Now Open - A Museum for Melksham. Come in and see us.
Yesterday morning, 11 a.m., "The Well House Collection - a Branch of the Museum of Melksham" was opened by the Town Crier, taking over one of our smaller meeting rooms as Well House Manor. The room has been fitted out with display cases, panels and boards, with pictures hanging from the picture rails, and some of the larger artefacts being free standing.
Here's Phil - who's the curator of the collection - showing our Town Crier and an early arrival some of the artefacts and electronic information we have available. Melksham has existed as a town since Saxon times, and although our current exhibition theme - based on travel and transport - primarily covers more recent times, we've got a huge and proud history to reflect. With only limited space, and many of the photographic originals being in private collections and not suitable for repeated handling, much of data is provided by computer screen. And it turns out that scanned photographs, enlarged to fill the screen, reveal far more than could be seen by the naked eye in the original.
We had an ideal flow of visitors all day yesterday - no big crowds to flood us out (so no need to call in the contingency plan!), but on the other hand we were kept on our feet, and interested all the time. I only got the time out to get a few photos, as most of the time was spent talking with guests, directing them, and listening to them tell us more about this fascinating town.
You'll see that all the artefacts in the collection are carefully labelled (and they're catalogued too) - much hard work behind the scenes in recent weeks by Lisa and Phil. And the cataloguing system continues. We've been loaned a number of artefacts - nothing of any astounding value, but may unique / sole examples, and it's critically important that we take care of them, know which belongs to whom, and the detailed terms of the loan. By having such a system in place, we've already been entrusted with a number of very interesting things - some on display, others which have been photographed and returned already.
Melksham has changed a great deal since the coming of photography, and will continue to change. The King's Arms and the Church in the town are still recongisable, but some scenes are not. And although the museum looks at the past, it must also look to plans for its own future. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have museum / exhibition space in Melksham's new Campus - to be seen and celebrated by many thousand visitors evey month, and to draw in people from outside the town to look not only at the exhibits, but also to use other Campus and town facilities too. Truely, the museum can use the past to help us build for our future.
And so - my last picture from yesterday is the first taken - before we opened, showing the mix of the old and new technologies to bring history to life and to the people of the town. Please do come in and see us - the museum and current exhibit
are open every afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Well House Manor
on Spa Road, Melksham. There's so much information that we have in the computers that we can only provide a glimpse - a tiny proportion - via our web sites and the internet - you really need to come in. And when you do so, please make sure you allow plenty of time to stop and enjoy a strawberry cream tea too.
We finished yesterday tired but happy - indeed, so tired that I fell asleep before I got a chance to write up the day. And to say "Thank you" to Phil, to Lisa both of whom who've put so much into this ... and to everyone else too. I started writing a list - and it's a very long one. To those who have provided us with encouragement, artefacts and memories. To the press who have helped us get word out about our launch (and will continue to tell people our success story, I hope). To those who came along on the day - in both official, supportive and unofficial capacities. To the members of our own staff team who were on hand yesterday and will be on hand today and in coming days. And to our visitors, without whom the whole thing simply couldn't work. (written 2012-05-13, updated 2012-05-19)
Associated topics are indexed underZ600 - History 
Press Release - Museum to explore the story of Melksham - (2012-05-11) 
The skull above the door in Melksham Town Hall - (2011-11-06) 
A Melksham Timeline - Domesday to present day - (2011-10-17) 
The Interview and The Lift - (2009-02-12) 
The Romans got it right - (2004-10-28) 
10 Years of experience - (2004-08-30)
Some other Articles
A walk around Melksham this morning. Can you place all of these? QR codes with marketing logos embeddedMore hazards of modern lifeTen more visitors to your premises every day?Now Open - A Museum for Melksham. Come in and see us.What is a metatable? How do I set one up? How do I use them? LuaThen and now pictures of Melksham - on show through the summerThe future needs for rail services to Melksham - change needed; current service an insultUsing Lua tables as objects
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