Charity No. 1163034
The Friends of Weston-super-Mare Museum was formed in October 1999 and has been going strong ever since. We exist to promote and support the museum in many different ways.
When the committee first heard that the council wanted to close the museum we decided to mount a huge campaign to save it. Members wrote letters to councillors, local papers, and our M.P. We joined with other groups to hold meetings, marching to the Town Hall with banners and balloons and lobbying council meetings. We were delighted when Weston Town Council agreed to take over the running of the museum. Today, with the Heritage Lottery Fund grant making the refurbishment of the building possible we are looking forward to a new museum opening soon.
Over many years of fundraising, holding speaker meetings, raffles and sales of books and goods we have been able to donate money and buy many items for the museum. To enable the Friends to apply for grants the committee worked towards becoming a registered charity. This meant rewriting our constitution, electing trustees and applying to the Charity Commission. We were delighted in July 2015 when we received confirmation that we had been accepted as a registered charity. In December 2016 we were awarded a large grant to donate to the Museum Regeneration fund.
During the closure of the museum we have relocated our meetings to the Blakehay Theatre. We arrange speakers on topics of interest, especially those connected with other museums or on the history, archaeology or the wildlife of the area, these are open to everyone. During the summer months we arrange visits, walks and a garden party. We also run a monthly sewing and knitting group which has been active for eight years making items for the museum. So far we have bought, padded and covered 200 special costume hangers for our lovely vintage costume collection; sewed pieces for a new quilt for Clara’s Cottage; made nurses uniforms, operation gowns and red cross flags for the WW1 activities; copied vintage clothing for the handling boxes; and Iron Age tunics, trousers and cloaks for the museum outreach service to take to schools for history lessons. Many of our members also volunteer to help with museum activities and do research or practical work at the museum.
We currently have 87 members and would welcome new members. You can see us on Facebook: 'Friends of the Museum Weston-super-Mare' where you will find our current programme. Membership forms are available at all our meetings.
Written by Heather Morrisey, Chairman, Friends of Weston Museum