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Saturday 5 November 2022

Friends 29th AGM on 26 October 2022

 It was wonderful to hold an in-person AGM after the last two years on Zoom. We have become used to virtual and hybrid meetings while convenient, they don't have the excitement and interest which can be generated in a room by people sitting together. We were very fortunate to be able to hold the meeting at Artsite in Theatre Square in the former Post Office which has been converted into a main gallery and meeting space and artists' studios. The exhibition of works on display was by Carmen B Norris. There was a very good turnout, approximately 30 Friends and the committee members, all keen to know where we are in the journey towards reopening Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

We approved the report I'd written on the year and approved the minutes of the 2021 AGM, both of which can be found on one of the pages on the blog. We approved the accounts and thanked Brigid Harkness for keeping track of incomings and outgoings, and also thanked Rosemary Savage for reminding people to renew their Friends' membership and writing minutes of meetings. We also thanked vice chair, Barbara Swann for her wonderful monthly newsletters, sent out to all Friends via email each month and available on the website. David Hughes, committee member kindly put together a Power Point Presentation summarising the year. 

After that, Councillor Matty Courtliff, Cabinet Member for culture, heritage, leisure and town centre experience talked about the conversion of the first floor of the Civic Offices into Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, which he anticipates will open in spring 2023. He is very positive about the new location, there will be 40% more space at the new venue than the previous one, with plans to encourage school children to visit, there's also room for a library and research area, as well as 3 art galleries and a large museum space. There was a good response to the new plans, and quite a few questions which I'll collate and publish under FAQs in another post. I've included three photos of the AGM, as I walked from the back of the room to the front.

It just remains for me to thank everyone for coming, and those who continue to support the idea of a museum and art gallery in Swindon. Our four AGM thoughts were:
  • It's great to meet in person
  • We're looking forward to 2023
  • Great news the Civic Offices will be opening as SM&AG
  • Looking forward to celebrating our Pearl Anniversary in 2023

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Public Engagement Event 19 October to Share Plans

 The public engagement event held at the Civic Offices on the 19th of October, advertised in the previous post, was very well attended, so much so that it was moved into the Council Chamber where the Power Point presentation could be seen with great clarity. The slides can be seen here, and also below. Frances Yeo, Museums Manager gave the presentation and answered questions afterwards. She was joined by Cllr Matty Courtliff, and Claire Andrews. There was a BBC news article covering the evening, and an Adver article with more quotes from Frances Yeo, and an update on the Gharial which won't be ready in time for the opening. And yet another article saying much the same thing.

I think it's fair to say there was a real buzz that evening around the plans to house the museum and art gallery in the Civic Offices, it's a wonderful building, and will offer much more space for the art and museum collections, as well as storage on site. Frances Yeo gave a very professional presentation and took on board comments made by those attending.

Here are the slides:

In order to see this slide properly, you will need to see the original slide by clicking on the first link above

It's wonderful to think that schools will be able to visit, there will be room for research and a library.