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The Chairman’s Blog - August 2019

Hello all and welcome to my second blog. This edition is one of mixed emotions – pleasure at the progress we’re making on the recovery plan, combined with some exciting things that have been happening since my last blog, tinged with the sadness associated with the passing of several long serving volunteers, most recently Angela Jenkins. Angela spent her life as a professional singer and it was my great pleasure to accompany her on many occasions here at the Museum.

Since my last blog we have had the Open Day, which despite the rain, was well attended and well received by those who visited us. I was able to chat with various people who had nothing but very positive feedback to share about the Museum and how much they had enjoyed their visit. We were also very lucky to have The Worshipful Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Tony Louki, to open the day. My thanks to Ginette for arranging this and hosting the Mayor. I think we have made a staunch ally there and one we need to cultivate. My thanks to everyone who was there and contributing to the success of the day - whether your part was big or small it all counts to the outcome of happy visitors.

I delivered the volunteers briefing on 16 July outlining the current state of the Museum and the planned recovery strategy. I was delighted that after the presentation a lot of you took time to come and chat with me about the situation we are in and the way forward. I am touched by the fact you appreciated the honesty of knowing where we are and what steps are being taken to recover the situation. I am also grateful to those of you who also came up with ideas and suggestion for events and marketing. I am evaluating them all to see if and where I can use them in the recovery strategy.

In terms of progress on the recovery strategy the following tasks are now complete:

- SWOT analysis is complete to provide a defined baseline from which to go forward

- The Museum’s mission statement has been re-affirmed and has been published on the website and around the building

- Job descriptions and person specifications for the Administrative Assistant and the Business Support Manager are complete and we are now ready to advertise the roles

- Recruitment of a new chairman and trustees is underway, and I have seen the first few CVs start to arrive. What is critical though is getting the right people with the right skills to take the Museum forward

- Initial Minimum Viable Proposition (i.e. “shutdown buffer”) and current end date is confirmed allowing us now to do some complex financial modelling about the future finances of the Museum

- Work is underway on the development of a new operating model. The Board have had one session on this already and the next will be on the 10th August

- Work is also underway on looking at the staffing model within the Museum and a review of the directors’ roles and responsibilities

- Mike Wood is assuming responsibility for volunteer management and is undertaking a review of the volunteer life cycle

- Ginette and I are meeting weekly to deal with immediate issues that may arise and to ensure strategic and operational matters integrate

As you see, we are off to a good start but there is a long way to go yet. However, there is no reason why we should not be successful if everyone does what is required of them in the recovery strategy. We still have work to do on getting a clear understanding of our true cost base and pricing. When this is achieved, we can then undertake some financial modelling to give us a more robust business model going forward. The recruitment of additional volunteers, especially for tour guides and reception staff also remains a high priority.

The BBC have made 2 visits to the Museum – one visit was to film the collection for a documentary programme about Arthur Ord-Hume. The other was to film a sequence for the Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. I will not steal Simon’s thunder on these items as he has made this possible and it is therefore only fitting, he should give you the details. I’m also going to ask Simon to give you an update on the contemporary collection.

I hope you are all enjoying the summer and my thanks to you all for your continued support. More next month.

Best wishes,


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