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September Update from Tim Burge, our Project Manager

Despite all the challenges of working around Covid-19 restrictions, work has been moving on apace with 50 Years and Beyond.

You probably will not see any immediate changes at the museum, but what we are gathering is an accurate picture of the physical condition and environmental performance of the buildings that make up the museum site. These are essential in helping the trustees make decisions going forward, and also provide very useful evidence for future grant applications.

Specialists have been on site to carry out surveys and provide the museum with data, background information and recommendations on the museum buildings. We have had an Energy Survey and Building Survey carried out, and we are now digesting those results.

This update is to help you understand some of the issues of maintaining and repairing the museum site. Initial feedback from the building and thatch survey indicated that the main work needed over the next 18 months will be replacing the thatch ridge. The overall comment was ‘it’s not as bad as it looks".

We have also received an initial energy assessment. We now know that the museum emits the equivalent of 10.5 tonnes of Co2 into the atmosphere per year! With a national ambition to make the country carbon neutral by 2030 this is clearly something to work on. The good news is, we have been given a range of recommendations to follow up, which not only improve the museum’s Co2 footprint but can also save money in the long term. These include improvements to our lighting and in particular the heating system, which does not perform well.

A quick win is to replace the old-style lighting units. The rest of the possible savings need to be carefully thought through as the solution may be to replace old heating and lighting systems with renewables like electrical PV panels and heat pumps. These are costly, but grants are available.

While not directly part of the 50 Years and Beyond project a provisional plan for the patio garden layout has been received from Tambolyn Streater. This will be looked at alongside the work of Chris Jones, the designer we start working with this month. Chris will be looking at different ways the museum might present Chard stories and the museum collections, including use of the open space nd the paddock.

In October, Pete Hawkins will be coming on board to help the museum understand and assess the options around the building lease and help identify the most appropriate and sustainable route forward for the future.

All of the activity is happening alongside welcoming visitors to the museum in a Covid secure way, and working to update the governance of the charity. A huge amount of work, but all, the Trustees believe we are taking the museum in the right direction.

Tim Burge, September 2020

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