EM & HT Annual General Meeting 2017
Now the speeches are over Tony and Margaret can relax with a welcome glass of wine.
Selected extracts from the Chairman’s Address at the AGM on 20 March 2017
Our thanks to all those volunteers who help in the Museum in many different ways, do the stewarding and other jobs that enable us to keep the Museum open to our visitors and also the deliverers of our Newsletters. These volunteers are mostly the same dedicated group of members who quietly get on with their particular responsibilities year after year with the addition of a few newcomers. Contrary to my previous routine, I am not naming them all individually as they, and we all know who they are and the Trust is no less grateful that I am giving them our heartfelt thanks collectively. Thank you all very much indeed.
Roy and Sheila Morgan have announced that they wish to retire from the role of the Trust’s Official Archivists after 32 years service. We thank them for the outstanding contribution they have made to the Trust through all their research work. They have been such long term staunch supporters of the Trust that we will sorely miss them as our Official Archivists. We wish them a long, happy and healthy retirement.
At this point in the past, I have normally given a brief summary of the Trust’s achievements in the previous year. As a change tonight I thought I would just highlight some general achievements over the past several years and say how I believe the Trust is moving forward to a bright future
One of the most significant achievements has been making the application in 2013 to the Arts Council England for accreditation which we were granted. Subsequently, in December 2016 we went through the whole process again and we are now awaiting advice as to whether our application for renewal of our accreditation has been granted. The application process is an intensive exercise involving not only the completion of a 30 page form but also bringing up to date all our policy and procedure documentation as well. Having these policy and procedure documents focuses our minds on continuing to manage our affairs in a disciplined and consistent manner.
Winning the accreditation is well worth the effort. It demonstrates to the world at large we have achieved the requisite standard for the proper management and operation of an organisation such as ours.
On the physical side of life, we have made good progress in re-decorating the larger part of the Museum, reorganising the Store Room, tidying the office, greatly improving the books and souvenirs sales area, building the new Oysters Gallery and re-arranging the PG Wodehouse Corner, and generally making the place more attractive to our visitors. This will continue in the coming months by replacing the out dated fluorescent tube lighting in the Main Room with modern, energy efficient, better museum quality lights to brighten it up. In the slightly longer term as funds permit, we will start replacing the older cabinets with modern proper museum standard display cabinets.
We have upgraded the Museum’s electrical supply system and provided three new heaters such that we can safely use heaters anywhere in the Museum, so making more it comfortable for volunteers working there in the winter months.
We have moved our digital record keeping from the MODES system to the Omeka system and the accession data is being entered in Omeka. In the fullness of time, Omeka will be accessible by volunteers, stewards and possibly even visitors, to gather information about artefacts in the Museum thus greatly assisting researchers.
We have started indexing and putting into better ring binders all the paper in the Archive Room to enhance ready access.
For the first time in our history, we are fortunate in having a volunteer in the person of Phil Magrath with the professional expertise to ensure we care for, conserve and display our artefacts in accordance with proper standards.
We have detached the care of the artefacts from the management and administration of the Trust thereby enabling Phil Magrath to concentrate on his tasks while the committee assumes responsibility for management and administrative activities.
In addition to opening the Museum to our visitors during the summer months we continue to achieve an extraordinary amount of ancillary activities such as exhibitions, talks, walks, audio & video recordings, publication of the Newsletter three times a year, publication of the annual journal, the Emsworth Echo, stands at the Horticultural Society Annual Show and at the Emsworth Food Festival, the annual Treasure Hunt, and research day to day - all through the hard work and dedication of volunteers. All volunteers, no hired hands.
Through our independence as an organisation and through the commitment of our volunteers, we maintain our very ethos and long may it continue.
Finally, I would like to thank the landlord of our Museum premises for the support Havant Borough Council provides which is essential to the continued presence of the Emsworth Museum as a cultural asset in the Borough.