New role at museum

The Green Howards Trust has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer; Emma Woods MBE.

Trustees carried out a restructure to create the new post of Chief Executive Officer, following the departure of the former Curator-Director earlier this year, aiming to generate an increased focus on commercial opportunities at the museum, which has been marking fifty years at its home in the centre of the market town throughout 2023.

“There are ongoing challenges faced by the heritage sector in terms of finance, funding and sustainability,” says Nick Watt, Chair of The Green Howards Trust. “We are committed to protecting and preserving our past, but our focus is firmly on the future. Slightly shifting the emphasis of the lead role in our staff team means we are able to move forward in the best shape possible.”

Emma has a background in heritage and the arts, having catalogued the silver and decorative arts for the Royal Collection. As a specialist in antique silver, she spent a decade as a consultant inventorying both private and public collections. In 2003 Emma took her career onto a more commercial path; buying a sawmill in Helmsley, which she sold in 2021. Emma is a member of the Business Board of the Local Enterprise Partnership for North Yorkshire and East Riding and an ambassador for Leeds University.

image of Emma Woods standing at the entrance to the museum.“I’m very excited to take up this new role as it combines my passion for the arts with my love of business,” says Emma, pictured, above. “We have a fabulous museum, in the heart of Richmond, with an internationally significant collection. The range of objects, and the personal stories we are able to tell through them is simply staggering. Our current special exhibition, Great Escapes, which focusses on the plight of soldiers becoming captive during the Second World War, is a perfect example of how we can place our museum visitors directly into the shoes of an individual soldier using the wealth of objects and information we hold. It’s an honour to join the team in this, the museum’s golden anniversary year, and I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities to enhance our position in North Yorkshire’s cultural heritage.”

Throughout the year, the museum team has been raising funds to make improvements to its Normanby Room, which was first opened up to visitors as part of a 2014 redevelopment. The room holds the museum’s extensive collection of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture as well as Fortunino Matania’s evocative First World War painting, ‘The Menin Crossroads’ plus an array of artwork and glittering silver. The fundraising will enable various enhancements to the room, including repair and conservation of the Mouseman pieces, repairs to the glazing, and improved lighting.

The museum collection includes objects from as early as 1689, thousands of images dating from the earliest days of photography, letters, diaries, rare and unique uniforms and numerous medals donated to the museum over the years, and including 15 of the 18 Victoria Crosses awarded to soldiers who served with the regiment on display in the Medal Room.