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

41: A spoonful of history

On April 8th we received an auction catalogue from Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury.  Included in the sale were a collection of silver spoons, made in Barnstaple in the 16th and 17th centuries.  We were very excited, but we had to move fast as the sale was only 9 days away. We already have in … Continue reading 41: A spoonful of history

35: Moving the table

In Week 14 I wrote about the Landkey Parish Table. Landkey Parish Table We managed to save this remarkable example of early Devon craftsmanship for North Devon by securing grant funding from the Beecroft Bequest.  We agreed with the trustees of the Landkey United Charities to buy it in advance of a proposed auction at Bonhams … Continue reading 35: Moving the table

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

33: More about the Fire Engine

If you are a fan of steam, or the Fire Brigade, you will understand why we wanted to bring the Borough Fire Engine back to the town so badly.  If you are not, you may want a little more information.  We are are certain that when you see the glistening brass and gleaming paintwork you … Continue reading 33: More about the Fire Engine

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

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 29: Struggling for a Strapline: A House of Stories