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06 March 2024

A further view from the Chair.

A further view from the Chair.

I thought it was about time I set about writing another blog as many months have passed since the last one. Not that I delude myself there is an audience of eager readers waiting to hang on my every word and wonder how such wisdom could be found hidden away in the mind of a Chairman of a provincial museum.




We are now enjoying our public opening for 2024. The Museum closed for it's winter deep clean and rearrangements shortly prior to Christmas so to me it seems the doors have been closed to the public for a long time. Come next December when we close again I will perhaps be thinking that we have been open long enough and the time for the annual closure couldn't come soon enough. I hope I am wrong about that because our visitors are our lifeblood and one of the main reasons for our existence and relevance to the local community. Museums are soulless places when closed and even a few visitors make all the difference.



The first visitor through the door on our opening day when it was pouring with rain was on a bicycle. She told me that she had cycled from Cambridge the previous day and it was obvious from the description of her journey that she had not kept only to back roads. She said that after her visit to us she was peddling on to Holbeach and then to King's Lynn where she was staying the night before setting off back to Cambridge. I hope she made it OK and wish her well. It would be good to think that she might tell her friends of her odyssey and that we might have to put up demand led bike racks.



We can look forward to this year with the knowledge that we have planned a full calendar of events for all tastes and ages that I am quite sure will be of considerable interest to all those that visit and take part. It is such fun to have events that involve active participation (especially children) because they provoke dialogue and questioning which often leads to other things. The times I hear people say, about their own town “I didn't know that” or most frequently “ I never knew you had that” are too many to count. This tells us that we need to do more to inform people of what we have in our wonderful collections and how the history we look after has impact and relevance today.




During the course of last summer we implemented an admission charge for visitors to the Museum. This was done with a huge degree of reluctance but was a necessary step to reduce our annual funding shortfall for our running costs. I do not believe the charge at £5.00 for a 12 month period is at all excessive and nor has it put people off from coming to see us. Research we have carried out shows that the vast majority of museums charge for entry and that our very modest amount is far below what others charge. The battle to raise money to keep going never ends and we are grateful for all the help we get. Of the four levels of local government that operate in our area only the lowest tier (Wisbech Town Council) supports us financially and much thanks for that. I do wonder why the fine words spoken to me by members and officers of the other three tiers do not translate into concrete support. Perhaps we are competing with funds allocated to the repair of potholes … but hang on a minute that cannot possibly be true. I believe that Wisbech Museum is the true custodian of the history of the town and area and one would have thought that a little more expenditure of public funds when the millions in the bigger picture are taken into account would not be amiss. We do so much for the local community, especially schools , that a relatively small amount from further up the tree is clearly justified.



Throughout the year the work of the Friends of Wisbech Museum carries on. The books authored and prepared by them and others are justifiably popular and well received. More are on the way and I am sure they will sell out so make sure you get your copies.

Do come and visit us. As I said in my last blog you will be stimulated and perhaps amazed at what has come the way of our small town museum.

I lose no opportunity to thank our talented staff and ever helpful and much needed volunteers for all they continue to do.

As for me – time to get the bike out.


Steve McGregor


Wisbech and Fenland Museum

March 2024

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