As well as meeting one of our primary goals, the opening of a town center local history museum, 2021 also saw the start of a project to develop Archive Facility to National Standards. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, we now have a team of six volunteers working in this area and are close to completing the first phase which involves checking and cataloging what archives we have. Soon they will move onto cataloging and interpreting this data to ensure we have public access to the archives.
As we in move rapidly into 2022 we are pleased to announce that, with Art Fund_ support, who have awarded us a grant of £22,500, we are launching a series of community based outreach projects which will enable us to reach out and take local history into the community. The key objectives of the outreach programme are to improve public access to local history data and reach groups which do not normally get involved with local history. The demographics of groups we wish to target are age and ethnicity. Age because getting younger people involved in local history improves the support for its retention as time passes and ethnicity because the migration of ethnic and minority groups into Redditch over the generations has significantly helped to create the multi-cultural community we have today.
We have set ourselves a challenging range of activities to pursue including:
- A memories recording programme of activities targeted at the demographics stated.
- An on-line broadcasting programme to use modern communications channels such as blogging and video streaming, key to reaching out to younger generations.
- Development of the “Virtual Museum” site to give access to the archives online which reaches out to those with disabilities which prevent them from visiting our museum site.
- A series of schools and young people groups engagement activities to get younger generations interested in local history.
- And community integration activities linking the museum with the community via talks, walks, events and inter-group activities.
The Art Fund_ support is both in the form of a grant for £22,500, and in access to their support as an organization that has a shared vision – to help museums and galleries do more.
Our first challenge is to link up with other groups and organizations in thee town and recruit volunteers to engage, plan, coordinate and deliver individual projects. We have already taken a deep look at our current projects which has given us a map of where we are going and an outline of the skills we need based upon our experiences to date.
To manage this expansion of the museum’s activities we need more volunteers. We also need to expand our Management Team to share the workload of running both the museum on a day to day basis and these exciting projects. As well as looking to recruit new volunteers we also want to grow the volunteers that we have we have by supporting them with new skills
The first three months operation of the museum have brought a very positive response and much encouragement from our visitors that what we have done so far is beneficial to the town. It also enables us to be more more specific to focus exiting volunteers on how they can use their skills as well as to be more informative when new volunteers ask us “How can I help”. We are now starting to approach other groups across the town to see who wants to share the journey we us.
So we are also repeating our appeals for individual to step forward and volunteer to help. We constantly hear the message of the importance of remembering and promoting local history, we need people to take the next step and put that desire into practice.
It’s an ambitious programme for 2022 for a small team. Please join the team. Every new pair of hands, every new injection of experience, every suggestion of “have you thought about doing this way?” will help us realise these ambitions.
For more information about the museum, its work and who you or your group can get involved email email@example.com or visit rlhm.online or call 07860 390745 or 07486 882181.