Friends are very active in support of the three Museums in Maidstone – through voluntary work and by raising money to help with the running costs of the Museums, purchase of artefacts, restoration of works, research, improved display & interpretation, and improvement to/adaption of the buildings. 

Presented below are projects that we are pursuing at present, and often how you can get involved. On a sub page of this we list those projects we have supported over the last 10 years – past projects. They demonstrate the significant support we have given the Museums over this period

MMF Volunteers - Cartoon

Small Projects

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Current Major Project

Museum Transformation Project

At the meeting of the Maidstone Borough Council’s Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee, on 3rd September 2019, members resolved unanimously to endorse a “Museums’ Transformation” project. The project is an ambitious plan to revitalise the main museum by changing the focus of the collections, improve movement around building with many changes in levels, change the use of various parts of the building. It is seen as part of continual transformation efforts over a 5 year period.

The Council sees Friends as a key partner in this venture, asking them to contribute significantly to a joint effort (with MBC) to raise much of the funding required. There is clear understanding that Friends, as a charity, can approach key grant-giving organisations.  

Covid 18 issues arose in 2020, leading to the first lock down period(including the closure  of the Museum).

It has become clear that the cultural and heritage organisations across the country during 2020 have been focused on survival, rather than development. The Museum fund-raising group (of which MMF is a part) has decided to adhere with the overall Transformation aim but to explore smaller projects in a phased approach.

We welcome any Friend to participate. If you would like to offer your services for any of these activities please contact info@maidstonemuseumsfriends.org.uk

Funding Support

Friends’ finance is considered against the situation of the MMF Board’s current accounts and forward budget.
  MMF meets three types of need for the Museums.


Operational Costs – selectively we support ongoing revenue costs. These Museums, like most across the Country, are facing considerable pressures to their usual income sources. We support where we can.

Small Projects – the identification of on-going shortfalls involving small sums of money (normally less than £5,000 per project).  These can be – the restoration of an artwork or artefact, orientation materials, or the purchase of a small item of equipment, etc. 

Major Projects – the identification of significant capital works needed, consistent with the Museums’ medium term plan.

The project(s) will always ensure:

  • be of long term benefit for the Museums,
  • be value for money, and
  • be sustainable beyond the project itself.

Naturally, any such major project would be led by Museum staff, but the Friends are a contributor in full project planning.
Normally, the Friends will only pursue one major project at a time, because – fundraising may take many years; clarity needs to be given to the Museums’ Friends, and other supporters, about the relevant fundraising ‘campaign’; and all efforts (by the Friends and Museums) need to be concentrated on one objective at a time.

Financial support is gained through applications to grant-giving trusts, local fund-raising activities, and donations.

You can contribute financially to these efforts by clicking the button at the top of the page – ‘To help these Projects please make a Donation’.

Volunteering

Pop Up Shop

Since 2019 the Friends have been operating a pop-up shop in Fremlins Walk Precinct – at no cost. We are grateful to the Management Company of Fremlin Walk for making this possible. MMF trustees provide volunteers to staff the premises – on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 3pm.

Clearly, during 2020 there were periods when the shop was closed, along with all retail establishments, for Covid reasons. But from May 2021 the shop has been providing services supporting the Museums.

The shop has four purposes:

1) selling work by Kentish artist, Geoffrey Hall. The artwork includes various sized prints, cards, place mats and coasters – we acquired these at no cost from the artist’s family. Most of the items are prints of places in Kent (including Maidstone) in bygone times. All proceeds from these sales go to MMF to support the Museums;
2) raise the profile of the Museums. There are various posters and flyers regarding special exhibitions, 2 large model dinosaurs, a dinosaur egg, brass rubbing opportunities, and a display of photographs from historic Maidstone. And now we have an Elmo – a model elephant that was on display (along with others) around the town over Summer. We are grateful to Elaine Craven, of Earl Street Employment Bureau for lending it to us. She bought it in the recent raffle.  We also provide an advisory service about the Museums.
3) space for MMF events and meetings. From August the Board has held its meetings here, and the events programme commenced in early September. The first event was a talk by Robin Ambrose, local historian and author. This took place on 2nd September. See the events page for the full list of future talks.
4) opportunities for partner arts organisations to exhibit here. Thus helping to further the ‘Creative Maidstone’ image.

Additional volunteers to work in the shop are always welcome – even if it is only possible for an hour at a time.
If you are interested in helping, please contact info@maidstonemuseumsfriends.org.uk 

Presence at Fêtes

Friends support the activities of MMF by manning stands at local Fêtes – in recent years we have been regular attendees at the:
Kent Show, Bearsted Fayre, Boughton Monchelsea Fête, and Coxheath Custard Pie Championship.
It is dubious that we will attend any local Fête in 2021, but we are constantly reviewing things, and hope to be active again in 2022.

Our presence promotes the activities of the Museums, and sells the benefits of Friends’ membership in supporting them, by engaging with the public. We always have artefacts from the Museums to delight attendees.

Tuesday Gardening Club

Friends have a Gardening Club, held at the main Museum (St. Faiths Street) on Tuesdays every 4 weeks. Work starts at 10am and lasts no longer than 2 hours. The objective it to maintain the three open spaces at the Museums – the Courtyard in front of the Tudor part of the building, the Godiva courtyard to the rear of the main staircase near the Bentlif library, and the gardens at the rear of the Tudor part of the building.


This year we have planted, and maintained, geraniums (pelagoniums) and petunias – the colours look wonderful.
In addition, we are clearing the beds of weeds at the rear of the building.

Dates for the remainder of 2021:


Tuesday 9th November

Tuesday 14th December

We welcome any Friend who wishes to participate. If you would like to offer your services to the gardening club please contact

info@maidstonemuseumsfriends.org.uk