Buxton Museum and Art Gallery had some really fantastic news this week. I will let Derbyshire Museums Manager Ros Westwood tell you all about it:
There are, I suggest, two responses to news – good news, that is. Ecstatic euphoria, when the feeling is all in the upper part of your body and you want to dance and shout – so often seen on ‘A’ level results day, and another…
In August 2014, the Collections in the Landscape team completed the Stage 2 application for the project. It had been a roller coaster ride, but every team member can say that they have helped prepare a Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application. This is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Sentences were honed, texts were read, reread and polished, pages were designed. The HLF application form was completed, signed and sent button pressed, and the files, each 3 inches thick, were sent to Nottingham.
For the next five nights I would wake suddenly with a new silly HLF worm running through my mind: was this idea clearly explained? Did that picture fit? Have the numbers been adequately crunched? Had we sent the action plan and the activity plan? But eventually I set the whole mental exercise to one side and picked up the day job. I could do little more until December and that was months away, wasn’t it?
The visit of the HLF assessors in November was the last time to impress. Excuse me? Where had September and October gone? We had three hours. This is a hard sell marketing exercise, where you need to show passion, deep understanding, pre-empt the questions and prepare to be grilled.
And then, before ever you realise, here is December and the niggling worry begins. Have you got a Plan B?…C?…D? What if they say you can have the money but… ? What is the worst case scenario?
And so, the second response to good news? A very dull, low sensation at the pit of your tummy, and you say to your HLF officer, say that again, and slowly, realisation hits you – and your tummy seems to fall away even further. And the slow reflection that all that work was worth every minute of the sweat and toil, and next that the world is about to change again, and life is going to be dominated for the next three years by this one programme. The sense of disbelief is perhaps worst, as you phone people who are anticipating bad news and slowly they make sense of what you are saying – that the bid was successful. Yes, successful!
So now it has all sunk in. These thoughts were written long before the formal letters were received. We were still waiting for the Councillors to agree that we could proceed with the project.
We now have that permission to start, and preparation for Buxton Museum’s 125th birthday party in 2018 begins now. And what’s it all about?
Collections in the Landscape will bring context and collections together to engage more people with their Peak District heritage through three activities:
- Pocket Wonders – Delivering digital content to visitors in the landscape through mobile technology, extending Buxton Museum’s experience into the visitor’s pocket
- Wonders of the Peak – Redeveloping the principal gallery at Buxton Museum to present better the link between objects and the landscapes associated with them
- Armchair Wonders – Publishing and distributing content about Buxton Museum’s collections across a range of online platforms, bringing the museum experience into the home as well as mobile
We will be supporting local residents and tourists to engage with the landscapes and their heritage around them. For local people we will maintain a strong and proud connection to ‘place and past’.
Buxton Museum will be recognised as a must-visit destination for people to visit, learn about and appreciate the rich past and present of the Peak District. The museum will be the explainer and storyteller for visitors to the Peak District and a key resource for learners of all ages.
We can do this because the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting us to achieve this vision. Many other people and funders will help.
Can you help us deliver this vision, to create a museum fit for another 125 years? If so, get in touch.