End of an Era at Hornsea Museum

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing former Honorary Curator and Trustee of the Hornsea Museum, Catherine Walker, who has retired from her post which she has held for 39 years. Together with her late husband, Dr Stuart Walker, she founded Hornsea Museum in 1978.  The museum was formed to preserve and protect the vanishing aspects of rural life, and to present them to the public for its education and enjoyment.   Dr Walker, who was well known and loved by everyone in the town, was the main driving force behind the Museum, but paperwork was not his forte. Behind the scenes the main organisational and management tasks fell to his wife. Catherine was awarded a richly deserved MBE along with her husband in 2002 for Services to Heritage in East Yorkshire.   The couple bought the former farmhouse, which had been occupied by the Burn family for three centuries, in 1975. A Trust was formed in 1980 to administer the museum, which is mainly run by volunteers. Soon afterwards it was acclaimed ‘Small Museum of the Year’ which helped it to attract TV coverage and funding.   As a charitable Trust, the museum was eligible for grant aid from the National Lottery and other grant making bodies, and successful bids were made to purchase the four adjoining buildings with the help of various grants and local fundraising. In the 80s and 90s the museum became very popular for school visits as its Victorian period rooms and displays of village crafts, local history and farming dovetailed perfectly with the requirements of the national curriculum. In recent years, however, due to a combination of factors including the tightening of school budgets and the closure of the Wakefield School Outdoor Education Centre on Hull Road, the number of school visits has fallen considerably. Fortunately, the fall in revenue has been compensated for by the highly successful events that are held there throughout the year.   The museum has valued its independence over the years and is not financially supported by local councils. It relies completely on money taken at the door and raised by holding special events in the grounds.  Grant aid has been sought for larger projects formerly mentioned.  The day to day running is carried out by a strong management team and a group of around 60 dedicated volunteers who give generously of their time and expertise. (More volunteers are always welcome).   The present Chair of the Trustees, Mr Nial Adams, thanked Mrs Walker for all she had achieved in creating ‘this wonderful museum, a real jewel in the crown of East Riding heritage’. Catherine admits that it is very rewarding to see what the museum has now become but feels that she has ‘done her bit’ and is looking forward to a well earned rest, although she will still be busy with the Bridge Club at which she teaches beginners, among other things. She is confident that she has left the museum in good hands and that it will continue to go from strength to strength. Sue Whittle has taken on Mrs Walker’s role as Secretary of the trustees but they are also looking to appoint a Treasurer, following the retirement of Neil Willerton (see ad).   There is an excellent in depth article about the museum in the Yorkshire Journal of February 2107

Click to access theyorkshirejournal-2017-02.pdf

Hornsea Museum Treasurer   To support our growth and development, the Board would like to appoint a Treasurer to oversee the financial control of Hornsea Museum.   With an annual turnover of around £40,000 and assets of approximately £440,000, she or he will be responsible for all aspects of the Museum accounts:  budgets, payments, banking, insurance, providing regular summaries to Trustees, making returns to Companies House and the Charity Commission, and preparing the annual accounts. Day to day book keeping and cash handling are managed by finance team volunteers.   We are looking for someone with experience of accounting practice who can commit up to one day per week, plus email correspondence and quarterly Board meetings. The Treasurer is a full member of the Board with exciting opportunities to shape the future direction and development of the Museum.   Hornsea Museum comprises a Grade 2 listed farmhouse, plus several cottages and outbuildings at the centre of Hornsea. These house 17,000 objects, most from 1830 onwards, and the Hornsea Pottery collection of over 6 000 pieces. To apply or for an informal discussion, please contact the Chair of the Hornsea Museum Board, Nial Adams, at [email protected]

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