The Wisbech and Fenland Museum has launched an urgent appeal to local individuals, businesses and organisations to make financial pledges to keep the attraction afloat.

The 1847 building, one of the oldest purpose-made museums in Britain, has never been in better shape to serve the community since its major refurbishment last year which was largely funded by Historic England.

Visitors of all ages from Fenland and beyond are flocking to school holiday and seasonal events, craft workshops and two current exhibitions – one of art by local under-25s and the other the Museum's precious manuscript of Great Expectations on special display to coincide with the new BBC One classic series.

Wisbech Standard: The Wisbech and Fenland Museum needs the public's help to stay afloat.The Wisbech and Fenland Museum needs the public's help to stay afloat. (Image: The Wisbech and Fenland Museum)



Yet ironically the museum itself, an independent charity, is facing a £60,000 a year shortfall on income needed to pay annual running costs of £90,000 from next April.

For the first time in 100 years, while under-16s and anyone in full-time education will continue to be admitted free, from May 1, adults will be charged £5 on entry, which buys a season ticket to return free each subsequent visit within the year.

Museum chairman Steve McGregor said: “Quite simply, even with admission charges, we can't survive in our present form beyond this financial year.

“We have won one-off grants for capital projects like the recent magnificent refurbishment, but we can't use a penny of that money to keep the lights on, our collections or staff.

“To keep going after April 2024 we need businesses with local customers and employees, charities and individuals who recognise the treasure we have and what damage its loss would do to the town to join our new Patrons' Scheme by pledging £1,200 or £600 a year, paid monthly or annually.

“And for most people who can't spare that much but could afford to commit £5, £10 or £20 per month to keep a precious resource for the whole community, please join our Supporters Circle.”

When the museum lost its annual Fenland District Council grant five years ago, it was saved from closure by a small generous band of supporters (individuals and local charities mainly) who pledged a total of £35,000 each year for five years through its Refounders Scheme.

That scheme has now come to an end and subscription schemes will need to almost double what it produced.

To find out how to support the museum through either the Patrons' Scheme or Supporters Circle, ask at its new downstairs reception desk in opening hours, from 10am till 4pm, from Wednesday to Saturday, or  online via: or by email at: or telephone: 01945 583817.