Torquay Museum is re-launching a project to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

A member of public choosing an object from the social history collectionA member of public choosing an object from the social history collection

The celebrations will now have to take place in its 176th year but after all the challenges of 2020, it feels like there is even more to celebrate.

With the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, an anniversary exhibition is planned for the summer of 2021 and will be a unique opportunity for the huge range of collections held at Torquay Museum to be on show, with 175 objects on display, one for each year the museum has been in existence.

There will be an exciting level of unpredictability as the public are choosing many of the objects, so unusual items may surface from the stores.

Initially launched last year, the 175 Project has unfortunately been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

People who live and work in Torbay were invited to choose objects from the museum for inclusion in a special exhibition.

Approximately 100 objects have already been chosen but the museum would like more people to come forward and choose the remaining 75 objects to complete the exhibition.

“Social distancing has made it more difficult for us to welcome the public into the museum stores as they are spaces designed for storage and so don’t have much open space,” said Clare Howe, project curator.

“To overcome this, we are hoping people will engage with the project virtually. Although this is not what we had planned there are advantages as it will allow people or groups who would have struggled to visit us physically to take part in the project.

“We hope that people will be able to uncover for themselves some of the amazing stories that can be told.

“It is really exciting to have the opportunity to help people explore objects they don’t usually get the chance to see because they are in the museum’s stores.

“I am hoping to use Zoom to give individuals and groups an insight into what we have in storage and to use this, our online database, phone and email to help people to select an object they would like displayed.”

The exhibition, planned for summer 2021, is just one part of a series of activities and events to celebrate Torquay Museum’s 175th anniversary.

Keep an eye on the museum’s website and social media to find out more about these other anniversary celebrations.

If you would like to take part in the project or to know more, email clare.howe@torquaymuseum.org or call the museum on 01803 293975.