The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust
Brighton & Hove Museums is a trading name for the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust, a registered charity.
On 1 October 2020 the Trust took over the management and operation of the Royal Pavilion & Museums service on behalf of Brighton & Hove City Council.
The Trust’s Royal Patron is the former Prince of Wales.
We want to conserve and protect our amazing buildings and collections so they are here for future generations. Your donation will help us to carry out this work, ensuring that Brighton & Hove’s unique heritage can be enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.
Managing the museums
The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) manages the museums through a 25 year contract with Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). The Council still owns the buildings and the collections.
As a registered charity RPMT is committed to activities that support the management of the buildings and collections for public enjoyment and benefit.
Apart from the Trust, an enterprise company oversees commercial activity.
The Trust board has 16 trustees including three BHCC councillors and the CEO as an ex officio trustee. The chair is Michael Bedingfield.
Hedley Swain is the Chief Executive Officer for the Trust.
Apart from the main board of trustees that meet four times a year there are four sub-committees or associated boards all of which report to the main board:
- The Finance and General Purposes Committee oversees the financial and business management of the Trust.
- The Nominations and Remuneration Committee oversees appointments to the board of trustees and executive and monitors their performance.
- The Enterprise Board oversees the management of the Enterprise Company.
- The Arts Council England “Lets Create” Committee oversees delivery of Arts Council England investment principles.
A sustainable future
Despite the current financial difficulties resulting from the COVID pandemic and other challenges, becoming a trust enables us to plan to make our museums services sustainable and resilient.
The professional teams that have made the museums such a success transferred to the Trust under the same terms and conditions they held with the Council.
How the Trust is funded
We are particularly grateful for the regular funding we receive from Brighton & Hove City Council, Arts Council England, the James Henry Green Charitable Trust, and our patrons.
Most of our budget is self-earned and comes from admission charges, commercial income and grants from external bodies and donations.
The Trust is independent from the Council. It can apply for grants unavailable to local authorities.
RPMT operates as a charity and benefits from tax relief from income such as Gift Aid.
Freedom to develop the service
Becoming a trust gives staff the freedom to develop and improve services. This benefits the local community and visitors.
Our skilled staff range from customer services and outreach to conservation and curating teams. The expertise of staff, combined with a strong fundraising track record and the knowledge and experience offered by the trustees will contributes to the success of the Trust.
The Trust now has more freedom to develop digital services that match the needs of all visitors and residents. This opens up the collections for everyone to experience and enjoy.
Over the longer term the Trust is working to develop a strong independent voice and explore a more diverse exhibition and outreach programme.
RPMT is dedicated to preserving its historic buildings and collections and it will be even more accessible in the future. The aim is to create a stimulating and unforgettable experience for visitors. It will be an inspiring resource for those who want to explore our rich heritage in more depth.
Preserving the past for the future
RPMT is dedicated to preserving its historic buildings and collections, which will be even more accessible in the future. The aim is to create a stimulating and unforgettable experience for visitors. It will be an inspiring resource for those who want to explore our rich heritage in more depth.
The Trust is working on developing alternative sources of funding such as charitable giving and sponsorship.
Gift Aid is now used to claim tax relief on donations such as admission charges. It does not cost the visitor anything but enables charities such as RPMT to claim an extra 25p for every £1 given.
Admission charges are an essential part of our business model. However, some of our sites will remain free to enter and reduced rates for residents and other discounts are available at Brighton Museum and the Royal Pavilion.
RPMT now offers new kinds of tickets, such as an annual ‘pass’ that provides better value for money and more flexibility for regular visitors. Becoming a member or patron gives access to our sites while offering other benefits and is particularly valuable to us as an organisation. A Reward card offers discounts for visiting all our five sites.
The trustees have strong links with the city and the museums sector. They are complemented by having elected councillors on their board.
RPMT reports annually to the BHCC Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee. This includes an annual report on the previous year’s activities and the following years business plan.
As an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation RPMT reports annually to Arts Council England and provides audience and other data to its annual surveys.
As a registered charity RPMT is legally obliged to publish an annual report about its finances and activities and lodge these with audited accounts with the Charities Commission.
Buildings and collections
As a registered charity RPMT is committed to activities that support the management of the buildings and collections for public enjoyment.
The agreement between the Council and the Trust protects the collections and buildings. BHCC still owns the buildings and collections.
BHCC also has a veto as the formal legal structure of the Trust is a company limited by guarantee as well as having charitable status. The council will be a member of the company.
About the Royal Pavilion & Museums
The Royal Pavilion & Museums runs:
- Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
- The Booth Museum of Natural History
- Hove Museum of Creativity
- Preston Manor & Gardens
- The Royal Pavilion & Garden
The service holds over a million objects in its collections, including three that are recognised to be of outstanding importance and quality under the Designation Scheme.
Royal Pavilion & Museums is a National Portfolio Organisation funded by Arts Council England. It is the lead partner in the consortium that manages the South East Museum Development service, which supports over 300 museums in the region.