Haverhill & District Local History Group’s centre has been awarded full museum accreditation - a change that could open up pathways to a more prosperous future.
Just a few days ago the group received the certificate from the Arts Council England confirming the new status for the centre, which is based in Haverhill Arts Centre.
The group’s honorary archivist, Tony Turner, said: “It does show that we are doing things right, which is nice to know.
“It does also open doors that would be closed if we didn’t have it.”
The group had been waiting for a number of weeks for confirmation of the arts council’s decision on whether to upgrade the centre’s status from provisional to full accreditation.
Members had to submit various documentation and forms in support of their application to one of the council’s accreditation assessors, Annette French, who finally informed them of the decision.
As part of the process the group submitted its rental agreement, a detailed 30 page forward plan, a collections development policy showing what they collected and where it came from, an emergency plan and an accessibility assessment for the disabled.
The Arts Council were not so much interested, added Mr Turner, in what artefacts or items of historical interest that the history centre said, but more in whether the group were reliable stewards of those things.
He added: “They just wanted to know that you are looking after them in the right way.”
The group has begun work on a project called Saving the 70s, and as part of that are putting up an initial display on its Gillian Young Gallery in the arts centre.
The project, which will chronicle aspects of life in the 1970s and eventually include screenings in the arts centre of films from that decade and a 1970s band that will play in the market square, was made possible thanks to Lottery funding.
Mr Turner emphasised the role the new accreditation has played in the new project, saying: “We would not have been able to put that up if we had not been accredited.”
The history centre had previously been classed as an accredited museum by the Museums and Libraries Association (MLA) but the status had to applied for again after the MLA was scrapped.