South East (East) Regional Day – September 2018

On Saturday 22nd September 2018 we had a very enjoyable regional day, courtesy of the Friends Group at the Higgins, in Bedford. There was a full agenda, which resulted in excellent feedback from those attending. Like:

A great networking opportunity – we all have problems/issues to discuss. I found this an invaluable event” 

The day started with an introduction to the Higgins by Tom Perrett, head of the museum and Bedford Borough’s Manager for Libraries and Culture. Friends of the Higgins treasurer, Paul Bowker, provided useful statistics for our host group on the day, including details of their excellent lecture programme which generates up to £4000 each year. Nicola Sherhod, Curator of the Bunyan Museum and Library, offered useful insights into the reasons for current reduced membership and committee issues, as well as the continued importance of the income generated by them when applying for external funding. Joint events between museums are useful for creating a bigger impact.

A talk by BAFM’s own Mike Evans followed, on behalf of Maidstone Museums Foundation, of which he is a trustee. His group has links with a local school, with one of the teachers on their committee and has produced a leaflet to be sent to parents, encouraging families to join. The school also agreed to appoint three children as ambassadors for the Friends’ Group. This has been running with some success for 2 years now.

A guided tour of the Higgins followed, before lunch (with 10% ‘Friends’ discount in the museum restaurant). After lunch we had excellent tours of the Bunyan Museum and Library, including behind the scenes visits to the collection stores, and to the nearby Panacea Museum.

The day resulted in many new ideas for representatives of the groups attending, which unfortunately we didn’t have time to discuss in greater detail – a follow up meeting is being planned.

Friends of Norwich Museums have generously offered to host our 2019 Regional Day.