11 October 2018
By Göran R Buckhorn
The other day, the Henley Standard interviewed Dr Sarah Posey, who was appointed new director of the River & Rowing Museum in Henley last spring and started to work at the museum in June.
In the interview Dr Posey says that the museum is aiming to attract more visitors from the local community. The museum has more than 114,000 visitors per year, but that is not enough, according to the museum’s new head.
‘We have a lot of local supporters who want us to succeed but for most people in Henley we’re just not on their radar – or, if we are, they’re not sure if what we do is of any interest or relevance. There’s a perception that our subject area is pretty niche,’ Dr Posey told the newspaper. ‘When I was telling friends that I’d got a job at the River & Rowing Museum, their eyes lit up as I explained the “river” side of things but started to glaze over when I moved on to the “rowing”.’
This year, as the River & Rowing Museum is celebrating its 20 anniversary year ‘we’ve really embraced the opportunity to reflect on our future and start thinking about what we’d like to achieve over another two decades,’ Dr Posey said.
The museum has been in contact with a market research agency, which will talk to visitors and members to find out what improvements they would like to see at the museum. Doing the survey, the firm will also ask Henley residents who have not been to the museum what would spark their interest.
‘We should have some firmer marketing goals by November but one theme already emerging from both our internal research and just generally talking to people is the need to get the community involved,’ Dr Posey said. ‘People don’t understand how diverse our work is or how broad its appeal is. We need to communicate that better and listen to our audience more. The environmental education side of things could grow more. It’s already an important strand in our work with schools but we could be doing more with other groups and the general public.’
In the article, Dr Posey also mentions that she wants to ‘make rowing as a subject more accessible and focus more on topics like women’s rowing and disabled rowing, which we don’t make best use of at the moment. We could also look more to the future at how science is helping the sport, which I think is interesting.’
Read the entire article in the Henley Standard here.