A marine biologist and former pro vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich, John will bring his extensive public sector and commercial experience to bear as he helps lead the Museum of East Dorset into the future.
John said: “I am delighted to be the new chair of trustees at the Museum of East Dorset. Speaking to colleagues around the country, I know that all museums are facing a challenging environment nowadays but through our new strategic plan, we are determined to thrive, to grow our services for the people of East Dorset and to contribute to our visitor economy.”
He has taken up reins at a positive time for the museum, following completion of a £1.8m National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Revival Project which has secured the museum’s role as custodian of the heritage of East Dorset.
“It is our job as trustees to ensure that the precious cultural heritage of East Dorset is preserved and that Wimborne Minster will always have a thriving, town centre museum for locals and visitors alike,” said John.
The Revival Project saw the historic Grade II* listed building, a town house on Wimborne’s High Street, restored and refurbished. The building has been transformed with new modern frontage which reveals the 16th century courtyard and original streetscape, as well as improved access, new facilities, and more exhibition galleries and learning spaces. The project was overseen by former chairman of trustees David Morgan who stepped down earlier this year after seven years at the helm.
“My predecessor David will be a hard act to follow but I look forward to working with our trustees, staff and volunteer teams to build on the strong base that has been established,” said John. “Since our refurbishment, our exhibitions and displays are exceptional. However, we are not just an exciting cultural centre; we have a charming tea room opening onto a beautiful secret garden in the very centre of Wimborne, as well as a gift shop, second-hand bookshop and information centre right opposite the Minster church.
“The Trust’s vision is to celebrate our rich heritage through a vibrant museum and cultural hub which connects people with the past and offers enjoyment, learning and inspiration to visitors of all ages. There is so much to be enjoyed here, by local people and their families and visitors alike.
“I am thrilled to step into this role at such an exciting time for the museum, and delighted that we are welcoming people back to experience it for themselves.”
Museum director James Webb, said: “We are delighted to welcome on board John, who brings great ideas, energy and expertise to the role of chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“The past 12 months have been challenging, as they have been for museums up and down the country. Now, with our fantastic offer, strong team and a talented group of trustees, the Museum of East Dorset is ready to spring back and put into action our plans to make this impressive museum and cultural hub even better.”
Formerly known as the Priest’s House Museum, the popular Wimborne attraction holds significant collections, some of national importance, including rare archaeological artefacts, a unique collection of Victorian Valentine cards, ceramics, and objects and photographic images related to local history.
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