Celebratory Exhibition Planned to celebrate museums 175th anniversary

Torquay Museum. Pictures licensed for any use. 

Preparations are beginning in earnest for Torquay Museum’s 175th Anniversary. As the oldest museum in Devon, with extraordinary and internationally important objects in its care, there is plenty to celebrate. Thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and support from Torquay Museum Society the celebrations will allow the Museum to give the public increased access to its collections.

People who live and work in Torbay, or who have a link with the Museum, will be invited to choose objects for inclusion in a special exhibition. The public will also be asked to submit their photographs of Torbay in 2020 to be added to the Museum’s archive and there will be a trail of historic photographs to follow around the Bay.

The 175th Anniversary exhibition held in the summer of 2020 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 also be an exciting level of unpredictability as the public will be choosing many of the objects, so unusual items may surface from the stores.

“We hope that people will be able to uncover for themselves some of the amazing stories that can be told,” says Clare Howe, Project Curator. “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 hidden away in the Museum’s stores.”

The Museum will also be creating a photographic trail around Torbay, showing historic images in locations close to where they were taken. This will allow everyone to see how Torbay has developed and to appreciate its past. The Museum wants to preserve a record of present day Torbay by inviting the public to submit photographs to be added to the Museum’s historic collection. “We really hope this part of the project will help the Museum fill gaps in its collection as we want to target under-represented subjects. Local people will have the chance to preserve their images of life here in 2020,” said Barry Chandler, Collections & Engagement Manager.

For those interested in historic images there will be opportunities available to help with the photography and recording of the Museum’s almost 7,000 strong collection of lantern slides. This work will mean spectacular lantern slide shows can be hosted at the Museum and, by working with Lucerna Magic Lantern Web Resource and the Dartmoor Archive, this important collection will be available online for the first time.

The Museum will be hosting a range of special events, a film production and even a local history conference to celebrate its 175 years, and there will even be a cake! Keep an eye on the Museum’s website and social media to find out more about the anniversary celebrations.

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