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Clun Town Trust

Clun Town Trust report for Annual Parish Meeting 2024 – Nigel Kerry, Curator of Museum of Clun

This year we are very proud to tell you that we are now an accredited museum, which is up there with all the big boys. It was a long process to go through getting the accreditation from Arts Council England, a lot of hard work. It was a team effort; Rowena did a lot of work to steer us through it.
We’ve now got a better understanding of our collection. We’ve had conservators come in to give us an idea of what we can do to help our collection. As you know, the Town Hall isn’t the best environment, although peculiarly enough it’s not as bad as we thought it was, we don’t get a lot of bugs and we don’t get a lot of mildew etc. But the temperature and humidity fluctuate and we’re trying to overcome that. We managed to get a grant, along with the Town Council’s grant for the exterior, to help the interior environment and we’re implementing measures using that at the moment.
We have had an assessment of some of our pictures and our paper collection. We’ve got a painting which we’ve decided is really worth looking after and we’re going to get it restored. It’s an asset to the town, not only historically but also financially. It’s a naïve watercolour painting of the Reverend Creswell, it was done in 1865. It’s in a shocking condition. It’s of Reverend Creswell and his family on his journey from Clun, where he lived, to Newcastle. He was the vicar of Newcastle for 50 years and he was a character. So it’s good we should keep this.
We’ve had some new exhibits this year. We’ve had some dolls, which again were from the Creswell family. Margaret Creswell lived in Clun, she dressed these dolls and used to put them in the window of her very nice cottage in Vicarage Road, called The Cabin. The kids would come from school and admire them. This used to happen at Christmas time and other times in the year.
We’ve also got a gown from Trinity, now properly displayed and a rolling exhibit of a variety of historic documents. In addition, we’ve acquired seven Edward I silver pennies, which were found in a field in Clun. How they got to be there I don’t know. We haven’t got them on display yet but we’ve got them and it’s another asset to Clun. We have been given material to create archives of St George’s Primary School, as well as family archives of the Luthers and Hamars of Clun. We regularly help visitors as best we can with their queries, especially about family history and we have loaned some exhibits this year, including our unique baskets and geological specimens.
We sponsored a talk by Tony Martyr on Clun Mill, which we did in the Methodist Church. I went to the Carnival and put up a display in the rain. We produced a leaflet this year and we run a Facebook page with a new post every Thursday; I suggest you might like to look at that, we’ve got lots of likes for it and lots of good comments. We’ve also started recording interviews with Clun residents to gain understanding of Clun life in the past.
We ease the front door, we clean the museum, we mop up when required. We’ve designed a children’s activity sheet with the help of one of our stewards. We rely on our stewards to help us run the museum. We have 39 names on our stewards list, some work in pairs, some single. We also rely totally on donations now, we don’t charge to come into the museum. We welcome any donations and thank anybody who has given us donations. We do get anonymous donations and we thank those people who give anonymous donations, very much.
We want to improve the museum, but it all costs, so we’re very aware that we need to look for grants and see if we can get some money for specific projects. We’ve joined AIM (Association of Independent Museums) and we’re also part of the Heritage Forum, a group of local heritage organisations who meet in Bishops Castle. In addition, we have established links with Knighton museum. It is useful to have discussions and contact with organisations who are in a similar position to us.
I want to say thank you to Bill Shepherd, who’s retired as a trustee recently, thank you Bill for all the work you’ve done for us. I also want to welcome Sue Hill, who is now appointed as a trustee and I hope you enjoy working with us, thank you.
We’ve extended our opening days during Bank Holidays, so we’re now open all the Bank Holiday and we’re also reviewing our opening days so that we can get a bit more revenue, but we need the staff to look after the museum.
From Easter to October last year we had 1847 adult visitors and 200 children (not all at once!)

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