Category Archives: Chairman’s Message

Chairman’s Message

 

Since I became involved in the Executive and running of Brixham Heritage Museum in 1997, seventeen years ago, there have been many changes, most for the good, but one item which has not changed is the perpetual worry of paying the bills. The bills which involve insurance of the collection, the utilities and wages, all of which increase each year.

The ‘Museum’ has been able to improve its presentation to visitors by the availability of grants, which I have said many times before can only be used for the specific reason for the application.

These types of grants were not available 17 years ago, so at that time the Museum’s “coat had to be cut according to its cloth” and it is still the same today, more so, because of the real probability of grants from Torbay Council ceasing within 3 years.

The only way to increase the income of the Museum is to raise both the membership and visitors entrance fees and this obviously will be most unpopular. But it must be done in the very near future, if Brixham Heritage Museum is to survive.

The Museum’s finances, which are difficult to handle, have been managed incredibly efficiently by several past Treasurers, none more so than the present retiring Treasurer, John Parr. Not once in the history of the Museum has the finances gone into the red and never has the Museum had to be bailed out of debt. The Museum is a well­run “business” and this is recognised by the Arts Council, who have recently become involved with the Torbay Museums.

BUT, again, as I have said many times, the Museum must become totally self­sufficient and now it has to be sooner rather than later.

It was hoped that a grant to purchase the Brixham Cavern might have been forthcoming and this would have enabled the Museum to become involved. The Brixham heritage inside those caves is of great archaeological importance, not only locally but world­wide, but a grant was not possible, so other means of income will have to be found.

The improvement of the Museum’s facilities is down to a large group of volunteers who are prepared to give up a tremendous amount of their spare time to improving the building and its displays, and again, as I’ve said before, the Museum grows on you and becomes part of your existence, as it has been to me over the last 20 years since I first became a member, starting as a “lowly” steward and finishing as Chairman.

I shall miss the Museum, but if everyone continues to pull together as they have in the past, then Brixham Heritage Museum will survive and be a credit to the town of Brixham – and Torbay.

PATRICIA BRITTEN

Chairman’s Message

 

Brixham Heritage Museum is not a run-of-the-mill Museum. The word MUSEUM conjures up, in many minds, a building with a musty collection of artefacts which are ‘dry’ looking and often accompany mangy, dusty specimens of taxidermy. This is not Brixham’s Heritage Museum! Many museums recently have become more touchy-feely and electronic, and been encouraged to be more relevant to the 21st century way of portraying the past.

The space inside Brixham Heritage Museum is disguised by the diminutive entrance—but do not be fooled—inside a comprehensive history of one of the oldest and most productive fishing ports in England enfolds you as you walk round two floors of what used to be the Police Station of 1902. There is a feeling of history and ambience of long ago.

There is much for adults to see, read and inwardly digest, but unlike many museums we cater for the younger generation. There are activity packs for children to experiment with while their parents look at the displays. There are relevant pictures to colour and take home afterwards and, for those children who want to enter into the spirit of the past, there is a dressing-up box of Victorian-like clothes to parade about in. For the very young there is a sand-box and a railway and a wooden boat in which to play. We cater for all ages and that is why this Museum was short-listed last year for the “Kids in Museums” Telegraph-sponsored “Family Friendly Museum” competition.

So far this year we are long-listed in the best 20 museums in the country, some of which are big and illustrious and who have far more financial resources than we can ever dream of! But, then you all know about this— you are members—and we are very grateful for your support. We are proud of the new innovations and what has been achieved.

PATRICIA BRITTEN

 

Chairman’s Message

 

Thank you Torbay Council

The upstairs “hierarchy”, the “powers that be” or whatever you want to call those that inhabit the top floor of the Museum, are incredibly relieved and grateful that Torbay Council have continued to award the Museum the Grant for the coming year. Thankfully this means that the Museum can go ahead with all future plans without being hampered with worried thoughts of a financial nature. We would like to extend very grateful thanks to all the Torbay Officers and Councillors who supported the Museum, especially at this time of austerity.

We give thanks also to Brixham town Council for the Grant which enabled the Museum to infill the first floor windows, now depicting from the outside the history of Brixham. Have you looked up?

Earlier last year the Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver, awarded the Museum £600 which has been used to promote heritage crafts, the results of which will be on show during a free Heritage Day at the Museum on 1st June. Thank you very much, Gordon Oliver! We would be delighted to see you on that day. Whilst I am in a thanking mood, I want to thank all the Museum volunteers and the paid “workers” for all the time given to improve and update this best, small Museum.

A belated “Happy New Year”.

PATRICIA BRITTEN