FUSILIERSíMUSEUM LANCASHIRE AND THE FUSILIERSí MUSEUM PROJECT
FUSILIER JOURNAL NOTES AS AT SEPTEMBER 2005
Heritage Lottery Fund Support.† It brought great cheer to all those involved with the Fusiliersí Museum Project when in June the Heritage Lottery Fund, HLF, announced that they were willing to back the project with a £2million grant.† The announcement when released to the media was widely reported in local newspapers and on local radio.† In all some 3,000,000 people read articles on the Project in local papers and some 50,000 heard it reported on the radio.† In marketing terms the project is already beginning to pay for itself.†
Boost to Regimental Pride.† That the HLF should agree to support the project was a tremendous achievement for the Regiment and a vindication of all the work done to date by a small but dedicated team.† Nevertheless the Regiment still has to raise a further £1.4 million by September 2006 in order to bring the project to fruition.† That a national heritage organisation had such faith in the project was and is a much needed boost to regimental pride.† This is particularly important when at this time the Regiment is still suffering from the bruises caused the Future Army Structure debate.† It will therefore do no harm at this critical stage in the project to remind the readers how and why the project came about and to reinforce the urgent need to assist with fundraising.†
Story of the Regiment Today.† The Regiment is blest with four museums with superb collections that largely reflect people and achievements of our antecedent regiments.† All hold and display some material relating to the regiment today.† In all cases this adds up to a few square metres of display space and does not do justice to the people and achievements of the last 37 years.† More importantly they do not have any room to expand.† Present and future members of the Regiment have come to expect extremely high standards of display and interpretation and it has to be said that size matters!† It was thus recognised that there was a gap in the interpretation of the Regimentís contemporary heritage and that there was a need for a new RRF Collection and Museum.† The RRF Collection would compliment the Collections of the antecedent regiments and bring the story up to date
The Right Place.† Following considerable research and debate the Regimental decision was to endorse and invest in the existing Lancashire Project.† The decision was based firmly on practical considerations not least the availability of a suitable building with enough floor space to produce a worth while RRF display.† The Arts and Craft building in Bury has such a space and the area designated for the RRF display will be larger than the space given over to the display of RRF material in all the other regimental museums combined.† Secondly the museum would be in the middle of an important recruiting area.† Also a qualified and motivated team were available and willing to take on the terrific workload generated by such a project.† Finally those in the Regiment who could not believe that a museum in Bury could ever attract visitors on the scale of, for instance the Tower of London, were confounded to learn that the area within a half mile radius of the proposed museum annually attracted some 600,000 visitors. †Unlike the Tower of London none of the visitors to Bury were from the United States or Japan.† This point about the viability of the proposed museum was reinforced by the HLF who criticised the Museum Business Plan because in their estimation the Regiment had under estimated the number of potential visitors.
Real Return on Investment.† It would be fair to say that regimental investment in the project is realistically based around the concept of utilizing regimental heritage as part of a package of measures to help secure the future of the Regiment.† The real return on the Regimentís investment in Bury is seen as enhanced profile in the North West and increased marketing in a key recruiting area.† In addition the Collection and Museum will provide the means to instil regimental tradition in all recruits in training at Catterick and Harrogate and reinforce regimental ethos for all serving officers and soldiers stationed in England.† Last but not least, the space available in new museum will not only allow for inspirational displays but also for the concentration of regimental records and other materials.† In turn this will lead to the creation of an RRF Archive and Research Collections.
Your Museum Needs You.† Overall the project will cost £3.4million.† The Lancashire Project Team have found to date some £2.25million and are working on a further £250,000 which is nearly 75% of the target.† It would not be unreasonable to ask all members of the Regimental Family to help with the last 25% and indeed many already have.† As Colonel Brian Gorski never tires of saying, ď You can fill your rucksack with lots of small stones as well as a few large onesĒ.† While the Lancashire Project Team concentrates on the large stones, the Regiment would like YOU to work on the smaller ones.† Donít forget every little helps!
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Glover Curator