Barnstaple & North Devon Museum Development Trust

Supporting the Museum that Barnstaple deserves

About the Project

This exciting project aims to create the Museum that Barnstaple deserves.

The project will enable the museum to work with our local community to tell the stories of North Devon in the 20th and 21st centuries in new “permanent” displays, including material generated by our HLF funded projects on Brannam’s pottery and Shapland and Petter. The Long Bridge Wing will increase access to our social history collections, eliminating the need for external storage, and improve the visitor experience by housing a new social history gallery, high quality temporary exhibitions space, improved tea-room, meeting/learning space, toilets, and a lift to enable disabled access to the first floor. Our activities programme will increase the profile of the museum to increase visitors as part of a new partnership initiative to establish the town as a cultural destination. The meeting/learning room and improved shop and tea-room will increase the proportion of our income which is directly earned, enhancing sustainability.

The key aims of our project are:

  • To encourage a deeper engagement with North Devon’s heritage for more and a wider range of people.
  • To ensure that our collections are better preserved and more of our collection is shared with visitors.
  • To provide a wonderful destination for visitors to the region.
  • To support the wellbeing of the local community by acting as an agent of community cohesion.
  • To increase the sustainability of the Museum as a whole, through refurbishment of the tearoom, relocation of the shop, and creation of a meeting room and learning offer

We will create:

  • A new build social history gallery with improved display and environmental conditions.
  • A temporary exhibition space, to include temperature and humidity controls, allowing better exhibition programming.
  • A learning/meeting room (to hold up to 35 people), with adjacent cloakroom and tea-making facilities for meeting room letting.
  • A lift, creating easier access to the first floor galleries.
  • A redecorated and reordered entrance hall and stairs .
  • Relocation and improvements to the tea room and shop to increase income generation
  • New onsite collections storage, including publically visible storage of the reserve art pottery collections.
  • Modification of the Museum library, to provide a research space for volunteers and the visiting public
  • A trained team of object collection care volunteers
  • The collection of more stories and images from the local population
  • Redisplay of the Shapland and Petter arts and crafts furniture collection in the former temporary exhibition space

Alongside the Capital Project we will carry out an Activity Programme that will:

  • Create our Social History gallery through community involvement, assisted by four teams of community experts and two community panels;
  • Fit out a local shop as a Pop-up Museum; collections care within the Pop-up Museum will be delivered by the new volunteer collection care team.
  • Develop a Flexible Fringe display of short-term loans to address gaps in exhibition themes
  • Develop, test and pilot new KS2 resources around the topic of Barnstaple’s trade and cultural developments as a result of that trade
  • Work with PETROC, the north Devon 16+ education provider, to introduce structured work experience in the café for learning needs students, and better work experience offer made to Year 10 students from local secondary schools
  • Work with PETROC Art and Design students to deliver Made in Barnstaple. Students will design, create and market items for sale in the Museum shop
  • Apply for and start (if successful) an AHRD doctoral project in partnership with the University of Bath Spa based on the Brannam ceramics and archive collection.
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