Saturday, 02 July 2022

Museum director resigns

Museum director resigns

THE director of the River & Rowing Museum in Henley has resigned.

Sarah Posey, who was appointed in June 2018, will leave at the end of the month. She says she has enjoyed her time in post.

Louise Wymer, a rower and former trustee, will lead the senior management team, until a new director is appointed.

Dr Posey, 57, who lives in Greys Road with her husband Nigel Worlidge, was previously curator at the Museum of Mankind in London and head of collections, interpretation and learning at the Royal Pavilion and Museums of Brighton and Hove.

She took the job in Henley with the aim of attracting more visitors and hired a market research firm to find out more about what local people wanted.

Her achievements include a 2019 exhibition on artist William Morris which attracted 22,768 people, the museum’s highest ever numbers for a temporary show.

She also launched community schemes including a partnership with The Henley College’s Pathways group in which young people with learning and physical disabilities created artworks to be sold in the museum shop.

In 2019 the museum hosted the Rowing Futures conference, which set out to widen participation in the sport.

This coincided with a display of the “unbeaten boat” rowed by Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, and an evening with the pair and their coach Robin Williams, to celebrate women’s involvement.

Dr Posey said: “The River & Rowing Museum is a very special place with a wonderful team behind it and I feel honoured to have led it through recent times of change.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, working hard to find imaginative solutions to new challenges and making our spaces safe and welcoming to visitors again after periods of lockdown.

“The environment in which the museum will operate moving forward is very different from the one when I started. I’ll continue to be a supporter and look forward to seeing it grow in new ways as it emerges from the pandemic.

“I hold dear the relationships I’ve built during my time as director and am grateful to all those who support the organisation and are essential to its sustainability.”

David Worthington, the museum’s chairman of trustees, said: “It is with regret that Sarah Posey will be leaving. She has played a critical role in the past few years, helping us to achieve record levels of popularity and patronage, not least helping us navigate the challenges of covid-19 and establish our new business plan for after the pandemic.

“We’ve been working hard re-evaluating our focus and progressing a number of initiatives to make the museum sustainable for the future, at the heart of which is a commitment to Henley and our communities.

“We are extremely grateful for Sarah’s enthusiasm, dedication and significant contributions and wish her the very best in her future endeavours.”

The museum, which opened in 1998 and operates as a charity, is continuing to gear up for re-opening soon after April 12, when the Government says it is safe to do so. It is hoped that all galleries, including the Wind in the Willows display, will be up and running by the middle of May.

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