Around half of our visitors are from the North East and with COVID-19 forcing the museum and Herron’s Bakery to remain closed, we thought it was time to get Beamish on the road!
In my last blog I wrote about taking Beamish out of the museum gates, with our venture into wholesale sweets, which I’m pleased to say continues to grow. More recently we have begun a new way of connecting with our local audience and fundraising for the museum – through our Baked By Beamish Home Deliveries.
As The Living Museum of the North, we tell the story of everyday life in the North East in the 1820s, 1900s, 1940s and 1950s. Many of the buildings within the living museum have been moved brick by brick and rebuilt here, including our bakery exhibit. Herron’s Bakery opened in 2013, where visitors can watch delicious bread, cakes and biscuits being made using traditional Edwardian recipes and purchase them to take home.
Our successful annual pass scheme and work with the local communities has meant around half of our visitors are from the North East and with COVID-19 forcing the museum and Herron’s Bakery to remain closed, we thought it was time to get Beamish on the road!
Initially trialled as part of our Valentine’s Day offer, some of our skilled bakers returned to work to make wonderful selections of Herron’s Bakery items that could be presented in a gift box and delivered to visitors’ homes.
Rather than using a delivery company, we felt one of the most important elements of the trial would be to deliver the treat boxes in full Edwardian costume. If the visitors couldn’t come to Beamish then we would go to them!
We have delivered Baked By Beamish boxes to over 1,200 people, with variations for Mother’s Day and Easter
The Valentine’s Day boxes sold out almost immediately and as we COVID-securely delivered the boxes around our 15 mile radius, we would read out gift messages to the recipients. It was touching to hear of the connections people had with Beamish – from first dates and weddings at the museum to special times with friends and family.
Following the trial we created Beamish Afternoon Teas boxes, packed full of delicious savoury and sweet treats from cheese twists and sausage rolls to scones and Beamish gingerbread – along with our Beamish Blend Tea or Coffee, which are produced by small local suppliers and helped them during these difficult times.
I’m thrilled to say that to date we have delivered Baked By Beamish boxes to over 1,200 people, with variations for Mother’s Day and Easter. Our costumed delivery drivers have posed for countless photos and have found it really emotive, as many of the boxes have been ordered as surprise gifts, sent from friends and family that cannot be together currently.
For those outside of the 15 mile delivery radius, we’ve continued to add to the selection of Herron’s Bakery products available as postal orders from our new online shop.
Whilst we’re looking forward to reopening when possible, the Baked By Beamish Deliveries have been a brilliant way to connect with our audience, spread some Beamish joy and fundraise for the museum while we have been closed and are likely something we will continue – something we would have never found if it wasn’t for our closure, and hopefully a great example of creative commerce.