The aim of the Creative Wiltshire project was to collect and celebrate the work of Wiltshire’s creative community.
In partnership with Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre intended to widen its collection as well as ensure that local creativity was better represented. The project was seen as an opportunity to engage local museums with the intention of building upon their collections policies.
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre preserves and houses historical records reflecting the communities of Wiltshire and Swindon. The History Centre frequently partners with its neighbouring Swindon Museum & Art Gallery as well as other local studies and archive libraries.
The full list of participating organisations:
- Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury
- Bradford on Avon Museum
- Chippenham Heritage Museum
- Market Lavington Museum
- Pewsey Heritage Centre
- Salisbury Museum
- Swindon Central Library, Local Studies collection
- Swindon Museum & Art Gallery
- Trowbridge Museum
- Young Gallery, Salisbury
- Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre
- Wiltshire Conservation and Museum Advisory Service, Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre received £178,000 from The Heritage Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme. The project was intended to help the organisations promote and champion local creative talent and to collect and preserve as much material as possible for future generations. It was also used to create more strategic and confident collecting methods.
There were many successes from the Creative Wiltshire project. For example:
- Between the ten participating organisations, 286 objects were acquired.
- A variety of activities and events increased access to, knowledge of, and participation in, the heritage.
- The funding helped develop a cohesive strategic collection policy for creative collections across the heritage sector in Wiltshire and Swindon.
- Staff and volunteers received training and developed skills in areas such as collecting, conservation and interpretation.
- An acquisitions panel was formed and became an effective way of ensuring all elements of the heritage sector, (libraries, museums and archives), were represented and had a say in shaping the project.
- Investments were made to improve acquisition negotiations.
Donations as well as long-term loans added greatly to the success of the project.
Meeting our outcomes
Perhaps the most important outcome of the Creative Wiltshire project was its collaborative efforts with new and unknown creators. Many new artists in the surrounding communities were identified.
More than 47,000 participants gained knowledge of heritage as a direct result of the range of activities and events that the Creative Wiltshire project offered.
The Heritage Fund grant afforded the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre the chance to successfully grow their collection and increase their resilience as an organisation through the partnerships made and the policies enacted.
As a result of the project, a creators database containing nearly 1,000 entries was established to identify, categorise and track potential acquisitions. The database will continue to act as a strong asset for all future projects and activities.
Creativity is now embedded into the History Centre's policies, while Chippenham Museum, for example is regularly holding creative exhibitions.
Find out more on the Creative Wiltshire website.