Whitchurch Silk Mill is celebrating its new status as an accredited museum.
Arts Council England and its partners in Scotland and Wales set nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK and define good practice, encouraging museums to be the best they can be for current and future visitors, and it’s fitting that the Silk Mill has gained accreditation at this point in its history, as raising standards is precisely what it’s successfully been doing for the last few years.What’s more, this success comes hot on the heels of multi-million-pound Heritage Lottery Funding which will pay for regeneration and development of the Mill’s beautiful Georgian buildings and Victorian machinery, and enable it to keep on growing and raising standards and be an even more popular attraction for local, national and international visitors.
The Mill has just a few paid employees and relies on its many invaluable volunteers and the wonderful Friends of Whitchurch Silk Mill for its success. All have worked incredibly hard for both the HLF funding and for this new accreditation.
Ongoing, tireless fund-raising showed the Heritage Lottery Fund we mean business, and we impressed Arts Council England with our archiving activities and plans for the future. Two of the main archiving jobs were to tie up the Mill’s silk sample book and production records to create an accurate historical record and to sort nearly 800 historical Mill photographs, categorising and recording details about each one and storing them in acid-free archive wallets.
The next step for the photos will be to create digital copies so they can be viewed online, and the newly organised silk sample records will allow easier recreation of some of the Mill’s most popular designs.
Christine Beresford, Chair of the Mill’s Trustees, said
‘It has been a long-held ambition for the Silk Mill to get Arts Council England museum accreditation, and it’s a remarkable achievement for a small mill in Whitchurch to join the likes of the V&A and the British Museum in this scheme.
We couldn’t have done it without the help of our many volunteers and we owe them a big debt of gratitude. The Silk Mill has played a large part in the history of Whitchurch for two hundred years, and many local families have historic connections.
It’s always our aim to involve the local community in the Mill’s activities, and our plans for regeneration and redevelopment will help the prosperity of the town and see it firmly placed on the map.’