The summer holidays are here…and so is our July newsletter! Click here for our news from this month and to to find out about events we’re planning for August:

https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/julynewsletter2022

As June draws to a close, it must be time for our newsletter! Click here to find out about what we’ve been doing this month and the events we’re looking forward to in July:

https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/junenewsletter2022

We’re looking forward to the Queen’s Jubilee and the extended Bank Holiday weekend! Read our newsletter to hear our plans for the month of June: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/may_newsletter_2022

April has been a busy month and there are exciting events coming up in May too! Read our newsletter to find out more: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/aprilnewsletter-2022

The clocks have moved forward, the sun is shining (for now at least). It must be time for our March newsletter! Read it here: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/marchnewsletter2022

February might have been a stormy across the UK but we’ve kept busy through the windy weather. Find out more about what we’ve been doing in our February newsletter:  https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/februarynewsletter2022

2022 is now well underway and we’ve had a busy start to the year. Find out more in our January newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/januarynewsletter2022

The end of 2021 is close but before we say goodbye to this year, we have our December newsletter to share with you: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/decembernewsletter2021-10702448

The days are getting shorter and cooler as autumn turns into winter. It must be time for our November newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/novembernewsletter2021

Autumn is here and so is our October newsletter!

Read it here: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/october-newsletter-2021

Please note that the article ‘General View of the Agriculture of Hampshire including the Isle of Wight by Charles Vancouver The Board Agriculture and Internal Improvement 1813’ was written by our Collections and Engagement Manager, Armand De Filippo.

The leaves are changing colour, autumn weather is on its way and so it must be time for the September newsletter.

Read it here: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/september-newsletter-10475748

Summer is still with us, a bank holiday is approaching and so it must be time to share with you what’s been going on this month.

Read our August newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/august-newsletter-10462180

The sun is shining and the temperature is high, it must be summer and time for the July newsletter!

Read it here: https://mailchi.mp/newforestheritage/july-newsletter-10334968

As the end of June approaches, it’s time to share with you what we’ve been doing since we reopened.

Read the June newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/e3a08e5d1cc6/june-newsletter?e=[UNIQID]

May is here, summer is coming and we’re reopen. Hurrah!

Read our May newsletter here https://mailchi.mp/95b7330e8756/may-newsletter?e=[UNIQID]

April is upon us and we may still be closed, but there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes!

Read our April newsletter here https://mailchi.mp/868f7ef480e6/january-newsletter-10082800?e=[UNIQID]

Spring is in the air, so now seemed a good time for our March Newsletter!

https://mailchi.mp/8915969a5b0c/january-newsletter-10074776?e=9cd7079321

 

As February comes to an end, here’s our latest update to brighten your day!

https://mailchi.mp/8dc923f30719/january-newsletter-9648848?e=9cd7079321

January and lockdown might not seem the brightest of months, but there is plenty of cheer to be found in our latest newsletter

https://mailchi.mp/1078b46ba684/january-newsletter?e=9cd7079321

Sign up to receive these each month using the form below.

Our December newsletter is here, we hope you enjoy it.

Read it here https://mailchi.mp/acb54e74b160/december-newsletter-6679080?e=[UNIQID]

Learn about Edward Mudge, Georgina Bowden-Smith and glass plate negatives buried in a garden in Fawley!

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Here’s November’s newsletter, albeit a little late!

https://mailchi.mp/3e6ff28f94c9/november-newsletter?e=[UNIQID]

It’s got a great story about boats in it!

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I guess that’s the question on so many minds these days. What dystopian world do we find ourselves living in, and what does the future hold? Well it won’t come as any surprise that these are pretty much the same questions we are asking ourselves as a small independent charity.

We closed from late March, reopening on reduced hours, 10.30am to 4.30pm, seven days a week on Monday 27th July, initially also offering a slightly reduced service. We furloughed all of our staff when we closed, making what savings we could, and then in early June started to bring them back to work on a phased basis so that we could progress some of our broader strategies and investigate a reopening plan. Of course, there was also a need to apply for a range of emergency funding pots that had become potentially available.

Since early June not only have we managed to secure some vital funds from the National Lottery Emergency Fund, which covers our projected losses in the months of August, September and October, but also from a couple of other charitable funders. Frankly without these generous contributions we’d be looking at a much darker future.

Our revenues are generated from our shop, exhibition gallery, donations and café, all of which feed off visitor numbers. Clearly all virtually zero when we’re closed. We debated long and hard when to reopen, juggling the needs of the business with the demand and the safety of both customers and team members. Of course, no one really knows for sure, but we talked with partners, followed advice from the Association of Independent Museums, https://www.aim-museums.co.uk/ and The National Museums Directors Council, https://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/

I’m pleased to say that since we reopened we’ve achieved visitor numbers of 55%, retail income of 74% and donations by visitors of 98%, compared with 2019, which is a fabulous result. We’re hoping this continues into September and we’ll monitor this to make sure we continue to make the best decisions we can for the charity.

There are only two parts of the museum not yet open, the temporary exhibition gallery and the Christopher Tower Reference Library. The gallery is closed as we cancelled all of our forthcoming exhibitions, but I’m now working on a plan to reopen, and am meeting next week with the gentleman who I hope will be our reopening exhibition in November.

The library remains closed but should reopen to the public on its traditional Wednesdays and Friday mornings in the first two weeks of October. Our volunteer team are already working in there and other access can be arranged via library@newforestheritage.org.uk The big news is that over the lockdown process we completed the installation of our new flexible shelving and storage systems. This has provided us with nearly ½ kilometre of space, quadrupling what we had previously. Since its completion this has allowed us to start to reorganise the boxes we had stored in a multitude of corners! There is more on the shelves than ever before, access has been greatly increased and we’re working hard to catalogue, digitise and display what we’ve got. It has been a wonderful project contributed to by not only the team here and the volunteers, but also some wonderfully cooperative external contractors, such as Longdown Builders, Rackline Storage Systems and Easton Removal Company (who had the unenviable task of moving everything, keeping it in a specific order and then putting it all back. Thanks Mike and Mark!)

However, whilst the library may have been closed, our research facilities have found themselves very much in demand over lockdown. Our website New Forest Knowledge, https://nfknowledge.org/ has had more traffic than ever, with views over June, July and August up by 94% on the same months in 2019. We’ve recently completed some significant pieces of work on here, so have a look, there’s over 20,000 things to look at and listen to.

Finally, as a team we continue to work through the process of reapplying for Accreditation. Accreditation is an Arts Council scheme, which recognises those museums which care for their visitors, their collections and their governance to the highest of standard. There is a lot to be done ahead of submission in April 2021, but I’m confident we’ll be ready.

The Centre has been a fully accredited museum for many years now, and such accreditation is both a clear recognition of what we do, but also sends a clear message to funders, donors, visitors and volunteers, that we are committed to the highest of standards, and whilst we recognise that ourselves, this is supported by those who hold us to the highest of standards.

In conclusion, yes, it has been a trying and testing time, but I’m delighted to report that the team has pulled together well, we’ve achieved a huge amount, and the future, whilst not secure or clearly laid out, is looking promising. Come on in and see us, and if you can’t and you’d still like to support us, then there’s always our Just Giving page, https://www.justgiving.com/newforestheritage

That’s more than enough from me for the time being. If you would like to discuss anything, do please pop in and see me, or get in touch at giles.gould@newforestheritage.org.uk