AMERICAN FRIENDS OF
THE SPODE MUSEUM
AFOSM is a U.S. Organisation exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions to it are deductible for U.S. Income Tax purposes.
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The Friends of the Spode Museum is an independent charity and was formed in 2006. Since closure of the Spode factory in 2008 FOSM continues with its aims to advance the education of the public and to preserve items of historic importance for the benefit of the public in particular by the provision of support to the Spode Museum Trust. The Friends of the Spode Museum obtained charitable status in 2007 and is therefore eligible to claim Gift Aid on all donations from UK Tax Payers.
The American Friends of the Spode Museum was formed in 2015 to strengthen the Spode Museum’s international presence and enable Americans, and others subject to U.S. Income Tax, to protect their charitable deductions by supporting the Spode Museum Trust through AFOSM. American Friends can donate by:
In 2006 Royal Worcester Spode went into administration and the Spode site was purchased by Stoke on Trent City Council. The Friends raised much of the £30,000 needed to pack the collection and pay for its safe transportation from the site to various storage locations around Stoke where it remains today. This includes the paper archive, 25,000 copper plates and 40,000 ceramic pieces, sprig moulds, plus a host of other Spode related items ranging from antique furniture to portraits, shards, sprig moulds and potter’s tools. The entire collection is owned by the Spode Museum Trust, a registered charity and is protected in perpetuity.
The main objective of the Spode Museum Trust is to re-establish the entire dispersed Collection and Archive in appropriate and secure areas on the original Spode factory site thus allowing full access to the Collection for comprehensive research and educational purposes by the community. With the benefit of a HLF Grant in 2012, the Trust opened the Spode Works Visitor Centre on the factory site.
It is the wish of the City Council, who have proposed a long term lease, to have the Spode Museum Trust and it’s Collection as the key component of a ‘Creative Village’ with artists’ studios, large areas allocated for art events and all intended to be related to the innate creativity in the city.
In order to attract potential capital funders, the Spode Museum Trust must demonstrate that it is able to generate independent income to ensure sustainability and resilience for the long term security of the Collection. To this end the Trust needs to extend the Visitor Centre to increase the retail space by expanding into the former retail area behind it. Refurbishment of other areas of the site available to the Trust is required to accommodate demonstration and exhibition space for school projects, family visits, professional art and photographic exhibitions with the major space in the Art Deco ‘Ronald Copeland Art Gallery’ being retained for large prestigious public events and lectures.
With the support of the council, a first phase of a museum display and a significant increase of the retail area is currently being established to commence the process; however the much larger element is the requirement is the refurbishment of the large building known as the Art Gallery and Showroom. This building would be ideal, as it is a very sound brick and tile structure built in 1937 to house the private collection of the Copeland family on the top floor in the previously mentioned magnificent ‘Ronald Copeland Art Gallery’. Refurbishment will enable the Blue Room Collection to be re-housed in its former home on the same floor. The middle floor of this building in the Art Deco style, is lined with beautiful rosewood and mahogany panelling and is deemed to be perfect for the accessible storage of the main ceramic collection and the adjoining office areas adequate for the Curator and Research/Study areas. Security on this floor is considered to be the best of any building on the site and connects directly to the Visitor Centre.
Copper Plate Storage:
The ground floor of the Art Gallery and Showroom building, which is the largest in area of its three floors, with concrete flooring and substantial brick construction, was originally part of the production facility. Modifications would be needed to create an internal secure area for the proposed storage of the entire Copper Plate Collection with Research/Study areas and some secure display cases.
Pattern Books and Paper Archive Storage
A very important element of the Spode heritage is the complete set of Pattern Book records and the extensive collection of unique and complete paper records of the activities of the company since its formation. When these records were taken into storage, on deposit, by the North Staffordshire Archive Service it was estimated that they occupied 27 cubic metres in volume, this would increase if laid out in an accessible form. An area for this part of the Archive has yet to be identified from several possible site locations, but the key element will be a climate control system. Additionally the Photographic, Audio and Video Archive could also be included within this area.
Pottery Mould Storage
The moulds, in particular the early and historic moulds kept in various areas of the factory, were never included under the protection of the Spode Museum Trust. The Trust could make a strong case for having these brought into the Collection. The moulds could also be housed in the ground floor of the Art Gallery and Showroom building.
The buildings offered to the Trust have been unused for several years and require extensive restoration, refurbishment or replacement. Working utilities have to be installed and the buildings required to meet current regulations for public safety and accessibility. An elevator may need to be installed to give access to the middle and top floor of the Art Gallery Building.
The above projects will require funding in some form, whether it be by application for grants for larger scale capital projects or for smaller specific projects for which financial support and assistance could be more appropriate from the ‘Friends’.
Your donations will play an important part in the overall aims of the Trust and your continued support is vital to ensure that the Collection and Archive is available and secure for generations to come.
THE SPODE MUSEUM
If you would like to help you can make a donation or become a member of Friends of the Spode Museum for just £5 per annum by printing off and completing a copy of the Membership Application Form.
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