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Hampshire Solent Museums Open Forum: 'It was great to find out what was going on and meet lots of interesting people.'

There was a great turnout and a really friendly, sharing atmosphere at last week's Hampshire Solent Museums Open Forum. Nearly 20 museums sent representatives and we were also joined by funders and partner organisations including Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and the New Forest National Park Authority. The setting, by kind permission of Southampton City Council Arts and Heritage, was the stunning Westgate Hall, a 15th century merchants’ hall recently refurbished with HLF funding.

The event was hosted by the Hampshire Solent Museum Development Advisory Panel with the Museum Development Team. Panel Chair Paul Griffiths, from the Mary Rose Museum, provided an overview of the year's achievements, highlighting the museum's sector active role in tourism-led regeneration.

We found out what museums have achieved through taking part in this year's Museum Development projects Updates from ‘Digital Narratives,’ ‘Thriving Museum Boards’ and ‘Peer Development Groups'. Then representatives of our vibrant and dedicated Hampshire Solent museum networks gave updates on the fantastic range of seminars and initiatives that they have been leading.

An update from Hampshire Cultural Trust Chief Executive Janet Owen explained the new organisation and its role as the new host body for Museum Development in Hampshire Solent. This led into an overview of the programme for the next three years.

After a delicious lunch (showcasing the quality of the Tudor House and Garden's catering offer) optional afternoon sessions were: a funding briefing from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund; an information session for museums considering joining Cohort 2 of Catalyst: Inspiring Culture of Philanthropy: and a briefing on how to get the most our of your museum's participation in the SEMDP Annual Return.

The Museum Development team are hugely grateful to the Panel members, project participants and network members who contributed to the success of the day.

Materials from the day are being made available via the Resources area and some super peer support wants and offers will be added to the Help Hub shortly.

Photo (L to R): Hilary Marshall (New Forest Centre), Angela Willis (National Motor Museum) and Gill Maddick (King John's House) shared their museums' achievements through 2014-15 Museum Development projects

Find loads more networking and training opportunities on our calendar

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