For anyone who has ever wanted to delve into the store rooms of a museum to discover some of the thousands of hidden treasures contained within, now is their opportunity with Torquay Museum’s new summer exhibition – The Secret Museum, which opens to the public on 12th June.
For two years Torquay Museum’s Curators have been planning and working hard to make this beautiful and fascinating exhibition a reality, working closely with members of the public to choose 175 unusual, wonderful and sometimes bizarre objects (one for each year that Torquay Museum has been in existence) – many of which have never been displayed before.
“People who live and work in Torbay were invited to choose objects from the Museum for inclusion in the Secret Museum exhibition,” explains Clare Howe, Project Curator. “So effectively, the people of Torbay have been co-curators of this exhibition and have been involved throughout. It has been very 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, and uncover for themselves some of the amazing stories behind them.”
Torquay Museum has exceptionally large and varied collections for a town museum. Its stores are a ‘Secret Museum’ full of wondrous objects, some of international importance, some of huge local significance, but many just curious and interesting with fascinating histories. The stores are where 99% of the collections are preserved, held in trust for future generations to study and enjoy. There are many reasons why the Museum cannot and sometimes does not display the items it holds, and it certainly does not have space to display everything. This has created a treasure trove often only seen by staff and visiting researchers.
The treasures on display in the Secret Museum exhibition vary enormously, from the beautiful to the thought-provoking, the wonderful to the downright weird. Visitors to the exhibition will discover a Victorian marble table, an Ancient Greek pot from an artificial cave in Teignmouth, half a million-year-old stone tools from Egypt, Roman lamps, a Bronze Age axe from Ipplepen, a 125,000-year-old tusk from an extinct Straight Tusked Elephant, dozens of butterflies, and an enormous Lammergeier bearded vulture, to name but a few.
The Secret Museum exhibition is part of a project to celebrate Torquay Museum’s 175th Anniversary. This wonderous exhibition opens to the public on 12th June and runs until 5th September. It’s strongly recommended that visitors book their tickets online by visiting the Museum’s website. Local people who live within a TQ postcode will get a 50% discount on the admission price. All tickets allow repeat entry to the Museum for 12 months from the date of purchase.
To celebrate the opening of the Secret Museum exhibition, entry into Torquay Museum is FREE OF CHARGE ON 12TH JUNE ONLY, and there will be storytelling and craft workshops for this day only. But visitors must book their tickets in advance for the opening day, as they are being snapped up fast and the Museum has limited availability. Visit the Museum’s website to book your tickets online.
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