What a year this has been! We started it off in style with our brand-new logo, the swirling colourful interpretation of an astrolabe that draws in both those who recognise what it represents and those for whom it is simply attractive. The change in name may sound like a small step for humanity, but is the outcome of a huge leap for us in articulating clearly what we are about: a museum of history that talks with equal confidence about mathematics, religion and art through the stories told by some of the most intriguing and stunning objects ever made. Our equally new website is sleek, stylish – and much used.
We want to be a meeting place of cultures and history, and no project illustrates this better than our multi-award winning Multaka-Oxford, culminating in the stunning Moonlight event in November that attracted over 1,100 people. We also want to be a place of discussion and we want to encourage debate, and Tomorrow’s Oxford Heads did so spectacularly.
It has been the year when our new handrail, every bit lovingly made on site over the course of 18 months, has finally been completed and officially ‘opened’ – the first step in making our 17th century home accessible to all.
And it has been the year when we fully adopted the mindset of ‘the museum as a business’, a mindset that underpins that in the current day and age the Museum needs to operate like a business with a strong commercial performance that supports and enables many of the successes that we are very proud to share in our latest Annual Review.
So what topic could have been more appropriate for our special display in the Basement Gallery than the 60th anniversary of Oxford Instruments, the University’s first spin out company and still one of its most successful? If you ever had an MRI scan then you, like so many others, have experienced the mind-boggling achievements of Oxford Instruments, founded by two extraordinary people, Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood.
People | Science | Business celebrates the unique blend of innovation, business acumen and the amazing team that is at the heart of this company and we hope that you will have an opportunity to see the display before it closes on 1 March 2020.
This year we have pushed the boundaries beyond anything our bijou Museum was believed to be capable of – and we are determined that this is only the beginning. Going forward we will focus on Vision 2024, the ambitious strategy for our first centenary that aims to revolutionise HSM – and right now there is no stopping the amazing ideas that my team are coming up with. Watch this space (literally)!
So we end the year as we have started it: in colour, with the new uniforms mirroring all the colours (and more) represented in our new logo. But what did you do with the old uniforms? I hear you ask. The Turl Street Homeless Action (TSHA) is a student run organisation that does excellent work helping Oxford’s homeless community. Volunteers go around the city centre every night providing food, drink and warm clothing to those in need. We are really pleased at the Museum to have been able to support this local organisation by donating fleeces previously worn by our front of house staff, now put to a new use.
My team and I wholeheartedly thank you for your support throughout the past 12 months and we wish you a happy, healthy – and colourful 2020!
Dr Silke Ackermann, Director