Each year Cambridgeshire County Council awards small grants to Cambridgeshire’s Accredited museums. The funding is from Cambridgeshire County Council, the Arts Council England Museum Development Programme for the East of England through SHARE Museums East.
In 2022-23 grants were up to £750 and were allocated in one round and projects were completed by March 2023. Due to the aftermath of the pandemic Cambridgeshire County Council, ACE and SHARE East were keen to continue to support reopening and resilience, which are key to recovering from the pandemic. A total of 12 awards were made, with total value of over £8,300. The projects varied from creating children’s education activity bags, improving outreach and interpretation, as well as looking after collections.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the successful projects from 2022-23
Farmland Museum – New promotional leaflet for 2023
As the Farmland museum returned to a more traditional way of working post-pandemic, volunteers and staff begun a programme of external engagement with potential visitors, local schools and businesses in the form of attendance at fairs and festivals and outreach work with schools. They also promote the museum once again in tourist offices, libraries, and other local museums.
The main marketing tool used was a leaflet and the current leaflet was out of date. The funding granted was for a new and improved leaflet, which increased awareness of the full offer and encourage general visits, school visits, business bookings and site hire.
Wisbech and Fenland Museum – Improve display case lighting
Wisbech museum had a few display cases which were installed in the late 1980s and were starting fail and replacement of the fittings needed to be addressed. The fittings use halogen bulbs.
The proposed project was to replace the existing light fittings with LED units. This will give a harmonised case lighting within the room as well as improving conditions for the collection and adding to the visitor experience.
Ely Museum – Covering climate change
Ely Museum produced two new outdoor interpretation panels to further explain the planting in their courtyard garden. This covered the local fen plants that are specially adapted to the fragile fen environment and the crops that grow so well in the fertile fen soil. Alongside this they highlighted the issues of climate change, as this is something not covered in the main exhibitions, but the museum and visitors were increasingly keen to explore.
In addition to this Ely Museum team also produced 75 craft packs linked to the theme of plants and the environment which were distributed through the local foodbank.
Norris Museum – Relax in the courtyard
The Norris Museum created a ‘wellbeing station’ for the museum’s courtyard garden. This consisted of a small outbuilding that visitors can help themselves to the contents on weather-appropriate days. It would contains picnic blankets, outdoor cushions, seasonal spotter sheets for plants and insects that can be found in the garden, magnifying glasses, garden-themed picture and information books, and natural materials, such as chunky sticks, pinecones, with baskets for sensory sorting and play. Adding to the visitor experience of demographics and encouraging use of the courtyard and the garden. Creating a space that anyone can use with materials to engage with nature and enjoy a bit of mindful relaxation in our beautiful garden space.
March Museum – Preserving collections
March museum was successful in gaining a small grant to purchase bespoke boxes to store and protect 20 rare books relating to the history of the town of March. March Museum regularly works with schools, promoting the collection and support teacher research and student learning. This small grant has improved access of this collection to all visitors and to school groups, as well as further education. The books range in date from the 1500s to the early 19th Century and are now protected whilst stored for many more years to come.