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.
Cambridgeshire Museums Small Grants 2020-21
Each year Cambridgeshire County Council awards small grants to Cambridgeshire’s Accredited museums. The funding is from Cambridgeshire County Council, the ACE Museum Development Programme for the East of England through SHARE Museums East.
In 2020-21 grants were up to £750 and were allocated in two rounds for all projects to be completed by March 2021. Due to the pandemic it was recognised by ACE that support for reopening and resilience was key to surviving the effects of Covid 19. In the previous grant schemes Museums were required to demonstrate how their plans fitted with ACE’s five goals and with their own forward plans. Although this was still important the small grants scheme was increased to £750 and a focus on the 3rd goal of sustainably and resilience was very much the emphasis. A total of 16 awards were made, with total value of over £10,600. Even though there was a preference for projects that supported reopening and the ability to operate within the new Covid regulations, there were also many projects that looked to the future. Our museums also used their time when they were forced to close to look into projects that supported long-term collections care and well as their reshaping their exhibitions.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the successful projects from 2020-21
Farmland Museum – New signage
Through our project we will design and create the interpretation panels and artwork for our brand new Fen Hut display, built around a unique local punt and punt gun that have been loaned to the museum in 2021. The new Fen Hut exhibit will form the basis of our publicity drive as we reopen to the public in April 2021. With the absence of large-scale events at the start of our season, we hope to entice new and returning visitors with refreshed, engaging displays, in turn helping us to be a sustainable and resilient organisation. High quality interpretation and artwork plays a pivotal role in telling our story and bringing history to life for both visitors from local communities and further afield. The Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey tells an 850-year story of farming, communities and life in the Cambridgeshire Fens and our new display will capture this and inspire people.
Ely Museum – Collections conservation
We would like to have a pair of Elizabethan boy’s shoes conserved before they go one long-term display. The shoes were found bricked up in the Porta and help us tell the story of superstition in that period as well as being evidence of what children wore in the past. By having them conserved, we ensure their long-term survival as well as knowing that they will look their best when we are ready to reopen to the public.
We plan to use a qualified and experienced conservator who will clean and repair the shoes where possible. She will humidify and reshape the shoes, make a custom-made internal support and a softer tie for the left shoe.
Ramsey Rural Museums – New children’s display
Funding was given to assist with the creation of a child- friendly display through the relocation of a Toy Display from the downstairs floor of the stable block at Ramsey Rural Museum to a larger space upstairs. This would be a new attraction that the museum could advertise, appealing to extended families as well as local nurseries and schools who cover Toys and Games as part of their school curriculum.
Additionally, the museum would seek to purchase some vintage toys so that it can provide a more improved interpretation of the display to a younger audience. For example, the museum has:
- A Mickey Mouse Magic Lantern and slides but would seek to display alongside this further film related animation artefacts to help children understand the development of film.
- Part of a Bako Building set but this would need additional pieces and would be best displayed alongside other wooden, metal (Meccano) and early plastic equivalents.
- A variety of dolls but would benefit from adding a corn doll, a peg doll, a Peggy Nisbet costume doll, a Barbie doll etc., to show how dolls have changed over time.
Peterborough Museum – environmental monitoring
Following the challenges arisen during COVID lockdown of managing the museum collections effectively remoting, we want to increase the museums sustainability in this area through the purchase of 3 additional telemetric environmental monitors which can be viewed remotely as part of home working protocals, in addition to data being accessible in the museum building its self.
Currently the museum uses a mix of telemetric loggers and downloadable loggers. It only has 6 telemetric loggers which are used in the display areas for the collections most sensitive to environmental change, whilst the remaining display and storage areas are monitored using LogTags which are downloaded monthly. It is not possible to download the LogTags remotely and therefore during the Lockdown data was lost, and monitoring of potential risks to the collections was not possible.
The purchase of 3 additional telemetric loggers would allow us to monitor our two natural history store and costume store remotely, improving management of the collections and reducing risk to collections.
Prickwillow Museum – new Perspex screen for the front desk
In order for Prickwillow Museum to reopen to visitors the scheme funded a Perspex screen for the desk and café servery along with providing multiply hand sanitising stations for their volunteers and visitors. This ensured they followed the COVID and best practise regulations and where able to welcome visitors again.