Animation produced by students of the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University
Poole Museums’ National Lottery Heritage Funded project Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole's Maritime Heritage is underway! We are excited to have been awarded an initial grant of £352k (known as a 'Round One Pass') to develop our plans for the future of the museum. This is called our Development Phase and it will run until January 2022 when we will find out if we have been successful in securing a further £2.2m (a 'Round Two Pass') to deliver the project (unsurprisingly called our Delivery Phase!). The Project Committee, headed by Chris Saunders, meets regularly and is comprised of senior Museum staff, the project team, and PMF Chair Felicity Irwin.
This exciting project will mean we can carry out essential works to conserve the Wool Hall and work with communities to co-create a brand-new maritime gallery at Poole Museum. The project will be rooted in the history and heritage of Poole through engagement with Poole Museum’s buildings and collections. However, it will bring these assets to life in creative ways through collaboration with diverse local audiences. In fact, the project will be informed as much by the needs of the community as the collection and will aim to reflect the interests of its audience in its object choices, interpretation and exhibition design.
The Our Museum project team recently tested out a creative, collaborative approach to collections engagement, tied to the Writer in Residence program at Poole Museum. Resident Writer Adrian Harris led a socially distanced online workshop in creative writing in which 7 participants chose items from the Poole Museum collection and used these as inspiration for new short stories, poems or scripts. Each participant took a very different approach to storytelling - some basing their work purely in historic research, others in personal experience or pure imagination. The workshop also offered surprising insights into people’s engagement with museum collections, such as the sorts of objects chosen and the reasons these resonated. For example, of 15 possible objects, 4 separate people were inspired in part by the collections’ Lobster Pot and 3 by the medieval gold ring! As museum workers and exhibition-makers this sort of awareness seems invaluable - both in helping understand public engagement with collections and finding effective ways to display and interpret archival artefacts.
Our goal is to turn the making of Poole Museum inside out to engage and involve volunteers, residents, and the wider community. To do this, the Our Museum project will be full to the brim with exciting opportunities to get involved with workshops, talks and events. These activities will help us develop our new spaces as well as engage the community in new and fun ways. And we are working hard to find new and creative ways to develop our activity online and at a safe distance.
We're grateful as always to National Lottery players, Poole Museum Society, BCP Council and, of course, our wonderful members (that’s you!) for their support of the Our Museum project.
The Our Museum project team are:
Alison Smith, Project Manager
Rachel Martin, Engagement Officer
Dr Alex Reynolds, Collections and Engagement Officer
Christine Spader, Fundraising and Membership Officer
Michael Spender, Museum and Arts Manager and Project Champion
The next two or so years will see many opportunities for involvement and with the need for matched funding for the NHLF bid your support and many more members will be needed. Membership will have several new categories which we are currently developing and hope to share with you in our next bulletin. To help with this process, we have put together a short survey to help us understand what our members hope to get out of membership. The survey is completely voluntary and anonymous, so please help answer honestly and provide any feedback you would like. We hope that you will also think of others that will find involvement in the project and the opportunity to contribute, stimulating and get them involved in the museum and PMF.
BCP Council is pleased to announce that it has been awarded initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Poole Museum project, “Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole's Maritime Heritage”.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded initial support and development funding of £325,300. This will enable the museum to develop the project plans in more detail and apply for a full grant of £2.4 million in Spring/Summer 2021.
The £3.3 million project aims to create an inspiring cultural attraction for Poole, featuring cutting-edge digital interpretations and new public facilities which will transform the visitor experience. The National Lottery grant will enable conservation of an internationally important historic building, the display of Poole Museum’s unique collection of four ancient vessels, and the creation of stunning new spaces for local people and visitors to enjoy.
The museum will work with the community and the region’s universities to create the new spaces, which include a maritime gallery to share Poole’s remarkable maritime heritage. Stories of boatbuilding, fishing and merchant trades from local people will enrich the museum’s collections for future generations. The project will provide exciting new opportunities for learning and hands-on interaction.
Michael Spender, BCP Council Museum and Arts Manager, said: “Poole Museum’s audiences have doubled since our last redevelopment in 2007 and have outgrown our existing spaces and facilities. This project enables us to meet the growing demand and build on our success in a sustainable way. The National Lottery grant will also enable us to restore and reveal the magnificent Poole Wool Hall, one of the most important medieval port buildings in Europe.
Councillor Mark Howell, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture at BCP Council said: “This is very exciting news for Poole and a will be a celebration of our unique heritage. When the project is completed Poole Museum will be a flagship for regeneration in the area and the catalyst for development of a vibrant Quay quarter.”
Poole Museum Foundation will be raising match funding for the project.