Nantwich Museum’s 40th anniversary has become quite extraordinary with enforced closure by the Covid-19 pandemic never being part of the plan. An extensive programme of events has been frustrated but fortunately the digital world has enabled the Museum to maintain an active profile whilst the Pillory Street building remains silent. Despite the disruption it is still possible to mark the anniversary with an online exhibition which can be found on the museum’s website.
The Museum opened in January 1980 in the former Nantwich Free Library. Its aim was to preserve the history of the town and its locality with a philosophy reflected in the tie line: “Recording the Past, Inspiring the Future” achieved through working closely with the community. The familiar sun logo derived from a Fire Insurance Emblem featured in a 1983 exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Great Fire which swept through the town in 1583.
The Nantwich Free Library opened in 1888 serving the town until the current library opened in Beam Street in 1972. When the Museum opened, temporary exhibitions were the order of the day as the collection was established and permanent exhibitions could be installed. Extensions in 1989 and 2000 enlarged the facility and included the superb Millennium Gallery used for temporary exhibitions and a wide range of meetings including the popular Dementia Friendship Group which usually meets twice a month.
Museum Manager, Kate Dobson commented: Whilst a number of planned events have had to be postponed or deferred the summer exhibition scheduled for the Millennium Gallery “Nantwich Museum 40 Years in the Community” is now featured online. It tells the story of the Museum, showcases its achievements, and celebrates its place in the community. The many activities of the Museum are featured with particular mention of some of the specialist groups including research, craft and education. Ideas are proposed for the Museum’s development over the next 40 years and beyond and viewers are invited to submit their own suggestions.” Kate added: “We would like to thank all those who have supported the Museum’s recent digital and online offerings”.
Sadly, one tapestry, “The Museum Today”, cannot be featured as work on it by the Craft Group was curtailed by the lockdown. Everyone looks forward to its eventual completion and display alongside the other excellent products of Museum craftworkers through the years.
The Museum website also features elements of recent temporary exhibitions and those of external exhibitors whose work cannot be viewed due to the lockdown. There is the superb “Personal Voices” exhibition by the Breakaway Textile Group celebrating creative textile work, and ‘Reincarnated Rubbish – Endangered and Extinct’, an inspired exhibition by creative recycling artist Val Hunt. The website has been upgraded and now includes an online shop.
“Nantwich Digital Museum”, launched in March in order to continue engagement with visitors on its Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nantwichmuseum/ and Twitter @NantwichMuseum pages has proved a great success. A programme of local history stories, pictures and interactive activities forms the basis of daily postings. Themes for each day of the week include images and interpretation of exhibits from temporary exhibitions, Collection Curiosities, Nantwich People, Pictures & Crafts, Clothing & Costume, Civil War, and Out & About. It is also possible to find information about the initiative by searching for the hashtag #NantwichDigitalMuseum.
A recent call for local people’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic is providing material for a lasting record of this significant event for the enlightenment of future generations. Today the Museum is recording events which will, one day, perhaps inspire the future.
For further information contact: Nantwich Museum on email@example.com or visit the Nantwich Museum Website