The museum sector in Somerset and North Somerset is varied. The county covers a large area of rural and post industrial environments, coastal, upland, agricultural and low lying landscapes, dotted with market towns, seaside resorts, ports and centres of industry.
The museums in the county reflect this diverse heritage: from the large, rich collections of the South West Heritage Trust, with its world class collections of archaeology and palaeontology, to the specialist collections at Watchet Boat Museum and Haynes Motor Museum.
The County has over 50 museums and heritage organisations. Somerset County Council, the District Council of South Somerset and several town councils all run museums. The National Trust and English Heritage also have properties in the county, but by far the largest number of museums are run by independent charitable trusts and many of these only flourish due to the commitment of volunteers.
Natalie is your Somerset county rep. She sits on the SWFed Board where she reports on county issues and she updates the Museums in Somerset Group meetings on any relevant SWFed topics. She also sits on the Museums in Somerset Committee as the Vice Chair and SWFed rep. Contact Natalie by email or phone 01458 444060.
Natalie is the Collections Development Manager at the Alfred Gillett Trust (C & J Clark Ltd), Street, Somerset. She previously acted at the Museum Development Officer for the county from 2007-2013 and as a Museum Mentor for the Accreditation Scheme. She is now responsible for the care and digitisation of the large and varied heritage collections the Trust holds, which ranges from rare books and Quaker family papers to modern digital business archives, ichthyosaur fossils, shoes and costume, and shoemaking machinery.
Museum Development Officers provide a wide range of free support, advice and help to the museums in their area. They co-ordinate meetings, visit museums, help with writing policies and grant applications and are a fund of useful information on everything to do with running a museum. In Devon there are three MDOs covering different areas of the county.
Read about the impact of Museum Development in Somerset in this extract from the SW Museum Development Partnership Annual Report for 2012/2013.