Exmouth Museum & Heritage Centre is working towards official accreditation, meaning it will be able to apply for grant funding.

The museum is currently a registered charity, run by volunteers. An officially accredited museum has to meet national safety standards and have policies in place on the storage, care and display of donated items. 

It is then recognised by the tourist industry as a visitor destination and can bid for funding to pay for improvements and special projects.

Pete Hayes from the museum’s committee explained that there had been discussions about accreditation for some time, including talks with Devon Museums and the Arts Council. But a lot of preparation work is needed, and the priority for the volunteers was to maintain a presence in the town and continue preserving documents, costumes and artefacts. There had also been uncertainty over the museum’s long-term future until 2021, when its trustees finally completed the purchase of its buildings from South West Water after a lengthy fundraising campaign.

The committee now feels that ‘the time is right’ to move towards eligibility for accreditation, and is drawing up its ‘Into the Future’ plan which, if accreditation is gained, will include projects and further developments in terms of ‘community participation, inclusion and diversity’.

In the shorter term, the museum volunteers are working towards its reopening for the new season on Monday, March 25. During each season an area of the building is allocated to a local organisation; this year’s will be Exmouth Lifeboat, to mark the bicentenary of the RNLI.

A few days before the reopening, on Friday March 22, there will be a drop-in session for anyone interested in joining the museum volunteers, either ‘front of house’ or behind the scenes. This will take place between 12pm and 1pm. Alternatively, potential volunteers can email exmouthmuseum@gmail.com.

There are also plans this year to carry out much-needed repair works to part of the museum known as The Link, and the team would be very grateful to any architects/surveyors or builders who would be prepared to donate their time to help with this.