Lessons for museums – Alice Maynard on Bringing Scope back from the brink

In an interview brimming with relevance for independent museums (and heritage or arts organisations) Alice Maynard, recently retired as Chair of Scope, talks about how the charity has been turned around from the brink of disaster.

She addresses several areas that will help museums, especially if they need to make some significant changes in their strategy or operations: the need for a vision and then to stick to it, the role of Chair and Board in times of difficulty, building relationships between senior staff and the Board, the challenges and opportunities of their retail arm and how it fits into their overall organisational strategy and purpose and why thinking like a business made them better at achieving their charitable purposes.

In our opinion, definitely worth getting a cup of coffee and having a read. Enjoy! Alice Maynard: Bringing Scope back from the brink.

A big thank you to The Association of Chairs whose great, free e-newsletter (sign up on their website), brought this extremely useful Civil Society interview to our attention.

Book your place for the Annual Convention of Association of Cultural Enterprises


The annual ACE Convention & free-to-enter Trade Show will take place on Tuesday 3rd & Wednesday 4th March 2015 at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) in  Bournemouth, Dorset. They have made the following announcement:

The main events will be held at the BIC with the social events and the range of hotel accommodation being in venues very close by, all within 5-10 minutes walking distance. We have selected a range of hotel accommodation to suit each budget and hotel bookings are now open  via this dedicated ACE booking portal.

We will have a terrific programme of speaker sessions and topical keynotes,  and a bigger trade show than ever with over 80 stands this year. Watch this space for details of the seminar programme and the list of exhibitors, to follow later this autumn.

The BIC Bournemouth is a great location for the ACE Convention next year. Not only is it set against the stunning backdrop of the Dorset coastline and cliffs, but the transport links by road, rail and air could not be more convenient. Twice hourly trains from London together with flights from many major UK city airports into Southampton (only a short train ride directly from the airport  to Bournemouth) make this a must do destination for those working across the heritage sector.

And we could not make it any easier! The Trade Show is completely free to visit – only pre-registration is required – whilst delegate rates have been held at 2013 levels once again, making the ACE Convention and Trade Show not only the most relevant event for members and non-members but surely the very best value too.

Book here for the 2015 Convention and Trade Show – Early Bird delegate bookings are being taken from now until 31st January 2015 and represent a 30% saving.

See what our delegates in York  thought about the event in 2014!

Museum income could grow with “Insight”

 A new digital research project called Insight has been launched with the aim of increasing financial performance in Museums and other cultural attractions. To do this the project partners are looking to recruit 200 cultural organisations nationwide to take part in a free trial before 31st October 2014. AIM members are invited to take part.

By collecting data about these organisations Insight will use sophisticated Predictive Analytic techniques, which have transformed industries such as financial services, retail, and highway safety, to provide site-specific performance projections allowing cultural organisations to plan with greater effectiveness than has previously been possible.

Insight is being is being delivered by three project partners; enterprise experts and cultural sector consultants Black Radley, software developers Ryan O’Neill Partnership and researchers from Bath Spa University’s Centre for Creative Computing. The project is supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts – Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Professor Peter Latchford OBE of Black Radley, the lead project partner, explains “In recent years, cultural organisations have had to rely much more heavily on earned income – a trend that is set to continue. Given the growing pressure on resources in the sector, the question has to be ‘how do we leverage the market information available with a method that is cost-effective, accurate, requires very little staff time and enables us predict better, plan better, and to maximise income?’”

Dr Joe Collins of software developers the Ryan O’Neill partnership believes Insight will go a long way to answering that question, “Insight isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about gathering existing data on the factors that impact on commercial performance and combining them to create a market picture that is clearer than it ever has been before. That means that each participating organisation will receive a personally tailored analysis of the variables that impact their performance. The more participants, the better the analysis.”

Professor Andrew Hugill from Bath Spa University’s Centre for Creative Computing added: “Predictive analysis techniques offer serious possibilities for improving musem performance. This project is an excellent example of working across disciplines, as computer science and heritage studies meet.”

Museums, art galleries, historic sites and houses, and other cultural attractions are encouraged to register their interest in the Insight trial by contacting project manager Peter Collins at insight@blackradley.com.

For more information please contact Peter Collins, Enterprise and Culture Executive, on peter_collins@blackradley.com or 07896799748.

Training Opportunities from Association of Cultural Enterprises

ACE has sent us the following information:

Next week will see the opening of booking facilities for all remaining events in 2014 so here is an appetiser of topics with dates for your diary. Please note all events will run from 10 am to 4.30 pm latest
  • 7 October: ‘Catering Matters’ at the Wallace Collection, London. Speakers for this event areJeroen Schuijt, Head of Tate Catering; Duncan Ackery; Fiona Boyd-Thorpe, consultants; David Copping, Farrer & Co, Bill Mitchell, Moore Stephens
  • 15 October: ‘Dress your shop for Christmas’ with International Visual. Venue to follow
  • 29 October: ‘Looking at Exhibition Catalogues’ at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Speakers for this event are Mark Eastment, V&A; John Stachiewicz, Tate; Nicola Saunders, National Portrait Gallery; Declan McCarthy, Ashmolean; Colin Ziegler, Natural History Museum
  • 13&14 November: ACE on Tour, Amsterdam. Delegates will hear from the commercial teams at the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House as well as have time to explore the venues
  • 20 November: ‘Buying Masterclass’ with Selina Fellows: at the Jewish Museum, London
  • 27 November: ‘Picture Library Symposium’, our annual symposium  will take place at the offices of Farrer & Co and will address the issues around free use of images. Speakers this year areBernard Horrocks & Clive Coward, Tate; Nick Poole, Collections Trust; Anthony Misquitta, Farrer & Co; Jonathan Lockwood, Getty Images; Dave Brolan, Reel Art Press; Andy Ellis, Public Catalogue Foundation
Bookings are open so look out for notification and do book early to be sure of a place.
Jill Fenwick
Phone: 01434 684074
Visit ACE at www.acenterprises.org

Association of Cultural Enterprises Study Day: ‘EPoS – installation to evaluation’

The Association of Cultural Enterprises run some great study days. The following one might be of particular interest to AIM members considering developing their retail. Check out the ACE website for more training and to find out about joining.

ACE Study Day: ‘EPoS – installation to evaluation’:

Luton Hat Factory Arts Centre: 30 September 2014, 10 – 4 pm

Speakers from the sector, together with suppliers, will take us through the journey of moving from manual sales records to EPoS and outline the various stages, as well as things to look out for. This event is for organisations large and small, for those already with an EPoS system or without.

Retailers often wonder if EPoS is the answer to their problems. Will it make them more accountable, more accurate and more profitable? It can, and will, do all these things but a good understanding of the process of installation and use of a system is an important pre-requisite.

This study day will address

  • procurement and sourcing an appropriate system for you – the process and the criteria
  • the culture change for an organisation
  • the installation and bedding in stage
  • evaluation and how to make the system work for you
  • how to attract and retain loyal customers using simple but effective loyalty schemes.

Our speakers include

  • Melanie Lewis, Commercial Director, National Museums Liverpool
  • Stacey Hammond, Head of Business Development, National Museums Liverpool
  • Matthew Williams, General Manager, Glasgow University Heritage Retail Ltd
  • Adam Sherratt, Assistant Head of Retail, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Kim de Sylva, Business Development Manager, K3 RSG

This study day will answer the questions of those thinking of embarking on the EPoS journey as well as help and enlighten those who may be further down that road. The event will close with a panel Q&A session so do bring along your queries and make the most of the opportunity.

You can book your place for this study day here

Jill Fenwick
Executive Administrator
Phone: 01669 631210
Fax: 01669 221736
Visit ACE at www.acenterprises.org

Free AIM Talks at Museums + Heritage Show 15th May 2014


AIM is delighted to announce that we will be providing a series of free talks on trade, enterprise and funding at the Museum + Heritage Show in London on 15th May 2014. We hope you will come along to enjoy the talks and visit us on our stand.

We will also be signing up new participants for AIM’s visitor research and benchmarking scheme, Visitor Verdict and announcing a new scheme to help members save money on their energy bills. The AIM sponsored Winstan Bond Trophy for Trading and Enterprise will be announced at the M+H Awards Dinner on 14th May.

The AIM strand of talks will feature on Thursday 15th May and include some excellent speakers from Leeds Castle, ss Great Britain, London Transport Museum, Kelvingrove, AIM and Arts Council England. AIM’s partner BDRC Continental will also be speaking about visitor research, including Visitor Verdict, on Wednesday 14th May.

10.25 – 11.05

Great products = successful shop

Michael Walton is Head of Trading at London Transport Museum, with its extremely successful museum shop and online retail. He has recently contributed to the 2nd edition of “Successful Retailing in Museums”. Michael will talk about how the right products are fundamental to increasing turnover and profitability and will share his top tips for sourcing exciting and relevant products for your shop. Michael Walton, Head of Trading, London Transport Museum

11.35 – 12.15

A world of opportunities from ACE and AIM
Arts Council England will provide the latest information on their current opportunities and funding plans for 2015 to 2018. AIM will discuss their five grant giving schemes as well as other money saving opportunities.
Matthew Tanner, Chair of the Association of Independent Museums and Mary Godwin, Relationship Manager for Museums, Arts Council England

12.45 – 13.25

Welcome (now give us your money)! 
We work endlessly on our programming and our presentation, we focus hard on our grant applications and our outcomes – and yet sometimes forget some basic steps that make every visitor feel better, relax and spend more. Victoria will help you to ensure that your museum or heritage site is offering a great welcome, happy customer service and still generating good spend. Surprisingly simple, but surprisingly difficult to do….
Victoria Wallace, Chief Executive, Leeds Castle

13.55 – 14.35

Jack Vettriano, Record-breaking retail!
The Vettriano exhibition produced £1.35 million in retail sales in 5 months. This presentation will illustrate the exhibition’s background and context, before describing the business of creating a record-breaking retail outlet for a temporary exhibition. We will describe our methodology of creating a successful shop and focus on the lessons learned along the way.
Catherine McGurk, Retail Trading Manager and Dr Neil Ballantyne, Museum Manager, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Life

15.05 – 15.45 

Top 10 tips – fundraising opportunities and challenges in the museums and heritage sector 
Fundraising for museums and heritage organisations is exactly the same as fundraising for any charity. Or is it? Louisa – who joined the cultural sector 12 months ago and has many year’s fundraising experience from outside the sector – will discuss what she found challenging and what opportunities exist, when fundraising for a heritage site and museum. She will run through the top 10 things she has learnt since joining the sector and you will walk away with some top tips to implement in your fundraising strategy. Louisa Pharoah, Head of Development, ss Great Britain Trust 

Entrepreneurial Museum seminars at Ironbridge

Ironbridge – town and museum – has a long tradition of entrepreneurialism. Their latest seminar series, in partnership with the Marches Network of Museum Development, has just been announced:

  • Film Friendly Museums – 27th Feb (Birmingham)
  • Running a profitable Retail Department – 11thMarch (Ironbridge)
  • The Tourism Economy and Museums – 18th March (Ironbridge)
  • Using Live Interpretation (online training)

All the seminars are free to attend and are open to museums in the West Midlands and beyond. For more information and to download a copy of the brochure:  http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/about-us/the-entrepreneurial-museum/

To book your place contact barbara.taylor@ironbridge.org.uk ,01952 435900