Museum reopens and looks to the future

Torbay Weekly

Basil Greenwood, manager of Torquay Museum:

I have great pleasure in announcing that Torquay Museum will be re-opening its doors on Tuesday, February 1.

As noted in my last piece, we are adopting a new opening pattern to enable us to better manage our limited finances.

Each week our standard pattern will be to open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

These days have long proven to be the best days on which to maximise our footfall but in order to make this work we need your support to spread the good word about the museum and encourage friends and family to visit.

Currently we have a temporary exhibition on Fiji which adds to the six permanent galleries.

Please come and visit and discover why we have this unexpected connection with the far side of the world.

Learn about the fascinating history, traditions and crafts of Fiji through the museum's rich collection of objects and the stories of the collectors who brought them to Torquay.

During the closed period in January we have been working hard to craft a new and exciting programme of temporary exhibitions and events to take place over the next year.

We have yet to finalise this programme but will bring more news on it over the coming weeks and months.

We are still working alongside our business consultant brought in to assist in reshaping our operations here at the museum and how we might best serve our local community.

This work on devising a new strategy and business plan has brought to the forefront of my mind what incredible items we have in our collections at Torquay Museum.

The difficulty is with more than 330,000 items to choose from, what are the stories we should share with our audience?

We have asked this question of the public before and we get equally impassioned views on diametrically opposite themes!

From local history to world cultures, from Agatha Christie to Ice Age Torbay, from the local marble industry, to rural life and natural history.

There has to be a balance as to what we focus on and where possible we try to bring items out of the stores and get them on display using our temporary exhibition programme.

The other area we are considering carefully at the moment is the possibility of connecting ‘themes’ to tell the story of our collections in a more coherent way.

Two such themes occupying our minds at the moment are climate change and environmental issues - this would link very well with many aspects of our collections including natural history, the ‘human evolution story’ through the Ice Age collection and the social history collection through the Old Devon Farmhouse.

It would be really valuable to hear from readers of Torbay Weekly what aspects of the museum’s collections you would like to hear more about.  I look forward to hearing from you with what I am sure will be wide ranging views on how we should focus our efforts at Torquay Museum. Please e-mail basil.greenwood@torquaymuseum.org

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