Many of the more enlightening aspects of running the Museum of Leathercraft are the delight and surprise at making new discoveries within the Collection, and working with inspiring and dedicated people who can help shape and change events to meet the demands of future generations.
Trustees see the future of the Museum more as a catalyst to work within the fashion and art sectors, alongside proposals to re-brand the Museum as the “Waterer Spiers Leather Collection.” This should position the collection in a more contemporary light, and open up further opportunities for shared exhibitions in a wider market sphere.
Alongside this, newly appointed volunteers have been working hard on identifying and cataloguing our huge archive store, now located at Abington Park Museum. This will be a wide and varied source of information not only to enhance local industrial history, but also to raise national interest on social and technical leather aspects.
Last year 38,000 members of the public visited the Museum in Abington Park, an increase of around 10% over previous years. New conservation projects included the 16th Century Porter’s Chair, undertaken by the Leather Conservation Centre (LCC), now proudly displayed in the entrance hall.
In 2011 specialist Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) consultants were appointed to appraise the viability of the plans to create a ”Leather in Life” centre at the “art deco” Pearce site. As a result it was decided that there was little viability for such a location, but the consultants continue to work with us at seeking new projects that may attract funding from the HLF. The Trustees continue to seek new sources of funding from other partners and stakeholders.
Trustees were delighted to welcome representatives from the Court and Livery of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers in October 2011, and the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers in 2013 as part of a visit to Northampton to update members of the activities of the Museum, the Leather Conservation Centre, and the University of Northampton.
Further grant offers have been made by the Saddlers’ Company to help extend our conservation activities through the LCC, and work will soon commence on an important 16th Century decorative leather screen. A pair of candlesticks has also been conserved as an on-going programme of work.
We are also very grateful to the Leathersellers Company for their continuous support
Trustees now look forward to consolidating their location in Abington, enlivening the displays, securing funding for the next 3 to 4 years, developing the events and exhibitions programme, and promoting the archive collections.