What are the aims and objectives of the Museums + Heritage Show?
Our aim is to provide professionals in this sector with practical advice, help and support and to do it all for free! We are the UK’s largest sector event and we are completely free of charge and are committed to remaining so for the long-term future. We aim to provide this sector with a melting pot of ideas, inspiration and practical advice enabling our visitors to arrive with questions and to leave with answers. For two days of the year the Show opens its doors to everyone working in this sector, inviting them to come along and tap into the wealth of knowledge of more than 160 exhibitors and more than 90 expert speakers.
What are the things that make the show unique?
Apart from being completely free? I think it’s probably that we don’t focus on the policy led side of things. There are other organisations and events that do that, and do it well, but our ultimate goal is to ensure that each and every visitor to the show goes away with ideas and practical solutions that they can put into practice in their own organisations the very next day! Someone once used the term, when talking about our Show, that they come along to ‘steal with glee’ – we couldn’t have put it better ourselves! This sector is such an open and supportive one that our speakers willingly give up their time for free and talk about their projects openly and honestly – if they fell into pitfalls during the execution of a new exhibition they will share that so that others can avoid it. If they recently tried out a new marketing campaign which hasn’t really worked for them then they’ll share that too. Equally they love to share their success stories, not only that but to share the reasons why it was a success and what their next actions are.
We’ve also expanded our Ask The Expert zone, which now includes 12 key sector organisations including AIM, ICOM UK, Kids in Museums, AHI, Giving to Heritage and GEM. This area provides a kind of ‘one stop shop’ for anyone seeking friendly impartial advice and has become an increasingly popular part of the show
Who is the M+H Show designed for and who will benefit from attending?
This is something that we struggle to fit into a single snapshot because our relevance is so broad, we are equally relevant to a curator of a museum such as The British Museum as we are to a front of house manager at a heritage visitor attraction such as ss Great Britain and everyone else in between. The Show is themed to enable visitors to plan their time across the two days and we cover all areas of running a heritage site, from volunteer management through to exhibition design. We also attract an ever growing international audience which just shows the importance of our Show in the world of culture.
What new elements have been introduced to the 2017 show?
For the first time, we’ve introduced a series of talks to our programme that focus on the management and recruitment of volunteers. We realise that the typical volunteer demographic is changing and so these sessions will be taking a close look at how museums can take advantage of that. We’ve also expanded our Ask The Expert zone, which now includes 12 key sector organisations including AIM, ICOM UK, Kids in Museums, AHI, Giving to Heritage and GEM. This area provides a kind of ‘one stop shop’ for anyone seeking friendly impartial advice and has become an increasingly popular part of the show. We work hard to ensure the content of our programme is both relevant and useful. Likewise, our exhibitors will all be there showcasing the very latest technology, services and solutions.
How would you describe your role and its challenges?
My role is varied and as such I am rarely doing the same thing for two days in a row. My main responsibility is putting together a top notch programme of more than 50 talks which truly reflects the diverse nature of our sector and it has to be said it is always a bit of a juggling act trying to get it all in place! In addition, I’m always on the lookout for new partners that we can work with and we are proud to collaborate with the majority of the sector’s key associations. Organisations such as Collections Trust, Arts Council England, Association of Independent Museums and many more. All of these organisations provide our visitors with personalised expert advice so they can go away and make their organisations more prosperous, more kid friendly or more sustainable. In addition, I manage the marketing of the Show so you can usually find me buried in my laptop coming up with new ways to tell the sector about our Show or persuading the team to work with me on a new idea for a gif. I genuinely believe that our Show is a real must for anyone working in this sector and as a free event I think you have to ask yourself, why wouldn’t you?