We continue to work on improving our buildings and have several schemes to enhance the presentation and preservation of our artefacts. The museum and its exhibits are held in trust for future generations so that the sacrifices made to defend freedom are never forgotten. Currently we have just under half of the total funds needed for our new building and we will keep you updated as this exciting project progresses.
Our Initial Plans
Drawings were prepared for a large modern building to provide additional display space and a large store for artefacts, including the jeep. It would be built in the wartime style of the Moller Building to blend in well. A project of this scale needs external funding, so we drafted a proposal to discuss with the very helpful staff of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The expectations increase in proportion to the money granted. The project would need to feature, for example, strong community support, an increased number and variety of visitors, additional activities and an emphasis on young people in addition to preserving and displaying artefacts. All this is most acceptable to our Committee, but it would mean a massive project that could cost up to £1 million. Implementing it might well exceed the capacity of our hard-pressed volunteers!
During our negotiations, it became clear that once we had undertaken all the preparation of the bid, it would face stiff competition and be unlikely to reach the top of HLF’s list of other worthy projects. This has caused us to draw up a more modest proposal.
What do our visitors tell us?
Staff already receive a lot of positive, appreciative comments in our visitors’ book and on Trip Advisor. We conducted a short questionnaire with our visitors as a preliminary to decide the right way forward. Many thanks if you were one of the participants!
Visitors were asked to score five priorities, where 1 is unimportant and 10 is very important. These were the priorities, with the percentage of 41 sampled believing their importance was rated 8, 9 or 10:
A modern, interactive exhibition with digital effects 43.8%
A new building with more space 58.3%
A resources room 68.2%
Controlled conditions so displays do not deteriorate from humidity or light 90%
The importance of working with young people 94.4%
This shows that sharing our museum with the younger generation is seen as the main priority. Preserving the exhibits is also regarded as very important.
Most of those responding also provided some complimentary remarks and helpful suggestions. A common theme was a fondness for the 1940s atmosphere and the need to preserve it, which helped bring about our current plans as featured in our previous newsletters.