World Forum for Motor Museums

Every couple of years, people from motoring museums and collections across the world get together to discuss their activities, challenges and, of course, their fantastic historic vehicles. The World Forum for Motor Museums first took place at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu in 1989. Since then it has been held in museums across the UK, Europe, North America and even Australia and the British Motor Museum last hosted the event in 1995.

In 2018, the British Motor Museum was delighted to once again be the host for the World Forum, in conjunction with our neighbour, Coventry Transport Museum. Around 60 delegates took part, travelling from all five continents of the world.

During the week the seminars included how we looked after our collections and our visitors, new museum and volunteer projects, together with business and the future for our museums and collections, all part and parcel of running a successful visitor attraction. Our particular focus was on how we make sure the lovely stuff we have and do in our museums are still there for – and relevant to – future generations, when the current crop of curators have long since hung up their gloves.

Visits to other attractions are also an essential part of the World Forum. One can learn so much from experiencing how others run their organisations. Trips included a tour of Jaguar Land Rover's crisp and efficient new Classic Works, where older Jaguar and Land Rover models are restored and the company keeps a fantastic collection of classic cars. In complete contrast, we spent an afternoon at the Morgan factory, very much a British motoring institution and where the air hangs heavy with over a century of craftsmanship. Incidentally, you can visit these places yourself by booking on a factory tour. It's worth it!

We were also fortunate enough to get a glimpse behind the scenes of a new attraction which is still being built and the challenges for the team delivering such a large heritage project. The Silverstone Experience is due to open in Spring 2019 and will be an exciting interpretation of the history of Silverstone as the heart of British motor racing, as well as a new home for the BRDC archive.

One of the most vital parts of any conference are the conversations you have in the breaks or over lunch; catching up with old friends from the sector and new ones you have made. Despite the wide variety of organisations and cultures, there are many topics which we all have in common. We were very lucky to have the Black Country Living Museum to ourselves for an evening, complete with all its nostalgic buildings and transport as well as the fabulous costumed guides. It amazing what ideas you can pick up over a paper cone of scrumptious Black Country fish and chips!

The curatorial team have gone for a well-earned lie down, content that the British Motor Museum has delivered a most rewarding 2018 World Forum for Motor Museums. We're already looking forward to the next one!

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