Dr Susan Davies
As another New Year approaches, we reflect with pride on how the Museum has progressed during 2018. The ‘New Approaches’ project has provided a lovely new entrance at street level for everybody and a popular café as well as an attractive TIC and shop, all within the historic framework of the ‘Old Boots’ store with its beautiful windows. We can also marvel at and enjoy the refreshed auditorium in the Coliseum. All this was achieved through the constant hard work of the staff, the dedicated fundraising and volunteering efforts of the Friends, and careful programme-planning by all concerned.
The Friends have also been busy behind the scenes, welcoming new Council members, revising our Constitution, planning our own website, raising funds – and considering the next development project! This will focus on our rich and extensive collections of more than 60,000 items, which reflect the whole of Ceredigion’s heritage and are of regional significance. As many of you may know, the Museum lacks appropriate storage to permit easy access to the collections by staff, interested members of the community and researchers, and we also need to gain better understanding of what we have and develop better interpretation. This will require improved storage accommodation, careful examination of the content of the collections to identify duplication or damage, better understanding of the items and fuller descriptive information. Many of these tasks will need community engagement and assistance to provide the necessary knowledge, but we are also anxious to develop better storage and access in a sustainable way by drawing on new understanding of storage methods which are more economical to create and maintain, which also comply with best practice and professional standards.
This is obviously a complicated project, which must be based on a clear understanding of what is required and how to proceed. Our successful application for grant aid in June/July 2018 has enabled us to undertake a Feasibility Study early in 2019. We are most grateful to Cynnal y Cardi for granting us EU funding for more than half the required costs and are already raising funds to complete the total of around £20,000 for this work. When the Study is completed in early summer 2019, we shall know what is required to achieve our goals. Of course, digital access is also included in these plans, and the need to establish a sustainable and effective digital system for this purpose.
This project is a logical ‘next step’ in the Museum’s development after the New Approaches project, and assistance by the Friends will be most welcome in whatever way you feel able to contribute, ranging from knowledge and experience to general interest and support.
Those who attended our AGM in November will recall that Mona Morris, our long-serving Friend who has been so supportive of every aspect of the Museum’s work, has decided to step down from her formal roles as President and Trustee but continue as a member of the Council. This message therefore ends with a huge ‘thank you’ to Mona for all her support, a warm welcome to our functions and meetings, and all our best wishes for 2019.
Season’s Greetings to the Friends and staff of Ceredigion Museum
Susan J Davies (Chair)