A FAMILIAR face has taken the helm of Uttoxeter’s historic museum as a new project aims to improve the experience for visitors.
Laura Wigg-Bailey (pictured) beat off stiff competition from four other candidates to be named as the new freelance project manager of Redfern’s Cottage: Museum of Uttoxeter Life, after offering her services to the Carter Street site as curator for the last three years.
The team said Mrs Wigg-Bailey was finally appointed due to her knowledge of the project and the museum as well as her ‘evident passion’ which was demonstrated by her giving her time for free during the past three years and hard work on preparing the phase one bid submitted in June last year.
She told the Post and Times: “I was so pleased to be appointed as it has been a huge part of my life for years and I have a strong vision for the future of the museum.”
The museum is currently undergoing a facelift after The Uttoxeter Heritage Trust, the charity which runs Redfern’s Cottage, received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the complete re-development of the museum back in October 2013.
Development funding of £40,000 has been awarded to help staff at Redfern’s Cottage progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £514,600 at a later date.
The project aims to transform the museum experience and create a ‘wonderful visitor and educational attraction’ in Uttoxeter.
It will also improve physical access, conserve special parts of the building and provide ideal storage facilities for the unique collection of artefacts, archives and photographs held at the museum.
The first stage of the project has already been completed with the successful recruitment of Mrs Wigg-Bailey to support the trustees with the whole process.
Work has kicked off with the start of the New Year and the first part of her job will be to talk to as many people from Uttoxeter as possible about what they think the museum should be doing to improve what it offers.
In order to do this Mrs Wigg-Bailey said she would like to appeal to anyone who would like to get involved in the project to get in touch as they are looking for volunteers to carry out surveys with members of the public and take part in focus-group sessions.
She said: “It’s of paramount importance to us and to the Heritage Lottery Fund that we are listening to the voices of our visitors and people who might be our visitors of the future.”
Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to call Mrs Wigg-Bailey on 01889 567176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org