Our Lottery Fund for Heritage project is creating our new building and Social History Gallery, but there is only a small amount of money for sorting out the existing displays. We are worried that the old galleries will look very tired compared with the new spaces, and we have taken the opportunity to take out everything on display and clean it, adding in a few extra objects and tidying up some of the labelling.
Here, volunteers David an Mary are taking out and dusting some of the North Devon Art Pottery in our main display. Part of this collection will be displayed downstairs on the original Brannam Pottery shop units when we reopen.
Here are some pieces from our important Shapland and Petter furniture collection, which will have its own gallery in our old temporary exhibitions space.
Here are some views of our old Merchants Gallery, where Sam and the volunteers have carefully cleaned and moved things around to showcase the Huguenot Table carpet better. The table carpet was made for Mayor Monier Roche in 1761 and is unique – although a textile workshop was set up in Exeter by protestant Huguenot refugees fleeing catholic France at this time, this particular carpet does not seem to have been made there. It may be the sole survival of a North Devon workshop.
And here is a reminder of our archaeology display – this needs tweaking a little to take account of new discoveries. We are delighted to already have a new lighting system in place that highlights the lovely reconstruction drawings done by volunteer Felicity Halfpenny many years ago, in collaboration with Roger Cole. They haven’t been visible for over 10 years, so even this gallery will be much improved when we reopen.