Claire Adler CV

Claire Adler

Heritage Consultant: Learning, Community, Development

268 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7AU

T: 01223 411555    M: 07970671965            E: [email protected]   W:

The fundamental basis for the work I undertake and enjoy is that I love making heritage accessible to the widest possible audiences through telling the stories of people and places in an engaging way.  This can be by embedding museums and heritage sites in to their communities or enabling communities to engage with their heritage.

Key interests:

  • Assessing, monitoring and mentoring Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded projects in museums, art galleries, parks, churches and communities to encourage good practice and help projects to maximise their potential and impact for the HLF.
  • Researching and writing Activity Plans, Business Plans and applications for HLF funded projects in collaboration with applicants from pre-application to Deliver Phase.
  • Working as a Mentor and Critical Friend with heritage organisations and on partnership and community projects.
  • Working with communities to discover and interpret the story of British immigration and the stories of marginalised people in our society.
  • Project managing cultural heritage and community engagement projects.
  • Organising and delivering training.

Key Skills and Specialisms:

  • Mentoring a broad range of community based organisations to develop and deliver heritage-based projects
  • Comprehensive experience of developing all areas of successful Museums from conception.
  • Broad understanding and experience of researching and delivering best practice in a variety of areas within the Parks and Nature Reserves, Churches, Museums, Libraries and Archives sectors.
  • Wide-ranging experience of developing and delivering exhibitions, events and education programmes that are relevant to diverse or targeted audiences.
  • Extensive experience of researching and writing HLF Applications for the ‘Heritage Grants’ and ‘Your Heritage’ programmes.
  • Extensive experience of assessing, monitoring and mentoring HLF Applications for the ‘Heritage Grants’, ‘Your Heritage’ and ‘Young Roots’ programmes.
  • Wide-ranging experience of developing and delivering projects with non-traditional museum audiences, including migrant workers, Looked After Children, adults with severe physical and learning disabilities, through the process of consultation.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills.

Relevant Professional Experience as a Consultant

Heritage Lottery Fund

December 2004 – present: National Directory of Expert Advisors for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – assessing HLF applications and mentoring and monitoring about forty successful projects to date; including National Maritime Museum, New Bolsover Village, Kettle’s Yard,  St John’s Church in Hackney, Peterborough Cathedral, George Padmore Institute, Gressenhall Museum, Dowsby Village Hall, Bishopsgate Institute, Cambourne Local History Society, Duxford Imperial War Museum, Royal Hussars Museum, National Trust,  Farnham Museum and Women’s Library, to name a few…  This work has involved working with the organisations to stretch them into best practice for their project, to encourage confidence in their own abilities and skills, to monitor financial processes, encourage communications between organisations and to support staff at times when there may be considerable change.

October 2017 - present: researching and writing HLF Activity Plan for Norfolk Museums Service for a Kick The Dust partnership project targeted at 12 to 24 year olds.

January 2017 – present: researching and writing the HLF Activity Plan for Clare Castle Country Park; a park run by trustees on behalf of the council.

November 2016 – present: researching and writing the HLF Activity Plan for the redevelopment of Suffolk Record Offices including a new building run in collaboration with the University of Suffolk.  The key elements of this plan is developing traineeships appropriate for 16 plus to encourage diversification in the archive workforce.

May – July 2015 and July – Dec 2016: Researching and writing draft Round 1 and Round 2 Activity Plan for English Heritage and the redevelopment of Marble Hill House and Park for a Parks for People HLF bid specifically looking at traineeships for diversifying the future workforce.

June 2015 – November 2015: Bletchley Park Trust: Researching and writing draft Round 1 Activity Plan as part of Julia Holberry Associates for Bletchley Park for a £17million HLF bid.

September 2014 – February 2015: Cambridge Museum of Technology: Bringing together wide ranging research to create an Activity Plan that is relevant to the skills of the Cambridge Museum of Technology staff and will hopefully ensure the long term sustainability of the museum.

November 2013: Using my experience of writing and assessing HLF Activity Plans to deliver training to HLF Case Officers about what makes a good HLF Activity Plan.

Community heritage development

April 2016 ongoing: Working with Julia Holberry Associates to research and develop an interpretation strategy for telling the story of organic farming at Wimpole Farm (National Trust).

September 2014 ongoing: Mentor and project delivery for Headway Cambridgeshire, a charity working with people with severe head injuries, to successfully fundraise and deliver a heritage based projects that engages their service users, staff, volunteers and wider public.

November 2015 – May 2016: Project managing a pre-application for the redevelopment of the French Protestant Church, Soho, the conservation and interpretation of the library and archive and the community engagement with the wider French speaking communities.

December 2011 – December 2016: HLF appointed monitor for Eighth in the East Community Interest Company to deliver community engagement about the American 8th Airforce in the East of England in World War 2.  A project that has shown how social enterprises can work with museums to develop innovative projects and deliver directly to local communities.

September 2014 – March 2016: HLF appointed mentor for the New Bolsover Village development to ensure that the community is engaged in the process of using heritage as the basis for community regeneration in the village that has been affected by poverty and the bedroom tax.

September 2010 – May 2012: At Norwich Museum and Art Gallery I developed and delivered a number of art based projects with young adults with severe physical and / or learning disabilities and also an environment and recording project with Looked After Children.

Critical Friend/ Mentor

January 2017: HLF appointed mentor for St Augustine’s Shrine, Ramsgate to help manage the delivery of the Activity Plan.

February 2015 ongoing: HLF appointed mentor commissioned to push the National Maritime Museum through institutional change to become more community focused.

March 2016 ongoing: Critical Friend for St Marys Church, Becontree, to help them develop an HLF Activity Plan.

November 2009 –November 2012: Working with Hackney Museum as a Critical Friend to develop an innovative Stage 1 and Stage 2 HLF bid about the impact of the Olympics on Hackney.  Throughout the delivery of the project I worked to challenge their practices and ensure the overall project was both meeting the stated aims but also pushing boundaries about how museums can work with their local communities. 

Huguenot Museum

I was the Internal Project Manager for the development of the Huguenot Museum from May 2012 until the handover with the Director was completed in November 2014.  The Huguenot Museum is the first museum about the Huguenots in Britain and opened May 2015. 

In May to June 2011 I worked with the original Project Manager to deliver teacher and community consultations about the development of the Huguenot Museum for the Stage 1 HLF Bid, including developing the strategy for the purpose, content and target audiences for the Huguenot Museum.  I took over as Internal Project Manager of the Huguenot Museum after the Stage 1 HLF bid was submitted and successfully project managed the Stage 2 HLF Your Heritage bid, which resulted in a grant of £1.2 million being awarded in March 2014.  This included working with the Directors of the French Hospital, the parent body, to create a strategy for the museum to ensure that it will be financially viable and relevant to the target audiences strategized during the development of the Stage 1 HLF bid.  I was responsible for writing the Stage 2 HLF bid, managing consultants, developing and writing the Business Plan, liaising with HLF and the French Hospital Board to ensure that the final Museum will be to the highest quality to achieve Arts Council England (ACE) Accreditation. 

After receiving the Stage 2 HLF grant I appointed the Director and Learning Officer, sourced objects to tell the story where the French Hospital’s collection is lacking, managed consultants to deliver the building works, exhibition and conservation of the collection, developed and delivered a digital media strategy, and project managed all elements of the delivery of the Huguenot Museum.  I worked with the French Hospital Directors and the Fundraising Manager to target high net value individuals to raise the remaining £3.8 million to cover the Huguenot Museum’s endowment, mortgage and the alms houses which are part of the development.

Professional experience employed in museums

April 2004 - October 2004: Interim Head of Hackney Museum

Restructuring, fundraising and appointing new staff; managing the day- to- day running of the museum and the relationship with Hackney Borough Council.

November 1998 – April 2004: Community Education Manager for Hackney Museum Service

  • As a member of a small team, of four people, I conceived, developed and realised the redisplay of Hackney Museum.  It has since been held up as at the forefront of museums with successful community engagement, with the demographic of the audience reflecting the demographic of the London Borough of Hackney.
  • Developed the education service from conception to ensure all aspects of the school programme, holiday events, teachers’ resources, family learning pack and ESOL resources were relevant to the large cross-section of communities living in Hackney.
  • Developed and managed a number of innovative projects that investigated issues of immigration, identity and origin. 
  • Developed, fundraised and managed a number of cross domain projects with libraries, schools, community groups, museums.
  • Established and ran consultations with Teacher’s Forum, Teenager’s Group and ESOL Forum.

 January 1996 – November 1998: Education Officer at North Herts Museum Service

October 1994 – January 1996: Education Assistant at Northampton Museums

January 1994 – October 1994: Contracted Education Officer at Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry


Since 2010 I have been a Member of the Board for the Friends of Rock Road Library.  I have worked with the Board to ensure that the Library has become more embedded in the local community through fundraising for projects to enable greater physical and intellectual access and by organising community centred events.


1994 - 1996 AMA: Associate of the Museums Association

1992 – 1993 MA: Museum Studies; University of Leicester

1988 – 1991 BA (HONS) History of Art; University of Manchester; Class: 2:1

Membership of Professional Bodies and Relevant Experience

Associate Member of Museum Association and Group for Education in Museums

I have given a number of Keynote speeches, talks and training courses for Universities, GEM, Museum Association and individual Museum Services.

References On request