Panel discussion on the state of independent museums in the UK

10 September, 2020 at 6.30PM-7.30PM

Organised and moderated by Marie Tavinor
Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive Officer, Mary Rose Trust
Emma Chaplin, director, Association of Independent Museums
David Green, director, Florence Nightingale museum
Yvette Shepherd, Museum Development Officer, London Museum Development

In the UK, some independent museums are currently at risk of closing down when their collections contribute to the richness and diversity of our heritage. SocHistColl is dedicating an autumn series to exploring these institutions and their collections. Our first session is a discussion on the current state of independent museums in the UK bringing together four expert panellists: Helen Bonser-Wilton, CEO Mary Rose Trust; Emma Chaplin, director, Association of Independent Museums; David Green, director, Florence Nightingale Museum and Yvette Shepherd, Museum Development Officer, London Museum Development.

To register please email

David Green and the Florence Nightingale Museum
The museums website is and our Twitter feed @florencemuseum

The Florence Nightingale Museum is an independent charity, based within the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, on the site of Nightingale’s original nursing school. 2020 promised to be an exciting year for the museum, with the institution at the centre of global celebrations for Nightingale’s bicentenary, with WHO naming 2020 the Year of the Nurse & Midwife in her honour. Many exhibitions, events and activities were planned but the COVID19 pandemic dramatically changed plans leaving the museum fighting for its future, attempting to safeguard its services and 3000 objects which celebrate the founder of modern nursing and her legacy.

David Green is the Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum. A graduate in history and politics, David joined the team in 2017 having worked in a variety of museums and heritage sites across the sector including Nottingham Castle. The Natural History Museum and The National Trust. He is passionate about using heritage as part of community regeneration and enjoys visiting heritage sites across the world, notably in Asia and Latin America.

Emma Chaplin, AIM

Emma Chaplin has worked in curatorial and senior management roles in independent and local authority museums in England and Wales for over 25 years as well as running a successful consultancy business, specialising in collections management and business planning.

She has been Director of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) since early 2018. AIM supports, champions and advises over 1000 member museums across the UK and is an Arts Council England Sector Support Organisation. AIM members range from some of the biggest museum and heritage attractions in the UK such as the Black Country Living Museum and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust through to small community museums that are run by volunteers.

Emma holds the Fellowship of the Museums Association, is a Trustee of the Port Sunlight Village Trust and the Creswell Heritage Trust and is a member of the Canal and River Trust’s Museum Advisory Board.

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Mary Rose

Helen qualified as an Interpreter/Translater in German & Spanish. She became an Advertising Account Manager, then moved into Brand and Marketing with Crown Paint. After being Group Marketing Manager at Bernstein Kitchens, Helen joined the National Trust as Marketing and Supporter Development Manager in Devon and Cornwall. She was then Project Director of Tyntesfield, at the time, the National Trust’s biggest ever project. She became Operations Director for National Trust South West and also led the National Trust’s 2010 Change Programme as Programme Director. Helen became Chief Executive of Mary Rose in 2015, led the 2016 relaunch, the 2018 move to independent trading and the launch of new exhibition ‘Many Faces of Tudor England’ in 2019. 2020 has been a challenging year for Mary Rose, aiming to raise £2.2m to cover the costs of caring for the collection during lockdown. Mary Rose re-opened on 24th August in a joint ticketing venture with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Yvette Shepherd, London Museum Development

Yvette Shepherd is a Museum Development Officer for the London Museum Development Team.  Yvette leads on issues of Organisational Health for the team and co-ordinates LMD’s programmes related to forward planning and sustainability, including the current Re-opening and Recovery grants programmes.  Yvette provides direct support and advice, including accreditation advice to museums in South and West London.

Marie Tavinor, The Society For The History of Collecting

Marie is a founding member of the Society for the History of Collecting and is currently its Secretary. She is also Course Lead in the Executive Master in Cultural Leadership at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. She specialises in the history of collecting, the history of the art market and the development of the cultural sector, and she gained her PhD at the Royal Holloway, University of London.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *