This year’s AGM is an important milestone in the development of Ashford Museum.
We obtained accreditation some years ago. We have developed our Collections Care with a great Team – Janet, Ann and Wendy. That Team has professional heritage support from Fran Stovold and regularly applies for and gets funding from Arts Council England through South East Museums Development .
Their work is going to be much easier to do now that we are shortly going to open the Museum Conservation Annexe on the corner of the Church Yard at 57 High Street.
We are now ready to start a similar Team approach with professional support to curate our displays and exhibitions.
We start in a good place; in his 12 years our retiring curator Ian Sharp and his assistants have created a wonderful and evolving range of displays. Visitors to the museum are always fascinated.
We knew it would be difficult to find a replacement for Ian when, in 2017, he announced his intention to retire; a task made more difficult by the huge change taking place in the Museum world as the stories from collections are told in new ways to new audiences.
Our thanks go once again to Ian for remaining in post for two years beyond his original intention and another two years as Acting Curator after formally stepping down.
To be fit for the future we now need to work on developing Ashford Museum to the changing museum environment.
We are starting this by developing a display and exhibitions Team to work with professional curation support, as we already do for collections care. South East Museums Development are primed for our request for expertise and funding. As the work plan develops so will the Team including some of our current stewards who are also interested in display and exhibition work.
We are delighted that John Worger and Ann Austin have agreed to be involved in shaping the plan when they have time alongside their other commitments. Each of them are already involved with Ashford’s railway history for the Ashford 180 anniversary in November which will of course include the Museum’s railway collections .