Soldiers of Shropshire

In a bold move toward transformation, the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum has embarked on a ‘Big’ strategic plan that envisions a profound reimagining of its collections and narratives, with the help of Steps to Sustainability.


Immersive experience

The primary objective is to reshape the visitor experience by providing a more immersive, relevant, and context-rich journey. Simultaneously, this initiative seeks to create versatile spaces that can host a myriad of events, ranging from executive dinners to temporary exhibitions, all while generating a substantial secondary income and broadening its audience.

This strategic repositioning also aims to become a focal point for academic research, amplifying the stories behind its diverse collection.

Encouraged to apply by another organisation, at the point of application, the team at the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum felt a bit directionless, so Steps to Sustainability came along a good time to help develop and present a roadmap of the future of the museum.

Programme Impact

During a visit with Richard Gough, the museum’s Director, the transformative journey prompted by the Steps to Sustainability programme unfolded.

Attracted initially by the £10,000 grant, the programme’s structured learning exceeded expectations. The project’s timeline experienced adjustments, underscoring the significance of time in achieving comprehensive and thoughtful outcomes. The programme supported this change in timeline, which proved beneficial, and allowed fostering cross-disciplinary exploration. Project funds were redirected from printing strategic plans to strategic events, like the innovative Strategy Lunches.

In addition, their mentor provided fresh perspectives on funding opportunities.

Peer support within the cohort was fundamental to success, exemplified by connections with other museums, which created a rich support network that has extended beyond the programme’s duration.

Overall, the programme has opened new possibilities, preventing the museum from stagnating and laying the groundwork for a more resilient and impactful future.

The team’s stand-out moments from the programme were:

1. Strategic Lunches

The Strategy Lunches, initially an experiment, emerged as a permanent fixture. These innovative events, held within the museum space, became a successful platform for engaging with stakeholders, fostering understanding, and gathering insights crucial for the project’s development.

2. Illuminating Development Areas

The Profit Purpose matrix proved to be a practical tool, providing a clear spotlight on areas for development. It became an essential element in shaping the strategic vision and guiding the Board in crucial decision-making processes.

3. Beneficial Cross-Exploration

Delays in engaging consultants, initially perceived as setbacks, turned out to be beneficial. The extra time allowed for cross-disciplinary exploration, enhancing the depth and comprehensiveness of the project, contributing to a more holistic strategic plan.

4. Strategic Learning and Cultural Shift

The legacy of the programme goes beyond tangible outcomes. It instigated a cultural shift within the Board, preventing the museum from merely “treading water.” The newfound confidence and strategic foresight have positioned the museum for a robust and impactful future.

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