|Current Exhibition by photographer, Anne Purkiss|
I have just received the latest Annual Report from Gainsborough’s House.
It is a really beautifully produced publication, and shows the great strides that the museum is making under the leadership of Director Mark Bills.
Visits to the Museum by schools have increased by one third, and income has risen from £159,000 in 2012/13 to £209,000 in the year under review. The number of Friends of the Museum has risen, and a new sort of Patron, prepared to pledge a little more to the cause, has been created. I understand that there are now 14 of these.
Mark has been successful in attracting offers of help in kind too. I know that Lord Andrew Phillips paid for the restoration of a historic map of Sudbury last year, and that John Beale, the founder of the Early Learning Centre and Past Times, voluntarily designed the new shop, and gave staff training and advice on appropriate stocking and shop management.
Paying visitors to the Museum increased by 14% last year, and the experience of groups has been improved by the fact that there are now several members of staff able to give guided tours and informative talks.
It is estimated that The House brings some 20,000 people to the Sudbury area every year. The money generated by these visits equates to £600,000 or so spent in the local community. An exciting capital project is currently being planned which it is hoped will expand the scope of the museum and really put Sudbury on the map.
Local people are not being forgotten. In addition to regular classes and outreach activities, a series of social events continues to be held at the House. The most recent, a Flamenco evening with wine and tapas, was much enjoyed by the sell-out audience. Gainsborough’s House recently won an EADT award for its community activities, and it is this aspect of the museum that as a Trustee I for one want to continue to emphasise.
There has never been a better time to get involved at Gainsborough’s House. There is something happening there for everyone. Drop in to reception between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday or 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays to find out about events, exhitibions, how to become a Friend or a volunteer.