Message from the Director
21 December 2020
What a year – unlike anything any of us have experienced before.
I hope that you, your family and friends have not been too badly affected, have been able to adapt to the changed circumstances we’ve all experienced and maybe even found some positives, in what has undoubtedly been a difficult year.
This has very much been Brooklands Museum’s experience. The requirement to close again just before Christmas shows that we are not yet clear of all challenges, but recent positive news about vaccines means we can now begin to look ahead to a brighter 2021.
Though it has been a very difficult year, we have been overwhelmed by the huge support that Staff, Members and Volunteers have shown, in so many ways. Staff accepted temporary pay cuts and worked extremely long hours to keep the Museum going. Many people, including Volunteers and Members, gave to the #LoveBrooklands campaign. The messages accompanying these donations were so moving – showing how much Brooklands means to everyone. The Members Committee worked with us to keep Members informed and involved during this time with more regular newsletters, taking the talks programme online and much more. Many Members renewed even whilst we were closed: thank you to everyone who was able to show their support in that way.
By July, we were able to prepare to reopen the Museum, which we did for Members on 30th and 31st July and for the public from 1st August. The hard work of volunteers and staff was at the heart of the successful reopening. It simply couldn’t have been done without such a fantastic effort from so many people.
We were determined to offer something new and better for visitors and Members, despite some elements of the normal experience having to close to meet Covid requirements. This included; the introduction of vehicle demonstrations, bringing the sounds, smells and sights of Brooklands to life, fresh interpretation information in the Aircraft Park and around the site and new layouts in exhibition areas. We have been delighted with how well these new elements have been received.
Despite Covid, we have had some exciting new developments this year. We’ve been delighted to welcome Heritage Skills Academy to the Museum to run their apprenticeship programme here. We commemorated the 80thAnniversary of the bombing raid on the Brooklands factory and opened a new exhibition, Brooklands’ Darkest Hour, in the air raid shelter to explain those events.
We have featured on television on several occasions, and next year Yesterday channel will launch Secrets of the Transport Museum - a delightful, ten part series featuring Brooklands Museum’s Volunteers, Staff and collections. We’ve brought the Grand Prix exhibition right up to date with a Formula E car lent by Mercedes, enabling us to highlight today’s equivalents of the kinds of innovation for which Brooklands was so famous in its time.
We have been approached by many other organisations wanting to work with us next year, showing how Brooklands’ reputation continues to spread and its legacy is recognised as relevant to so many people today. Next year promises even more exciting developments and in the New Year we are looking forward to sharing with you our plans for Brooklands future development.
But for now, I want to thank you all again for the things you have done for Brooklands, whether as Staff, as Volunteers, Members or others who share our passion for this amazing place. It takes all of us to make Brooklands what it is and I’m so glad we’ve been able to come through this difficult year together.
I hope you enjoy looking at the accompanying photographic highlights of the year. Sir Gerald Acher, all the Trustees and staff team join me in wishing you all a happy Christmas season and we look forward to a bright New Year for us all.
With warm wishes,
Director & CEO, Brooklands Museum Trust