Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

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AIM Collections Care Audits

Award Year


Grant Sum Awarded


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Fiona Macalister ACR


Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is a treasure trove of fascinating objects and quirky artefacts that weave incredible stories about the people who lived here. The galleries show everything from lace making to laundry, bicycles to brewing and carts to costume, and the Tivvy Bumper steam engine. The museum is housed in a grade II listed former National School.

Pippa Griffith, Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life, said:

The Collections Care Audit has taken place at exactly the right time for the museum, as we are currently preparing to fundraise for a major redevelopment project, which will enable changes to the layout of the museum. The audit has enabled us to plan future improvement work around the collections in a systematic and prioritised manner. It will inform our building plans, provide evidence of need to make collections care improvements and direct conservation work.

It has also provided us with crucial evidence of need for several planned funding bids, as well as our overall aim to redevelop the museum. Short term plans that the audit supports and evidence the need for include:

  • Our planned redevelopment project.
  • The need for a temporary Volunteer Development Coordinator, whose work will involve creating structured teams including a collections team, supported by a relevant training programme. By re-arranging the way volunteers are managed at the museum, staff time will be freed up to deliver more strategic work, such as our redevelopment plans. Increasing the volunteer collections team will increase capacity so that more collections care work can be undertaken e.g. specialised cleaning in stores and display areas, regular audits, making improvements to collections care. It will also reduce our over-reliance on a small number of people and ensure that more people know how to do each task.
  • The need to commission collections surveys linking to our early stages of interpretation planning for the redevelopment project.

We will also undertake other actions to improve specific areas of collections care that were highlighted in the survey. Many of these recommendations will be taken forward through funding applications to enable us to undertake work to make the organisation more resilient and ‘funder ready’ for our major redevelopment plans.

In the medium term, we will continue to work on our redevelopment plans, which will completely revolutionise all aspects our collection care (display and storage). We are aiming to start phase one of the redevelopment within the next two years.

One of the major reasons that this audit has been such a success for us is due to the conservator’s in-depth understanding of our situation. She framed her recommendations in a way that makes the report very useful as evidence in several planned funding bids and her tone was very constructive meaning I felt comfortable in sharing the document with the volunteers who are currently working on collections care.

We would not have been able to undertake this work without external funding. It will, in turn, enable us to leverage further grant funds.

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