Project Blog

BEAMINSTER MUSEUM EXPANSION PROJECT BLOG

1.10.2020      Third report in:The digger has gone, the site levelled and blinded with a weak concrete mix, all shuttered up, ready for the pumping in of the concrete; the annexe is now without a back wall or chimney; the kitchen is increased in size by the removal of the chimney, and the kitchen and toilet now have a cosy look with their lower ceilings, giving the museum a large area for storage above them; the annexe walls have been extended, ready for the glazed link between the old and new building; the electrical installation has now been detailed, with us working with a local electrician to get the power into the building when O’Briens have finished; we are about to send out our joinery work (a short staircase, balustrade and door) to tender.

16.9.2020      Second report in: the stone walls of the annexe are being built up to make the first floor of the building; more then half of the 100 tons of spoil have been removed from the site by wheelbarrow and it will soon be time to lay the concrete foundations; wall agreements have been successfully completed, and  the contract signed; the site has had its first visit from the building inspector; there is no need for underpinning of the garden wall, but we have found the annexe roof contained many asbestos tiles which required expensive specialist removal.

1.9.2020         First report in: wall in former Education Room demolished; annexe roof demolished; kitchen/toilet ceiling removed; surface stone in yard mostly removed; excavation begun. In a change of plan, kitchen chimney breast behind sink to be demolished and wall rebuilt – mainly for weightbearing reasons, but will also expand kitchen slightly (and require reconstruction of sink cabinet).  

28.8.2020      Bank Holiday rush is met with Beaminster’s unofficial traffic calming measures: a pick-up truck parked outside the emergency doors and a plank across the pavement for rubble-bearing wheelbarrows.

19.8.2020      Construction work begins in earnest.

17.8.2020      Builders arrive, block the entrance with their signboard and promptly disappear again.

7.8.2020         Preliminary meeting with builders is held on site.

31.7.2020      Preparation of the building in terms of clearance and protection is completed on schedule.

28.7.2020      Our own volunteer builders start work in earnest to ensure that the contractors (who won’t be looking after the electrical aspect) have minimal opportunity to damage our existing supply within the building. Their initial drilling into concrete causes an unforeseen dust storm and triggers the smoke alarm, just to remind us what we can expect when the contractors arrive!

18.7.2020      It is agreed that the builders will start work on August 17, a month earlier than the previous schedule – this is an indirect result of the earlier decision not to open to the public at all in 2020.

12.7.2020      One of our number, actively involved in the protection work, tests positive for Covid-19. All contacts are identified and informed. A second test is negative, so nobody has to self-isolate after all.

3.7.2020         The chairman’s attempt to free up storage space by disposing of our rationalised mannequins flounders when (a) his car full of naked ladies breaks down while illegally parked outside the museum, and (b) he’s turned away from the tip. Black comedy!

1.7.2020         Preparation plans are thrown into some disarray by the discovery of a moth infestation in the Agriculture section. Steps will be taken to eradicate as swiftly as possible.

28.6.2020      Plan B regarding preparation for the construction phase is released in its first draft.

17.6.2020      The sheds in the yard have now been emptied and dismantled. The storage dilemma has officially begun!

16.6.2020      A reply is received at last to our query seeking best advice for artefact protection.

13.6.2020      Volunteers are requested to confirm  their availability for socially distanced work in the museum to prepare for the construction phase.

12.6.2020      The momentous decision is taken not to re-open the museum in 2020. The main reason is Covid-19, but there are clear implications for the Expansion Project, the least the definitive realisation that the memory café and school holiday pilots will have to be deferred until after the construction phase.

3.6.2020        The SHG plan is further refined, despite there still being no indication that we’ll be able to host the activity days this summer because of Covid-19 restrictions.

27.5.2020      The LGOG plan for maintaining necessary operations and offering fundraising events through the winter is completed.

24.5.2020      The plan for improving our oral history collection and its accessibility is agreed.

23.5.2020      Draft SHG & LGOG project plans are issued for review and completion.

22.5.2020      A productive Zoom meeting is held by SCG with Matthew, their technology advisor. There are plans to use the Expansion Project as a springboard for further exciting initiatives.

17.5.2020      The museum receives a donation from a funeral collection specifically towards the ‘Memory Café’.

14.5.2020      After much soul-searching it is resolved that we cannot be ready for an earlier-than-planned start by the builders without breaching government guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing.

7.5.2020        Dilemma! Out of the blue, the builders offer to start work on 15.6, less than six weeks from now. Some say go for it; some say that the preparation work is impossible during ‘lockdown’.

6.5.2020        The assumptions list is returned to CPG, demonstrating that some assumptions were mistaken. So it was clearly a useful exercise.

3.5.2020        FCG is completed with the addition of two further members.

2.5.2020        The eighth activity group leader is agreed. One to go!

30.4.2020      Volunteers are asked to join MSG.

29.4.2020      An assumptions list is completed by CPG to be checked by PSG. This is designed to give CPG a better idea of what needs to be protected and what space will be available for storage.

26.4.2020      SCG create a high-level plan for their remit, including enhcancing our Oral History offering.

24.4.2020      A reply from the local Dementia Champions seems to indicate we have a basis for creating the memory café, even though there are issues to resolve on both sides. Advice is sought from our museum mentor regarding artefact protection.

23.4.2020      Volunteers are asked to join the LGOG and ITG.

20.4.2020      A seventh activity group leader is agreed. Two to go!

16.4.2020      An exploratory letter is sent to the local Dementia Champions, suggesting a partnership to run the memory café pilot.

14.4.2020      Recruitment to the CPG is completed. An ‘initial thoughts’ document, including a draft set of assumptions is sent out to members for information.

7.4.2020        We’re informed by the builders that there’s no reason to assume that the construction phase will be delayed by the backlog resulting from the coronavirus crisis.

6.4.2020        Alec is announced as Contract Administrator. He will work with the Project Steering Group and PCRM to focus on the success of the first construction phase.

4.4.2020        … and a sixth leader is identified. Three to go!

2.4.2020        A fifth activity group leader position is filled. Four to go!

1.4.2020        Our press release starts to show up in local publications. The first appearance is in the coronavirus-enforced electronic version of the Marshwood Vale magazine.

31.3.2020      We commence recruiting for the Collections Protection Group (CPG), whose job it will be to ensure maximum protection with minimum disruption when the builders move in. There are, naturally enough, different views as to the extent of, and best approach to, the task.

26.3.2020      Four of the activity group leader positions are filled. The vacant positions are re-advertised for a further week.

25.3.2020      We hear that the first (50%) instalment of our funding is on the way. There are no immediate bills to pay, but it means we can press on with confidence.

23.3.2020      HMG’s latest pronouncements regarding coronavirus undoubtedly make life even more difficult. Advice regarding self-isolation and social distancing is totally at odds with the spirit of volunteer engagement in the project.

19.3.2020      We’ve advertised for activity group leaders in the weekly volunteers’ newletter. Much of any early work required will clearly have to be done without physically meeting.

17.3.2020      Two mad, mad days as the coronavirus crisis deepens. We’ve gradually had all our events for the first half of the summer cancelled, have announced that the season’s opening will be delayed until June 20 at the earliest, and have decided to suspend volunteer mornings. By adhering to government advice as we interpret it, this puts in serious doubt some of the plans we had for delivering the Approved Purposes for which the NLHF grant was awarded. Our funders have been made aware of the general issue, but we need to come up with revised timescale proposals as soon as we can.

15.3.2020      We’ve been hit amidships by the latest coronavirus developments. If, as seems likely, the over-70s are going to be asked to stay at home for a long period of time, then our volunteer resources will be decimated. But we don’t know the details yet.

14.3.2020      The Project Plan is launched to cover all aspects of the months ahead. It divides the bulk of the effort required between nine activity groups, each with a specific focus. The first task is for the PSG (Project Steering Group) is to appoint a leader for each activity group.

13.3.2020      Friday the thirteenth, and we’re off! We learn we have ‘permission to start’ and can begin the project in earnest. Bid has notified the local press accordingly.

CG (Courses Group)

CPG (Collection Protection Group)

FCG (Festival / Community Group)

ITG (IT Group)

LGOG (Life Goes On Group)

MCG (Memory Café Group)

SCG (Support Collection Group)

SHG (School Holidays Group)