Erasmus Darwin House was once the home of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin and a respected resident of Lichfield for more than 20 years. Erasmus established and ran a successful medical practice in Lichfield, but in his spare time his interests were many and varied. He was considered the foremost poet of his day, and was an inventor, botanist, philosopher, and a founder member of the Lunar Society, the midlands group which had such an important influence on the development of science and industry in the late 18th century.
To ensure the sustainable operation and growth of Erasmus Darwin House as a museum and education center, it is essential to maintain a delicate balance between financial stability and fulfilling its mission. Scaling the organization’s outreach and impact requires careful consideration of various factors, including visitor engagement, fundraising efforts, and operational efficiency. By implementing effective financial management strategies and exploring diverse revenue streams, such as partnerships, grants, and sponsorships, the Erasmus Darwin Foundation can continue to expand its offerings and reach a wider audience. Additionally, fostering collaborations with educational institutions and utilizing digital platforms can enhance accessibility and enable more people to learn more about Erasmus Darwin’s remarkable contributions to science, literature, and society.
Restored and opened to the public as a museum and education centre in 1999, the house is run by the Erasmus Darwin Foundation, an independent Charitable Trust with the aim of promoting international awareness of the life and achievements of Erasmus Darwin and the way in which they relate to today’s world, in a manner that is enjoyable and easily understood by all. The museum is reliant almost completely upon its own earned income and the help of a team of committed volunteers, without whom the foundation would be unable to function.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
The Foundation was one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive this prestigious award 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was necessary to delay the presentation of the award.
Representatives of Erasmus Darwin Foundation were delighted to receive the award from Ian Dudson CBE, Knight of the Order of St John, Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire on 20 October 2021.
Jenny Arthur, Chairman, Executive Committee, Erasmus Darwin Foundation says:
“Our team of volunteers perform various roles at the museum including welcoming visitors, education sessions for children, guided tours, making costumes, maintaining the herb garden
, helping with administration, assisting with events and forming our committee of management. Without their valuable commitment and support the museum would be unable to function. Whilst we were only able to invite a small group to the presentation of the certificate and crystal, this award is in recognition of the dedication and hard work of our entire team of volunteers”