Association for Cultural Enterprises Convention and Exhibition, Newcastle

Not the most exciting title for a post, but it was far more exciting than it sounds and included several inspiring speakers to get the 60 or so delegates all fired up to return to their museums and retail operations.

You can read more about ACE on their website and what they stand for. MGS is a new member and this was the first convention we had attended. My aims for going were to learn more about ACE (check), get more awareness of the traders out there for smaller museums (check), get a temperature of the retail sector in museums (check) and the inevitable networking opportunities (check).

Keynotes were delivered by the ambitious Christian Perdrier, Chief Executive at Alnwick Castle, locally based Colin Philpott, Director of National Media Museum and the passionate Stephen Robertson, Director General of British Retail Consortium. The overall message was for museums to embrace the trading opportunities their shops and collections bring. Profits can be generated to contribute to balancing the accounts and even to ensure exhibitions can continue to be researched and shared.

What’s in it for you, our Members? If you have any retail outlet within the museum then there is much to be gained by joining ACE not least the chance to speak with similar sized museums and find out what is working for them. There are also study days in Scotland coming up this year; one in Kelvingrove, including a tour round Glasgow Boys exhibition and also one in Scottish Parliament about buying goods and foods. Further details will be available on ACE website soon.

If anyone is interested in hearing more on the convention, I am happy to share my notes and experience of the two days, or if you want more information about ACE, please do pick up the phone.

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