Dorset County Museum celebrates its volunteers in National Volunteer Week

Volunteers-Week-LogoThis week is National Volunteer Week, and Dorset County Museum wants to recognise the generosity of its 200 volunteers who collectively give thousands of hours of their time to the Museum each year. Volunteers are involved in a wide range of activities at the Museum, from documenting, curating and conserving collections to staging exhibitions, working in the Museum Shop and helping with lectures, events and fundraising.

Museum Tea Room VolunteersJill Minchin, Volunteer Co-ordinator and herself a volunteer at the Museum explained: “The Museum simply could not care for its collections adequately or put on such a wide range of exhibitions and activities without the help of its volunteers. The Museum’s archaeology, geology, textiles, art, literary and photographic collections are all looked after by volunteer curators, and a team of volunteers also run the Museum’s library, where many important antiquarian volumes are housed.”

Museum-Volunteers-ArchaeologyJon Murden, Director added, “Volunteers are absolutely crucial to every aspect of the running of the Museum. We could not function without the enormous amount of work put in each and every day by our team of highly motivated and highly skilled volunteers. We can’t thank them enough for the essential work they do.”

Dorset County Museum has been awarded £10.3million of Heritage Lottery funding for a new Collections Development Centre. Part of this money will be used to improve the working environment for volunteers.

The Museum is always looking for volunteers for lots of different roles, so if you would be interested in getting involved please get in touch by phone on 01305 756826, or email volunteering@dorsetcountymuseum.org

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Exhibition in last two weeks at Dorset County Museum

Free Time Our stories of leisure then and nowThe current exhibition at Dorset County Museum, Free Time, has just two weeks left to run. This brand new exhibition shows the results of a project studying the changing nature of our leisure time over the last 60 years.

The project has captured the memories and stories of local people talking about hobbies and past times which are largely out of fashion today. The archive will be housed at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester when the exhibition closes for future generations to study.

Scalextric

Childhood Nostalgia: Scalextric

See the games, toys and activities enjoyed by people over the past 60 years. These include dolls, railway sets, comics and board games plus toys such as hula hoops, space hoppers and skateboards. With a variety of displays, and showcases, there is plenty to see and a lot to learn. Visitors can also listen to audio recordings of people talking about their hobbies and favourite free-time activities. Two screens show how people enjoyed their leisure time from the 1950s to the present day.

With rarely-seen photographs, plenty of activities for children and a reconstructed milk bar from the 1950s, there really is something for everyone.

The exhibition runs until Saturday 17th May. Dorset County Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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Half Term fun and games at Dorset County Museum

Hula Hooping

Hula Hooping – an image from the current exhibition, Free Time at the Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum is running a free family activity during half term week.
The theme is toys and games from the past and ties in with the new exhibition which has just opened at the Museum: Free Time.

Children and their families will be able to play with toys and games from the 50s, 60s and 70s like Flying Hats, Flips or Slam!  Learn how to work a hula hoop, do some simple juggling, or play a game of hopscotch.  There will also be a selection of traditional wooden toys, dolls and card games to try out. Come along, play some new games, learn new skills and have a lot of fun at the same time!

All family activities during 2014 are kindly sponsored by Battens Solicitors through their Charitable Trust and are FREE. The activity starts at 10.30am on Wednesday 19th February and runs for two hours. Everyone is welcome and parents and carers must stay with their children during the activities.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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FREE TIME – Our Stories of Leisure Then and Now

Free Time Our stories of leisure then and nowFree Time is a brand new exhibition showcasing the results of a current project studying the changing nature of our leisure time over the last 60 years.

The project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and aims to capture and preserve the memories and stories of local people who used to, or still do, pursue hobbies that aren’t around so much nowadays. The new archive will be housed at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester for future generations to study.

Joe Stevens, project leader, said; “When you look at old black & white photos or films it can look like a completely different age, but what we are hearing is that life today is not that different from times past.” Joe added; “We are not just interested in people’s memories from long ago, but also the recent past. We are hoping to feature a range of stories from 1945, right up to the present day.”

Working with Dorset County Museum and the Dorset History Centre, the project has enabled young people to collaborate and share with the older population in a range of activities leading up to the exhibition. Over recent weeks volunteers have been out in the community capturing local people’s leisure time memories in Bridport, Dorchester, Weymouth & Portland, and Sherborne.  As well as the archive, there will also be a website and an app for a ‘Walking Museum’ around Dorchester.

The Free Time exhibition will run at Dorset County Museum from 15th February to 17th May 2014.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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New Appeal Launched at Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum AppealLast week saw the launch of a brand new fundraising appeal at Dorset County Museum.

The new Development Appeal has been set up to raise money for a purpose-built facility in the centre of Dorchester to store the Museum’s extensive collections and provide working areas for volunteers and visiting researchers.  In addition, the project will include a bespoke education and lecture room for use by both schools and the local community.

Individuals wishing to support the scheme have the opportunity to buy a personalised plaque which will be placed in prime position on the Museum’s dramatic staircase.  They will also receive free entry to the Museum for a year and their name will be added to the development appeal donation register.  The cost of a plaque is £100.

Jon Murden (centre), Peter Down (second from front), Paul Atterbury (front) and Museum volunteers launch the fundraising project at Dorset County Museum

Jon Murden (centre), Peter Down (second from front), Paul Atterbury (front) and Museum volunteers launch the fundraising project at Dorset County Museum

The first plaque was bought by Museum advocate Paul Atterbury from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.  Paul has recently become a trustee at the Museum and wanted to show his support for the project.  His plaque has been named in memory of his great uncle Lewis who died during the Battle of the Somme.

Museum director Jon Murden said, “We are hoping for a good response to this new appeal – the money raised will be used to kick-start the project and we will then be seeking financial support from major trusts and fundraising bodies like the Heritage Lottery Fund.“

Further fundraising events are planned for next year. Jon added, “We want to get local people involved because the project will include new galleries and archives which will be accessible to the public. Ultimately everyone will benefit because we will be able to display many more objects from our unique collections.“

Anyone wishing to support the campaign by buying a plaque should contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or see the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.