The 9th Annual General Meeting
of The Friends of Manx National Heritageto be held at 11am on Saturday 26th October 2019 at the Manx Museum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas
FMNH Chairman’s Letter
I realised recently that I have now served on the Friends for 31 years, and my colleague Anne Kaye for 30 years, both of us having been elected to serve originally on the Friends of Manx Museum & the Friends of Manx National Trust respectively. We both propose to step down at the forthcoming AGM to make way for fresh ideas & new enthusiasm.
Much has changed in the 30 years since we were appointed.
- the two sets of Friends merged into Friends of Manx National Heritage (FMNH).
- FMNH became a charitable company limited by guarantee
- MNH grew, not least with the addition of the House of Manannan, and the Old House of Keys in Castletown.
- the Manx Museum in Douglas has been extended, remodelled and refreshed.
- the iMuseum has been created.
But probably the most significant change has been how Manx National Heritage (MNH) is funded, with Government making a much smaller contribution towards its running costs, and MNH having to become much more reliant on its charitable status to raise funds from its supporters and other charitable sources. The role of FMNH has therefore become even more important than it was in the past.
How has FMNH supported MNH in the past year? In a variety of ways both direct and indirect, but most notably the contribution of FMNH volunteers has made a major difference to so many functions of MNH that would otherwise have fallen down the priority list, would have cost valuable resources, or would just not have been done. There is almost limitless opportunity for enthusiastic volunteers to make a significant difference to MNH - our Administrator will be pleased to provide information on how you could help.
Funding specific acquisitions and significant projects remains an important element of the work - the emphasis has shifted from relatively minor amounts to make additions to the collections, to making larger contributions towards specific projects which might otherwise not proceed were it not for FMNH. The most exciting of these is the restoration and refurbishment of Thornbank, which is one of a group of four terrace houses built in Douglas in 1897 to a design by the renowned Arts & Crafts architect MacKay Hugh Baillie Scott. FMNH has pledged £336,000. Yes, it is more contemporary than many projects undertaken by MNH - but the present becomes the past so quickly and actions taken now to protect future inheritance will prove priceless. FMNH has also already agreed to make a further substantial donation to the proposed Motorsport Gallery which MNH wishes to create.
But FMNH is not just about fundraising - there have been visits and events such as a visit to the newly opened Knockaloe Camp Exhibition and Interpretation Centre in Patrick, a marvellous local initiative (but I may be biased!), and a tour of the Round Mounds of the Isle of Man Project being led by Dr Rachel Crellin & Dr Chris Fowler. FMNH also supported the Flower Festival at Cregneash with the help of very talented volunteers.
After 30 years dedicated service to the Friends of Manx National Trust and subsequently Friends of Manx National Heritage, Anne Kaye deserves our thanks. Her wisdom, enthusiasm and knowledge will be greatly missed. I must also thank our energetic and efficient Administrator, Nicola Pemberton, who is always coming up with new ideas as to how FMNH can support MNH, and of course, our wonderfully efficient Membership Secretary, Mary Bridson whose contribution to FMNH and other charitable organisations was deservedly recognised in the New Year’s Honours List - our congratulations and thanks to her.
Next year FMNH will have a new Chairman - I wish him/her and FMNH well!