SHARE Volunteer Awards 2020 – THANK YOU

SHARE Volunteer Awards 2020 – THANK YOU

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SHARE Volunteer Awards 2020 – THANK YOU

It’s been a blast, but we wanted to say…

We could not be more proud to celebrate…


All the Winners

Outstanding Young Person 

Stevie-Louise Leg,   British Schools Museum,   Hertfordshire 

Exhibition Team,     Wisbech & Fenland Museum,    Cambridgeshire


True Grit Award

Mill Maintenance Team,     Burwell Museum & Windmill,   Cambridgeshire

Richard Rackstraw,    Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse,      Norfolk



Phil Jackson,    American Air Museum/IWM,  Cambridgeshire, IWM Duxford 

Stories From The Gordon Craig Volunteer Team,   Stevenage Museum,    Hertfordshire


Through the door 

Colin Browne,   Lowestoft Maritime Museum,  Suffolk

Bridging Binaries Team,  The Fitzwilliam Museum,  Cambridgeshire



Nicholas Skinner,    Brightlingsea Museum,    Essex

Board of Trustees,     Cromwell Museum,    Cambridgeshire


Judges Special Award

Ann Barrett,    Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome,    Essex

Silver Owl Award: celebrating 25 years of volunteering

Cathy Moorehouse,    The Higgins,     Bedfordshire

Marian Harrington,   The Higgins,    Bedfordshire

Peter Vine,    Bressingham Steam Museum,    Norfolk

Paul Hawes,    Burwell Museum & Windmill,     Cambridgeshire

John Wisbey,     Burwell Museum & Windmill,     Cambridgeshire

Bob Markham,    Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service,   Suffolk

Mike Rouse,  Ely Museum,   Cambridgeshire

Derek Jennings,    Fakenham Museum of Gas & Local History,     Norfolk

Jill Frid,    Felbrigg Hall (National Trust),      Norfolk

Graham Frid,    Felbrigg Hall (National Trust),      Norfolk

Tony Tompkins,    Forncett Industrial Steam Museum,     Norfolk

Jane Francis,   Forncett Industrial Steam Museum,   Norfolk

Derek Manning,     Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse,     Norfolk

Brian Holmes,     Halesworth and District Museum,    Suffolk

Jean Goldsmith,     John Bunyan Museum,    Bedfordshire

Elaine Nason,    Laxfield & District Museum,    Suffolk

Irene Ashman,    Lowestoft Museum,    Suffolk

Ron Ashman,    Lowestoft Museum,   Suffolk

Paul Durbidge,    Lowestoft Museum,    Suffolk

Alan Walker,     Museum of Power,     Essex

Ivan Last,       Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum,     Suffolk

Jenny Day,     Saffron Walden Museum,    Essex

Ken Harvey,     Sedgwick Museum Of Earth Science,  Cambridgeshire

Ken May,     The Long Shop Museum,      Suffolk

The Earl of Cranbrook,    The Long Shop Museum,    Suffolk

Dorothy Halfhide,      Thorney Heritage Museum,     Cambridgeshire

Madeleine Johnson,      Wisbech & Fenland Museum,     Cambridgeshire

True Grit nominees: recognising those battling against difficulties and continuing despite the odds!

Natural Science Volunteers,    Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service,    Essex

Public Engagement Team,   Dacorum Heritage Trust,  Hertfordshire

Peter Bateman, Gainsborough’s House,   Suffolk

Bill and Sue Rhodes,   Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse,    Norfolk

Rose Weller,   Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum,   Suffolk

Animal Care Team,   Museum of East Anglian Life,   Suffolk

Graham Wood,   Museum of Power,  Essex

Vic Mead,   North Hertfordshire Museum,   Hertfordshire

Ian Sharpe,   Saffron Walden Museum,     Essex

The Pickling Project Team, St Albans Museum & Gallery, Hertfordshire

Ann Barrett,    Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome,    Essex

Connor Fludgate,    Wisbech & Fenland Museum,   Cambridgeshire

Through the Door nominees: recognising those who have made the museum relevant for a new group of people.

Angela Wilding,  The Fitzwilliam Museum,   Cambridgeshire

Chris & Tom Harffey,   Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service,   Essex

Volunteer Support Team,    Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse,    Norfolk

Chrissie O’Connor,   Museum of East Anglian Life,  Suffolk

Power Of Friendship Club Team,  Museum of Power,   Essex

Outstanding Young Volunteer nominees: recognising those who have made a strong contribution to the museum.

Edward Mcglinchey,   Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service,    Essex

Eloise Slade,  Felbrigg Hall (National Trust),  Norfolk

Aaron Weller,   Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum,   Suffolk 

Luke Steed,    Museum of East Anglian Life,   Suffolk

Gabrielle Copeman,   Museum of Norwich,   Norfolk

Lucas Chaplin,   Museum of Power,    Essex

Sabrina Ki,    Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery,    Norfolk

Elliott Cowie,    Sedgwick Museum Of Earth Science,   Cambridgeshire

May Thompson,   Strangers Hall,   Norfolk

Emily Reach,   Wisbech & Fenland Museum,   Cambridgeshire

Trustee nominees: recognising outstanding contributions from Trustees (or unpaid governors)

Harry Yates,      Fakenham Museum of Gas & Local History,     Norfolk

Board of Trustees,      Wisbech & Fenland Museum,    Cambridgeshire

Digital Volunteering nominees: recognising those excelling in all things digital!

Peter Knott,    Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service,    Essex

Sarah Darnell,   Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse,  Norfolk

More Than Oliver Twist Research Team,  Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse, Norfolk

Steven Gridley,  Maldon Museum,   Essex

Search For The Stars Team, Museum of East Anglian Life,   Suffolk

Benchmarking Survey 2019 – 2020

Benchmarking Survey 2019 – 2020

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Benchmarking Survey 2019 – 2020

SHARE Museums East’s annual Benchmarking data is live for returns for the 2019-20 financial year. Benchmarking is aimed at all organisations registered within Arts Council England’s Accreditation scheme; including those officially working towards. We would like to thank previous participants, last year over 130 museums responded, equating to a 75% response rate. 

You can access last year’s information sheet here

Why should I take part, especially given the current climate?

This survey is extremely importantly in advocating for the importance of museums and heritage organisations in the region.  The data aids us – and you – to demonstrate the importance of your museums and their social and economic impacts to funders and stakeholders, both locally and regionally, which is important in sustaining investment in our sector. Many museums regularly use the survey data to demonstrate their importance to their funders.

We understand that the recent months have been extremely difficult for museums and there are many uncertain variables about the future of museums. However, by completing the survey we will be able to reflect the impact of closure has had on museums and utilise the data for future advocacy purposes.

Please note, that non-Accredited museums should not complete the survey as their data will not be included in the results.

A few changes have been made to the survey….

At the end of last year, the survey was reviewed by our funders, Arts Council England, to improve data collection  as requested in the Mendoza review. One of the outcomes at a national level, is the survey to help inform policy-makers/funders and help identify trends at a regional and national level.

The South West Museum Development Team (SWMD) who organise the survey on our behalf have made some changes as per the review recommendations.

The most significant change is how museums access the survey – this will continue for future surveys. Instead of accessing a specific link each museum will be registered to the survey. 

How museums register for this year’s surveys is explained below:

The following processes applies to museums which completed the survey last year, and which ARE NOT also a multi-site organisation (a museums service), sponsored by the MOD, or National Trust or English heritage sites.

  • From Monday 20th July, an automated email from Smart Survey will be sent to the registered email address of museums that completed the 2018/19 survey. The subject of the email is to confirm if that particular email address should be registered for this and future surveys. Please check your junk folder
  • Please note, we recommend that the survey is connected to a ‘generic’ email account that multiple people across an organisation can access.
  • Those confirming that the email address is the correct contact will be added to the survey list.
  • Non-respondents/bounce backs will be noted by SWMD and reported to SHARE.
  • Either your regional Museum Development officer or a member of the SHARE team will contact representatives of organisations to obtain a relevant contact address.

My Museum has been recently added to Arts Councils England’s Accreditation Scheme or did NOT completed 2018-19 survey

  • A member of the SHARE team or your regional MDO will contact you to see if you wish and have capacity to participate.
  • If yes, organisations must complete a short registration form (collecting core contact information) before being registered and receiving access to the survey
  • These organisations will receive access to the survey from the 24th August. 

My organisation is either National Trust or English Heritage

  • SWMD have an agreement with your organisations at central level to collect the data separately. Sites under these National Organisations will not be registered. This also applies to museums sponsored by DCMS (National Museums) or the MOD. 

My organisation is located within another museum’s site  (a ‘co-located site’)

  • If your organisation is a co-located site you will be treated as a single site and if you completed the 18-19 survey will receive an email from the 20th July
  • If your organisation is a co-located site and did not complete the survey you must complete a registration form.

My organisation is part of a multi-site

  • Multi-site organisations will complete a separate survey and will receive an automated email from smart survey. Please check your junk inbox 
  • If your site is a multi-site organisation as well as a NPO, you will follow the multi-site process.

Due to everyone working from home for the immediate future SWMD will not be able to accept paper forms. Please contact the SWMD team via email. 

Completing the survey and reminders

When you have registered for the survey, the system will send auto reminders on a fortnightly basis to those organisations who have yet to complete the survey. If your organisation wishes not to receive these auto-reminders please email the SWMD team. 


The deadline to complete the survey is the 18th October.  Organisations who do not complete the survey data will not be used for further data analysis. It is important that organisations complete the survey with as much accurate data as possible.

Survey Breakdown and further information

The survey is broken down into the following sections:

  1. Site Information (opening hours)
  2. Audiences
  3. Museum Workforce
  4. Financial Operations
  5. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  6. Advocacy
  • Organisations now will have the opportunity to skip sections that have yet to be completed and there will be options to select ‘do not know’ instead of zero/yes/no.
  • Organisations will not be able to submit paper copies of the survey.
  • With the changes to the process and the survey, SWMD will be providing guidance documents. These will soon be available.


If you are unable to complete the online survey please discuss this with your regional Museum Development Officer or email us directly.

If you have any questions about completing the survey then please please email the SWMD team. 

How the data is used

From the 2018-19 survey we know that:

  • there were 4.7 million visits to museums in the East of England
  • museums contributed over £119 million to the regional economy 
  • 321,471 people participated in museum learning activities 
  • museums in the region employed 1,849 staff
  • there were 8,153 museum volunteers contributed 708,000 hours to museums, with a value worth £9.3 million

From the 2017-18 survey we know that:

  • there were more than 3.5 million visits to museums in the East of England
  • museums contributed over £56 million to the regional economy
  • more than 274,000 people participated in museum learning activities
  • museums in the region employed 1,473 staff
  • and over 10,000 museum volunteers contributed an incredible 582,000 hours to museums, with a value at least of £4.2 million

The data is used by many museums for advocacy tools to report to funders and local councillors

Previous data can be found in the Research and Data section of our Resources pages:


  • Benchmarking 2011-2012
  • Benchmarking 2012-2013
  • Benchmarking 2013-2014
  • Benchmarking 2014-2015
  • Benchmarking 2015-2016
  • Benchmarking 2016-2017
  • Benchmarking 2017-2018
  • Benchamarking 2018-2019


  • Benchmarking report 2009-2010
  • Benchmarking report 2010-2011
  • Benchmarking report 2011-2012
  • Benchmarking report 2012-2013
  • Benchmarking report 2013-2014
  • Benchmarking report 2015-2016
  • Benchmarking report 2016-2017
  • Benchmarking report 2017-2018


  • Benchmarking – Making your data count –  A guide to use of Benchmarking in advocacy (Dr Harriet Foster)
  • Benchmarking Data and its use (Dr Harriet Foster)
  • How to use Benchmarking data effectively for funders
  • Benchmarking and Politicians – use to use the data effectively to develop relationships with your local politicians
  • Becnhmarking and the Media – Information on how to use Benchmarking data when providing information to the media

Creative Case for Diversity

Creative Case for Diversity

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Creative Case for Diversity

What is it?

The Arts Council outlines the Creative Case for Diversity as follows:

Our mission is great art and culture for everyone – we can only achieve this if we make a commitment to promoting and embedding diversity throughout the work we fund and support. We call this the ‘Creative Case for Diversity’.

The Creative Case for Diversity is a way of exploring how organisations and artists can enrich the work they do by embracing a wide range of diverse influences and practices. We believe that embracing the Creative Case will also help organisations address other challenges and opportunities in audience development, public engagement, workforce and leadership.

What it isn’t 

  • About meeting Equality legislation
  • Solely community engagement
  • Workforce diversification

What does it mean for museums?

  • Collections and Collecting
  • Programming – exhibitions and events
  • Embedding it in all aspects of work

Regional Case Studies

Looking for inspiration and ideas for how to embed this approach in your museum? Want some practical examples of how to fund and kick-start a project? Click on the links below to read more about some of the projects our museums and networks across the region have developed…

WHO LIVED IN MY HOUSE? Project looking at the lives of working class families in Letchworth. Click here for case study

WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINE Collections research project addressing the under-representation of women’s stories. Click here for case study.

BRICKWORKS MEMORIES REDISCOVERED Community collecting project focused on reflecting the diverse the communities and their contribution to Bedford. Click here for case study.


To read more about the Arts Council’s definition of Creative Case for Diversity, including UK case studies, click here.

Unlocking your Potential

Unlocking your Potential

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Unlocking your Potential

An opportunity for your Trustee Board or Management Team:

  • Think through the skills and connections your team needs
  • Create a plan to help you achieve your goals.

SHARE Museums East is able to support five museums to review their Board / Management Team and create a plan to achieve any changes they decide upon.


Every block of stone has a statue inside it. It is the task of the sculptor to discover it.  Michelangelo




Why might your museum team want to do this?

Museums strive to deliver on so many fronts often with diminished resources and sometimes without the skills within their team that they need.

We want to try and help you to discover what skills your museum needs and if they already exist within your team. Discovering and unlocking these skills could also help you achieve wider goals.

  • Produce a happier, more fulfilled museum team.
  • Support the museum to complete unfinished or delayed projects.
  • Allow you to attract and retain a more diverse team.
  • Help you access future funding.
  • Enable your museum to engage better with the local community.
  • Reduce the workload of the management team by delegating and sharing tasks.
  • Could help protect you legally in respect of equality within your museum

Both the Mendoza Review and the Character Matters reports recommend museums review their board and management structures for current needs and skills

“Anyone familiar with ACE or Heritage Lottery funding, as well as the general ‘state of the nation’, knows that equality of opportunity is crucial when recruiting and this applies with particular force in museums, which exist to serve the public.

“All museums, but perhaps especially local museums, must strive for boards which represent the demographics of the populations they serve – for example Fenland museums should recruit trustees from their East European communities if they are going to understand the needs of those communities. Likewise museums which aspire to appeal to young people should obviously try to recruit younger people onto their boards.” 
Gordon Chancellor – Museums Partnership Officer, Cambridgeshire, 2018

But time is so short…

Time is so precious and the first thing that may spring to mind is that your museum just doesn’t have the time and resource to look further at this. The benefits probably sound sensible and you can see some benefit but maybe you are you thinking it’s not for your museum right now?

If you are then it might help to look at some of the things that may happen, over time.

  • The museum will struggle to attract the skills it needs within its team.
  • Your team may become less fully engaged.
  • People may become frustrated and stressed
  • The team may be unnecessarily overworked.
  • Visitor numbers may never reach their potential.
  • Future projects may be restricted.
  • The museum may not be able to compete for funding to deliver exciting new projects.
  • Your museum may not be able to increase or even sustain current community engagement and support.
  • Current practices and beliefs may mean the museum contravenes equality laws
  • Museum life will just be harder than it needs to be.

It’s worth remembering that equality action plans are seen in a positive light by external bodies including some large funding organisations.

Where do you start?

If you’d like to join the programme, please contact Sally Ackroyd either via email or 01603 638141/ 07876 003631

SHARE is currently offering support to a limited number of Accredited Museums in the Eastern Region to help them with this process.  We are trialing how we work with groups and are happy to tailor what support we can provide to fit with a particular Board or Team.

The benefit of external help from SHARE is of course that it has less impact on the workload of your existing team. You will however still need to have a designated member of the Management Team/Trustee to take day to day responsibility for liaising and reporting progress and actions to the rest of the Management Team/Trustees.








Regional Collections Care Survey 2020

Regional Collections Care Survey 2020

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Regional Collections Care Survey 2020

We are looking for a freelancer to carry out a survey into the state of the region’s collections…


Download the project brief for details on how to tender for this project.





Sustainable Technologies

Sustainable Technologies

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Sustainable Technologies

SHARE has partnered with Create Consulting Engineers, a group of specialist consulting engineers and sustainability consultants, to help museums to improve their Energy Efficiency.

Two museums have piloted the scheme, the Cromwell Museum and the Museum of the Broads. They agreed to have a full energy use survey of their buildings and then to follow up on some of the recommendations supported by a grant from SHARE Museums East.

They are implementing the works in 2019.  We will be looking for other museums who are interested in joining in with this project in the year 2020-2021.  If you are interested please get in touch with Sally Ackroyd at SHARE Museums East to register your interest and have an initial conversation.


Green GB week (15-19 October 2018) was a government sponsored week celebrating/promoting the opportunities to tackle climate change. As part of that a Green Toolkit was created.

thumbnail of GGBW Toolkit


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