The Museum of Richmond is 30 years old this year. In this guest blog, Curator & Executive Officer, Rebecca Arnott explains the role of the museum, its achievements to date and introduces a special anniversary exhibition.
This October, the Museum of Richmond, along with the rest of the Riverside Redevelopment, turns 30!
Hopefully, like anyone else turning 30 this year we are heading into a new and exciting decade of our development with a strong sense of who we are, what we have already accomplished, where we aim to be in the future and what we need to do in order to get there.
Over the last 30 years we have become firmly embedded in our local community and enjoy great partnerships with other local charities, institutions and organisations. However, we know there are areas where we would like to improve, like reaching more audiences and developing more links with local businesses. Hopefully, it won’t take another 30 years before everyone working and living in Richmond knows that we exist and where to find us (hint: we do exist and you can find us in the Old Town Hall on Whittaker Avenue)!
Quinlan Terry’s architecture may have been controversial during the redevelopment in the 1980s but we are grateful that the Old Town Hall was saved from demolition and that a space was found within it for the Museum. The other businesses and institutions located in the redeveloped Richmond Riverside must feel equally lucky to call this beautiful stretch of the river ‘home’.
For our part we are planning to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in style, having already had a beautiful Garden Party at Trumpeters’ House by the kind permission of Baroness van Dedem, we are also creating a special exhibition, which will run from 20 October 2018-23 February 2019. For this exhibition, we have worked with 30 people who have been involved in the Museum over the last 30 years in order to explore our story and collection through their eyes.
It has been really exciting to curate an exhibition with this level of involvement from so many people. We have managed to get in touch with all of the previous curators and each have chosen something to write about. What really comes through in these pieces is their great attachment, not only to the Museum but also to Richmond and its people.
The sense of community, which extends beyond residents to those who work here feels very particular to Richmond and is reflected in the Be Richmond strapline ‘Live. Work. Explore’. The previous curators clearly feel this and it is why we, as the current Museum team feel so privileged to work in such a beautiful, friendly and historic place.
As a Museum, we aim to engage people with the fantastic history that Richmond has to offer and to play a part in creating a sense of place for the town that everyone can be proud to be a part of. We are free to visit and always have lots to see and do with special exhibitions; talks, tours and events for adults; school workshops and family activities. Visit us soon to discover more about your town and find your place in Richmond’s story.