Ashby Museum was established in 1982 in a small cottage in Lower Church Street. In 1991 it relocated to its present home in North Street, where it shares the old National School building with the town Library and Tourist Information Centre. In 2006-7, thanks to a major Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, a two storey extension was added. It is a Registered Charity and is run by a group of trustees supported by around 70 volunteers.
In July 2007 and again in July 2010, the museum won Museum of the Year in Leicestershire. It works closely with the county Museum Service and other independent museums in the area, sharing expertise and artefacts.
Fundamental to its success has been the 30 year-long partnership with Ashby Town Council, both financial and social. The Council’s consistent support ensures the Museum can plan ahead, knowing its future is secure.
In December 2008, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Museum was awarded full Accreditation Status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. This Scheme is regarded as one of the most innovative and effective developments in the museum sector. In order to qualify for accreditation, museums must show that they are striving to extend access to new audiences, encourage learning and inspire people’s creativity. Some of the many ways in which Ashby Museum is doing this include:
- Talks and evening classes on a variety of topics
- Holiday activities for children and young people
- Guided walks
- Special events for local people
- Research facilities for local and family historians
- Its own publications
In 2010 Ashby Museum was chosen as one of a handful of museums in the whole country to take part in a Pilot Scheme to prepare for Accreditation Mark 2. It became one of four museums in the whole UK – and the only volunteer-run one – to gain the new Accreditation Status in November 2011.
The Museum is run entirely by volunteers and we are always looking for more people to help. Volunteers to be custodians are needed – the people who man the Museum during opening hours. We also welcome people to help with archiving, looking after the collections and general administration. Please contact the Museum if you are interested in joining us.