ACE’s five goals and with their own forward plans. The projects could be for any aspect of the museums’ operations but could not be used to cover core costs (e.g. staff). 18 awards were made, with total value of over £7,800. There was a preference for projects with a significant impact on the museum’s offer for families and long-term collections care.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the successful projects from 2019-20

Cromwell Museum – Securing our Building and Collections

As part of our recent successful submission for Museum Accreditation, we had aSecurity camera bought by Chatteris Museum, Cambridgeshire security report conducted on the Museum by a contractor sent on behalf of the national security advisor. The report made 4 recommendations on our security: an additional lock on our exterior door, an additional PIR on our alarm system, a basic digital CCTV system and museum cases that meet current standards.
This autumn the Museum is undergoing a major refurbishment and we have grant funding to cover the costs of design and fit on the building including improved cases; we have the opportunity during these works to integrate other security improvements seamlessly and a lower cost than would be as a discrete project. The company undertaking our refurbishment can fit a new lock and basic CCTV system; our alarm company will need to fit the PIR into the existing system.
We have an internationally important collection (insurance value £2.5million) which we need to secure, along with the safety of our volunteers and visitors, to the best of our ability.
Thanks to Arts Council and CCC for your continued support to small independent museums.

Ely Museum – Funding for a replica soldiers’ uniform

The purchase of a reproduction WW1 soldiers uniform and kit for use in our WW1 themed schools’ sessions. The addition of a costumed reenactor will increase the appeal of the session which is currently one of our less popular sessions. Bringing in more schools to the museum and through outreach will not only bring an increase in revenue but allow us to engage more children in the local area. Secondly the purchase of the uniform will create a character role for our newly funded Project Education Assistant and increase his experience in re-enactment.

Thanks to this funding the project will allow us to refresh and develop our WWI schools’ visit session, making it more engaging for children and teachers as well as providing a development opportunity for a member of staff.

Peterborough Museum – Keeping it clean!

Following a recent training course run by Mitchell Heritage organised by ArtUK as part of their ArtUK sculpture project, cleaning of large sculptures and other museum objects was covered and it was recommended that a back pack museum vac be used, as the most suitable equipment to enable staff to reach large or awkward objects safely and be safe for the objects. The museum’s last Conservation Audit by the County Conservator also confirmed a need for such equipment to be integrated into a longer-term gallery cleaning programme.

This project will allow for the purchase of the equipment and work with the Front of House and volunteer teams under the guidance of the Heritage Collections Manager, to train them in how to clean museum objects safely. This training will lead to a programme for cleaning of objects in the permanent museum galleries, and in store, improving the care of collections, upskilling staff, and improving the visitor experience.

The equipment would also be available for loan to neighbouring museums when not in use.