About pjwisemdo

Chair of Museums Essex and Heritage Manager for Colchester and Ipswich Museums.

Association of Independent Museums

Just a quick note to flag the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Virtual Conference, Roads to Recovery, taking place next week on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 June in case you haven’t already been notified: https://www.aim-museums.co.uk/virtual-conference/

It’s free, open to all, and taking place on Zoom. The sessions are all split individually so you can pick and choose and dip in and out – you do need to register for your chosen sessions in advance though.  

The conference is based around recovery from Covid-10 – what the new normal might look like and how museums might need to adapt and change. It includes a session on independent museums and reopening, legal issues and also has a session on personal resilience. When you sign up there’s an option to submit questions in advance for the speakers to address.

Beth Wilkey will be attending some of the sessions and can be contacted at Beth.wilkey@colchester.gov.uk if you have any questions.

With apologies for cross posting.

A Message from Beth Wilkey, the new Essex MDO

Dear all,

I hope you are keeping safe and well. My name is Beth and I am the new Museum Development Officer for Essex. My role is hosted by Colchester + Ipswich Museums and funded by SHARE Museums East and Museums Essex until March 2023. I’ll be working with museums across Essex providing support, information and advice.

With the current situation I am based at home but I am looking forward to meeting you all in person and making site visits when the time comes.

It would be really helpful to find out more about how we can best support you and what help you might need from SHARE Museums East at the moment.

We also need to find out about your current position in light of the lockdown i.e. implications from income loss, funding support you’ve applied for, reopening plans and any risk to your organisation. I’m very happy to schedule Zoom/Teams meetings or phone calls with individual museums over the coming days/weeks to discuss this and you can also update me with this information via email of course.

I’m really looking forward to working with you all and providing support through this difficult time and after. Please do not hesitate to get in touch about anything big or small and hopefully I’ll talk to you soon.

Best wishes,

Beth Wilkey
Essex Museum Development Officer
Colchester + Ipswich Museums

Email: beth.wilkey@colchester.gov.uk
Website: https://essexmdo.com/

New MDO starts on 1 June

I am very pleased to be able to confirm that the new Essex Museum Development Officer Beth Wilkey will be taking up her post next Monday, 1 June. I am sure that you will all do what you can to make Beth feel welcome. It is not an easy time to be starting a new job, particularly in the museums sector. Beth’s initial work programme is very much based on her introducing herself to Essex museums and getting up to speed with the overall picture in the county. She will be contacting Essex Museums during the course of next week, but if for some reason you don’t hear from her please do let me know at philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk and I will put you in touch with her.

Meeting Cancellation: 5 June

The forthcoming Museums Essex members’ meeting on Friday 5 June 2020, which was to have been held at the Munnings Art Museum, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Some organisations have, of course, been holding meetings on line and I am thinking about this as a possibility for the future. I would be interested to know your thoughts on the possibilities of holding such a virtual members’ meeting. Please contact me at philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk. Also the minutes of the Museums Essex 2020 AGM held at Braintree Museum in March are available  – it seems a different world now doesn’t it? – and have been sent out via email. If you haven’t received a copy and would like one please let me know. Thanks again to Robert Rose and his colleagues at Braintree for hosting the meeting.

Reopening Museums

The Museums Association have released a statement yesterday (Monday 4 May) regarding the reopening of the museum sector in the UK. It can be found currently on the home page of the Museum Association website. Elsewhere SHARE Museums East are working with colleagues nationally on advice and guidance for reopening and will provide more information when this is available. In Essex the new Museum Development Officer Beth Wilkey and I will be interested to learn more about your plans for reopening as these develop. Please do get in touch by emailing philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk

Name of new Essex MDO announced

I am delighted to be able to announce the name of the new Essex Museum Development Officer. Beth Wilkey will be taking up her post with Colchester and Ipswich Museums as the new Essex MDO on 1 June, having previously worked for the Powell Cotton Museum in Kent and the Royal College of Physicians. Her post is fully funded by SHARE Museums East and Museums Essex until March 2023. Beth will be working with museums throughout Essex providing information and advice, particularly in relation to museum Accreditation. More details will be available shortly on how to contact Beth and how she will be able to support Essex museums. In the meantime please contact Philip Wise, Chair of Museums Essex, if you have any queries, philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk

Museum Safety and Security

At the recent Museums Essex AGM there was an excellent presentation by Stephen Armson-Smith of Essex Police on ‘Museum Safety and Security’ which may be of help to many museums, particularly during the current Coronavirus situation. Stephen’s presentation contains lots of advice on good security practice in museums as well as sources of further information, including suppliers of security equipment. If you would like to receive a copy of this presentation then please email: philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk

Museum Development Officer update

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak the decision has been taken to defer the starting date of the new Essex Museum Development Officer until 1 June at the earliest. In the meantime Philip Wise, Chair of Museums Essex and Heritage Manager for Colchester and Ipswich Museums, will continue in an acting role and will endeavour to provide as much support as possible to museums in Essex. He can be contacted on philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk

SHARE Museums East Support Package

SHARE Museums East have just updated their website with details of their new support package for museums in the region during the Coronavirus outbreak. In brief this comprises:

Emergency support grants up to £3,000. This cannot be just cash flow to make up for lost funding – there has to be a definable project with clear outcomes. This could be a business restructure, HR support, financial support; or anything that allows a museum to survive a crisis situation.

An online fundraising support programme. SHARE will commission web designers to undertake work that directly supports online fundraising, e.g. setting up online donations platforms. They hope to support at least ten museums.

A business support helpline with consultant Julie Cole.

A fundraising helpline with David Burgess.

A volunteer support helpline with Linda Brandish (announced last week).

Please contact SHARE directly via sharemuseumseast@norfolk.gov.uk

Essex Museum Development Officer Recruitment

Recruitment of the new Essex Museum Development Officer is underway with interviews being held shortly. The post is now being hosted by Colchester Borough Council with financial support from SHARE Museums East and Museums Essex. As soon as an appointment is made it will be announced here. It is hoped that the new Essex MDO will be in post early in the new financial year. In the meantime the role is being covered by Philip Wise, Chair of Museums Essex and Heritage Manager at Colchester and Ipswich Museums. Email: philip.wise@colchester.gov.uk