Newark Town Hall Museum to re-open in current form soon while re-development plans pursued
It was agreed the town hall museum in its current will re-open as soon as practical, expected to be by the end of October, while re-development plans are pursued.
It has been shut throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the town council decided to keep it closed while reviewing its future and relevancy.
The new museum proposals stemmed from that review.
It will re-open on the days and times the town hall offices are open — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, plus Saturdays.
A lack of change in the existing museum’s offering is seen as a block to encouraging repeat visits.
The permanent exhibitions are fine art exhibits.
In the main, they are by internationally-renowned artists from Newark such as Robert Kiddey, Stanley Spencer and William Nicholson.
The Spotlight Gallery offers space to local community groups and artists to exhibit on a rolling programme.
The museum team is led by a curator who is supported by four paid part-time assistants and 30 volunteers.
There are a number of objectives for the museum before 2024.
They include devising an exhibition on crime and punishments in Newark, focusing on transportation to Australia; a display on police ephemera; maintaining a temporary exhibition programme in the Spotlight Gallery; continuing to maintain and develop links with community groups and local artists; improving access information on the website; large-print guides to galleries; investigating opportunities to collaborate with an author on the production of a booklet about the sculptor, artist and teacher Robert Kiddey; and obtaining a valuation of the collection.
Museum visitors were polled in 2018-19.
The first question asked how they heard about the museum. 56% were passers-by (up 13% on the year before) 22% heard by word of mouth (-11%) 7% through the tourist information centre (-1%) and 15% through the museum website (+7%).
The second question was what had they come to see? 85% had come to see the museum displays/mayor’s parlour/ballroom (+11%) 48% had come to see many of those, but also listed the Spotlight Gallery (+8%) and 22% were for other reasons.
Visitors were generally satisfied with the museum and art gallery as is.
Of the age of visitors, 13% were under 36 (-2%) 33% were between 35 and 60 (-3%) and 54% were 60+ (+5%).
Just 9% of visitors came from Newark (-19%) 50% had travelled from a destination within an hour’s drive (+26%) not including Newark, with 14% from Nottingham.
18% had travelled from from somewhere within one to three hours drive away (+5%) and 5% lived overseas (-1%).