Recovery Grant Case Study: Eyam museum

This project by Eyam Museum to develop their digital presence was funded by an MDEM and Art Fund Recovery Grant in 2020. This grant fund was made available in response to the pandemic. Read below to find out how the project went.

Project summary:          

Re-building Eyam Museum’s offer by developing its digital presence to capitalise on media interest, grow new audiences and enable proactive public engagement and new partnerships (£9,800).

How did the project go?

The project achieved its objectives. We launched a Twitter account in October, reaching almost 700 followers by the end of March. Our Facebook page has received 63% increase in followers and likes. We have launched a monthly programme of online talks, delivering five online events since November, with a total audience of approximately 500 attendees, raising £775 in donations. We have launched an online shop, which has enabled tie-ins across social media and the online talks, and now have an online donations facility, which we previously did not offer. The website has been refreshed with a new events page and incorporating the online shop.

What impact did the grant have?

The grant has enabled us to forge several new professional relationships within the sector and beyond, including notable ongoing partnerships with HOME Manchester, Dr Jenner’s House Museum and the University of Edinburgh Museums. We now have a platform from which to engage the media and public interest generated by the parallels between the Covid pandemic and the bubonic plague; for example, we were able to capitalise on a very popular Channel 5 documentary about the plague, using social media to promote our museum and the online shop, one tweet responding to the documentary’s findings gaining 173 likes and 30 retweets during the programme. Our online talks programme has provided an ongoing vehicle for simple joint initiatives between our museum and other organisations, facilitating new collaborations and strengthening the public impact of our sector.

Any challenges?

It was difficult to fit all our ambitions for the project within the timescale; the website refresh is still underway, and there has not been capacity to take advantage of all the opportunities created by social media engagement.

Particular high points?

‘Quarantines, vaccines and museums’: the joint online talk with Dr Jenner’s House Museum, facilitated by historian and podcaster Rebecca Rideal, had 224 participant screens, with attendees watching from all over the world.

Summary:

This project was mainly about creating capacity within the staff team to do something the museum had not done before. This has shown that a modest additional resource, targeted appropriately, can yield significant results far greater than imagined, with longer-term effect, and can provide a new energy to a well-established organisation.

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