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Dear Stakeholders,

Earlier in the year we wrote to you to set out what we were doing to explore and assess the options for the future of EMMS. Since that time we have commissioned and delivered three pieces of work that have contributed to developing a proposal for the future. We were clear that when EMMS was set up the landscape for museum support and development was very different. EMMS was a pioneer, and continued long after many similar services had ceased their work. It is important to acknowledge that EMMS has had a vital role in the region, and has made a significant contribution to a sector that today appears to be vibrant and cohesive. But we have had to acknowledge that the context has shifted dramatically and fundamentally. Confusion over the role of EMMS, and significant pressure on museum budgets through austerity has further highlighted this shift in both need and resources.

Over the last months we have thoroughly reviewed EMMS with consultant Hilary McGowan, and REDS (The Regional Emergency Disaster Service, administered by EMMS) with consultant Kate-Ann Smith. We also explored the viability of other opportunities, such as the HLF Resilient Heritage programme. This in depth work has been key to identifying a realistic and pragmatic way forward. The conclusion of this work, and long and detailed debate, was that it is time for EMMS to cease in its current form.

With EMMS’ remaining resources, we should look to create a legacy project that delivers something unique for the region in the longer term.  As such, we propose to create a new three-year programme, using EMMS funds, to develop a new look REDS scheme for organisations in the region, to be managed and delivered by MDEM (Museum Development East Midlands). The long-term ambition for REDS is to roll it out beyond the initial three-year period, and the plan will be for income to be generated beyond year three to sustain it further.

Whilst recognising and celebrating the contribution that EMMS and its supporters have made to East Midlands regional museums over a great many years, this is also a time embrace change, and to create a tangible legacy that responds directly to the needs of the sector and the current museum landscape.

The Board therefore informs its stakeholders that EMMS intends to wind down by end of March 2019, which will coincide with the launch of a new REDS scheme as its legacy for the future. We thank for your support, and wish you a peaceful break and productive New Year.


If you would like to comment, please do so by emailing info@emms.org.uk by Friday 5th January 2019.



We welcome all museums and heritage organisations in the East Midlands to join us and benefit from member services such as:

  • EMMS Events that give you information from our guest speakers, inspiration from the lively discussions and interaction with colleagues from other museums and heritage organisations across the region.  Members get FREE admission to all EMMS Events
  •  The Regional Emergencies & Disaster Support service (known as “REDS”), a ‘reassurance policy’ that can provide professional support in your hours of need – at no extra charge
  • Information from our e-newsletter and Twitter feed

Our vision is to make the next step change for EMMS and its members to make sure it always adds value and leadership, and makes a real impact. Over the next three years we will grow our activities, our team and our capacity - and ensure East Midlands museums are recognised locally, regionally and nationally as among the best in the UK.


EMMS has a new Board structure, with each Trustee having a clearly defined role. 
The Board currently includes: 




Darren is a founding Director of Barker Langham. He is an experienced cultural
and business planner, and has developed
a diverse range of cultural schemes, from museums and historic buildings to parks and landscapes – with work covering vision, options appraisal, business and operational planning.

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Dr Mike Galer

General Manager, National Tramway Museum

Mike has worked in museums for over 12 years, and after volunteering at Norwich Castle Museum he has worked on projects connected with the Museum of London and as Senior Collections Officer at Derby Museums and Curator of the 9th/12th Lancers Museum.  He has a MA in Museum Studies and a PhD in Roman Archaeology & Museum Studies.


Belinda Humfrey

Manager, Desborough Heritage Centre

After a career in teaching, research and administration at the Universities of Oxford, Reading and Wales Belinda retired to Northamptonshire where she set up and chaired a range of local charities from Youth Action, Community Transport, and Millennium Green Trust to Desborough Civic Society which runs the Heritage Centre.

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Elizabeth Moran

Museum and Collections Officer, D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum

Elizabeth has worked in the Museum sector for over 13 years, the majority of which has been in her current post at the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, with particular responsibility for collections, interpretation and accreditation.  Elizabeth has an MA in Museum and Heritage Management, is currently working on her AMA and was a participant in EMMS Stronger Museums Programme.

Sarah Hartshorne

Museum Development Programme Officer, Museum Development East Midlands

Sarah is the Museum Development Programme Officer for the East Midlands, working with 116 museums to develop ambitious and sustainable futures. In particular Sarah manages the training programme at MDEM, focusing on workforce development in all areas of museum delivery. Previously she has worked at the National Trust, English Heritage and Civic Voice, the national charity for Civic Societies, specialising in volunteer management. As a Museum Mentor Sarah works closely with the small independent sector, supporting museums through the Arts Council Accreditation process. Sarah is a founding members of Culture Now, an organisation providing a platform for mid-career museum professionals and is a Trustee for the Broxtowe Women’s Project, actively championing wider access and gender equality for all.

Sarah Levitt

Retired Head of Arts and Museums, Leicester City Council


Sarah’s museum career began in 1974. She worked in museums in Manchester, Bristol and West London, before coming to Leicester in 1997. She is an Associate and Fellow of the Museums Association, Chair of the Arts and Heritage Panel, University Hospitals Leicester,  Board Member of the Collections Trust, and is involved in a range of other Culture and Heritage Initiatives.


Sara Blair-Manning

General Manager North Lincolnshire & South Nottinghamshire, National Trust

Sara has over 25 years’ leadership experience within the cultural and heritage sectors and extensive experience in strategic policy development and improving heritage businesses. She has significant experience of large scale project management and implementing achievable business plans and fundraising strategies. Her skills also include implementing educational programmes, developing volunteer schemes and improving risk and compliance procedures.

She is a co-chair of the Coastal Action Zone Local Action Group, member of the Lincolnshire Heritage Forum and sits on the Louth & District Help for Homeless charity board.

In her spare time Sara is a keen gardener, cook and singer.




0115 8484185


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