Grantham Museum is planning a hi-tech future of online video and virtual reality.
Project director David Burling says the town centre museum is losing money and it must innovate to survive.
The “call to arms” was made before Grantham Business Club last month, where he said the museum received 7,000 visitors last year, 48 for each day it was open. Its website
attracted 4,400 visitors.
Mr Burling told members: “Our current business model is not sustainable. Room rental pays our bills and donations and the gift shop pays the wages for our two part-time staff. To serve a long-term future, we have to innovate.”
For 2018, this will involve using virtual reality to tell the Grantham story. A ‘walk through museum’ could be created online, which would show things such as Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments.
“Virtual reality allows us to expand the story,” he said.
He also planned to create “Grantham Museum TV” which would feature videos and other documentaries about the area.
“There would be an online exhibition and interviews. “People can watch the stories, listen to the people,” he said.
The museum has already worked with Grantham College and Grantham Civic Society on a documentary called Grantham Goes Shopping, which has been put on its Facebook site. Another is planned about the woman who looked after the Margaret Thatcher Spitting Image puppet.
David said as well as being a physical space, the museum also aims to engage with schools and places anywhere around the world to inspire and learn. This means taking things online, with mobile phone apps able to tell where you are in Grantham and then giving historic information on this.
Grantham Museum has already trialled such technologies and though the cost and scope of the project is uncertain, David believes it is achievable within five years.
Grantham Museum receives sponsorship from Lindpet Properties and Downtown but more is needed, along with extra members joining its board, especially those with skills in HR and property management.
He added: “Please make sure this Grantham Museum charity is sustainable for the long term.”
Earlier, David described Margaret Thatcher as “the most under-used tourism resource in Grantham.”
The museum has refurbished its exhibit of her but more could be done to tell her story. Recently, a Swedish family visited Grantham just so they could see the exhibition. The museum gave them a private opening and, he said: “By engaging with them, they brought £500 to the Grantham economy.”