Claire McDade, the new director at Paxton House, is a woman with a mission!
And that mission is to put Paxton House firmly on the tourism map and make it something local people can be proud of.
Claire, originally from Glasgow, took up her new appointment last month and hopes that by this time next year people will see big changes in what is one of Berwickshire’s premier tourist attractions.
“My priority is to raise the profile of Paxton House and really put it on the tourism map, welcoming people from the local area as well as beyond,” she explained.
“I also hope to bring in more funding from grants and funds to be be able to do more education projects, and also use it as a top music and arts venue. The Paxton Trust is a charity and we have been hit hard by the recession and I will be working hard with the team here to attract funding from various trusts and foundations.
“We are dependent on visitors and the income from tickets - we think it is very good value. A visit to Paxton House can be a real family day out with something for all ages. One of our main aims is to make the local community feel that Paxton House is for them. Places like this should be for the local community and I am passionate about this.
“Paxton House is a recognised centre of excellence for art with its Picture Gallery and we hope to bring recognised artists to Paxton and attract more visitors.
“I am very excited about my new job and hopefully I can help make a visit to Paxton House a fantastic day out.”
Claire graduated with a history degree from Glasgow University and was involved, as a student, with the first open top bus tours in the city.
She then attended Leicester University where she graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies and went on to work for a Canadian Museums Consultancy.
After a couple of years she became an audience development officer for a new art gallery in Walsall before moving to Manchester as outreach officer at the Manchester Art Gallery.
Here her job was focussed on getting people from deprived areas and ethnic minorities interested in art.
Her next job was as policy officer with the Museums Libraries Archives Council working mainly in the north west of England, helping museums develop themselves and modernise.
Prior to coming to Paxton Claire was director at Norton Priory Museum and Gardens in Runcorn which had a medieaval museum and walled gardens, “a great training ground for coming to Paxton House”, she said.
For further information on Paxton House and what’s coming up there in the next few months, visit their website on www.paxtonhouse.co.uk