Bringing the Boldre Hoard home: community engagement sparks fundraising success
St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery’s Boldre Hoard Appeal won The Brown Creative Award for Best Campaign under £100,000 in the Emcees Awards 2017, run by The National Arts Fundraising School. Mark Tomlinson shares the secrets behind their success.
St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery is located at the heart of the historic coastal market town of Lymington. It is a dynamic museum and highly regarded art gallery that appeals to both locals and New Forest visitors.
The museum explores the history of Lymington and the New Forest Coast. Inspired by local pride and supported by the local community, its collections and colourful hands-on displays offer a fascinating insight into the area for all ages.
In 2014, an incredible hoard of 1,600 coins was discovered by metal detectorists in the museum’s home town. Buried in a Romano-British pot, the coins dated back as far as the third Century.
Determined to keep the hoard together, we set about raising £30,000 to bring the Boldre Hoard home to Lymington where it belongs.
At the time of this campaign, the museum was closed for major renovation. Our small team, which has only one full-time member of staff, was working out of a temporary office. We were managing a re-brand and a £2.3 million capital redevelopment — The Future of St Barbe — supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.
We had also been successful in a bid to Arts Council England’s Resilience Fund. Through that grant we were able to employ a marketing manager and to work with commissioned fundraisers. That additional capacity proved vital in making the Boldre Hoard campaign a success.
We were first notified of the Boldre Hoard by the Hampshire Finds Officer in 2014. It had been taken to the British Museum for assessment so we contacted them to request information.
The British Museum was interested in one particularly rare coin, but we wanted to keep the hoard intact. British- Romano finds are very unusual in the New Forest so the hoard tells an important part of our local history.
The British Museum generously shared their knowledge about the hoard and agreed that it should return to Lymington. We just needed to raise £30,000 to bring the hoard home.
Championing the campaign
We were keen to find a figurehead to champion the campaign. TV presenter and historian Dan Snow was an obvious choice. He had brought his kids to the museum before and had recently moved to the area. We approached him and he kindly agreed to help us.
Because the hoard forms such an important part of our local history, we also wanted to involve the local community. We talked to local schools and the owner of the land where the coins were found.
With the community behind us, we set up a special launch for the campaign. The landowner gave us access to his field and local schools came along dressed in Roman costumes. They were able to see elements of the hoard and Dan Snow gave a talk about the importance of bringing it home.
Students from Highbury College filmed the launch day and that film became a central part of the fundraising campaign and the event that evening.
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