Chesham museum business plan

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  1. Summary

Chesham Museum is planning to move to an historic Listed Building at 15 Market Square. The premises offer exciting opportunities to develop the museum’s community and educational activities as well as providing a permanent home for the museum’s local history collections.

This document sets out a business plan for the project which includes:

    • the proposed phasing of the project

    • a brief history of the museum from its start in 2003 and the achievements of the trustees

    • the museum’s current situation in stables in Bellingdon Road

    • a description of the proposed premises in Market Square

    • the cases for a museum with the emphasis on ‘community’

    • brief details of the terms of the lease

    • proposed opening hours and project of visitor numbers for the first 3 years

    • proposals for future development including becoming a community hub providing tourist information

    • details of proposed staffing and volunteer roles

    • financial information and projections for the first 3 years

    • fundraising plans

    • milestones

    • marketing plan

    • proposals for monitoring and evaluation including proposed performance indicators and financial monitoring

    • results of an analysis of the museums perceived strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.

  1. Introduction

The Trustees of Chesham Museum – The Stables plan to move into 15 Market Square by February 2009. The Museum Trustees will lease the premises, which have been used most recently as a book shop. The premises are on the ground floor and will comprise four areas – reception/retail/tourist information, exhibition area, multipurpose area and museum storage/office. The public areas and the storage area will be fitted out in two phases.

Phase 1

The existing museum cabinets and display panels will be moved in and a new display ‘Pastimes and Pleasure in Chesham’ will be mounted.

Fit out of the shop area using shelves and fittings purchased from the landlords

The storage area and office space will be fitted out at minimum cost.

It is hoped that sponsorship in kind will allow the fit out of the multipurpose area in phase one, if not this will take place in phase two.
Phase 2 (in year 3 following a HLF bid)

Redesign of the public spaces with new cabinets and display panels

Purchase of metal cabinets and racking for the storage area.

Fit out of the multipurpose area if this was not included in phase one.

3. History
Chesham Museum – The Stables opened in August 2004 in the Stables behind the Gamekeepers Lodge in Bellingdon Road, Chesham. The museum is a Registered Charity No: 1107115. The constitution states that the objects are “to establish and maintain a museum for the benefit of the public and to advance education by the establishment and maintenance of a museum”.
Our achievements include:

  • permanent exhibition

  • displays changing approximately every 6 months

  • exhibitions in other locations

  • craft demonstrations

  • family events

  • oral history project

  • active research group

  • links with other organisations; schools, library, other museums

  • talks & guided walks

4. Current Situation
Our current premises in Bellingdon Road are 26.22 square metres/282 square feet. The space is small, not much bigger than your average garage. This limits what we can do, what activities we can hold, how much we can store and how we can look after the objects and photographs in our care. We are already at capacity for displaying objects. We cannot store any more in the museum. We have a little extra storage space but that is also nearly full. The location at the back of the Gamekeepers Lodge is out of the way, although we do have a signpost from St Mary’s Way there is no sign for pedestrians from the town centre and many people who regularly use the town do not know that Chesham has a museum. We currently have sufficient resources to open 3 afternoons a week.
Statistics relating to our current situation show that

  • about 70% of the objects in our Social History Collection are on display in the museum or on our website.

  • about 90% of the Photograph Collection has been on show in displays, on a rolling slide show in the museum or on our web site.

  • 100% of our oral history interviews are currently on our website

We need a more accessible location

  • close to local transport

  • close to parking

  • open at least 5 days a week

  • able to promote a sense of being at the centre of the community

  • and highly visible

5. Proposed Relocation

The premises of Chapter One bookshop at number 15 Market Square, Chesham have become available and we are appealing for funds to enable us to relocate to these premises.

We feel that the presence of a community museum* in the town will stimulate interest among the townspeople and encourage visitors from outside the town to come and join in a planned programme of educational and cultural activities, as well as providing a permanent focus for Chesham's heritage.

The trustees of the museum and the owners of number 15 are keen for the museum to be relocated there - it is an historic listed building and has space for a variety of community and commercial based activities as well as more display and storage space than we have at present. It is well suited to our purposes.

The premises for the proposed museum will provide the following physical space

  • Exhibition space for permanent displays of objects and photographs accompanied by audio and video oral history interviews and interactive displays

  • Temporary exhibition space for changing displays, new acquisitions and for community groups to use for their own projects or collections. This would be a space that other groups in the town could use to demonstrate their own place in the community or just to have fun with creating their own exhibition.

  • Multipurpose area for schools groups, object handling sessions, reminiscence sessions, family activity days, seminars, talks and hiring out to other small groups

  • Viewing space for a short introductory film – to orientate the visitor by explaining Chesham’s geological and geographical environment and providing a brief summary of the town’s early history.

*A community museum:

  • collects objects and photographs of local interest and keep them safe for future generations

  • displays the objects and photographs in its collections to help tell the stories of the people who used them

  • encourages a sense of identity by helping individuals understand the past and present of the community in which they live

  • works in partnership with libraries, archives, schools and other local agencies to make services relevant and accessible to the community

reflects the interests, life experiences and culture of the whole community
6. Lease

Period: 10 years

Commercial Rent: on a sliding scale - £15,900 in the first year to £17,490 in year 10

Terms: full repairing and insuring


We propose to increase our opening hours to Tuesday – Friday and Sunday from 2.00 – 4.30pm

Anticipated visitor numbers are:
Year 1 2,500 Year 2 2,000 Year 3 2,200

In the medium term, once established in the new premises, the museum will work towards becoming a “community hub” providing access to information for tourism, schools, local and family history researchers and community leaders

Income streams will be developed from admission charge, the sale of literature, gifts and publications, hire of space, guided walks and talks, family activity days
The museum is a Registered Charity No: 1107115 and an Unincorporated Association. Consideration will be given to forming either a Company Limited by Guarantee or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Registration as a CIO is not currently available pending new legislation

The proposed management structure is based on the existing board of trustees with additional roles.

The current board consists of a maximum of 10 members, who between them fulfil following roles President, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Curator, Press Officer. Additional roles proposed (with no change to the number of board members) are Programmes Officer and a Visitor Services Officer (see Appendix 1 for details of responsibilities and individual CVs).

Initially there will be no paid staff but we do have future plans for a paid part time Curator/Administrator and/or Education Officer in Year 4/5.


A pool of about 24 Volunteers will be needed to provide a minimum of 2 on duty at the museum at any one time and with backups as necessary.

Roles – stewarding / cataloguing / administration / research/ facilities management/ fund raising
Recruitment – advertising at local volunteers bureau / website / museum friends/ local papers/ web recruitment agencies/ posters/ flyers
Training – Voluntary Action/ Museum Library and Archive Council/ on the job training/ networking

See Appendix 2 – Income & Expenditure Year 1 – 3
See Appendix 3 – Cash Flow Year 1
We propose to raise funds from the following income streams:

  • admission charge

  • annual friends subscriptions

  • annual corporate friends subscriptions

  • donations

  • commercial activities

  • corporate sponsorship

  • fund raising events

  • grants & trust funds

Admission Charge

£2 per person, under 10s free. School groups free. To be reviewed annually.

Annual Friends Subscriptions

Friend £12.50, £10.00 senior citizen, will receive the annual newsletter.

Superfriend £60.00 - free admission, will receive the annual newsletter and a discount on talks and guided walks.

Corporate £250 - free admission, will receive the annual newsletter and a discount on our talks and guided walks for your staff members.

All subscriptions and charges to be reviewed annually.
Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities

  • £25 logo on for 1 year

  • £50 logo and link on for 1 year and logo in 1 issue of the museum Friends newsletter

  • £100 all of the above and name on a prominently displayed list of sponsors inside the museum

  • £250 all of the above and Corporate Friend Membership for 1 year

  • £500 all of the above and a photo opportunity with a local paper and an invitation to the opening of the museum

  • £1000 all of the above and logo and link prominently displayed on the home page of for 1 year

  • £2500 all of the above and perform the opening of the museum with a well known personality and use of Museum FOC one day/evening each year


  • business plan approval by trustees – September 2008

  • reaching a percentage of our fund raising target – November 2008

  • completing the lease – December 2008

  • completing the fit out – February 2009

  • complete move of artefacts – February 2009

  • launch of community museum – March 2009

Chesham is the largest town in Chiltern District and has a population of over 20,000. It has a rich industrial and social history stretching back over more than 1000 years.
Our vision is to work towards becoming a “community hub” providing a quality heritage experience for visitors to the museum and access to information for tourism, schools, local and family history researchers and community leaders.
Marketing issues to be addressed are:

  • Fundraising

  • Visitor numbers

  • Visitor experience

  • Volunteer support

  • Brand promotion

  • Sustainability

see Appendix 4 for a detailed Marketing Plan.

Performance Indicators

Measurement of the museum’s performance will be made using the following performance indicators (see Appendix 5 for details of measurement)

The collated figures will be presented to the Trustees annually and will be used by the Programmes Officer to forecast future demand and trends. Provision for visitors and school visits will be made accordingly, for example by increasing the number of family activity days, by adding new features to the website, or by putting more resources into marketing and publicity.
1. Number of visits to the museum (excluding virtual visitors)

2. Number of unique website visits

Audience Profile
3. Number of visits by children under 16

4. Number of visits by UK adult visitors aged 16 and over

5. Number of visits by UK adult visitors aged 16 and over who consider themselves to have a limiting long-term illness, disability or infirmity

6. Number of overseas visitors

7. Children

  • Number of facilitated and self-directed visits to the museum by children under 16 in formal education

  • Number of instances of children under 16 participating in on-site organised activities

  • Number of instances of children under 16 participating in outreach activity outside the museum

8. Adults

  • Number of instances of adults aged 16 and over participating in organised activities at the museum

  • Number of instances of adults aged 16 and over participating in outreach activities outside the museum

Visitor Satisfaction

9. % of visitors who would recommend a visit
Financial monitoring procedures

Management accounts will be produced quarterly.

Annual accounts will be independently examined.

See Appendix 6.

Produced 07 August 2008. Revised 19 Sept 2008 (SG)

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