The Biffa Awards scheme provided another source of funding which enabled the Museum of Carpet Trust to move closer to realising the dream of bringing a museum to Kidderminster. Here is an extract from their successful grant submission, describing the project.
Kidderminster is renowned for the manufacturing of carpets, where the roots of this industry date back to 1735. As ‘the largest single industry town in Britain’ there are still large numbers of people in the area with close ties to the carpet industry.
The project will create a unique museum, archive and educational resource in Kidderminster portraying the history of the carpet trade. A Grade II listed former carpet factory near the town centre has been secured to house the museum.
On the ground floor a working power loom will form its centrepiece. Adjoining display galleries will interpret the development of the industry both locally and nationally as well as the strong social and community links of the industry within the town. Opportunities for hands-on-learning will be provided as well temporary exhibition space, a shop and visitor facilities.
The second floor contains a resource centre for use by families, formal educational groups, and community groups, a library and archive collection for study, and storage for small artefacts.
The audience development plan identified multiple groups who will benefit from the project, so that barriers to their involvement and enjoyment are identified and overcome. Informal learning, training, meeting space, and community outreach work will be provided. Partnerships exist with: Museums Library & Archives West Midlands, County Museum Service, Kidderminster College, Bewdley Museum and Wyre Forest District Council. Community trustees and volunteers are actively involved in the projects delivery and onward management.
Volunteers already work to develop the archive centre which holds a large design collection and library. Two hundred talks and school visits have been delivered. The project will draw all this activity under one roof, becoming a prime community focus as well as a tourist attraction as part of the regeneration of Kidderminster. Trustees have appointed a professional team to deliver it and once established, the project will be managed by professional staff supported by volunteers.