Week 30: The Elephant in the Room

For the last 10 years, there has been a large willow and paper elephant suspended in the museum entrance hall.  The Barnstaple Elephant, discovered in a clay pit in Summerland Street in 1844, has become an important part of the museum's identity.  The carnival version has provided a friendly welcome to the museum to thousands … Continue reading Week 30: The Elephant in the Room

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Week 29: Struggling for a Strapline: A House of Stories

I'm having one last go at creating the "strapline" that will tell people what we are all about.  Having said in my last post that it's all about the objects, this is 2019, and we have to recognise that much of our interaction with the world takes place digitally. The major part of our new … Continue reading Week 29: Struggling for a Strapline: A House of Stories

Week 28: Struggling for a Strapline: A Centre for Curiosity

In our search for a "strapline" we have realised that providing opportunities for learning is not our only role, and certainly not what makes us unique.  Museums are primarily about real physical things, and as the world becomes more and more digital, so that even once-sacred family photograph albums are few and far between, it … Continue reading Week 28: Struggling for a Strapline: A Centre for Curiosity

Week 27: Struggling for a strapline: A Place for Learning

There was a time when museums sat quietly in the centre of their town, opening their doors to welcome the occasional researcher or local enthusiast.  Now we are part of the local tourism industry, as well as a resource for local people, and we see our role as supporting well-being and identity as well as … Continue reading Week 27: Struggling for a strapline: A Place for Learning

Week 26: Every object tells a story

Our museum holds many thousands of objects, but only a small proportion can be displayed.  Space is always short, and even those things which are "out" can easily be missed by visitors.  We cannot explain all the details of each item's story in the small number of words available on a label or graphics panel. … Continue reading Week 26: Every object tells a story

Week 25: Christmas at the Museum

It's been a slightly odd Christmas, with no museum to close up for the holidays.  Ever since 2007, when the Square was redesigned, the town Christmas Tree and the Christmas Lights have been a focus for celebration.  Next year we will be joining in making Christmas a great event, with the Christmas Lights switch on … Continue reading Week 25: Christmas at the Museum

Week 23: Bertie Burrington

As the centenary commemorations for the First World War draw to a close, I thought it would be interesting to look at an ordinary Barnstaple man whose records we have here in the museum.  Bertie Burrington wasn't a hero, and he wasn't one of the thousands who gave their lives in the Great War, but … Continue reading Week 23: Bertie Burrington

Week 22: It never rains but it pours…

We had a minor setback last week, when our Fire Alarm went off at 6.30 on Saturday morning.  We feared the worst, as so many terrible things happen during building works - remember the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter just two years ago?  Fortunately it turned out not to be the builders' fault, but our … Continue reading Week 22: It never rains but it pours…

Week 21: Lethaby’s Legacy

One of our tasks at the Museum is to show off the products and creativity of North Devon people, and to inspire young people now to go out into the world and create wonderful things like the pottery and furniture made at Brannams and Shaplands in the past.  In our new extension we will be … Continue reading Week 21: Lethaby’s Legacy