FRIENDS OF THE SWINDON MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Held on held on Thursday 9th November 2017 at Swindon Dance, Town Hall, Regent Circus, Swindon, SN1 1QF
Linda Kasmaty, Chair of the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery welcomed members to the AGM.
1. Apologies for absence: Nicky Alberry, Dick Millard, Sarah Troughton, Peter Troughton, Lindsay Pilbrow, Helen George, Nicholas Fogg, Nick Martin, Emma Yates, Mike Yates, Katie Ackrill, Kay Fisher, Simon Gale, Jane Milner-Barry.
2. Approval of previous AGM minutes: the AGM held on 24th November 2016, previously circulated to all members were accepted as a true record. No matters arising. Proposed: Sophie Cummings. Seconded: Paul Gregory.
3. Approval of the Annual report 2016-17. Proposed: Ray Ward. Seconded: Martin Savage.
4. Approval of the Annual Accounts 2016-7 and membership fee change: it was put to the membership that the joint membership fee be ended and that the fee should be £10 per adult. A vote was taken and the proposition passed. The annual accounts were issued to the members at the meeting and accepted.
Proposed: Jane Caudwell. Seconded: Sally Taylor.
5. Appointment of scrutineers for the annual accounts 2017-2018.
It was proposed that we appoint Linda Kasmaty, Rosemary Savage. Observer: Tim Carroll.
Proposed: Sue Gray, seconded: Marion James
6. To elect Officers and Ordinary Members of the Committee:
Retiring members: Jane Milner-Barry. John Walsh.
This item to be carried over to early 2018
7. Reports on the year from committee members:
Linda Kasmaty introduced the main points:
· More people attending the Talks and the Trips.
· The Museum and Art Gallery opening hours is up from 16 to 35 hrs per week.
· The Friends membership now numbers 320, (120 in 2014).
Paul Gregory gave more details of the membership status:
· Membership revenue £2217 (up 155% from £1978 in 2016)
· Donations to FSMAG £1525 (up from £1250 in 2016)
· Grants to SMAG £3421 (up 120% from £2500 in 2016)
Paul explained the committee’s decision to reduce the bank account by extending grants for
· Purchase of ‘Witnessed’ by Sarah Purvey
· Conservation of ‘Night Sky’ by Jack Smith
· The filming of Christopher Le Brun in conversation with Sophie Cummings by Create Studios
· Conservation of ‘Girl with Fig Leaf’ by Lucian Freud
· Contribution to HLF Archaeological Project
· Purchase of a PA sound system
· Purchase of SAGE Charity accounting software for FSMAG
· The Museum’s new external signage: the design funded by FSMAG
Ray Ward on behalf of Katie Ackrill, reminded us of the talks:
· ‘Archaeological Reconstruction Drawings’ by Jennie Anderson
· ‘The Bishop Otter Collection’ by Professor Gill Clarke
· ‘Order From Chaos’ exhibition by Steph Vincent
· ‘Portrait Therapy’ by Susan Carr
· ‘An Uphill Struggle’ by Michael Sandle
· ‘The Blind Spot’ by Cathy Lomax
· ‘Journey So Far’ by Peter Waldron
Linda led us through the visits to:
· Madresfield, Hauser and Wirth, Watts Gallery and Chavenage House
Future talks and trips:
· Still to come: ‘Stonehenge and Avebury’, Janet Boulton ‘A Seeming Diversity’.
· 2018 : Under consideration: Magnums wine tasting, a talk by Kate Malone, Art and Sculpture at Urchfont, coach to London, William Morris in Walthamstow, Craft Centre in Farnham.
Martin Newman talked about Friends’ involvement including:
· Museum front garden hedge cutting and clearing of weeds, and the flower bed planting by Friends and local residents.
· FSMAG help towards the cost of the conservation of the Todd Herbarium.
· Osborne Samuel gallery’s kind offer of an exhibition in their Mayfair Gallery in January 2017 helped spread the word about our collection of modern art and ceramics. Some of the Friends’ committee attended the opening night.
· The new FSMAG website has information and bookings facilities, and more news on the blog.
· The ‘new museum’ model displayed at many venues throughout the summer and autumn which attracted a great deal of interest, approval and signatures towards the HLF bid.
Mike Bradley called for more volunteers, on or off the committee, to raise awareness of Swindon’s important collections with ideas for the future.
8. News from Curator Sophie Cummings
Sophie described the busy year of improvements with extended open hours, the programmes of 3 major exhibitions and several smaller displays which are changed three times a year.
Purchase of Eileen Cooper’s ‘Play Dead II’, Susan Carr’s ‘Paint Me This Way’, Conservation of paintings, Stef Vincent’s successful HLF bid of £60,000 for archaeology, Battersea Arts celebration outside the Museum, the loan of the Vanessa Bell art to Dulwich and Pompidou galleries and the fact that the mummified hand caught the attention of the press
Funding application is in place for:
The Herbarium – 9,000 pressed plants from 1920 – 1930s, restoration and digitisation
The Archaeological dept. to be revamped in 2018, Exhibition of WW1 art and Wiltshire Yeomanry
Future projects include:
Winslow Collection of musical instruments and more work on Instagram and Twitter.
Sophie thanked the FSMAG committee for their support.
9. Updates from Rod Hebden: Director and Chief Executive of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust
Rod showed slides of the ‘Back the Bid’ events from May with the model and postcard signings around the area. His task was to address the 2014 Bid concerns leading to the plans for this application to include: Audience development eg: families and schools Wider issues of mental health, physical disabilities, socio economically disadvantaged young people, refugees, asylum seekers. Consider partnerships with TWIGS for the new museum’s roof garden and the café. Swindon needs a ‘Statement building’ and the ‘fly through’ images produced by the architects MAKE, visualised the building entrance, ground floor social hub, galleries and exhibition spaces, conservation area and work room for volunteers.
Q and A: Rod Hebden took questions from the hall:
Is there a name for the new building? Not yet, currently known as the new Swindon M and AG.
Why has the site moved? The new preferred position for the Bid is on the same plot but nearer the main road
Will this involve more ventilation? Not yet addressed.
Will this new position reduce the visual impact from the road? The view from Fleming Way will not be obscured.
What energy efficient technology will be used eg: geothermal, solar, ground source and roof heat pumps? HLF require details on projected energy use and demands. The options are not yet known.
What plans for Apsley House? The house will be retained by SBC and used for community purposes.
Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery 25th Annual Report
As we celebrate twenty five years of existence, it would have been glorious if we could also have won the Heritage Lottery Fund bid for £12.5 million to build an iconic new Museum and Art Gallery in the centre of Swindon. However we were not successful in this Bid, and currently Swindon Borough Council are engaged in an Options Appraisal to decide how to proceed. They are well aware that the current facility at Apsley House falls far short of what is needed. In fact when the Friends were formed, our Patron, Desmond Morris, commented that we needed larger premises to accommodate the current collections better and allow us to show travelling exhibitions. It is instructive to visit other towns and see how they have housed their collections; visiting The Hepworth in Wakefield recently, I was very impressed by the beautifully designed building, situated on a meander of the river Calder. I hope that by this time next year, we are able to look forward to some definite plans for the future location of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. We are so perfectly situated to attract a plethora of visitors, and I am keen to remain positive about our future prospects.
You may have noticed on a recent visit to the museum that the flower beds at the front are looking very colourful, with penstemons, rudbeckias and asters making a fantastic show. The Friends in conjunction with the local residents’ association have taken on the management of the beds from the Parish Council. The flower bed to the left of the museum has been covered with shredded leaf litter and bark because it’s very difficult to grow anything around the stump of the old tree, although we did uncover a wall made out of fossil-laden stones in the area when weeding there.
We have once again had a fantastic programme of talks this year organised by Katie Ackrill, with big names like Kate Malone in June. Kate was an inspirational speaker and has very generously donated a plate to match our fabulous jug. I think those who came on our trip to London enjoyed it, and the trip to the Urchfont Manor Friends of the Garden Sculpture Trail was a great success. Photos and information about all events appears at www.friendsofsmag.blogspot.com and the talk with most page views has been Jon Ratcliffe’s talk on “Cellars, Towers and Tunnels”. Sadly, Katie has had to give up organising talks because her new job requires too much time out of Swindon. I would like to thank her for the wonderful job she has done. Recently Carol Lamble, a member of the Friends, has agreed to take on the role of talks and trips organiser, for which I’m very grateful.
We have donated almost £5,000 to the museum this year, contributing to purchases, sponsoring exhibitions, conservation and the refurbishment of the Archaeology Gallery. We were partly able to do this by reducing our capital, but in future would like to increase our fundraising to enable us to contribute more. Looking at printing and postage costs, we have also decided that we need to raise the cost of membership to £15 for everyone from now on. Many of us have enjoyed volunteering on the front desk and with children’s summer workshops. More volunteers are often needed, so please email me for details of what is involved.
There have been some wonderful themed exhibitions this year, with three main exhibitions a year, and more in the small gallery, with regular changes made by Curator Sophie Cummings. Details of exhibitions, activities and the free lunchtime talks are given on the museum’s website: www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk . I would like to specially thank Nicki Western for her feedback from meetings, setting up talks and the website, to Tracy White for setting up talks, website help and general support, and to Stef Vincent for her amazing knowledge and enthusiasm for archaeology, conservation and storage.
There is going to be a huge gap left in our committee by the departure of Ray Ward after at least 20 years on the committee. For all the time I have been involved, Ray has been the mainstay of the organisation, and I’d like to thank him on behalf of everyone for the huge commitment he has made over the years. A bit like buses, we are also saying a massive thank you to Paul Ricketts who kept everything going for years, but has lately been less able to be involved. The committee is very sorry to bid him farewell. We welcome new committee members, so please do let me know if you are able to be involved, particularly in compiling the journal and updating the website. All our activities do appear on the website www.friendsofsmag.org but it needs new life breathing into it.
Before I wind up I should just mention a few concerns and some things I’d like to see improved. The opening hours at the museum were reduced when we lost the bid. I think this was regrettable and sent out the wrong message. The opening hours are currently 11am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. The lack of Sunday opening misses a huge prospective audience, and we are looking to apply for funds to enable this happen. Visitors often remark on the lack of signage advertising the existence of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, particularly from the station, and we have suggested a range of ways to overcome this shortcoming.
Finally, I’d like to say how grateful the Committee is to the large number of supportive Friends we have in the organisation and I’d like to end by thanking you all for your ongoing support for the Museum and Art Gallery, especially as the going gets tough.
Linda Kasmaty (Chair) 22.10.2018
Executive Committee Nominations 2018/19
Nominations for Election made prior to the AGM,
CHAIR LINDA KASMATY FOR 2 YEARS
TREASURER PAUL GREGORY FOR 2 YEARS
VICE CHAIR MIKE BRADLEY FOR 2 YEARS
KATIE ACKRILL FOR 1 YEAR
RACHEL VOYCE FOR 1 YEAR
KATHY GEDDES FOR 1 YEAR
MARTIN NEWMAN FOR 1 YEAR
IAN WILKINS FOR 1 YEAR
RACHEL VOYCE FOR 1YEAR
ERIK BURNETT-GODFREE FOR 1 YEAR
In accordance with custom, the above persons are deemed elected subject to confirmation by the meeting, unless further nominations are made from the floor of the meeting. In that case members will vote for individual members. The post of Secretary will come up for election for two years at the 2019 AGM.