Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Museum chief's 15 years watching visitor numbers increase

PAUL MAINDS says he was “very lucky” to have spent almost 15 years in charge of the River and Rowing Museum.

He took over as chief executive in early 1999, months after the Queen had opened the building in Mill Meadows, and oversaw an increase in visitor numbers from 50,000 in his first year to last year’s record of 117,000. He retired in September.

Mr Mainds, 63, who lives in Medmenham, said: “I’ve been very lucky because we were the ‘new kid’ in the museum world when we opened.

“To have been able to play a part in shaping our role since then has been terrific. There has been a lot of goodwill from both the Henley community and the wider rowing community. I increasingly meet local people who tell me they visited the museum with their family and enjoyed it. I think there’s a very positive view of it in this town and successive mayors have praised us and what we do here.”

Mr Mainds had planned to retire at 60 but decided to stay on when London was chosen to host the 2012 Olympics. He remains a trustee of the museum and has said he will be available for advice should he be called upon.

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