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Information about the collections at Boston Guildhall Museum

Museum statement of purpose

To increase the enjoyment and understanding of the collections held by Boston Borough Council and to share the history of Boston Guildhall through; supporting the care, preservation and management of the collections and the environments in which they are stored or displayed, and to provide access and interpretation of the collections to a wide range of audiences.

The beginnings of a museum....

In 1924, fourteen paintings were bequeathed to the Corporation of Boston together with a collection of Egyptian antiquities (which in the 1970s were sold to a museum in Edinburgh!). The following year, two locally made display cases were purchased and, in 1926, a museum was opened in the Municipal Buildings in West Street. The museum transferred to the Guildhall in 1929, in which year the Corporations Museum and Arts Committee recommended the purchase of six new show cases. One of the prominent members of this committee was George Hackford, an accomplished local photographer, water-colourist and collector, who had a passion for the history of Boston. He donated many items of his work and collection to the museum.

In the early years the museum relied heavily on voluntary assistance and donations and functioned without museum trained staff. In the 1950's a curator was employed for half a day a week and then in 1986 a full time curator and other full and part time staff were appointed. By this time many other objects had been acquired and the need for professional support for the collections had been recognised.

Since 1995 there has been a document, today known as the Collections Development Policy, to focus on all collecting activities. When the Guildhall closed in 2001 due to the need for restoration works to the building, the collections were able to be documented further; this included issuing individual numbers, locations, recording condition and taking an image; a perfect opportunity to build upon previous documentation of the collections.

When the Guildhall reopened in 2008 careful consideration was given as to which objects were to be on permanent display. Additional areas within the building were identified as to where temporary exhibitions could to be situated, allowing collections within the stores to be displayed and rotated. On reopening, Boston Guildhall applied to become part of the Accreditation Scheme, today managed by the Arts Council England, and has full Accreditation Status, showing Boston's commitment to meet collection care benchmarks.