Members considered the report of the Community Museum Manager, Cerian Gale. The report covered a much quieter period of the year for the museum as the site was closed during the months of December, January and February. In November the museum held the second of two Autumn Special Weekends – The Big Sleep. This event drew in over 70 people that weekend so did well for the time of year.
The final event of the season was the new Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Fair on the 2 December 2017. The Mill was dressed as a traditional Santa’s Grotto, and the Barn hosted a craft fair with stalls of locally produced arts and crafts products and a special Christmas themed trail and decoration making stall.The event was well attended for its first year with 169 visitors in the 4 hours the site was open and good feedback was received.
With re-opening in mind, the team manned a stall at the Community Showcase event at The Point in Eastleigh on 28 January 2018. The stall proved very popular and several potential new volunteers registered.
Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Conservation Engineer and his workshop volunteers had progressed well with plans for repairs to the mill. Several visits had been undertaken and parts designed in house. Works were ongoing.
The Arts Council England had contacted the Hampshire Cultural Trust with regards to the Accreditation applications for 14 of the venues, including Bursledon Windmill, which was submitted in August; the review process was progressing well and it was anticipated that Accreditation for all venues would be granted again.
In August, the Conservation Technician identified and prepared several agricultural implements from the stores for adding to the displays that were mounted, to add additional interest and items for visitors to enjoy. In addition the Petter engines which were running during Harvest Weekend had become part of the equipment on display in the barn. New LED lights had been fitted in the barn to improve the lighting and visitor experience. New bay trees would be planted in the spring in a new planter at the front of the barn.
As part of Horizon 20:20 arts intervention programme twenty students aged 11-16 at the Bridge Education Centre experienced six glass and two papier mache workshops with professional artists between November and January. The ICE Project – arts for positive mental health - Simon Says charity in Eastleigh, which supported bereaved young people, was working with Strong Island Media to make a film about grief. Around ten vulnerable young people aged 11 – 18 who had experienced the trauma of losing a close family member were taking part. This project would run for a further two years.
A new edition of What’s On featuring Bursledon Windmill, was delivered at the end of August. 12,500 copies were printed and circulated. The e-newsletter Museums Monthly, featuring exhibitions and events from Bursledon Windmill, had been sent out and subscribers had reached over 5800. There continued to be promotion on social media sites. Significantly, work was due to begin on a bespoke venue leaflet for Bursledon Windmill which would contain all the key details about the venue and could be used to promote it throughout the year. A new Bursledon Windmill logo would also be created.
Discussion in relation to the Report
Members asked if the visitor data could be passed to the members of the Local Area Committee.
In regards of the social media it was pointed out that Facebook pages for villages in the vicinity of the Bursledon Windmill could contain links to the page of the mill. Events could be promoted more effectively that way. Links to the local parish councils could also be established.
Members asked whether there was a definitive date by which the mill would be fully operational (able to mill). Cerian Gale advised that the works would continue and a further inspection needed to be completed to assess if any additional works would be needed. Volunteers would need training to ensure they could operate the mil and although it was difficult to stipulate when the mill would be operational, it was hoped that this would be in twelve months.
Members advised that they would like to provide an update on the progress of the works to their respective bodies/councils and asked if a site visit could be organised in order to inspect the ongoing mill restoration works. It was agreed that a visit could be arranged.
Members also wanted to know how the volunteer recruitment drive was progressing. Cerian Gale responded that apart from normal channels of gaining new volunteers, HCT made contact with Southampton University to gather interest amongst engineering students interested in volunteering at the mill. Members added that the local library would be a good point of contact for the public willing to volunteer.