Tag Archives: Association of British Transport & Engineering Museums


The Association’s 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held at:

London Museum of Water and Steam (Formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum), Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, London TW8 0EN on Wednesday 21st November 2018  at 3.30pm.

The AGM will take place as part of the late Autumn seminar

Operating and Conserving Historic Industrial & Transport Collections

Tickets for the event cost £25. Register using Eventbrite:


and then pay for the ticket by using the  link: https://lmws.digitickets.co.uk/tickets/ 



ABTEM member the Underfall Yard visitor centre, at the heart of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, is due to open this Easter marking a key milestone in an ambitious £4 million project. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported initiative is also securing the future of the historic industrial buildings and boatyard, with sensitive repairs and solar panelling.

Housed in the Grade 2* listed Power House, the visitor centre retells the story of Victorian engineering, which still protects the city from flooding today. It shines a light on the famous engineers linked with Underfall Yard – William Jessop and Isambard Kingdom Brunel – as well as the largely-forgotten John Ward Girdlestone who built the slipway and most of the beautifully-designed buildings.

Funding for the Underfall Yard Trust has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award, through the Association of Independent Museums as part of the National Heritage Landmarks Scheme, The Wolfson Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Headley Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, J Paul Getty Foundation and many other generous organisations and individuals, with support from Bristol City Council.

More information about this amazing project is available at: underfallboatyard.co.uk or follow @theunderfall on Twitter.


ABTEM joins major conference on sustainability in the Industrial Maritime & Transport heritage sector

 Reconnections – Sustainability and our Industrial, Maritime and Transport Heritage

 Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, Liverpool

 Tuesday 20th October 2015    10am – 4.30pm

 This year for our Autumn meeting we have been invited to join a major Conference in Liverpool organized by the Maritime Heritage Trust as this vitally important theme is of common interest.

 Keynote speakers on 20 October will include Sir Neil Cossons, Sara Crofts, Head of Historic Environment at the Heritage Lottery Fund, Paul Lewin, General Manager of the Festiniog and Welsh Highland Railways as well as speakers from National Historic Ships, the Transport Trust, the Association of British Transport and Engineering Museums and the National Railway Museum. The day will include a series of workshops with experts on applying for grants, successful project operation, fund-raising and attracting new generations of supporters and volunteers. Building effective local partnerships will be an underlying theme. Further details are at www.maritimeheritage.org.uk/programme2015.

The Conference is FREE to attend thanks to sponsorship from: the Cities of Liverpool, Cardiff and Belfast, the Transport Trust, National Historic Ships, the Association of British Transport and Engineering Museums, The Maritime Heritage Trust and locally the Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, Liverpool.  The Titanic hotel, the Conference venue, is one of the most remarkable historic building conversions in the region in recent years.

Places have been reserved until the 25th September so please reply as soon as you can if you or another member of your organisation is free to accept – places are limited to 2 for each organisation.  After this places will be filled on a first come first served basis.

To make a booking please go to conference@maritimeheritage.org.uk.


Delegates attending ABTEM’s late spring seminar at the Museum of Liverpool on Friday 28th were provided with a fascinating and inspiring day. Dr Jo Reilly, Head of Participation and Learning at the Heritage Lottery Fund gave us a good insight into the process of researching and writing activity plans and weaving in community involvement to our projects. Claire Weston (National Motor Museum Trust) highlighted the work being done on the museum’s ‘Caravans and Charabancs’ First World War community project (http://www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/caravans_charabancs) and Sharon Brown outlined two community projects undertaken at the museum of Liverpool, the restoration of Liverpool Tramcar No.245 and the development exhibition content, research, collection knowledge and talks with the Retired Carters Association. Copies of presentations should be available in the next few months.



We are looking forward to our visit to the Museum of Liverpool tomorrow (26th June) for our seminar ‘Working with New Audiences in Industrial & Transport Museums’ and meeting delegates for what looks like being an interesting day!


(Image Liverpool Museums)


Speakers for ABTEM’S late spring seminar, being held on Friday 26th June at the Museum of Liverpool are now confirmed. The day, titled ‘Working with New Audiences in Industrial & Transport Museums’ will also provide delegates with the chance to see the award-winning displays at the museum.

  • Dr Jo Reilly, Head of Participation and Learning at the Heritage Lottery Fund, who will lead a session on activity planning and community consultation. Some ABTEM members have reported challenges in the process of activity planning and what is required. In this interactive session Jo Reilly, the lead on activity planning at HLF will talk through the HLF guidance, share others’ experience and good practice, and answer any questions.
  • Claire Weston from the National Motor Museum Trust at Beaulieu, who will speak about Caravans and Charabancs – Leisure Motoring after the First World War, commemorative project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and how she engaged a variety of community partners and worked with them to devise outreach activities around the project theme.
  • Sharon Brown from the Museum of Liverpool will outline the work the museum has done with a two partner groups – the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society and the Retired Carters Association, and how the museum has undertaken restoration and developed exhibition content, research, collection knowledge and talks.

There is still time to book for this FREE seminar (lunch included) – please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/abtem-late-spring-seminar-tickets-16934884696



An industrial heritage networking event is being held on the second day of the Association of Independent Museums’ 2015 Annual Conference. The ‘sold out’ event runs from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th June.

The lunchtime event on Friday 19th June will be hosted Hosted by Tim Bryan, AIM Council member & Chair of the Association of British Transport and Engineering Museums (ABTEM)and Ian Bapty, Industrial Heritage Support Officer (IHSO)

We are really looking forward to meeting colleagues from industrial heritage sites and museums and to hear more about how ABTEM and the IHSO can support your work.

The event will be a chance to discover more about ABTEM’s role as a subject specialist network representing museums and heritage groups from the transport and industrial museum sector.

ABTEM holds seminars and events at museums and heritage sites across the UK themed mainly around collections-based topics and its latest event is taking place at the Museum of Liverpool on 26th June 2015.

Don’t forget to check the ABTEM Twitter feed for updates: @abtemuseums

The Industrial Heritage Support Officer (IHSO) was established in 2012  support industrial heritage sites and museums at a time when many groups and organisations are facing increasing pressures on maintaining the viability of their operations. Funded by Historic England and managed by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the IHSO (Ian Bapty) provides advice, delivers and develops training, promotes the development of networks and partnerships, facilitates collaborative funding applications, and works with other partners such as AIM to maximize the value of existing support across the sector. Visit the blog at: https://industrialheritagesupport.wordpress.com/

For more information about the AIM Conference please visit: http://www.aim-museums.co.uk/content/annual_conference/



ABTEM’s latest seminar to be held at the Museum of Liverpool on 26th June will concentrate on developing and working with new, existing and hard to reach audiences and will include a session from Jo Reilly, Head of  Participation & Learning at the Heritage Lottery Fund who will give practical guidance on developing activity plans and public consultation.

The day will also include some case studies from museums including the National Motor Museum that have developed community and lifelong learning projects that will hopefully provide inspiration and ideas for museums and collections of all sizes. There will also be the opportunity to spend time looking at the award-winning displays at the Museum of Liverpool.

This seminar supported by funding from Arts Council England is FREE and places can be booked at:



Supported by Arts Council England (ACE) Subject Specialist Network (SSN) funding, ABTEM has recently commissioned museum consultant Rob Shorland-Ball to carry out a Scoping Study on the feasibility of developing and updating the MGC 1994 Standard 4: Standards in the Museum Care of Larger & Working Objects.

Many people will know, or have used these standards, which provided advice and information on the management and conservation of industrial, transport and engineering collections and despite being long out of print, they remain an important source of information. The original 1994 document was augmented by the 1997 ‘Larger & Working Objects: A Guide to their preservation and care’ also published by MGC also now not available in print. The Collections Trust published Larger & Working Objects: a guide to standards in their preservation and care in 2009 but that, too, is now out-of-date and neither it, nor MGC Standard 4, was very user-friendly for private collectors, preservers and operators of larger objects.

ABTEM is keen to obtain the views of as many people as possible and so are organising two open discussion meetings to gain further feedback. These are being held on:

  • Tuesday 19 May, Museum of Liverpool – afternoon 13.30 – 16.00
  • Wednesday 27 May, London Museum of Water & Steam – afternoon 13.30 – 16.00

All are welcome at these free events – if you would like to attend, please contact Rob Shorland-Ball for further details at:  robsb@wfmyork.demon.co.uk or by telephone on (01904) 632751



Don’t forget that ABTEM’s autumn seminar ‘REVIEWING SIGNIFICANCE – AN INTRODUCTION’ will be held at the Brunel Museum in London on Wednesday 22nd October.

A very topical issue for industrial and transport museums, assessing the significance of our collections is increasingly being recognized as a key part of strategic collections management, and an essential  prioritising resources. Significance statements are also vital for applications for grant funding and for ensuring stakeholder support.

The seminar will discuss some of the tools available to help transport and engineering museums assess the significance of their collections, their current and potential use, and their care and preservation conditions and will also include relevant case studies.

Visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/association-of-british-transport-amp-engineering-museums-2622495862 to book a place.