The Richard Jefferies Museum Trust
The Richard Jefferies Museum Trust is a registered charity, created to take on the development and running of the museum. Our mission is:​​
   
‘To create /share a unique environment of discovery that will enrich peoples’ lives and inspire adults and children through the home, writing and thoughts of Richard Jefferies’

And the most important aspect of this statement to us is 'enrich peoples' lives' . We are determined to reach out to as many different areas of the community as possible, bringing in school children who have difficulties in the classroom, going out to elders' communities, leafleting more deprived areas of Swindon, putting on special events for those with physical and hidden disabilities, and welcoming in all and any people, regardless of class, gender, race, religion, politics, or income.
Our small museum is a unique gem. It brims with history in its fabric, and its collection of books, pictures and artefacts relating to Victorian writer Richard Jefferies. But it could be so much more, because of what Jefferies left behind. He was a nature writer, passionate about the environment, but he was also a visionary, a prose poet and an observer of human behaviour and society. Celebrating these subjects is not about the study of the past (or even the author); it is about living in the present. Jefferies’ thoughts, ideas and imagery are as fresh, exciting and valid today as they were two hundred years ago. It is the art and ideas of Richard Jefferies that are important, not just the display of his books.​​
 
Since taking over the museum as a charity in 2014, we have focused on delivering arts and nature events around these ideas, being fortunate to have gardens, outbuildings and internal spaces perfect for this approach. With a Grant for the Arts, and two volunteers becoming qualified Arts Award Advisors, we have had children’s writing and drawing events, adult writing classes, sculptures, poetry, celebrity writer workshops, and student art projects. We have discovered that as a ‘cultural hub’ the site draws more visitors in, engages with them at much deeper levels, and ensures their speedy return and word-of-mouth promotion to others. More important than the increase in numbers is the diversity of our visitors now. The museum attracts people from local communities, families young and old, tourists, passers-by, people from different backgrounds, disadvantaged people, elders, school groups, and more volunteers too. And, of course, it still works for the literary fans of Richard Jefferies.

​You can read an abridged version of our business plan which says more about the work of the Trust:
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"How willingly I would strew the paths of all with flowers; how beautiful a delight to make the world joyous! The song should never be silent, the dance never still, the laugh should sound like water which runs for ever. I would submit to a severe discipline, and to go without many things cheerfully, for the good and happiness of the human race in the future. Each one of us should do something, however small, towards that great end."

 From The Story of My Heart by Richard Jefferies
Governance
The museum property is owned by the Council, with the Trust having a lease plus delivery agreement which give the Trust authority to run the site as a museum and the responsibilities that go with it.

With a board of trustees chaired by Dr David Thackray (recently retired from the National Trust) the Trust has overseen a period of dramatic change at the museum, all following best museum practice, and with a growing team of dedicated volunteers from the local community. Through facilitated workshops and with the help of local Museum Development Officer, Elizabeth Neathey, the Trust has developed a rigorous management framework, complete with all documentation as required by Arts Council England’s professional museum Accreditation standard. The museum is now a fully Accredited museum.

The museum is run by Mike Pringle and Hilda Sheehan. Both look after the museum, raise funds, organise events, etc., and, when possible are employed to deliver specific grant-funded work. They are joined by regular volunteers (including Suzie, Terry, Justin, Claire, Di, Robert, Beth, Mark, Rob, Ian and dozens more) who work on tasks in arts, crafts, gardening, tidying, stewarding, kitchen work etc..
 

Funding
The museum receives no regular funding
from the Council or any other body, with all
funds dependent on fund-raising, income
generation and grant applications.














​If you can help us with funding in any way, please see here - every tiny bit means the world to us. If you want see more about what we are about, watch this short film (above) made by Historic England when we were shortlisted for the Best Community Project in the Historic Angels Awards competition funded by Andrew Lloyd Webber: