Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees held on 13 December 2007 in the Court Room, National Museum Cardiff

PRESENT:

Paul E Loveluck, President (in the Chair); Elisabeth Elias, Vice President; Peter Morgan, Treasurer; Iolo ap Gwynn; Brian Willott ; Colin Jones; Gareth Williams; John Last; Rhiannon Wyn Hughes; Huw Williams; Carole-Anne Davies; Haydn Edwards; Miriam Griffiths; Jonathan Osmond; Gareth Wyn Jones; Christina Macaulay; Mike Houlihan, Director General; Eurwyn Wiliam, Deputy Director General; Mark Richards, Director of Strategic Development; John Williams-Davies, Director of Museum Operations; Mike Tooby, Director of Learning and Programmes; Jon Sheppard, Director of Finance and IT; Robin Gwyn, Director of Communications; Arabella Smith, Head of Policy and Planning and Tony Lloyd, Head of Administration.

545 - WELCOME AND APOLOGIES:

The President welcomed Elisabeth Elias who was attending her first meeting of the Board as Vice President and he also welcomed Carole-Ann Davies, Haydn Edwards, Miriam Griffiths, Jonathan Osmond, Gareth Wyn Jones and Christina Macaulay to their first meeting since being appointed Trustees on 1 November 2007. There were no apologies for absence from the meeting.

CLOSED SESSION

At this point the meeting was opened to the public but no members of the public were in attendance

The President welcomed Linda Tomos and Lesley-Anne Kerr (CyMAL)

550 - MINUTES:

Resolved: That the minutes of the Board meeting held on 20 September 2007 be approved subject to the number of visits to Rhagor being amended from 300,000 to 30,000.

551 - MATTERS ARISING:

  1. Rhagor (Virtual Museum) – there had been over 100,000 visits to the site in the last 3 months.
  2. The loan to the Museum of the painting by Rembrandt had been refused twice but its loan was being pursued.
  3. Art Purchase – The Kandinsky watercolour Acid Green Sickle had been purchased and was on display and had been viewed by the Trustees before this meeting.
  4. Zimbabwe National Mining Museum – the Keeper, Big Pit had been invited to return to Zimbabwe in January together with his Coal Curator. This was agreed subject to confirmation of safety of travel for both.
  5. The Board congratulated the Museum staff and in particular the Deputy Director general on its successful Centenary Conference and noted that feedback from delegates was extremely positive. The President requested a report to a future meeting on the main issues facing museum’s that had emerged from the papers presented.

552 - SCHEME OF CONSULTATION:

Received: A report from the Director General together with a draft Scheme of Consultation

Reported: That in September 2007, the Consultation Policy & Ownership Action Plan 2007 – 2008 was approved by the Board of Trustees and that to complete the requirement of the Charter and Statutes a draft Scheme of Consultation that was the legal document that linked the Policy and Plan to the Revised Charter and Statutes 2006 was presented to the Board.

Resolved: That the Scheme of Consultation be adopted by the Board and that the Action Plan be received by the Board annually.

553 – REVIEW OF 2007 AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Received and Noted: A report from the Director General.

Reported: That the Director General presented to the Board some of the Museum’s main achievements in 2007 that had reflected the priorities that had emerged from the Vision. The President and the Board of Trustees congratulated the staff for all their work during this very busy Centenary year.

The main points from the extensive executive summary were presented with Board members intervening with questions and comments:
The budget position for the next three years was considered at the last meeting of the Performance Review Committee. Calculations were predicated upon information received from CyMAL for budgets for the next three years but written confirmation of those figures was still awaited. Caution was being exercised until confirmation of the figures was received in writing but, as the figures were a significant improvement on original predictions this would allow more time for the Museum to plan ahead. Linda Tomos explained that as for all other ASPB’s, the budgets for year 2 and 3 were only indicative and the Museum should plan accordingly but that they were aware of the pressures this caused. It was understood that the capital budget and specimen acquisition grants would remain unchanged for the next three years and the President noted that during discussions with the Minister for Heritage, the Minister was supportive of the West Wing conversion and had written him a letter to this effect drawing attention to the Assembly Government’s intention to set up a strategic capital development fund.

The Wales Audit Office Additional Assurance Report and Management Letter in respect of their audit work for the year ending 31 March 2007, was agreed and presented to the Audit Committee on 21 November. There were no substantive issues of non-compliance by the Museum during the year concerned and three minor internal control recommendations were noted for action. The Museum’s progress under the Making the Connections agenda formed the majority of the Additional Assurance work and the WAO noted satisfactory progress against that agenda and the WAO had identified two areas, covering commercial activities and consultation with our users, for inclusion in a web site that has been established for “good practice exchange”.

The installation of artworks in Galleries 1-3 in the East Wing at National Museum Cardiff had been successfully completed. Gallery 10 had now been handed over and it was intended that this gallery should be opened to the public before Christmas. Essential Maintenance Works at National Museum Cardiff were now almost complete, with the final account currently under assessment by the design team. An Energy workshop was being held to review operational activities, with an aim to reducing energy consumption, particularly at National Museum Cardiff.

Herian information points have been installed at Big Pit National Coal Museum and St Fagans National History Museum. The information point at National Waterfront Museum Swansea was installed and currently awaiting activation. The Board noted the many and varied exhibitions and events that had taken place at the different sites and by partnerships and the breadth of educational and learning activity that was taking place.

The cumulative visitor figures (Apr-Oct) stands at 1,173,465 (against a target of 1,087,500) which is 85,965 (7.90%) above target and represents a 82,587 (7.57%) increase on last year.

The Museum’s On Common Ground conference, Young People, Heritage and Culture: Creating a Future from the Past was attended by over a hundred delegates, including the Minister for Heritage, Rhodri Glyn Thomas. Speakers included academics and practitioners from the youth, heritage and art sectors, together with young people and funders.

The Coity Tip project to interpret the area adjacent to Big Pit National Coal Museum, which was now rich in biodiversity, received a BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) award, together with a principal award for the use of recycled materials within the interpretation.

Preliminary work had taken place relating to the production of the Operational Plan for 08-09 with Heads of Departments being kept informed of the planning timetable via the Executive Group structure. The Fundraising Strategy was completed and had been presented to the Performance Review Committee in November.

Following feedback from the briefing sessions in which Directors have used this Executive Summary document to inform staff members about recent developments and to highlight issues discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting, the format of the Executive Summary document was being re-developed to include more information about forthcoming activities and some examples were noted.

Resolved: Accordingly and the Trustees thanked the Director General for his comprehensive report. The Director General would be briefing all staff on the challenges and opportunities the Museum would face over the next 3 years.

Colin Jones left the meeting at this point

554 - COLLECTIONS MATTERS:

(i) Collections and Research Activities - The Collections and Research Activities report July to September 2007 from the Deputy Director General was noted.

(ii) Foreign Loans - That the foreign loan as presented was agreed as recommended by the Arts Panel.

555 - TURNER TO CEZANNE:

Reported: That a selection of works from the Davies Collection was to tour to venues in the United States, the schedule being:

Columbia Museum of Art
Columbia, South Carolina
March 5 - June 7 2009

Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
June 25 - September 17

Everson Museum of Art
Syracuse, New York
October 1 - December 27

Corcoran Gallery of Art
Washington, District of Columbia
January 23 - April 25 2010

Albuquerque Museum
Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 9 - August 1

The exhibition would include 56 works, and was being toured in the United States by American Federation of Arts (AFA), on a hire-fee per venue basis, covering Amgueddfa Cymru’s costs, and providing a net income figure to the museum at the end of the tour. AFA were now finalising contracts with the venues, following full security assessments and have continued marketing of the exhibition, and the individual venues had begun addressing local marketing. Further contacts were being made direct with the venues to explore the potential for educational projects, and a final tour planning meeting would be held with AFA in January 2008 before individual site visits at each venue.

Resolved: Accordingly and that it was noted that the exhibition would be shown at NMC before it toured.

556 - PUBLIC PROGRAMME:

Received: Reports from the Director of Communications and the Director of Learning and Programmes.

Reported:

(i) National Events - Each year, Amgueddfa Cymru traditionally attends the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the Urdd Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod. Presence at all three events in 2007 had been the subject of detailed de-briefs and the Museum would attend all three again in 2008. The report outlined the background and nature of the presence at each individual event in 2008 and detailed the proposals which would show the Museum expanding its local and global reach, helping visitors make sense of the world through activities and being a place of relevance. At the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show the themes would include the celebration of the 60th anniversary of St Fagans sound and image archive and the celebration of the fashion aspect of Welsh textiles. The presence of the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff, allowed the Museum to take advantage of its proximity and to encourage visits to NMC and St Fagans. To take the most advantage from the location this time, the Museum would not have a joint presence with the National Library on this occasion but there would be co-operation in the future. Live events at these events were encouraged.

(ii) Programme Themes 2008/2009 - A detailed report on a framework of programmes for the future was presented but it was emphasised that this was work in progress and that the Museum was working towards an intellectual planning framework that would roll forward and would give clarity of message and allow positive marketing. The Director General emphasised the importance of this document as a tool to shape the future intellectual direction of the Museum.

Resolved: Accordingly and that any possible funding opportunities should be capitalised upon. IT should be considered for hard to reach audiences.

557 - COMMITTEE MATTERS:

Received and Noted:

  1. The draft minutes of the Trustees of the National Museum of Wales Pension Scheme meeting held on 12 October 2007. It was Noted: that administration and advisory services had been transferred from Mercers to BBS Consultants.
  2. The draft Minutes of the Performance Review Committee meeting held on 21 November 2007.
  3. The draft Minutes of the Audit Committee meeting held on 21 November 2007.

558 - ITEMS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS:

Received and Agreed: The Items for Future Meetings which would be updated to include reports agreed at today's meeting.

559 - ANY OTHER BUSINESS:

i) Art Department - the Board received and noted a report from the President of an internal review of the department of Art. The issues that arose would be discussed with ABL Cultural who were undertaking the Display of Art options appraisal on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.

ii) Display of Art - the Welsh Assembly Government had established a steering group to oversee the process of appointing consultants. The group consisted of members of the senior management teams from the Arts Council for Wales, National Library for Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru as well as senior officials within the Culture Division, one of who chairs the steering group.

Following a tender exercise ABL Cultural were appointed. The Chairman of ABL, Richard Crossland made a presentation to the Board in which he gave a background of his company, he explained the methodology and strategic assessment of locations and sites and how a preferred option would be developed. The steering group felt that likely locations would be Swansea, Newport, Cardiff or Wrexham and a number of sites in those areas had been identified. The final report by ABL was due in May 2008. Carole-Anne Davies suggested that it might be useful if the Design Commission for Wales was added to the list of ABL's consultees.

Resolved: That this would feature as a single agendum item at a meeting to be held on 5 March 2008 in Wrexham, immediately prior to the Trustees training day on 6 March. The aim was to examine the priorities in the Stage 1 report and then to receive a fuller report at the Board meeting in April.

560 - DATE OF NEXT MEETING:

Resolved: That the next meeting of the Board of Trustees be held on 10 April 2008 in the Court Room, NMC.

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