STUART Gillis wants to work closer with young people, residents and local bodies in Ellesmere Port to “re-energise” the boat museum.
The director of the National Waterways Museum, which runs the attraction, told the Pioneer in his first interview since his appointment in April about his plans to turn around the attraction's fortunes.
Mr Gillis said: “There are some things we should be doing with the museum that we've not done before.
“We have been telling the terrific and very personal stories of the boats but have never put this into a bigger, almost heroic, context.
“This site looks in on itself, and it needs to look outside to see how the waterways all connect. After all, it started from what you can see on this site.
“The quality of this site is so unique and yet under-realised by the people of Ellesmere Port.
“We hide our light under a bushel.”
His suggestions for the museum's future include:
Ensuring the site is “fit for purpose” by looking at all its resources and making the most out of them.
Building the museum's links with Ellesmere Port town centre again. Mr Gillis said: “The motorway makes us feel cut off. The town grew out of this site yet we've not tried to build on our links with it.”
Engaging more young people through a Young Apprentice scheme, getting more volunteers from the town, and working with the National Lottery for funding and support.
And in the longer-term, being part of an integrated approach to the entire docks area, working with Peel, which is building hundreds of homes on the site, and with the borough council and incoming Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Mr Gillis said: “This will see us make the most of the site.”