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What We've Already Done

Work was completed to prepare the Trustees for the challenges of taking ownership of the Chard Museum buildings.

Chard Museum 50 Years and Beyond - Phase 2 (2022-2024)

January 2024 - Tiverton Museum visit

Museum volunteers, trustees (and Luca the dog) were lucky enough to spend a day at Tiverton Museum of Mid-Devon Life ( earlier this month. We were hosted by Pippa Griffith, the Museum Director, who gave us an in-depth tour of the whole Museum operation and generously shared her experience and thoughts of Tiverton's own redevelopment journey.

Our grant from the Heritage Fund includes support for a few of these visits to go and talk to other museums who have redeveloped or are part way through the process. It is really helpful for the Chard project to see how other people have tackled some of the same challenges and be able to learn from other colleagues in our sector.

Tiverton was a fascinating visit, as their story has many similarities to Chard. Just like us, they are working with a range of specialists to rethink what their museum does and looks like. They also have a similar type of collection - lots of artefacts telling the agricultural, industrial and social story of a West Country town in a rural setting.

We came away with lots to think about and are really grateful to Pippa and her team for giving their time so generously and giving us a warm welcome on a cold day.

December 2023

This month the Chard Museum volunteers and trustees spent a day with the specialist team working on the 'Creating our Museum of the Future' project.

This was a chance to get updates on work completed so far and carry on the conversation about ambitions for the Museum in the future.

Below is an update produced for Museum volunteers and trustees in Dec 2023 by Helen Horler, outlining her work to date and interim findings from talking with people about their ideas on what stories Chard's Museum of the future might tell. Just click to download and play.

23 12 HH interim report community consultation Chard Museum
Download MP4 • 20.56MB

We also had a fascinating update from George our architect on the historical timeline of how the buildings that now make up the museum evolved over time, from an Elizabethan Long House to what we have today. Understanding and respecting this will be key to any changes we might want to make.

Helen our community engagement expert updated on the work she is doing talking to community members about their thoughts on the current Museum, and their ideas on what might be different in the future. This has included some very cold days with Museum volunteers in town talking to shoppers, as well as a session at the Museum Christmas Tree Festival.

This was also a chance to unveil our model of The Museum site that George has made for us to help visualise what changes to the layout might look like.

Sam our organisational change expert led conversations with the Museum volunteers about their aspirations for the Museum - better heating was a popular suggestion!

This was one of several sessions we will be having to make sure we gather us much insight as possible to help create Chard's Museum of the future. Do keep an eye on these pages for chances to get involved next year.

This Saturday, 16th December, sees a chance for residents and visitors to Chard to give their thoughts on what stories they would like to see in a refreshed museum. Museum reps will be in town if you'd like to take part.

If you see us give us a friendly wave and come and talk to us! We would love to hear your opinions and ideas. What stories of Chard should the Museum tell?  What would you like from your future Museum?


To share the extent of the whole site of Chard Museum, including its fabulous outdoor spaces we have commissioned an architect's model which also shows the listed buildings we will protect. These buildings have their own fascinating stories. We are inviting community groups, including young people, to interact with the model and help us shape the museum's future plans.


We very much hope to stimulate conversations about the potential of the Museum for more community enjoyment and learning, with new facilities. We aim to find out what local people want and need from their Museum.


There will be lots more opportunities in 2024 to help create our museum of the future.

Closely linked initiatives referred to as ‘Spaces’, ‘Stories’ and ‘Resilience’


Spaces funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) enabling us to work with a group of Heritage Architects and Specialists to explore what we might do with the Spaces we have:


  • Assess the historic significance of the Museum buildings.


  • Produce concept drawings, building layouts and budgets to enable presentation of a pre-planning application.


The work so far has involved a careful analysis of the listed buildings and their development, as well as understanding the wide range of existing exhibits and ambitions for potential Museum storylines. This research has fed into the development of design options, showing how to make best use of the whole Museum site, alongside a more resilient energy strategy and associated budget costings. The resulting Feasibility Study will act as a guide for ongoing community engagement and roadmap for future development.


Stories funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) will enable us to fund a group of Heritage Professionals to find out what Stories the communities of Chard and district want us to be telling in the Museum Spaces and beyond:


  • Deliver a series of interactive workshops and outreach activities that empower the local community to ‘create their Museum of the future’


  • Review how the Museum works with schools, community organisations, and for example residential care facilities, to widen the opportunities to share understanding and the importance of heritage and culture in our community.


Resilience funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) is helping us:


  • Understand Trustee strengths and areas for development, to ensure that they have the ability to become a more resilient and sustainable asset and develop a recruitment strategy to support succession planning.

  • Review all aspects of Museum governance including Policy and Procedures and their implementation.

Chard Museum 50 Years and Beyond - Phase 1 (2020-2022)

Work was completed to prepare the Trustees for the challenges of taking ownership of the Chard Museum buildings. Important milestones included:


  • July 2020 - became a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation)

  • July 2021 - completed a viability report identifying the financial and operational risks of buying and running the Museum premises

  • April 2022 - took ownership of the physical buildings of Chard Museum from South Somerset District Council

Read more about the work in Phase 1 here.

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