Job Vacancy – Heritage Engagement Officer (18th month Heritage Fund Project)

Fixed Term Contract April 2022 – October 2023

 4 days per week (0.8) 

The role is based at the Museum with opportunities for home working when appropriate

Reports to: Cowper & Newton Museum Trustees

Salary:  £26,500k per annum

Amazing Grace 250 – Celebrating a Diverse Legacy

 Role overview:

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery Players, and match funded by Milton Keynes Council, the project focuses on a yearlong programme of Olney and Milton Keynes based exhibitions, talks, walks and cultural and community events in collaboration with the Open University, the Friends of the Caribbean – MK, the Stables Music Venue, the African Diaspora Federation – MK, Olney Town Council, the African and Caribbean Arts & Heritage Union-MK, the Sierra Leone Committee-MK and St Peter & St Paul Church, Olney.

Written in Olney by the Rev John Newton to accompany his 1st January 1773 New Year’s Day sermon, ‘Amazing Grace’ is now sung around the world and has been transformed by time, place and events to become one of the best loved and most often sung hymns.

This project will:

  • Increase skills for Trustees and volunteers securing the sustainability of the Museum
  • Bring new and diverse audiences to the museum
  • Develop links with African and Caribbean communities throughout Milton Keynes and connect the Museum & Olney internationally
  • Install new improved museum displays:
    • John Newton’s early time as a sailor and his participation in the slave trade. The display will be curated with assistance from Museum& (the social history museum which celebrates the contribution of Caribbean life to the UK), The African and Caribbean Arts and Heritage Union and The African Diaspora.
    • John Newton’s life in Olney and the writing of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’
    • How the hymn is now sung around the world and has been transformed by time, place and events to become one of the best loved and most often sung hymns.
  • Create exhibition materials which will be made available to a network of partners to spread the Amazing Grace story and establish partnerships for the future.
  • Create an online exhibition which will allow the story to be accessed nationally and internationally, particularly to America, Africa and the Caribbean.
  • Create an associated learning programme made available online and in the Museum, aimed at secondary schools focussing on the history of the slave trade, the British role in that trade and the contribution of Caribbean culture to the UK.
  • Deliver an activity programme which will appeal to local, regional, national and international audiences with partners from The Open University, African and Caribbean Communities in Milton Keynes, The Milton Keynes Youth Cabinet, Olney Town Council, The Stables music venue.
  • Recruit and train new and more diverse volunteers to shape the activities and make the museum more sustainable in the future.

The postholder will be responsible for:

  • Managing and developing the Museum’s central role in the AG250 celebrations
  • Raising the profile of the Cowper & Newton Museum by building relationships and partnerships within the local community, schools, colleges and other groups
  • Working closely with the Museum Trustees, House-manager and Museumand on the creation and installation of new displays and activity
  • Organising AG250 events as appropriate.
  • Working with Trustees to complete Heritage Fund reporting
  • Assisting in recruiting volunteers and training both volunteers and Trustees in audience development and heritage best practice.

Accountability: The Heritage Engagement Officer reports to the Trustees in accordance with the Museum policies, procedures and best practice in transparency and accountability.

Relationships: Works and liaises with the Cowper & Newton Museum Trustees, House-manager and Volunteers, as well as Museumand.  These responsibilities call for relevant experience, together with strong communication skills. The Heritage Engagement Officer must have a flexible approach and may sometimes be assigned to duties out of normal working hours.

The key target audience groups for audience development work are

  • Local and visiting families
  • Local schools
  • Informal adult learners.
  • Afro Caribbean community within wider Milton Keynes
  • Special interest groups eg local history societies
  • Groups who do not traditionally engage with heritage eg vulnerable people, different community groups and groups representing different religious and ethnic communities

We would also like to increase the number and expand the diversity of our core group of volunteers.

Key responsibilities:

  • Widening our audience and offer
  • Furthering knowledge of John Newton and Amazing Grace through new events, exhibitions, digital and learning resources.
  • Monitoring progress and ensuring quality of programmes.
  • Maintaining appropriate records in accordance with policies, procedures and Heritage Fund reporting
  • Assisting with evaluation

Person Specification

Knowledge, skills and experience



Experience of working in the arts or heritage sector



Experience of community engagement and audience development in a heritage or arts setting



A good communicator with ability to bring people together, to influence and engage



Able to take responsibility for organisation of an events and exhibitions programme which will reach a wide audience



A belief in the power of heritage and community engagement to impact on people’s lives for good



A graduate qualification in the arts or heritage



Experience of working with multi-ethnic communities



Understanding of the history of the 18th century



Experience of working with young people and families



Application process:

To apply please provide the following:

  • Fully completed application form  (Download here
  • A letter including your personal statement
  • At least two referees

Closing Date for Applications: 17.00 on Monday 28th March

Interview Date: 6th April

You must have the right to live and work in the UK

The post is subject to 3 months probation

For any queries and questions please contact Amanda Molcher, Trustee – AG250 Planning at

You are able to download a copy of the Heritage Engagement Officer Role here

Applications should be sent to Mrs Amanda Molcher

Applications by post to ‘Amazing Grace 250, Cowper & Newton Museum, Market Place, Olney, Milton Keynes, MK46 4AJ’.

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