Collections Manager / Conservator to support Rural Conwy heritage

Job Summary

Contract Type
£7000 - £9000
Closing date

Job Details

1. Conwy’s Museums Service sits within Conwy Council’s Culture, Libraries and Information Section (Economy and Culture Service). The Museums Service works in partnership and in support of independent accredited Museums in the county, and acts as Museum Mentor to Sir Henry Jones Museum (Llangernyw) and Penmaenmawr Museum (Penmaenmawr).
2. Conwy Museums Service has received funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund (via UK Government) to deliver enhanced support for rural heritage in Conwy until the end of December 2024. Funding will be focussed on improving knowledge of and access to the rural collections currently housed at the Sir Henry Jones Museum (Llangernyw) and the Llanrwst Almshouses. 
3. The Sir Henry Jones Museum has been open to the public since 1934 and is run by the Sir Henry Jones Memorial (charity no. 245120) volunteer group. There are no paid members of staff. The trust’s collection numbers c.270 items, consisting of furniture, domestic items, tools, books, photographs and textiles. These items are listed on the Council’s MODES database. The museum, which has previously held Full Accreditation, received Provisional Accreditation in 2024, valid for one year, and is currently seeking new volunteers and trustees. 
4. The Llanrwst Almshouses (built 1610) opened as a museum from c. 1980 to 2011. During this period the site was run by the Llanrwst Almshouse Museum Trust (charity no. 518780, now defunct). The Trust had accredited museum status via the Accreditation Scheme, which was removed in December 2011. Items have been in store since this period and no inventory has yet been found, though various reviewers since have reported that the collection is well packed and documented. A 2003 Collections Development Policy describes the collection containing over 100 items. There is no ambition to reopen the Almshouses as a museum and suitable new homes for the items need to be found.
5. Conwy Museums Service has one part-time (0.7 FTE) Museum Development and Accreditation Support Officer (MDO) who is based at Conwy Culture Centre. The Service has recently contracted a freelance Museum Consultant to mentor the MDO and support the delivery of the SPF-funded Rural Conwy project. 

The Opportunity and Expected Outputs 
1. Conwy Museum Service is seeking a freelance collections manager with a conservation background between August and November 2024 to deliver: 
a. A location audit of items owned by the Sir Henry Jones Memorial Trust, alongside by a significance and condition assessment. 
b. A basic Excel inventory of items at the Llanrwst Almshouses, including a significance and condition assessment. 
c. A list of items from the Llanrwst Almshouses Trust recommended for acquisition by the Conwy Museum Service. 
d. Identify any items in need of urgent remedial conservation in the Sir Henry Jones collection. 
e. Packing / repacking of Llanrwst Almshouses collection items, as needed. 
f. Scoping of suitable options for the rehoming of the entire Llanrwst Almshouses collection. 
2. We are seeking to hear from individuals or organisations who could also supply practical preventative conservation training for volunteers to build enthusiasm and confidence for ongoing care of the collection at the Sir Henry Jones Museum. The plan for these sessions will be built in conjunction with the appointed contractor but respondents should budget for up to 4 training sessions before end November 2024. This training may take place on site at the museum or at another location. Site to be agreed between the collections manager and CCBC. 

Skills required 
1. Collections management and care experience, including inventory and records management. 
2. Hands-on experience of carrying out preventative conservation for a variety of collection types, and confidence handling and packing items. 
3. Experience of assessing the significance and condition of various collection types. 
4. Experience and/or confidence to deliver hands-on training for volunteers. 

The budget for this contract is between £7,000 and £9,000 excluding VAT but inclusive of all other costs. 
This will cover time, travel, subsistence and reporting. 

Timescale Activity and Provisional date 
Appointment and contract start: 29 July 2024 
Familiarisation and planning: 1 August 2024
Start collections management work: 16 Sept 2024 
Start training and engagement work: 14 Oct 2024 
Complete all work: 30 Nov 2024 

Submissions will be expected to include the following information 
1. Details of previous relevant experience 
2. Proposed project timeline 
3. Proposed project methodology 
4. Total budget to include a breakdown of proposed expenditure 
5. Details of public liability insurance 
6. Referees 

Submissions will be evaluated by a panel who will assess on the basis of 85% quality/15% price. Quality will be assessed by nos 1-3 above and price by nos 4.

Deadline for submissions and enquiries: 
Submissions should be sent by 12pm on Monday 22nd July to kate.hallett@conwy, to whom any enquiries should also be addressed