As we embark upon the development of the Devizes Assize Court as the new home of the Wiltshire Museum, it is important that we have a clear direction to maintain the forward momentum developed over the last few years and ‘keep the show on the road’. Our previous Strategic Plan has come to an end and the Assize Court project requires a re-think. An effective Strategic Plan is an essential part of our Accreditation status awarded by Arts Council England and the document will be carefully reviewed by supporters and funders.
The Strategic Plan is being considered by the Trustees and we will be asking Members to agree the Strategic Plan at the Annual General Meeting on 19 October.
As outlined in the previous Strategic Plan, we are developing a high profile exhibition programme and are now working on a new priority of engaging with a wider community and meeting the needs of under-represented audiences. These areas are important to prepare the Museum for the challenges of a major capital programme and to ensure that our focus remains on our audiences and users.
We remain a small organisation facing substantial financial challenges. We value our partnerships and project funding has become an essential element in our finances as our support from Wiltshire Council has decreased. We need to maintain our partnerships and build on our success in fundraising to enable us to thrive and prosper.
This Strategy has been developed by beginning with an understanding of our audiences, developed from visitor and member surveys and comparing this with information about the demographics of our local area. This has highlighted the areas of our community that are under-represented amongst our audiences, and engaging with these groups is a major element of our future work, led by our Community Curator, funded by the ACE-supported Wessex Museums Partnership.
We have been developing a range of detailed plans and strategies to guide our work, and this Strategic Plan brings these together and provides a focus for our work over the next 5 years. It has been informed by the Wessex Museums Business Plan and the business plan prepared for the Assize Court project.
The Strategic Plan looks at 12 key areas, identifying the current position and challenges. For each area, a series of actions are proposed and targets set for 2025. There are 12 main areas, including audiences, welcoming visitors, tourism, research, collections care diversity, resilience and climate change. The pervasive importance of the Wessex Museum Partnership and the Assize Court project are demonstrated by the use of icons – for example highlighting the importance of the Wessex Museums Partnership to our exhibition programme and the contribution that work on engaging new community audiences will have in developing the Assize Court project.
Members and stakeholders are encouraged to let us know if there are areas that could be added or where additional help and support may be found. The Plan will proposed for adoption at the AGM on 19 October and will then guide annual operational plans. These plans are reviewed regularly by the Trustees to ensure that we remain on track and to take account of changing circumstances.