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ACE director of museums visits the Isle of Wight

Arts Council England (ACE) director of museums John Orna-Ornstein visited the Hampshire Solent area last week, where he was made very welcome by Trustees, staff and volunteers in museums on the Isle of Wight.

A passionate advocate for museums, since joining ACE in September John has been working to understand the diversity of museums across the country, the challenges that face them and how ACE can best support their success. You can read more about John's aspirations for museums in this thought-provoking interview, published just a week before his visit and via his Twitter feed.

So it was great to welcome to our area. John met Trustees, staff and volunteers at Brading Roman Villa, Dinosaur Isle and Dimbola Museum and Gallery. John showed great interest in the distinctive collections, audiences, opportunities and challenges for the sector in the Isle of Wight as well as in the model for museum development provision that has been developed here with ACE support. All this while tweeting all the way and testing the catering offer! 

In his previous role at the British Museum, John had involvement in the early stages of the partnership that has enabled Brading Roman Villa to host important items on loan, so was pleased to see the fruits of this work in the current 'Roman Sex and Sexuality' exhibition.

At Dinosaur Isle, John pitched in with staff greeting visitors and examining fossil specimens. John was particularly impressed with the museum's achievements in reducing its energy costs and carbon footprint which formed a case study at our SHARE event last month

Dimbola's 'Mad Hatter's Tea Room' provided a great opportunity to find out more about the museum's actvities from Trustees, staff and volunteers prior to a tour - as well as to tweet a stunning Victoria Sponge.

In between, John also paid unofficial visits to Carisbrooke Castle and Mottistone Manor and took refreshments on the 'floating MDO Office' (as in the MDO's boat the Olive Oyl, visiting at Cowes).

A big thank you to all the enthusiastic Trustees, staff and volunteers who made John so welcome and to John for coming down, sharing your passion and vision for our sector and asking lots of thought provoking questions. We look forward to working with you and your team into the future.