Museum seeking Freelance Business Planning Consultant

Tiverton Museum has secured a Heritage Lottery Fund Resilient Heritage grant, for a project ‘Attracting Audiences; Securing our Future’. The project includes essential work strengthening the museum to secure its future.

The project includes several strands of work, including a new business plan and building master plan (this tender), which will be followed by a governance and staff review, the creation of a new audience development plan and then finishing with a new branding and marketing plan for the museum. For information the draft tenders for these other areas of work are available by clicking on the links in this paragraph (and will be advertised later in 2018).

The business plan tender includes undertaking: 

  • A strategic review of Tiverton Museum identifying opportunities for cost saving, to increase income by recommending new approaches to fundraising, trading and other income generating activities, and alternative income streams.
  • To identify current risks and how these can be mitigated to provide economic sustainability for the museum.
  • Review the use of the building through the creation of a building master plan. The plan should include feasibility study for transforming the way the building is used. To include an examination of kerb appeal and potential for letting, retail and catering opportunities, and to consider ways in which the site can enable us to both serve our audiences better, and support the museum's financial resilience. 

Fee: £23,000 including VAT and all expenses including travel (breakdown to £8,000 for business plan review and £15,000 for building master plan to RIBA work stage 1).

The full tender brief and information on the application process can be found here.

Closing date for applications is end of the working day 5/2/2018. Interviews will take place in the week 19/2/2018 – 23/2/2018. The work should ideally begin by 5/3/2018. The building master plan and business plan should be presented to the museum by 4/5/2018.

Please email applications to Pippa Griffith, Director at For an informal chat please contact Pippa on 01884 2566295.


Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon wins National Lottery support

The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has received (£58,700) from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project ‘Attracting Audiences, Securing our Future’. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on essential work strengthening the museum to secure its future and achieve a balanced budget.The project will start in the New Year and run until March 2018.

The project will enable the museum to buy in support to review several areas of work ‘behind the scenes’. This includes reviewing the museum’s business model, strengthening the governance and staff structure, and creating a new raft of plans to support the musuem’s marketing to ensure that it attracts wide audiences from the local community. The project will develop volunteering opportunities at the museum, and trustees, staff and volunteers will all learn new skills as a result of this project.

Commenting on the award, (Pippa Griffith, Museum Director) said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players. This project will strengthen the museum behind the scenes and will help to ensure that we will continue to collect and display Mid Devon’s heritage, and provide all our services to the local community, for many years to come.”


Runner Up in Primary Times Awards

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is Runner Up in the Favourite Museum or Historical Attraction Category in the prestigious Primary Times Reader Star Awards 2017!

There were 8 different categories asking readers for their favourite: family attraction; family eating place; indoor play or activity centre; outdoor activity centre; museum or historical attraction; sports venue; party venue or entertainer; theatre or arts centre.

One tightly fought-after category was that of favourite Museum or Historical Attraction and it was certainly interesting to read the broad spectrum of answers. Yet, the interesting artefacts, exhibits, historical stories and various family events contributed to Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life securing the Runner Up place in the Museum and Historical Attraction group.

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum, says ‘Everyone at the museum is elated with this accolade. We are passionate about welcoming visitors of all ages to the museum, and are especially pleased that we have been nominated for this award by local families who enjoy visiting us.’

Linda Edwards, Publishing Editor at Primary Times said: “We are thrilled with the extraordinary response to this year’s Reader Star Award survey and we’d like to say a massive thank you to all the readers who took part. The results are sure to help other local families decide what to do and where to go. Each individual category winner and runner up deserves worthy recognition, as they are clearly offering something that our readers want.”


Toc H banner paraded on Remembrance Sunday

Tiverton Museum was delighted that the Toc H banner, which forms part of the museum’s collection, was paraded as part of the town’s Remembrance Sunday parade. The banner has been recently conserved as part of a regional project to conserve, interpret and display a range of banners from 10 museums across the South West.

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum says ‘We were pleased to take part in this community act of remembrance and have the banner seen by hundreds of local people. We would particularly like to thank the organisers of the parade at the British Legion for agreeing to let us join the parade, and to our volunteer and Trustee who did the parading.’

Toc His an international charity and membership movement that emerged from a soldiers' club in Poperinge, Belgium during World War I, with hundreds of branches opening across Britain in the 1920s. The Tiverton branch started in 1929 and continued until 1963 when it closed due to low membership. 


About the Raising the Standard banners project

The South West Museum Development Programme is working with 10 museums and heritage organisations across Devon and Cornwall has secured £67,500 from Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a £81,900 project to conserve, interpret and display 15 banners alongside a programme of community engagement and the development of an online schools resource.

The museums will work in partnership through the festivals, village fetes, special events and celebrations of local communities during summer/ autumn 2017 to engage local communities and schools in the vibrant social history and contemporary relevance of the banners of Devon and Cornwall. 


Tourist Information Service finalist in awards!

Tiverton’s Tourist Information Service, housed in Tiverton’s Museum of Mid Devon Life, is thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist in the Visitor Information Service of the Year category of the 2017 Devon Tourism Awards.

This year saw a record of 205 entries and an increase to 25 categories in the competition which is now in its 8th year following its launch in 2010.

Visitor Information Officers Carrie Thomas and Liz Brooks and the large team of front desk volunteers at the museum will be eagerly awaiting the prestigious Awards Ceremony on 23rd November to find out if they have won bronze, silver or gold. The event is taking place in Plymouth Guildhall and will be hosted by Britain's leading travel commentator, Simon Calder. 

Awards organizer Robin Barker of Services for Tourism commented: “This year’s Devon Tourism Awards have broken all records with 205 entries and our judges carrying out 120 business visits, most of them mystery visits. The competition has been tough and the standard outstanding. With tourism increasingly recognised as one of the UK’s and Devon’s most important industries, it is great to see so many exemplars of excellence across the county.”



Animation available on line

Click here for the link to an animation made by our fabulous work experience students from Tiverton High School who built the Lego Mini Cooper for our #MiniBrickTrail this summer


Urgent appeal for more volunteers

Tiverton Museum is looking for enthusiastic and friendly people to join our volunteer team.

We are urgently looking for people to join our front of house team on Saturdays. Are you interested in working on the front desk welcoming visitors to the museum and Tourist Information Service, and selling items from the museum shop? This requires using a till, card machine and answering telephone enquiries.

The museumwill provide the training as long as you bring the passion and enthusiasm for Mid Devon and its history, playing a key role in helping visitors to enjoy their visit. As a registered charity, volunteers play a vital part, in both the front of house and behind the scenes at Tiverton Museum. Over 75 local people currently give their time to keep their local award winning museum running. The time that all of our volunteers give us equates to more than 6 full time members of staff per year!

Pippa Griffith, the museum’s Director says ‘The museum is totally dependent upon volunteers to deliver all of our different services. This is an urgent plea for more people to join our front desk team to keep the museum open on Saturdays which is a busy day for us, especially over the summer.’

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Carrie Thomas on 01884 256295 or email



Appeal for information on Toc H

Tiverton Museum is making a public appeal for anyone remembers the Tiverton branch of Toc H. Toc H is an international charity and membership movement that emerged from a soldiers' club in Poperinge, Belgium during World War I, with hundreds of branches opening across Britain in the 1920s. The Tiverton branch started in 1929 and continued until 1963 when it closed due to low membership.

The museum is taking part in a regional project to conserve, interpret and display a range of banners from 10 museums across the South West. The Toc H banner is currently being conserved, and the museum would love to hear from anyone who has items or photographs connected with the Tiverton branch (or if anyone was a member). Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum says ‘We would particularly like to see photographs connected to the Toc H branch or parading the banner. We have such a large collection of local items at the museum, but very little relating to this particular organization’. If you can help, please contact Pippa Griffith on 01884 0256295 or email


Shining a light on Tiverton Museum

Tiverton Museum is celebrating as museum lighting has been upgraded thanks to a grant from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The museum has been working closely with a local firm, J.V.Lee Electrical to replace over 300 lights around the building – nearly all of which have now been upgraded to LEDs from halogen and fluorescent lamps. This will significantly reduce the museum’s carbon footprint by approximately 80%. The museum’s finances should see a positive impact as the project is anticipated to considerably reduce the museum’s energy bills. The LED lamps are also better for the objects on displayas they emit less ultra violet light and produce less heat.

This project has been possible thanks to Viridor Credits, which contributed over £15,400. A further £2000 was awarded from the South West Museum Development Programme, and £225 from Tiverton Lions Club.

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director, says ‘This has been a vital project for the museum. The funding from Viridor Credits has enabled us to transform the lighting throughout the museum reducing our carbon footprint and running costs. Julian and his team at J.V.Lee Electrical have been incredibly helpful. As a registered charity, we struggle to meet the ongoing maintenance for our listed building. Support such as this enables us to secure the future of the museum as a popular community resource and repository of local heritage.’

Gareth Williams, Operations Manager at Viridor Credits, said “small changes, funded by the Landfill Communities Fund, can make a big difference to organisations like Tiverton Museum. The new lighting will reduce overheads and allow them to channel funds to improving the visitor experience, as well as reducing the impact on the environment.”


We need your help to win Co-op Community Fund cash!

Tiverton Museum has been selected to be one of the charities supported by the Co-op Community Fund. The museum will be using the money raised to support a ‘Mini Brick Trail’ which will take place at the museum from July to the end of October. There will be small building block interventions throughout the museum alongside the museum displays (housed in display cases) with related topical scenes and mini figures. It will be designed to encourage families to explore the displays through a new and fun way using construction toys. There will also be play areas around the museum for families.

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum, says: ‘We are asking anyone who is a Co-op member to select the museum as their local cause online so that we can raise as much money as possible for the museum. The Mini Brick Trail will be a really fun event for the summer, and is a great way to follow on from our incredibly successful All Aboard sculpture trail that we ran last year.’

Every time a Co-op member buys Co-op branded products and services, 1% of their spend goes to a local cause. For the 6 months the museum is part of the fund, the money builds up. Throughout the 6 months, members can choose which cause their contribution goes to. The museum has already built up £142, and the fund is open for votes until 7th October 2017.


We're looking for more volunteers

Tiverton Museum is looking for enthusiastic and friendly people to join our volunteer team.

We are looking for people to join our front of house team on Saturdays. Are you interested in working on the front desk welcoming visitors to the museum and Tourist Information Service, and selling items from the museum shop? This requires using a till, card machine and answering telephone enquiries. Please contact Carrie Thomas on 01884 256295 or email

Our Education Department also needs more volunteers. If you are interested in assisting with school visits to the museum, helping with our family craft days in school holidays or in delivering our reminiscence service to people in care and residential homes please contact Holly Jarrett on 01884 256295 or email

We are also looking for one or two people who would be interested in undertaking oral history interviews for the museum using digital recorders. Finally, we are also looking for someone to help keep our outside areas nice and tidy. This would involve a little light gardening, sweeping and tidying. We have the brooms, but need the people! Please contact Pippa Griffith on 01884 256295 or email

For all of these roles we will provide the training as long as you bring the passion and enthusiasm for Mid Devon and its history, playing a key role in helping visitors to enjoy their visit. As a registered charity, volunteers play a vital part, in both the front of house and behind the scenes at Tiverton Museum. Over 80 local people currently give their time to keep their local award winning museum running. The time that all of our volunteers give us equates to more than 6 full time members of staff per year!



More dementia friends at the museum

More of our staff and volunteers were delighted to become Dementia Friends today thanks to a session with Tiverton Dementia Action Alliance. 


All Aboard! auction raises thousands for the museum

Tiverton Museum hosted a really exciting auction evening on Friday 18th November. Twenty of the All Aboard sculptures of the Tivvy Bumper steam engine that were around the town over the summer, were auctioned by Brian Goodison-Blanks of Bearnes, Hampton and Littlewood.

All 20 of the sculptures found new homes. £4940 was raised for the museum, and £500 for Tiverton's Market Drop In Centre. The remaining sculpture was the prize in a raffle which raised a further £1000 for the museum. 

For a full report on the All Aboard! project please click here. 


All Aboard! wins award!

We are delighted to have won the regional award for 'Art in the Landscape' from South West in Bloom for the sculpture trail!  


Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life earns 2016 Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence

Tiverton Museum today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience. 

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director, said: ‘We’re very proud to have won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the third time. We’dlike to thank all of our visitors who take the time to review us on TripAdvisor. As the Certificate of Excellence is based on customer reviews, the accolade is a great vote of confidence to our volunteers and staff who work on the front desk.’

"With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honours hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers”, said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travellers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travellers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.


Heathcoat 200 walkers arrive back in Tiverton!

To mark the 200th anniversary of John Heathcoat's relocation to Tiverton, a group of walkers recreated the walk that some of Heathcoat's workers undertook from Loughborough to Tiverton in 1816. The walk was organised by the museum's Chair of Trustees, Andrea Rowe. It took two weeks and followed canal towpaths and footpaths across the country. 

The walkers were welcomed back to Tiverton with a big tea at Heathcoat Fabrics - still operating on the same site where Heathcoat established his mill. 

The walkers visit Tiverton Museum's new temporary exhibition 'Heathcoat 200' with HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon and Sir Ian Amory. 


All Aboard! trail launched

The All Aboard! family sculpture trail was officially launched at Tiverton Museum on Saturday 2nd July. About 200 people joined in the celebrations at the museum where the first trail maps were handed out and families headed off to find the sculptures.  

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director, said ‘We are very excited to be launching the trail today. It has been a huge community project with 29 local businesses sponsoring the trail, 18 local artists and 13 local schools have been involved in designing and painting the sculptures. Not to mention, one Olympic athlete, Jo Pavey, who came up with one of the designs. Many hundreds of volunteer hours have been spent getting the trail ready. All Aboard is a project for Tiverton and the local area, and we hope people have fun doing the trail over the summer.’

Bampton Heritage Centre organized the grand unveiling of the two Bampton sculptures on the same day. Pupils from Bampton Primary School had all submitted ideas for one of the designs, which were combined into a design celebrating Bampton.

All Aboard! is an exciting family sculpture trail in Tiverton and the surrounding area over this summer. Follow the trail map and find all 21 sculptures in the shape of the Tivvy Bumper steam engine. The trail maps are available from Tiverton Museum, Jo Amor on Bampton Street, Tiverton Library, Grand Western Canal Visitor Centre, Exe Valley Leisure Centre, Coldharbour Mill and Bampton Heritage Centre. The trail runs for 17 weeks until 30th October 2016. 


Valentine's Appeal Success

A recent appeal by Tiverton Museum for public help to purchase a posy ring resulted in immediate success thanks to a generous donation from Elizabeth Hughes in memory of her late husband, Ronald, a former volunteer at the museum. 

Following an appeal on BBC Devon, Mrs Hughes contacted the museum. Pippa Griffith, Director of the museum, says ‘We are thrilled that the appeal resulted in such immediate success, and are very grateful to Mrs Hughes for her support. The ring will be a wonderful addition to our collection, and the inscription is very evocative and makes one wonder about who gave the ring and if the love was reciprocated!’ Mrs Hughes popped into the museum last week with her daughters to see the ring (pictured above).

Posy rings are gold finger rings with a short inscription on the inside surface, and were popular in England as lover's gifts during the 15th to the 17th centuries. This ring was found at Uffculme and has the inscription ‘I live in hope’., and dates from between 1500 to 1700.  The ring was offered to the museum through the Treasure Act.  


Seals Appeal Success!

We are delighted to announce a successful result of a public appeal Tiverton Museum held at the end of November last year. The appeal was to help purchase a collection of 22 lead cloth seals featuring a range of Tiverton merchants’ names and marks. The museum received a really positive response and the funds were raised for the purchase (£310). Pippa Griffith, Museum Director, says ‘We want to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this appeal which enabled us to respond to this rare chance and purchase the cloth seals. They were sold to us by a metal detectorist from Holland who found them, and he added a 23rd seal in for good measure. We have put the seals on display in our entrance area for the time being, so anyone coming into the museum and tourist information service can see them.’

Small lead cloth seals have been found by metal detectorists in Germany and Holland, often featuring the names of Tiverton merchants. From the late seventeenth century through most of the eighteenth century, there was a large export trade in serges from Topsham to Rotterdam or Amsterdam. The seals were attached to bolts of cloth and often discarded when all the lengths of cloth were sold. The seals are not often found in this country, but usually at market sites on the continent where Tiverton's cloth was sold.

The seals in this collection date between the late seventeenth century and the late eighteenth century. The merchants represented in the collection include Samuel Foote whose business was taken over by his son-in-law Robert Burridge, after Samuel’s death in 1691, and then by his grandson Samuel Burridge (who is also represented in the collection). There are seals from other well-known Tiverton merchants including:

-       The Lewis family who built a grand house on Fore Street after the fire of 1731.

-       Oliver Peard who lived where Boots the Chemist is today who was very wealthy, but killed himself with a blunderbuss in 1764.

-       Benjamin Dickinson, Peard’s nephew, who eventually took over his business and rebuilt his uncle’s house on Fore Street to become a mansion that was said to ‘be finished with great taste, having every convenience suited to a very superior station in life and furnished throughout with costly elegance.’ To improve the view from his new house, Dickinson ordered the removal of the Market Cross which had stood at the centre of the street since the mid seventeenth century. In the same year, 1787, work was completed on his new country mansion at Knightshayes (which was of course rebuilt by John Heathcoat’s grandson).

In all, 19 of the seals feature Tiverton merchants and 3 of Exeter merchants. A very unusual seal is of John --- of Uffculme. Until this seal came to light, it was thought that local seals only carried the names of merchants from Tiverton, Exeter or Wellington. Research is ongoing as to the identity of this merchant. Space on the seal requires it to be a short name, maybe How, recorded as a sergemaker in 1771.  


Tiverton Museum wins TWO Bronze Awards at Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2015!

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has won the Bronze award for Small Attraction and the Bronze award for Access & Inclusivity at the Devon Tourism Awards 2015.

The awards celebrate the breadth of Devon's tourism offer as a county, and showed the strength of the award’s finalists and winners, with the awards receiving174 entries. Paul Hardingham, Commercial Director at Headline sponsors Hoseasons, said: “We have nothing but admiration for the energy, commitment and dedication shown by this year’s award winners to making sure Devon remains a place people want to go on holiday. Each and every one of them fully deserves the recognition they have received and we wish them all the best for another successful year in 2016.”

Andrea Rowe Chairman of Trustees commented ‘It is always daunting to find the Museum coming up against the likes of Plymouth Gin and Stuart Line Cruises, Exmouth in the Small Attractions category and The Calvert Trust in the Access and Inclusivity one, but it is thanks to our hard- working, creative, volunteers and small paid workforce that we gained not just one but two creditable Bronze Awards.’

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director said ‘We are delighted to have won our third Small Attraction Award from Visit Devon, and thrilled to have won our first Access & Inclusivity Award. Ensuring that the museum is as accessible and inclusive as possible is very important to us, and this award is a great recognition of that ethos.’


Long listed for the Family Friendly Museum of the Year award!

Tiverton Museum is among the top 20 family friendly museums in the country. The longlisted museums have been nominated by visitors because they go out of their way to offer a warm welcome to families.

Tiverton Museum has a lot to offer visiting families including: free entry for kids visiting the museum with an adult; ‘Barney’s Bunch’ a new group for 2-5 year olds; explorer backpacks; play areas; step ups; regular craft activities; object handling session; trails; and special one-off events.

Holly Jarrett, Education & Outreach Officer commented: ‘Everyone here at the museum is excited to have been nominated for the Family Friendly Museum Award by so many visiting families. We are passionate about welcoming visitors of all ages and have started a number of new initiatives this year to make sure families get the most out of their visit.’

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director, said: ‘We are delighted to be longlisted for the award for the second time (we were previously longlisted in 2012), and want to thank our visitors who nominated us. At Tiverton Museum we think it’s important for people of all ages to enjoy the museum. We see a lot of intergenerational interaction at the museum with grandparents showing grandchildren objects they remember and sharing memories about them.’ 


Tiverton Museum all set for people with a visual impairment to visit

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has recently been working with Devon in Sight and Guide Dogs to ensure that visitors to the museum who have sight loss can enjoy the many and varied exhibits contained within the museum.

It all started last September when Devon in Sight organised a visit to the museum of local people who have a visual impairment accompanied by the volunteers who make up the Devon in Sight Volunteer Visiting Service.

Tiverton Museum’s Director, Pippa Griffith, said, “We were very pleased to welcome so many people with sight problems into the museum and it was the perfect opportunity to ask for feedback as to how we might make the museum experience more enjoyable and worthwhile for visually impaired people.” One of the most popular suggestions of the feedback and one that has been easy to remedy was that of training staff and volunteers to become Community Sighted Guides.

Sighted Guiding training taking place at Tiverton Museum

This is a nationally recognised half day course that raises awareness of visual impairment and also teaches the basic techniques of how best to guide someone safely who has significant sight loss. Devon in Sight is working in partnership with Rick Allbrook from Guide Dogs, who is able to offer this training locally. This partnership has worked well over the last couple of years and many people have benefitted from the training. Along with museum staff and volunteers, a staff member from the local Indoor Bowls Centre, staff and volunteers from Involve as well as Devon in Sight volunteer visitors have all been trained in the two recent sessions that have been hosted by the museum.

Sue Snell from Devon in Sight’s Volunteer Visiting Service commented that, “The museum has been incredibly positive and committed to improving their service to people with sight loss and has genuinely made the museum a much more accessible place for people with visual impairment to visit safely and to have an enjoyable and enriching experience.”

If you think your organisation or company would benefit from Community Sighted Guiding training for some staff members then get in touch with Sue (07580787308) to book places on the next course. 


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