News Archive


New temporary exhibition open 'Hats Off'

Hold on to your hats! Tiverton Museum has re-opening today for 2016 with a new temporary exhibition featuring hats from the museum’s collection. Not so long ago, hats were worn by everyone but have now generally fallen out of fashion. The exhibition examines how headwear developed, with bonnets being among the oldest hat style. More recent popular styles are looked, including the bowler, top hat and the trilby. Women’s hats have also changed with the fashions, growing quite large in the Victorian period with exotic decorations. Hats can also help to reveal a person’s job – from a chef’s hat to a police helmet.

The number of hat related idioms reflect the importance of headwear in the past. No eating of hats is required, just throw your hat into the ring and come to see more than a hat trick of old hats (but no old hat!) The exhibition runs from 1st February to 23rd April 2016. Entry for the exhibition only is £1 for adults, or free with a full museum admission ticket. 

 


Seals Appeal

Tiverton Museum has been offered an extremely rare chance to purchase a collection of 22 lead cloth seals from Tiverton featuring a range of merchant’s names and marks. Small lead cloth seals have been found by metal detectorists in Germany and Holland, often featuring the names of Tiverton merchants. From the late seventeenth century through most of the eighteenth century, there was a large export trade in serges from Topsham to Rotterdam or Amsterdam. The seals were attached to bolts of cloth and often discarded when all the lengths of cloth were sold. The seals are not often found in this country, but usually at market sites on the continent where Tiverton's cloth was sold.

The seals on offer to the museum have been found in Holland and date between the late seventeenth centuryand the late eighteenth century. This is a unique chance to acquire a comprehensive collection that will help the museum to improve its displays on the local wool trade.

The merchants represented in this collection include Samuel Footewhose business was taken over by his son-in-law Robert Burridge, after Samuel’s death in 1691, and then by his grandson Samuel Burridge (who is also represented in the collection). There are seals from other well-known Tiverton merchants including:

-       The Lewis family who built a grand house on Fore Street after the fire of 1731.

-       Oliver Peard who lived where Boots the Chemist is today who was very wealthy, but killed himself with a blunderbuss in 1764.

-       Benjamin Dickinson, Peard’s nephew, who eventually took over his business and rebuilt his uncle’s house on Fore Street to become a mansion that was said to ‘be finished with great taste, having every convenience suited to a very superior station in life and furnished throughout with costly elegance.’ To improve the view from his new house, Dickinson ordered the removal of the Market Cross which had stood at the centre of the street since the mid seventeenth century. In the same year, 1787, work was completed on his new country mansion at Knightshayes (which was of course rebuilt by John Heathcoat’s grandson).

The museum only has two seals in the collection at the moment which were found in Holland by a metal detectorist. These seals both feature the mark of Samuel Burridge. Burridge was a cloth merchant who owned the Great House in Tiverton, and was Mayor in 1723.

We are asking for donations to help us buy the collection and to display the seals when they arrive. For further information on how you can help please contact Pippa Griffith at the museum (01884 256295).  

 


Tiverton Museum among the finalists for two awards at the Devon Tourism Awards 2015

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life if among the finalists for Small Attraction of the Year Award and for the Access & Inclusivity Award in the Devon Tourism Awards 2015. Reaching this stage means that the museum will win a Gold, Silver or Bronze award in each category.

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director said ‘We are very pleased to be among the finalists for the third time for the Small Attraction Award. We are even more delighted to be up for the Access & Inclusivity Award as this is the first time we have entered this category. It is really important to us that we make the museum as accessible and inclusive to our local community as possible. Reaching the finals is a wonderful recognition that we are achieving this.’

Tiverton Museum is no stranger to the Devon Tourism Awards, winning the Gold Small Visitor Attraction in 2013, and Bronze in 2012. The Tourist Information Service, run by the museum won Bronze Information Service of the Year in 2014.

 


New temporary exhibition open

Tiverton Museum’s summer exhibition ‘Munitions and Matrons; Tiverton’s role during World War One’ was officially opened by BBC Radio Devon presenter Jo Loosemore. The exhibition showcases a project which has examined the contribution that the Heathcoat Factory made to the war effort during the First World War. The project and exhibition have been funded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme.

The factory was heavily involved in the war effort from 1915, producing shell cases and net for very early respirators after the first gas attacks on the Western Front. Museum staff and volunteers have undertaken hours of research using photographs, newspapers and documents. Museum staff have talked to local people who had family members who worked in the factory during the war which has helped to build up a better picture of individuals behind the story.

The Museum has been working with Knightshayes Court, which became a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) hospital in 1915. Knightshayes is also running a special exhibition ‘Knightshayes at War’ looking at the history of the hospital which runs until November.

The exhibition ‘Munitions and Matrons’ runs until 19th December and entry is free.

 


New collector's corner display

We are inviting local collectors to showcase their exhibitions in the museum, and are starting with a local person who has a collection of vintage Penguin Books. If you have a collection you would like to see on show in the museum please contact us!

 

 


Community display area used by Mid Devon Natural History Society

Mid Devon Natural History Society have put on a special display in our community display area showing some local (and not so local) wildlife, including a Tawny Owl. Discover what a door mouse's nest looks like and a variety of birds' nests.

 


Museum celebrates 55 years

Tiverton Museum celebrated its 55th birthday recently with a special volunteer tea party generously hosted by Sir Ian and Lady Amory. Around 50 of the museum’s 78 volunteers joined staff and trustees for the celebration where a cake featuring the museum’s logo was cut by Charlie Jackson, the museum’s oldest volunteer.

cake with museum logo on the icing

The museum is dependent upon volunteers who are involved in every aspect of running the organisation including welcoming museum visitors and helping with tourist information queries, caring for the collections, dealing with research enquiries, helping with school groups and family holiday activities, delivering our reminiscence service, maintaining the Grade II listed building and much more! People from all walks of life and all ages help out at the museum. Last year volunteers gave more than 11,800 hours to the museum – an in kind contribution of well over £107,420.

The museum attracts many local visitors from all over the world, many of whom comment on the warm welcome they receive from the volunteers on the front desk. Recent comments reflects how much visitors to the town enjoy our museum:

‘A Wonderful world class museum!’ – Visitor from Swaziland

‘Fantastic museum for a small town.’ – Visitor from France

‘Amazing! Thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Could spend hours here.’ – Visitor from Australia

‘One of my favourite museums ever.’ – Visitor from California

 


Munitions Workers Descendants Sought

Tiverton Museum is looking for relatives of people who worked in the Munitions Department at the Heathcoat Factory during World War One. The museum wants to add to the list of people known to have worked in the department, and also wants to record people’s family stories of the factory at that time.

Munitions workers at the Heathcoat Factory during the First World War

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum, says: ‘At the museum we have a small number of photographs of munitions workers, and know the names of some of them. We would love to hear from anyone who can help us to build our knowledge of the Factory during World War One. The first six women employed in the Munitions Department on 22nd May 1916 were Miss Aslett, Miss Cosway, Miss Elson, Miss Lake, Miss Moore and Mrs W. Thorne. Later on we know that Miss C. Dally, Miss Robjohns, Mrs Minnie Ellacott (nee Sydenham), Miss J. Norman, Miss F. Stuckey, Mrs Edbrooke, Mrs Hodsdon, Miss B. Warren, Ellen Boobier and Mr Baker were working in the department. A photograph from 1917 shows that around 90 people were working on making shell cases – over half of whom were women. If anyone recognises any of these names, or any of the people in the photographs it would be fantastic to hear from them. We’re also on the hunt for the triangular ‘On War Service’ badges which you can see them wearing in the photographs.’

This research is part of the Museum’s project ‘Munitions and Matrons’ which has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on the contribution that the Heathcoat Factory made to the war effort during the First World War. Tiverton Museum’s project will examine the history of the Heathcoat lace factory, which from 1915 produced shell cases and components for very early gas masks. Museum staff and volunteers will collect and research photographs, newspapers and documents, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like for the local people who worked in the factory. 

 


Tivvy Bumper turns 80!

Tiverton Museum ran a special day of celebrations to mark the commissioning of GWR locomotive 1442, known affectionately as the ‘Tivvy Bumper’ 80 years ago. There was lots to see and do, with model railways including the Culm Valley Model Railway Club’s layout of Uffculme Station. The were also family activities galore with badge making, making a key ring, decorating Bumper biscuits and a special trail. 

The Museum’s shop now stocks even more railway related goodies than ever, including a new booklet by Amyas Crump on the Exe Valley Line, and a new children’s T-Shirt featuring the Tivvy Bumper.

The name the ‘Tivvy Bumper’ originally applied to all trains working on the branch connecting Tiverton Station and Tiverton Junction at Willand. Between 1884 and 1964 trains ran daily, connecting the main line trains at the junction with the Exe Valley trains at Tiverton. 

Children doing craft activities at the museum

 


Tiverton Museum awarded HLF grant to mark First World War Centenary

This week, Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has received £6,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project ‘Munitions and Matrons’ in Tiverton. Awarded through HLF’s First World War: then and now programme, the project will focus on the contribution that the Heathcoat Factory made to the war effort during the First World War.

Tiverton Museum’s project will examine the history of the Heathcoat lace factory, which from 1915 produced shell cases and components for very early gas masks. Museum staff and volunteers will collect and research photographs, newspapers and documents, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like for the local people who worked in the factory.

This information will be gathered together for a temporary exhibition at the museum running from August to Christmas. The museum is planning to work with the local community as much as possible: we are looking for descendants of people who worked in the munitions department of the factory who would be happy to have their family stories recorded for the project. 

The Museum is working with Knightshayes Court, which became a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) hospital in 1915. Knightshayes is also running a special exhibition looking at the history of the hospital which will be on from August to November.

Commenting on the award, Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are very excited to start researching the history of the factory to discover what impact the war had on the factory, its workers and the town.”

Photograph of munitions workers at factory with shell cases in 1917

 


Working with local partners on exciting WW1 project

Staff from museum and Knightshayes with DAISI promoting First World War project

Tiverton Museum is delighted to be working with arts education organisation, Daisi, and Knightshayes Court on 'What it means to us…’ commemorative World War One project. 

Daisi has been awarded £34,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support an exciting commemorative project for young people- Remembering the First World War: what it means to us. 

The project runs over two years (2014 – 2016), and enables four separately drawn geographical communities in Devon to explore local stories and happenings from that time providing opportunities for local young people to then make creative responses to the research which will be shared widely through exhibitions, film and a touring show.

The first community to start work is Tiverton. Young people from local schools including Tiverton High School and their families will be invited to take part. Workshops in animation, print making and the creation of memorial artefacts will take place at National Trust property Knightshayes and Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life during February and May half term. In addition there will be a schools’ programme of activities. 

 


Autumn Celebration Day enjoyed by all

Tiverton Museum's Autumn Celebration Day proved very popular with families today. There was loads to do including helping with apple pressing, butter making, craft activities and basket making demonstrations. A huge thank you to Jane Welsh for the basket making and the Sampford Peverell Community apple press!

Visitors watching apple pressing at the Autumn Celebration Day        

 


Information Service up for an award!

Tiverton’s Tourist Information Service is among the finalists for the Tourist Information Service of the Year award in Devon Tourism Awards 2014. Reaching this stage means that the Tourist Information Service will win a Gold, Silver or Bronze award. Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has been operating the new Tourist Information Service for a year. Andrea Rowe Chairman of Trustees commented ‘We, at the Museum, were quietly confident that we could provide an excellent information service for the Town.  Our nomination for one of these prestigious Tourism Awards is welcome confirmation that we are on the right track.  We thank all who wished us well and worked with us to produce such a good outcome.’

Pippa Griffith, Museum Director said ‘We thrilled with the news that the Information Service is among the finalists especially as it is for the first year that we have operated the service. It is a fantastic achievement for our two Visitor Information Officers, Carrie Thomas and Mary Davey, and the many volunteers who staff our front desk and help with a wide range of enquiries.’

TivertonMuseumis no stranger to the Devon Tourism Awards, winning the Gold Small Visitor Attraction in 2013, and won a Bronze award in 2012. The museum did not enter the Small Visitor Attraction category this year as we thought we’d have a year off!

 


Tiverton Museum open Saturday afternoons throughout August

Tiverton Museum has extended its opening hours for the summer holidays, and will be open 10:00-4:30 on every Saturday in August.

 


Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt

Tiverton Museum is delighted to take part in Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt again this year. The competition has a cash prize and is open all summer (closing date 30th September).

Download the form here and pop in to the museum to find the answers!

 


Gold Street businesses sponsor Tourist Information Service

Tiverton’s Tourist Information Service, based at Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has recently received generous sponsorship from the Lantic Gallery, Mojos, Mademoiselle Mojo’s and Frou Frou. The sponsorship enabled the service to purchase some new display units in time for the new tourist season.

Bev and Jan Wheatley (owners of Mojo’s, Mademoiselle Mojo and Frou Frou) commented: ‘Visitors to Tiverton are key to the success of the Town as a destination or as a stop over. We have a lot to shout about, the canal, Knightshayes, 2 castles and some of the best independent shops and restaurants around. Thanks to Tiverton Museums' Tourist Information Service for putting us out there!’

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum commented: ‘Support from local businesses is very much appreciated and helps the Tourist Information Service to promote Tiverton and the local area to visitors. We work closely with local partners, including the Mid Devon Attraction Group (which is currently chaired by me). We are looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors to the area this summer.’

Staff from local businesses who sponsored the Tourist Information Service

Representatives from Frou Frou, the Lantic Gallery, Mademoiselle Mojo, Mojo's and the Tourist Information Service show the new sponsorship board at the museum.

 


New display in the Exe Valley Leisure Centre

We have a new summer display in the entrance of the Exe Valley Leisure Centre with some lovely vintage swimming costumes and this fantastic photo of a race in 1949.

 


Tiverton features on BBC today!

Tiverton's World War One story is featured on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight today. The programmes examine the role that the Heathcoat factory played during the war making shell cases. The programmes feature extracts from the factory log books which are held at Tiverton Museum and interviews with two of our volunteers.

 


Tiverton Museum wins BRONZE!

Everyone at Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is overjoyed to have won the Bronze Award for Small Visitor Attraction at the South West Tourism Awards for the second year running!

Andrea Rowe, Chairman of Trustees of the museum commentedThis regional Award is testimony to the  professionalism of The Museum Director, Ms Pippa Griffith.  Without the support of Tiverton Town Council and the MDDC, the Trust could not afford a full time post.  She leads our many volunteers who come from across the district and who contribute hugely to the success of the Museum. We have an exciting and varied programme of events and exhibitions for 2014 so do continue to support your FAMOUS local Museum.’

Pippa Griffith, Director at Tiverton Museum commented ‘This is a fantastic achievement to be recognised again as among the very best attractions in a huge region that has literally hundreds of small attractions. We would particularly like to thank West Pitt Farm (who were Highly Commended in the Self Catering Establishment category) for sponsoring our award tickets which meant that we were able to attend the awards ceremony.’

Museum staff receiving the bronze small visitor attraction of the year award at the South West Tourism awards 2014

Vice Chairman Philip Sealy and Director Pippa Griffith collected the award at the awards ceremony at The Holiday Inn, Plymouth which was hosted by ITV Westcountry news presenter Ian Axton, with a stimulating opening presentation by travel writer Sally Shalam.

Nearly 350 entries were considered for the Awards, with all entrants undergoing a rigorous short-listing process and 213 going on to be visited by a team of 35 mystery shoppers. Up to four Award winners from each category in this year’s awards will all now go on to represent the region at the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in May.

Chair of Judges, Alistair Handyside, said: “It’s that time of year when the tourism industry get together to present the top businesses in our region with their well-deserved awards. This year we have had the most entries ever and the most challenging judging, the list of finalists really does look like a who’s who of the best in the South West. Once again the entrants have surpassed themselves in showing that investment, innovation and creativity remain at the heart of the visitor economy in the region.” 

 


Pop Up Museum pops up in new location

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life’s Pop Up Museum has moved into the old Bike Shop window on Gold Street. New banners are on display on the wool trade, the Heathcoat Factory and how Tivertonians have spent their leisure time over the years. The differently themed banners that form the Pop Up Museum reflect the many topics that are covered in the museum’s extensive collection.

Pippa Griffith, Director of Tiverton Museum, says ‘This is the third venue that the Pop Up Museum has been in so far; it’s a great way of sharing some of the wonderful photographs from our collection and for reminding people that the town has a large, award winning museum! We are very grateful to Bill Maynard for allowing us access to the shop, which is now to let.’

The Pop Up Museum was funded through Mid Devon District Council’s High Street Innovation Fund.

 


Tiverton Museum among the winners at SW Tourism Awards 2013/14

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life has been selected as one of the Winners in the Small Visitor Attraction category of this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards, as well as being selected as one of the region’s representatives in the national VisitEngland awards.

Tiverton Museum is up against Geevor Tin Mine, St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre, and National Trust Coleridge Cottage in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category. As one of the finalists, the museum is guaranteed to be awarded gold, silver, bronze or commended status.

Andrea Rowe, Chairman of Trustees of the museum commented ‘We are delighted that Tiverton's small Museum has again taken on the big boys in the tourism awards.  We are in the Finals this year, against a world famous Cornish tin mine, a Brewery and a National Trust property. We work very hard to make the Museum family friendly and fun to visit.’

  

About the South West Tourism Awards:

After assessing nearly 350 entries, a record 213 visits and 20 hours of panel meetings, an expanded list of 63 Finalists and 34 Highly Commended entries have been announced in this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.  59 of the Finalists will also go on to carry the South West’s flag in the national VisitEngland awards in May.

The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the ‘official’ tourism awards for the region, offering entry to businesses in Somerset, Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly as well as linking closely with the awards in Cornwall and Devon and the new awards scheme in Dorset.  They also form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland awards, to which eligible winners will now progress.

 


Tiverton Museum wins GOLD!

Everyone at Tiverton Museum is delighted that the museum won the Gold Small Visitor Attraction award at the Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2013! The award is a fantastic endorsement of all of the hard work, passion and enthusiasm of the museum's large volunteer workforce and the small number of paid staff.

Museum staff receiving Gold award for small visitor attraction of the year at the Visit Devon awards

Vice Chairman Philip Sealy and Director Pippa Griffith collected the award at the awards ceremony at The Grand Hotel  Torquay which was presided over by popular Devon celebrity Judi Spiers.  

Successful businesses in the Devon Awards will now be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in January 2014 and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards later in May 2014.

 


Tiverton's winner of the Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt

Congratulations go to Eleanor the winner of Tiverton Museum's prize for taking part in Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt! The lucky prize winner was sent a goody bag of railway items from the museum's shop.

Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt had an overall prize of £500 First Prize which was won by Sam (7 years old) from the North East. The runner up prize of £250 went to Thomas (9 years old) from Nottinghamshire. The other £250 prize, for competitor who visited the most railways and museums, went to Cameron (aged 11) from Derbyshire. There were also 39 Local Prizes (including this one from Tiverton Museum), donated by the railways and museums, awarded to lucky winners.

 


Official Launch of Tiverton's new Tourist Information Service

Tiverton's new Tourist Information Service was officially launched on Friday 11th and opened by the Museum's President, Sir Ian Amory. Also in attendance were Cllr John Berry and Cllr Janet Rendle, the Mayor of Tiverton.

 


Special trip along the Exe Valley Railway Line

The museum ran a special event on the 5th October to make the 50th anniversary to the day of the closure of the Exe Valley Railway Line in 1963. The museum ran a Bedford OB vintage coach along the old route of the line from Brampford Speke to Dulverton, stopping at a number of the old stations along the way. The day was run by museum trustee and railway historian, Amyas Crump and was greatly enjoyed by everyone. Tickets for the event sold out very quickly and the museum is planning to run similar events using the vinage coach again in the future. The day would not have been possible without the support of the owners of a number of former stations who generously opened their homes to our tour.

The Exe Valley line was completed in 1885 and finally gave Tiverton a direct connection to Exeter with services running from Exeter St David’s, through Tiverton, to Dulverton. The services continued for 78 years until the Beeching Report listed the line for closure.

 

 


Summer Seaside Family Day was a great success!

Great fun was had by all at our Seaside Family Fun Day at the end of the summer holidays. We were joined by special guests Armband Alfie, and Helen who was an Olympic torch bearer at last year's Olympics, not forgetting Issachar the donkey!

    

 

 

 


Pop Up Museum now in the town

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life’s Pop Up Museum is now in shop windows around the town. One window of the old Julian Graves shop on Fore Street features a timeline of local history, and a banner promoting local attractions such as Knightshayes, the Castle, Bickleigh Mill and the Grand Western Canal. The old Busy Bee Shop on Gold Street displays themed banners on topics reflecting some of the museum’s extensive collection, such as transport, the market and shopping in Tiverton.

The museum is  very grateful to Cllr Sue Griggs from the Town Team for offering us a window in Julian Graves and to Shawn Grace from Busy Bee for generously allowing access to his old premises on Gold Street. 

The Pop Up Museum was funded through Mid Devon District Council’s High Street Innovation Fund.  

 


Display opens at Exe Valley Leisure Centre

Tiverton Museum is delighted to announce that a new display has opened at the entrance of Exe Valley Leisure Centre in Tiverton. The display promotes our current temporary exhibition 'Harvesting Memories' which looks at the memories and experiences of local farmers. Many thanks to the staff at the Leisure Centre for giving us the space for the display!

The museum has also installed part of its Pop Up Museum in the old Julian Graves shop on Fore Street this week. The museum would like to thank the Town Team for inviting us to share their space in the shop. 

 


New additions to railway collection

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon is delighted to announce four significant additions to its local railway display.

Tiverton Museum is well known for its much loved 1935 built GWR Loco 1442 ‘The Tivvy Bumper’, as well as its extensive collection of railwayana from the iconic Culm Valley and Exe Valley Branches closed by the Beeching Axe fifty years ago.

From the Culm Valley comes HEMYOCK EAST GROUND FRAME and the GWR half harp gas lamp that hung over the booking office at Uffculme Station (pictured below). 

Another cast iron sign TIVERTON JUNCTION BOX comes from the signal box which formerly controlled the junction of the West of England main line, Culm Valley and Tiverton branches.   

  

Exe Valley services ran from Exeter   St David’s via Tiverton to Dulverton on the Taunton-Barnstaple line where valley trains had their own platform. From the Down platform comes the sign that hung under the footbridge ‘To THE EXE VALLEY TRAIN’ (pictured below).

 

  

 


Harvesting Memories exhibition now open

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is delighted to announce that the summer exhibition ‘Harvesting Memories’ opened to the public last week. The exhibition is the culmination of an inter-generational oral history project examining the changes in farming from the Second World War to today. Students from Tiverton School and Uffculme School interviewed and recorded local people about their farming memories and experiences. It is these interviews that form the core of the exhibition which also features the some wonderful photographs.The role of women on farms, a farmer’s leisure time and the change from horse power to tractor are just some of the topics covered in the exhibition.

The ‘Harvesting Memories’ project started about 18 months ago, and resulted in 60 students interviewing 30 people. These interviews will be added to the museum’s archives; extracts are available to listen to in the exhibition and will be added to the museum’s farming gallery when the temporary exhibition ends.

The project was funded through generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots grant programme, as well as support from the Devon Heritage Services and three County Councillors (Des Hannon, John Berry and Polly Colthorpe) using part of their Locality Budgets. 

The exhibition opening was attended by Julie Finch and Doug Hulyer from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South West Committee, as well as some of the students from both schools and people who had contributed to the project. Representatives from Devon County Council, Mid Devon District Council and Devon Heritage Services were also present. 

  

The exhibition is family friendly with a play area for younger visitors. The museum will be running a special family   day linking to the exhibition on the 10th August with children’s activities, vintage tractors and more! The holiday ‘Build Craft Create’ family activities will also relate to the exhibition. 

The exhibition runs until 20th Decmber and entry to it is free. The museum is open 10:30-4:30 Monday to Friday and 10:00-1:00 Saturdays.

 


Tiverton Museum takes part in Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt

Tiverton Museum is delighted to be taking part in the Peter's Railway Treasure Hunt. Lots of heritage railways are taking part in the Hunt over the summer!

This free competition is for children of 14 years or under. The 1st prize of £500 will be awarded to the entrant who has collected the most correct answers over the summer. There is a Runner up prize of £250. Another prize of £250 will be won by the entrant who has visited the most railways or museums in the Hunt.

The more places you visit during the summer, the more points you can win. How many can you visit and how much treasure can you collect?! Good luck!!

Please click here for the Tiverton Museum quiz sheet

 


And the Bronze Award for Small Visitor Attraction at the South West Tourism Awards goes to...

TIVERTON MUSEUM OF MID DEVON LIFE!
 

We are delighted to have won this prestigious award which places us among the very top of the South West's many visitor attractions.

Andrea Rowe, Chairman of Trustees of the museum commented ‘We are delighted with the award. We are only able to open the Museum to visitors because of the support of so many volunteers from our community who are passionate about Tiverton's intriguing past and Mid Devon's varied social history.’

The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the ‘official’ tourism awards for the region, offering entry to businesses in Somerset, Dorset, Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly as well as linking closely with the awards in Cornwall and Devon.   

300 entries were considered for the Awards, with all entrants undergoing a rigorous short-listing process and 164 going on to be visited by a team of over 30 judges and mystery shoppers.

This year’s judging was the tightest ever, with winners separated by fractions in their mystery shop scores and requiring lengthy debates amongst the Judging Panel.

 


Museum awarded Bronze for Visitor Attraction at Devon Tourism Awards

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is delighted to have won the Bronze Award for Devon’s Visitor Attraction of the Year. Philip Sealy, the museum’s Vice Chairman joined the cream of Devon’s tourism industry at the Saunton Sands Hotel in North Devon on 22nd November for the glitzy awards presentation which was presided over by popular BBC Radio Devon celebrity Judi Spiers. The museum would like to thank Exeter Airport for the ticket enabling us to attend the awards ceremony.

Successful businesses in the Devon Awards will then be fast tracked into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February 2013 and then possibly on to the National VisitEngland Awards later in 2013.

Quote from the mystery shopper who judged the museum:

‘A truly excellent museum with a brilliant range of exhibits covering a wide range of topics. It’s particularly refreshing to see children enjoying the museum and the steps taken to actively engage them are a credit to the management. An engaging and fascinating look into the past and I suspect rather a ‘hidden gem’ that deserves wider recognition.’

  

 


Fantastic Big Draw day!

Tiverton Museum worked with local schools throughout October and asked hundreds of local children to draw a picture following the Big Draw's theme of the year '2012 in lines'. We were inundated with responses and displayed all of the pictures all over the museum on 31st October. The museum looked fab with over 1500 pictures displayed and more being added by visitors throughout the day.

The event wouldn't have been possible without the support of NADFAS and Tiverton's Rotary Club, and of course the local schools and organisations who took part; Blundells, Castle Primary, Cullompton Brownies, Heathcoat Primary, St. John's Primary, Two Moors Primary and Tiverton High School.

  

 


Victoria Cross grave site cleared

The grave site of Thomas Sage V.C. has recently been cleared and the headstone cleaned by a volunteer from the Victoria Cross Trust. Tiverton Museum has been in touch with the Victoria Cross Trust recently about the work as Thomas Sage is featured in the museum’s displays.

 

Thomas Sage was born in Tiverton in 1882 and served with the 8thBattalion Somerset Light Infantry during the First World War. In 1917 at Ypres Private Sage was in a shell-hole with eight other men, one of whom was shot while throwing a grenade. The grenade fell back into the shell-hole and Private Sage threw himself onto it saving the lived of several fellow soldiers but severely wounding himself. He survived and returned to Tiverton where he worked in the brewery after the war. Thomas Sage is one of 4 known V.C.’s from Mid Devon.  

 


Great time had by all at World War Two evening!

We all had a great time at our recent (sell out) World War Two evening. Families enjoyed the varied activities that were on offer,  there was lots of reminisence going on - especially around our Anderson Shelter, and the Camp Coffee proved a surprising hit at the wartime supper!

A big thank you to everyone who joined us for the night and to our volunteers who made it such a success.

 


Olympic torches united

We were delighted to take part in Devon In Sight's roadshow today at Tiverton's Pannier Market where we had the opportunity of uniting our 1948 Olympic torch with one from this year. Bary Goodfellow, Olympic torch bearer and visually impaired artist brought his torch along giving people the opportunity to compare the two.

The museum's torch was carried by Ken Holland (from Tiverton) on August 27th the day the Olympic flame was lit in Torquay. Mr Holland ran just over two miles from Honiton leaving around 5.45 in the morning.  The 1948 torch is on permanent display in the museum.

 

 


Recommended in The Guardian!

We were delighted to be recommended by a reader in The Guardian magazine on Saturday 2nd June:

'In Tiverton with a toddler and baby, we weren't that hopeful... until we stumbled on Tiverton Museum: great staff, loads of toys for the kids and exhibits for all. Couldn't have hoped for more.' - Stephanie Sercombe, London W3.

Thank you so much Stephanie for taking the time to write to the paper and for being so complimentary!

 


Museum long listed for Sunday Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award!

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life is among a long list of 20 museums for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award.  

The longlisted museums have been nominated because they go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.  

‘Museums are changing and visitors are becoming more and more discerning – including my three kids!’ says Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums. ‘It’s no longer enough to offer a few finger paints for five year olds. Visitors have said in their hundreds that they want the whole family – from fifteen to a few months – to feel they belong among the Mummies and Old Masters. That’s the challenge they’ve set museums. And that’s what the long list are working so well towards meeting.’
 

A distinguished panel of judges, chaired by Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, pick a shortlist. The shortlisted museums are road-tested anonymously by families.

Everyone at the museum is thrilled with the news. We'd like to say a big thank you for the nominations we received for the award! 

 
 

 


Our paintings are now online

We've taken part in a BBC Your Paintings project and our paintings are now available to view on line with thousands of others. Click here to view.

 


Award winning volunteers!

Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life’s education volunteers have won the Marsh Trust Awardsfor volunteers for museum learning in the South West region.

 

The museum’s volunteers who work in the education department, fought off stiff competition from a large number of entrants from the region to win the award.

This exciting award recognises best practice and the innovative ways in which volunteers work in museums and galleries to engage the public with collections. The award was presented to the volunteers themselves at an awards ceremony at the British Museum on Thursday 23rd June 2011.

 

The museum is thrilled that the volunteers' dedication and excellent standard of work has been recognised. We are proud of all of our many volunteers who work in every area of the museum.

 


Link to video of our Night in the Museum held earlier this year

Please follow this link to see a short video about the Night in the Museum which we hosted earlier this year in partership with DAISI and Tiverton High School.

www.vimeo.com/raprojects/natm 

 


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