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MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL

 

RECORD OF DECISION OF THE Lead Member for

Leisure and Arts

 

 

 

Decision Made:

19 July 2022

 

Maidstone Museums Forward Plan 2022-2027

 

 

Issue for Decision

 

To approve the Maidstone Museums Forward Plan 2022-2027, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Museumsí Director, for consultation with external stakeholders.

 

To approve the release of funds of up to £50,000 from the Museumís capital programme for initial work on the new archaeology gallery.

 

Decision Made

 

1.†††† That the Maidstone Museums Forward Plan 2022-2027, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Museumsí Director, be approved for consultation with external stakeholders.

 

2.†††† That the release of funds of up to £50,000 from the Museumís capital programme for initial work on the new archaeology gallery be approved.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The Business Plan for 2022-2027, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Museumsí Director, sets out the vision and the strategic aims for Maidstone Borough Councilís Museum Service over the next five years and explains how the Museums contribute to the Councilís overall priorities.

 

This Five Year Plan reflects the overall outcomes of the Museumsí 20 Year Plan:

 

         The delivery of a high quality service

         Creating a sustainable and resilient organisation

         Caring for and creating access to our collections for present and future generations

         Inspires, educates and challenges visitors and users

         Ensuring that the Museum is accessible to all and has the power to transform lives through the use of its collections

         Developing and encouraging a forward-thinking and innovative workforce

         Working to nationally recognised standards.

 

The Plan was developed through a review of existing practice, a review of the original Transformation plans after the failure to secure £4m from Lottery Heritage Fund, staff discussion and workshops both prior to closure for the Covid lockdowns and after. Once a draft Plan was outlined, the Museum management team consulted with the elected Members with the leading responsibility for the area at the time, being the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee, to discuss their ambitions for heritage in the borough and how these might be met. That discussion highlighted the following priorities:

 

1.†††† To address the quality of displays and storytelling through, initially, the redisplay of the Museum and Kent Archaeological Societyís archaeological collections to tell the story of Maidstoneís earliest history with themes that affected the shaping of the borough such as migration, industry and agriculture.

 

2.†††† To complete a review of the Carriage Museum and its operation with a short term goal to open the Museum using volunteer staff.

 

3.†††† To review the governance of the Museums and the role of external trusts in the operation of the Museum and to slimline or strengthen those relationships where appropriate.

 

4.†††† To provide better access for all residents to collections and decision-making through the audit and cataloguing of collections, upgrades to the Museumsí collections software including online versions, new exhibitions and one-off displays as well as the establishment of user panels working on, initially, the new archaeology gallery.

 

Key milestones in the successful completion of these objectives and the 5 Year Plan are highlighted below:

 

DEADLINE

ACTIVITY

01-Jul-22

Launch of volunteer recruitment campaign

31-Jul-22

Complete review of Museum marketing by external media adviser to increase footfall and spend

30-Jul-22

Commence volunteer-led regular openings of the Carriage Museum with the first to coincide with Maidstone River Festival

July-Sept 2022

Complete specialist archaeological object research for new gallery to identify rare and important items in the Museumsí collection

September 2022

Report to PAC and Executive Member on options for the future of the Carriage Museum. Action Plan will follow on from decision.

30-Sep-22

Implementation of recommendations from Museum marketing review

30-Sep-22

Complete review of Museum governance and relationship with Trusts

15-Dec 2022

Procurement, appointment and contract agreement for Exhibition Design Specialists completed

30-Nov-22

Production of Community Engagement Plan to ensure the involvement of residents in future plans and developments completed

November 2022 - August 2023

Scientific analysis of human remains and artefacts for new gallery to identify where people and objects came from to Kent and how the environment affected them

01-Dec-22

Action plan for Community Engagement Plan implementation begun

01-Jan-23

Application made for continuation of funding from Arts Council England/DCMS for Learning Service

01-Apr-23

New visitor feedback surveys introduced to direct future service improvements

Jan-June 23

Iterative design process including initial concepts through to final design of gallery

June to November 2023

Specification, procurement of AV and interactive designers and content production for new Archaeology Gallery

23-Dec-23

Refurbishment of area for new Archaeology Gallery completed while the Museum is closed to the public

07-Jan-24

Start of fit out and install of Archaeology Gallery

01-May-24

Launch of new Archaeology Gallery

30-Nov-24

Replacement of Museum's cataloguing software Adlib including online version for public browsing

 

Underpinning all this work is the continuing need for the Museum to find a secure financial footing and sustainable ways of working as well as the day-to-day delivery of a high quality service.

 

POLICY ADVISORY COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

At its meeting held on 5 July 2022, the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Policy Advisory Committee agreed:

 

1.†††† That the Maidstone Museums Forward Plan 2022-2027, attached as Appendix 1 to the report of the Museumsí Director, be approved for consultation with external stakeholders.

 

2.†††† That the release of funds up to £50,000 from the Museumís capital programme for initial work on the new archaeology gallery be approved.

 

Alternatives considered and why rejected

 

1.†††† Do not proceed with the Five Year Plan.

 

2.††† Agree modifications to the Five Year Plan.

 

However, proceeding with the Five Year Plan as outlined in this Record of Decision (a) will ensure that the actions set out start to be implemented at the earliest possible date and (b) is consistent with the Councilís overall strategic objective of making Maidstone a thriving place.

 

Background Papers

 

None

 

I have read and approved the above decision for the reasons (including the possible alternative options rejected) set out.

 

Signed:≠_________________________________________

 

(Lead Member for Leisure and Arts Ė Councillor Claudine Russell)

 

 

Full details of the report for the decision can be found online at:

 

(Public Pack)Agenda Document for Lead Member for Leisure and Arts, 19/07/2022 12:30 (maidstone.gov.uk)

 

Should you be concerned about this decision and wish to call it in, please submit a call-in form signed by any three Members to the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance by: 5.00 p.m. Tuesday 26 July 2022

 

 

 

 

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Decision Made

 

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Reasons for Decision

 

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Alternatives considered and why rejected

 

FIELD_DECISION_OPTIONS

 

Background Papers

 

FIELD_DECISION_SUBJECT

 

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