The Committee is asked to note the performance of the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service for the period April to October 2018.
Mr Hargrave (Colchester and Ipswich
Museum Service Manager) reported that the Kiss and Tell exhibition
had been the most successful in its few weeks of opening; Mr
Steward (Ipswich Museums Manager) added that visitor numbers to
date were nearly 10,000.
Councillor Jones commented that the admissions targets for 2018/19
had been ambitious and noted that previous targets had not always
taken into account planned closures of venues. Mr Hargrave commented
that the target was achievable, but had been impacted by the
extraordinarily good weather in the summer. Ms Breadman (Assistant Director - Communities,
Colchester) added that future targets would take into account any
planned closures and also allow for exceptional attendances
relating to major exhibitions.
Councillor Jones asked about publicity opportunities when
significant loans were returned. Mr Steward reported that press
releases would be arranged to highlight the reach of the
Museums’ exhibits and when they would be back on
Councillor Young commented on the disparity of subscribers to the
museums newsletters between Ipswich (853) and Colchester (16,675).
Mr Steward reported that there had not been a newsletter for
Ipswich Museums, or the option to subscribe to it, until recently,
but the number of subscribers was on the increase.
Councillor Smart asked about the characteristics of an
‘autism-friendly relaxed opening’ of the museums. Mr
Hodgson (Colchester Museums Manager) reported that on the first
Sunday of the month, Colchester Castle was opened up an hour
earlier and a calming atmosphere was provided by minimising
unexpected noise, e.g. audio elements of the displays were switched
off, papers towels instead of hand driers in the toilets; no people
were excluded during this time, but visitors were made aware of
what equipment would be switched off.
Whilst the numbers involved in the autism-friendly pilots held so
far were small, the feedback was very positive.
Councillor Smart asked whether there had been an audit of museums
venues in terms of being dementia-friendly, e.g. visual layout, use
of colours, patterns on flooring. Mr Steward reported that a number
of staff had received dementia awareness training, and consulting
with appropriate stakeholders would be need to be factored into any
future development of the museums services.
Councillor Jones asked whether data could be provided showing a
list of events held, number of attendees, income and brief
evaluation for all events in Colchester and Ipswich museum venues
to see if there were any crossover opportunities. Councillor Oxford commented that this could help
with target setting, e.g. what type of events were
successful. Ms Breadman commented that this would be considered at
a future Portfolio Holders meeting.
Councillor Young commented that other venues in Colchester, e.g.
Colchester Arts Centre, Mercury Theatre, were also offering relaxed
performances. Mr Steward reported that a film was being produced to
help people with autism prepare for a visit to the museum, and this
would be made available online.
Councillor Jones highlighted the amount of work that had been done
by the Collections Care team, and Councillor Young thanked the
that the Performance Update report be noted.