46: googling for museums

As people's lives become more digital, what does that mean for museums, which exist to hold on to real, physical things? In 1999 we received quite a lot of funding from the Department for Culture Media and Sport's "IT Challenge Fund", to run a project called North Devon on Disk.  The idea was to digitise … Continue reading 46: googling for museums

45: Tidying up in the museum

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 … Continue reading 45: Tidying up in the museum

37: Bromleys at the Museum

Some of you may remember Bromley's Cafe on the Strand. The huge 500-seat restaurant hosted weddings and birthday parties, as well as coach loads of tourists and hungry locals.  It closed down in the 1970s, but thanks to the generosity of Michael Bromley, we are about to reopen a new Bromleys as the Museum Cafe. … Continue reading 37: Bromleys at the Museum

34: Mr.Pooley’s Car

Last September a man turned up at the museum with some great photographs.  His name was Roland Packer and he had recently acquired a little car, for restoration. We were immediately intrigued.  The little car was still on the DVLA database, registered as  "PP Special", the only one of its kind.           … Continue reading 34: Mr.Pooley’s Car

32: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (Part 2)

We were devastated that we had failed to bring the engine back in 2006.  We bundled up all the evidence we had of how much Barnstaple wanted it, including letters form schoolchildren and promises of support.  We argued that it should not be in Sussex, and we begged the new owner, Mike Holland to let … Continue reading 32: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (Part 2)

31: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (part 1)

It seems an age ago now, but back in February we achieved something which has been rumbling on for nearly 20 years.  The Fire Engine bought by Barnstaple Borough in 1914 finally came home to the town.  We are incredibly excited that we will be be to display it in our new 20th Century Social … Continue reading 31: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (part 1)

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 30: The Elephant in the Room

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 26: Every object tells a story

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 25: Christmas at the Museum

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 23: Bertie Burrington