Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is a local museum and art gallery. It holds the collections and stories of the Peak District.

Man making a clay pot in a workshop

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Derbyshire County Council.

The challenge.

In recent years the very small team at Buxton Museum has attracted over £1.5 million in funding for capital works to reimagine a much-loved but tired gallery and engagement programmes. This investment led to great change.

Our role.

Initially Innovate Educate Ltd won the tender to evaluate Collections in the Landscape, a NLHF project. We also worked with local schools to develop a learning programme. We were invited back to evaluate Collection of Artists. More recently we evaluated celebrations for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s 125th anniversary, BM125, and Hoards: A Hidden History of Ancient Britain. The British Museum selected Buxton Museum as the only museum in the North to display this important touring exhibition.

Skillset.

Evaluation of National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England funded projects using a Story of Change model and Arts Council, England Quality Principles. Public consultation, interviews, creative consultation, focus groups, walking alongside, symposia.

What we delivered.

We’ve worked with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery for a number of years and it’s always a joy. The relationship started with a tender to evaluate a large NLHF project which involved the refurbishment of a much-loved gallery and a digital element that would take the museum’s collection into the landscape. There was so much learning around both projects. The digital project changed from a fairly simple trail idea to a dynamic web app which generates trails and walks based on objects from the museum’s collection. The gallery now has the look and feel of a national gallery in a local setting.

  • We worked with the team to design the evaluation programme
  • We ran a workshop for all of the contractors and the museums team on evaluation as a force for good
  • We upskilled staff and local volunteers to help with data collection
  • We provided regular reports to share with the team.

The reports identified key challenges in the Story of Change. 

Outcomes.

The museum now has the look and feel of a national gallery. Some locals still miss the original Wonders of the Peak gallery but most now agree that the collection is more accessible and enhanced by better interpretation and display.

The project led to:

  • Great partnership working in the town, including sharing assets
  • Increased ambition and confidence in the team.