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 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

Week 19: On bricks and bricklaying

This week saw a significant milestone in our build - the laying of the first brick.  We were delighted that Keith Abraham was able to come along and do this for us, using a silver trowel he found in his collection.  We will get the trowel engraved to mark the occasion. https://www.northdevongazette.co.uk/news/museum-extension-first-brick-1-5768956 Now work is … Continue reading Week 19: On bricks and bricklaying

Week 14: The tale of a table

Sometimes things just happen and you have to drop everything.  Even in the middle of a massive project like our new extension there have been a few occasions when I have had to focus on something completely different, and that was the case with the Landkey Parish Table. "If ever there was a piece of … Continue reading Week 14: The tale of a table

Week 13: Unlucky for some?

It's 13 weeks into the build and we have a new site manager.  Mark Jordan (he's the one on the right) has replaced Clive, who had to leave for family reasons.  He was quite disappointed to leave us, as this is one of the first Barnstaple sites he has been responsible for and he live … Continue reading Week 13: Unlucky for some?

Week 10: Beautifying our Building

I mentioned a few weeks ago that artist Taz Pollard has started work on creating terracotta tiles to adorn the outside of our new extension.  This part of our project is funded separately by the Arts Council and was introduced to satisfy a planning condition that the outside of the building should reflect the North Devon … Continue reading Week 10: Beautifying our Building