Happy Museum is registered as a Community Interest Company, We have a small Board – our Trustees are:
Gaby Porter (Chair) is an independent consultant, working with people in a wide range of cultural organisations, enterprises, partnerships and teams. In her work, she uses the Thinking Environment (developed by Nancy Kline) to enable people to think afresh, focus on what matters most, and generate powerful actions by which they increase their impact, extend their reach and realise their aspirations.
Gaby has worked with Anne Murch for many years and on many projects, including developing Inspiring Learning for All, the national best practice framework to put users and learning at the forefront of planning and services in museums, libraries and archives, launched by MLA in 2004. They also developed leadership programmes for the British Museum and its UK Partners; and for the Women Leaders in Museums Network. Gaby was Co-Director of the Museum Leaders Programme at the University of East Anglia from 2003 to 2012.
Gaby is a partner with Battersea Arts Centre in Creative Museums, a programme of experimentation for six smaller museums to build lively programmes and animate venues, directly and creatively involve their audiences, tackle challenges and generate new business opportunities.
Gaby is a Fellow, Fellowship Appraiser and mentor for the Museums Association. She has a doctorate in Museum Studies (University of Leicester). She teaches and practices yoga and somatic movement, and loves gardening and walking.
‘I am delighted to Chair the board of the new Happy Museum CIC. Its purpose is radical, direct and potentially transformative. The Happy Museum invites us to come together and to play a positive part in imagining and shaping our future. It recognises that our culture, heritage and creativity are vital in nurturing the personal relationships and social bonds that people value.’
Tony Butler (Founder of the Happy Museum) is a social history curator at heart and has been Executive Director of Derby Museums Trust since 2013. The Trust runs three museums and is custodians to the city’s historic collections which include the largest collection of work by Joseph Wright of Derby. Prior to that, Tony was director of the Museum of East Anglian Life for nine years. He repositioned the organisation as a social enterprise and led a major capital development programme. In 2011 he founded the Happy Museum Project, to create a community of practice to explore how museums could contribute to a society in which well-being and environmental sustainability were its principle values. He was the Fellow for museums on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2007-08, a Director of Mission Models Money and is a Trustee of Kids in Museums.
For decades Maurice Davies (Trustee) has been intrigued by museums and galleries: what they do, what they’re for and how they could do whatever it is better. He was lucky enough to spend most of his career indulging that interest at the Museum Association, where he variously edited Museum Journal, organised conferences and events, devised policy and oversaw special initiatives such as Diversify, which aimed to increase the accessibility of museum careers to people from minority ethnic backgrounds and other people from groups underrepresented in the workforce. He led work on Sustainability and Museums, which chimes well with the Happy Museum Project. Along the way he’s has part-time academic posts at Imperial College (visiting lecturer), University of East Anglia (fellow at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts), Nottingham Trent University (visiting professor). He’s currently a senior research fellow in the Department of Management at King’s College London and is on the faculty of cultural leaderships programmes in Norway and at Oxford University. In his early career he was a fine art curator at Manchester Art Gallery and at Tate. Now, in an unexpected late career move, he’s enjoying being head of collections at the Royal Academy.
‘My interest in Happy Museum comes from the work I did at the Museums Association. Happy Museum takes some of those ideas (and plenty more besides) and sees what they mean in practice. That’s fascinating, and very worthwhile.’
Chris Keady first encountered the incredible connection between arts and health whilst working at the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum – working on exhibitions and programmes celebrating the relationship between health and culture. Following this, as an Arts Co-ordinator in Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Chris established numerous creative programmes across several patient environments. Chris first discovered the Happy Museum Project whilst researching socially responsible museums for his MA dissertation in Art Gallery and Museum Studies – so it was a wonderful opportunity to practically apply this understanding as a member of the Study Group with Derby Museums. This allowed him to think critically about the practicalities of embedding the Happy Museum principles in to a large and dynamic public programme. Now working at the National Railway Museum, Chris is developing a new community focused approach to learning and participation.
Anna Bunney, Engagement Manager, Manchester Museum
Natalie Ireland, Head of Learning and Public Programmes at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry