Chairman’s Report October 2020

I am sure we can all agree we couldn’t possibly have envisaged present circumstances, with the unprecedented effect this pandemic would have on all our lives. As a result Ashdon Village Museum has had to close until further notice until we are able to comply with government and practical guidelines which will permit us to open.  In fact we have not been open to any visitors this year.

We have not been idle.  Improvements to the toilet facilities were carried out in the winter wit the installation of new sanitary ware along with fencing and garden wall repairs.  Glenn has also been busy changing a few displays in the museum over the winter for the forthcoming Easter opening.  Sadly this did not happen.

As part of her coursework, Dr Rachel Hooper our bursary student was severely interrupted in her intention to explore visitor value to the Ashdon Village Museum with a view to improve its sustainability into the future.  She also wished to find ways to enhance our visitor experience as well as encouraging more interaction with our local school.  Regrettably she was unable to carry out these investigations as she required Museum visitor participation which was not possible due to Museum closure.

Also as part of her course Rachel has produces an extensive review of the Museum Accreditation Scheme showing the advantages and disadvantages pertaining to the AVM joining the scheme.  museum Accreditation is described as a benchmark showing that the Museum is being properly managed and governed to a required standard (as set by the Arts Council England 2019) from which benefits and opportunities may accrue.

Ashdon Village Museum would meet most of the existing requirements of accreditation int he category of independent museum but there would be challenges to overcome specifically the digital cataloguing system for Museum possessions which I know would be a large undertaking. Perhaps, accreditation may provide a valuable assistance in sustaining AVM into the future.  Further discussions are needed but the information researched by Rachel is very useful in producing the facts in arriving at a decision in due course.  I would also like to wish Rachel all success on her course and to extend out best wishes for the future.

I am pleased to confirm that the Cayzer family, existing tenants on Street Farm, have extended their tenancy of a further 3 years from 30 September 2020 which gives a regular income to the Museum.

AVM is very fortunate to be in a financially favourable position whereby we are able to sustain the Museum in times of prolonged inactivity as we are experiencing at present.  This is due to the generosity fo our late Chairman Rodney Heath (see the financial statement).

Finally I would like to thank all our volunteers who have helped over the past year and who would I’m sure have given their time once again, if not for these exceptional circumstances


PA Bidwell

Chairman, Ashdon Village Museum