Appeal launched to help ensure survival of British Schools Museum in Hitchin

Vital funds are needed to ensure the future of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin. Picture: Mille

Vital funds are needed to ensure the future of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin. Picture: Mille Morris/Sophie Milligan - Credit: Archant

Vital funds are needed to ensure the survival of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin, with an appeal launched to raise £20,000 to help keep it open and coronavirus-free.

The museum closed its doors at the end of March due to the national lockdown and, in line with government rules, has only been permitted to reopen since July 4.

Margaret Rollason, of the British Schools Museum, said: “The museum has suffered along with many, if not all, independent museums during the current pandemic.

“We all hope the future is bright, but funds are vital to ensuring the survival of this unique site and its important collections. To this end the museum has set up an appeal to raise £20,000 in 2020.”

The British Schools Museum tells the story of early education and childhood, with visitors able to have a taste of Victorian, Edwardian and mid-20th century schooling. It boasts the last remaining monitorial schoolroom in the world, pioneered by educationalist Joseph Lancaster.

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The museum is now open, with a one-way system, hand sanitiser and pre-booking among the measures taken to ensure visitors’ safety during the pandemic.

With 16,000 visitors last year, being shut for four months this year has had a significant impact on income from visitors, and the financial strain has been compounded by the fact lockdown has restricted community fundraising.

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The museum’s online appeal page says: “The British Schools Museum is a vitally important part of the fabric of our educational history, and needs your help.

“We are a charity and independent museum that relies on our income from visitors and fundraising from within our community.

“Help us to continue to welcome visitors so they can discover new things about their community safely, wander around the exhibitions at a social distance, and enjoy fresh new displays that will tell even more stories.

“Thank you for helping us to make the museum the place where learning comes to life.”

To donate, visit or send a cheque made payable to ’Hitchin British Schools Trust’ to the British Schools Museum, 41-42 Queen Street, Hitchin, SG4 9TS.

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