Vision, Aims, Objectives, Values

In September 2020, we announced the beginning of our ‘Reimagining’ programme of projects at the museum. Since then we have been undergoing significant change to our focus and work as a museum. Initially, we planned to close for day-to-day visits during this period but due to popular demand, we are open weekends from February to October. This has also allowed us to share our work and involve our audience in the changes. As we continue to undertake projects, establish partnerships and make progress, we will share this with you via our project pages.

Vision: People Matter

The Powell-Cotton Museum is for everyone – current and future audiences, staff, volunteers, our local community, the communities descended from the places our collections originate and anyone else who wants to work with the Powell-Cotton Museum, House and Gardens and to be part of our forward journey. To be for everyone, we will make space for more voices in our Museum: past, present and future. This comes from both listening to the diversity of voices within our community today and using our collections to explore the stories of people who have historically been silenced.


  1. To be collaborative and inclusive. Our working culture will be for everyone, collaborative in nature and will empower all to participate.
  2. To be transparent in the process and delivery of this programme. This programme of work will have a measurable framework of deliverables and milestones and we will hold ourselves accountable for both our processes and finished works.
  3. To embrace change NOW and build on the momentum of forward movement we’ve already established. The Museum began working to tell a wider, more inclusive, story in 2018. In February 2020 we started laying the groundwork for our re-imagining programme. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the level of societal inequality it has exposed, brought a dual shift in how we work and focus on what matters. This gave us the impetus to take this work from ‘behind the scenes and into the public eye. Bringing our reimagining programme to the fore now gives us a window of opportunity to radically rethink what we do and how we do it. This is a moment for change in our organisational culture - the understanding that, if we want to, we CAN do things differently and should be empowered to do so.
  4. To embed our commitment to change, as outlined via our social media channels in June and July 2020, within our Museum so that these changes become long-term, sustainable working practices, not just words. What we refer to as ‘decolonising the museum’ aims to address the silences of the past, acknowledge privilege and adjust balances of power in the present. It is a process of returning context to the collections via our interpretation and engagement, and working with our communities near and far today to be equitable, honest and transparent moving forward. This is our commitment to a new way of working, not a finished product.


  1. Securing a sustainable future for the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens. This will cover finances, the fabric of the buildings (which will in turn secure the future of the collections) and our resources. It is also reflected in our relationships with our staff and the value we place on their knowledge and experience.
  2. Make sure that all our engagement, both internally and externally, is meaningful, aligning with our Vision and Values. Engagement doesn’t always have to be of clear or tangible benefit to the Museum – sometimes it will simply be the right thing to do.
  3. Establish the identity and function of the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Garden. Previous work has identified the historic identity of the site but the future will be what we make it. This will include our external identity as a brand, but also the best relationship between our component parts (museum, house, garden) to give us an innovative, independent and sustainable future.


Our vision – people matter – is foundational to the values of this programme of work. These values will be embedded across the organisation from visitor experience and collections to operations and to HR. These values relate to everyone who works with us, in whatever way that may be.

  • Everyone’s lived experiences are valued by the organisation and everyone should be empowered to fulfil their potential. In this regard, we work to the principle that equity is as important as equality.
  • We place importance on the emotional connections that exist between people and place.
  • We have courage in our convictions: we will be brave in our actions and innovative in our approach.

Updated November 2022

Beautiful frosty mornings
2022 Roundup! This was our year of trying new things; events, tours, experiences and ways of opening. Thank you to everyone who has supported us through volunteering, visiting and donating. 
2023 will be another year of change, growing on our successes and making some of the physical changes we’ve been preparing along with new events and experiences. There’s a lot to look forward to! 
We will be open tomorrow, January 1st, 11-3 and then we reopen regularly for the season on Saturday 11th February.
We’re glad to say that we were included in the ‘Digital Benin’ project, which seeks to present Benin’s rich cultural and historical heritage, preserving it for future generations of Benin / Ido people. This website has many special features, including male and female audio, Edo designation of objects and an interactive map featuring the historical landmarks of the Benin Kingdom. View at

Image: Brass box, shaped like a fish, finished. Purchased in Benin City on 30/01/1931.