Andrew Hewitt Visits Stuttgart

Having spent fifteen years carrying out environmental health enforcement work for two local government authorities, followed by a period of self employment, Andrew in 2010 moved into the museum sector. Initially working in operations management he was soon promoted to the role of General Manager taking charge of the day to day running of Coventry Transport Museum. In April 2015 he then took on the role of Facilities Manager following the establishment of Culture Coventry as the organisation responsible for several museums, conferencing facilities and cultural attractions within the city of Coventry.

His responsibilities are diverse, spread over a multi site operation, and include buildings ranging from a roman fort to recent new builds which were part of a £9 million pound Heritage & Lottery Funded redevelopment carried out during 2014/15. Andrew was responsible for the project management and delivery, along with the daily challenges such buildings present.

He manages a multi-skilled maintenance team, alongside managing the IT function for the organisation in order to deliver the facilities management requirements for a group of attractions welcoming in excess of 760,000 visitors each year. In conjunction with the Visitor Experience Manager he manages fifty staff in order to provide the highest standards of facilities management, and visitor experience across the attractions within the group.

Overseas  Study Trip

My study trip as part of the Museums Resilience Leadership course led me to Stuttgart in August 2015. Much of the inspiration for my choice was the impact that several museums there had contributed via the design team in the choice of design within the recent development project at the transport museum. I made plans to visit the Mercedes and Porsche Museums, along with the Landesmuseum and the Kunstmuseum, in order to be able to compare both commercially driven museums against locally funded ones. For the purpose of my study I concentrated on the Mercedes Museum and Kunstmuseum.

The Mercedes Museum was designed to be impressive, both in design and build quality. It reflected the brand in terms of giving an impression of resolute solidity, and that it was built to last. The building was simple and relatively plain, allowing the car to ‘be the star’, yet it was a museum first and foremost, putting brand promotion second. The promoted strengths were history, evolvement and pedigree, all of which have contributed to make Mercedes what it is today. The museum was designed to be accessible to all, and whilst a showroom for its product from inception to now, it never promoted the ‘hard sell’.

The Kunstmuseum was a very different museum to compare to the Mercedes one. It is centrally located in the heart of the city, and is of a radical design in the form of a glass cube. It has major impact from a design perspective being in the form of a glass cube. The interior is minimalist, and houses a ‘resident’ collection of modern art along with several temporary exhibitions which alter frequently. The exhibits are housed over three floors. The temporary exhibits in particular were diverse, and consequently led to a wide audience appeal. Despite relying on government funding there was no sign of any economic struggle, and the retail offer was prominent and generally busy.

My lasting impression of Stuttgart was that it offers a great deal from a museum and generally cultural perspective. I discovered a great deal whilst there, yet there still remains much to see, and I look forward to returning to satisfy my curiosity.