Chair appointed for Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust

Michael Bedingfield has been appointed chair of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust following a wide-ranging recruitment process. The Trust will look after the museums service from April next year.

Mr Bedingfield, a Brighton resident and former chief executive of Tourism South East, has a strong track record in the city and with museums, serving as trustee and chair of the fundraising committee for the National Museum of the Royal Navy and on the Royal Pavilion & Museums shadow board.

Brighton & Hove’s museums service is highly regarded with internationally recognised collections and iconic buildings such as the Royal Pavilion. It includes the Royal Pavilion Garden, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Preston Manor, Hove Museum and the Booth Museum of Natural History.

Safeguarding future heritage

The Royal Pavilion & Museums service will move to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust (RPM Trust) from 1 April 2020. The new arrangements will ensure the current high standards will continue and safeguard the future of culture and heritage provided by the service. The professional teams that make the museums such a success will also transfer to the trust under their current terms and conditions.

As a charity the Trust will be able to apply for funding not open to councils and will be free from the constraints and impact of ongoing council budget savings.

Mr Bedingfield, who is a trustee of Martlets Hospice and Three Score Dance in the city, said: "Growing up in Brighton and Hove, I have vivid memories of visiting the Royal Pavilion and the museums with my family.  I am proud to be the new chairman of the RPM Trust.  From my time on the shadow board, I know many of the team and I am delighted to be joining such an inspiring professional group."

The RPM Trust will manage the museums through a 25 year contract with the council which will still own the buildings.

Origins of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust

The Trust was created from the long established and successful RPM Foundation. The foundation, set up as a charity in 1972, has supported the city’s museums for many years and has helped buy many important items for the collections, including King George IV’s only surviving grand piano and a watercolour by JMW Turner. More recently the Foundation helped fund the Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery, which opened in Brighton Museum earlier this year.

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for culture and tourism, said: “I’d like to welcome the appointment of Michael Bedingfield as chair of the RPM Trust. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“Our much-loved and internationally famous Royal Pavilion and Museums are moving into an exciting new chapter of their colourful story. Becoming a Trust will protect the service and all the staff who welcome visitors and look after our collections and buildings for the long-term. It will be a busy few months and we’re committed to making sure our staff are fully involved in the transfer and ensuring the future success of all our museums for residents and visitors.”

Yesterday (5 December) councillors agreed at the Policy & Resources Committee to transfer the museums service to the RPM Trust from April 2020.

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