Yearbook 2004

Ashwell yearbook 2004 museum report

By Peter Greener

From the Ashwell Village Museum for inclusion in the 2004 Yearbook.





2003 has been a year of mixed fortunes for the museum. Although we have had our successes there always seems to have been sadness close to hand.


Our major exhibition this year, which opened for Ashwell At Home, was ‘Ashwell Paintings by Peter Gilman’ from the collection of Jean Gilman. The exhibition was dedicated to Jean’s memory. We would like to thank Jean and Maxine Gilman and Tony Francis for allowing it to go ahead. There was a special mid-summer viewing for everybody to come and see the paintings and to keep up with the other work we are doing in the museum.


That exhibition came down in November and has been replaced a display of ‘Trophies and Prizes’ sparked off by some new arrivals – the Honours Boards that hung in the library at the Merchant Taylors School. There are also School, Over-Sixties Club, and sports trophies, which are shown along with some relevant photographs from the collection.


Our new Guide and Brief History was also published in time for the At Home. It has 20 pages in full colour and apart from telling the story of the origins of the museum contains descriptions of some of the most interesting objects – from the black rat to the mantrap.


For the At Home we cleared the tables in the old part of the museum, laid them out for a Tudor Feast and inhabited the area with lots of Tudor dancers and musicians to add to the atmosphere. The At Home is an essential part of our fundraising. The revenue from it is now needed to help cover our basic running costs. The next event will be on Sunday 9th May 2004.


However the year turned sour in the autumn when within 3 weeks we lost two of our longest serving trustees. Gurney Sheppard was chairman of the trustees; he had guided us through two extensions and had given his time, advice and practical help freely over the years. Phil Crump, being close to the building, had always kept a watchful eye on it but there were also many projects that would not have been completed without his initiative. They will both be sadly missed and difficult to replace.


The Crumps have donated a portable cot that Phil and his brothers would have used when they were small. Although this has been well restored we still need a crochet or macramé maker to replace a lost part – is anyone interested? Other items that have come in this year are a plastic WWII plaque presented to the village for reaching National Savings targets, the Seven Springs Gallery sign, and a wash dolly.  


The museum is the repository of all things related to Ashwell and thanks must go to the many people who help preserve them for future generations and make them available to enjoy now. Thanks especially to the Friends, to the WI ladies for keeping it clean, to the curatorial helpers and of course to the Tearooms for tea and cakes.


If you have any queries or would just like to see what’s going on do drop in. As well as the usual opening times we are often open on Monday evenings and Thursday afternoons when you are most welcome.   


Peter Greener    Hon Curator    742956

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