Help the Museum Raise £25,000 to Ensure its Future
Date: 8 June 2020 - 20 July 2020
Torquay Museum Needs You!
The Museum needs more than £170,000 a year from visitor income to remain sustainable and to keep its doors open to visitors and its collections accessible.
Our primary source of income is from our admissions, café and shop. As an independent charitable trust, we rely on this income to look after the collections and the grade II listed building. The COVID-19 pandemic will severely reduce our income for the whole year. We have applied for a £25,000 Government grant for small businesses, but the rateable value of the Museum means we are not eligible. While most of our staff are furloughed, we still have utility bills, insurance and maintenance contracts to pay. Please help us raise £25,000 to get us through this difficult time and donate what you can to ensure we are able to re-open. We don’t want the Museum to close and we desperately want to maintain access for everyone to enjoy and learn from our exceptional heritage.
Until then we will keep bringing content to your screens and the Torbay Weekly paper. Thank you for supporting us!
How the Museum is Funded
Torquay Museum and the Society that founded it have been fundraising from its very beginning in 1844. One of its first acts was to organise a garden party to raise funds and, in many respects, little has changed in 175 years. The person, the Museum and the town must thank most, is the Society’s first treasurer Edward Vivian. This local banker, magistrate, artist, and editor of the Torquay Directory championed many local causes, creating the Vivian Institute for the education of young men in Fleet Street. It was largely through Vivian’s efforts that the current beautiful Venetian-gothic Museum building in Babbacome Road was financed and it has been preserving the heritage of Torbay there since 1876.
Torquay Museum is an independent museum and has always been so. For the first 85 years of its history it survived on income generated by admissions, fundraising and legacies from its members. It was not until 1928, that it received any support from the local council. In that year, the Paget-Blake Collection of over 1,000 “curios” from around the world, which belonged to the Town Council and had been on show in the Baths Saloon, was moved to the Museum. The Council then began to support the Museum in its upkeep and display. This collection can still be seen in the Museum in the ‘Explorers Gallery’ and although it was gifted to the Museum in 2006 the Council still supports the work of the Museum through a vital grant of £37,000 per year. This is the only fixed income the Museum has - the rest is still self-generated.
To operate sustainably the Museum needs to raise at least £170,000 per year in addition to the Council grant to keep the doors open and the bills paid. This is achieved through admissions tickets, shop and café sales, events and donations which is why the Museum is a registered charity. This is a difficult balancing act and we face competition from all of Torbay’s other attractions and perhaps most importantly the weather! Hot dry summers see our visitor numbers fall. The COVID-19 Pandemic will severely disrupt our ability to raise these vital funds and could see the Museum have to close for good. We are asking you to support the Museum and help us initially raise £25,000 through our Crowdfunding campaign to get us through this difficult time. Wherever we can, we will try and reward your generous donations in some way.