Welcome to our 2020-21 Annual Review
In 2020/21, The Novium Museum and Chichester Tourist Information Centre was able to open for just 89 days as a result of COVID-19 and three national lockdowns. During this unprecedented time our first priority was the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors. While closed to the public, our team went above and beyond to support critical service areas across Chichester District Council through the Council's redeployment programme.
We also remained committed to caring for our collection and identified alternative ways to continue sharing Chichester's history. We responded quickly to the first national lockdown and developed a Virtual Museum, creating virtual tours and new content for our online audiences, ensuring that our exhibitions and collections remained accessible during our periods of closure. We delivered a range of activities to support home schooling, including Virtual Roman Week 2020, Dark Skies Festival and a series of craft activities. We also sought opportunities to adapt our delivery methods in response to the pandemic, including the development of our innovative Virtual Field Trips pilot project, a community collaboration led by Splodge Designs and our contemporary project.
We partnered with West Sussex Record Office and Screen Archive South East to create a COVID-19 Community Archive, and have been seeking contributions from the public and local organisations in order to create a record of this unprecedented time for future generations. There is still an opportunity to contribute to the archive and details can be found on our website: Covid-19 Community Archive.
The pandemic has been a significant financial challenge for us. However, we were very successful in securing grants from a range of external sources, including Art Fund, South Downs National Park Authority and South East Museum Development to continue our work during this period. We are enormously thankful to our supporters whose funding allowed us to put 'COVID-19 Secure' measures in place for reopening, to upgrade our environmental monitoring system, to restart our programme of exhibitions and to invest in the development of an online shop, which launched in November 2021.
As we write this we are in the process of welcoming our wonderful volunteers back to the museum and have been delighted to see visitors enjoying their time at the museum once again. Our Mystery Warrior - The North Bersted Man exhibition had only been open for 7 weeks when the first national lockdown was implemented. The momentum and attendance generated by tremendous media coverage was stopped in its tracks, but we are thrilled to have been able to extend the exhibition to 13 November 2021, to give visitors a chance to see this internationally significant exhibition.
Despite a hugely challenging year, our Annual Review still seeks to demonstrate our impact in the context of our 5 Key Objectives. We are proud of our achievements over the last year, and would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to the continuation of our services during 2020/21 and our road to recovery from the pandemic.