Paul - who brings friendly nonsense (blur_kiwi) wrote,
Paul - who brings friendly nonsense
blur_kiwi

Somerset Rural Life Museum

At the end of last week I had a meeting with a couple of colleagues at the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury to talk about improving their web information. To start with, it's always a pleasure to go to Glastonbury, and I love visiting the museum. It's great that Somerset's heritage is managed by part of the organisation I work for. Better still, I was asked by another colleague to take some photos of the museum while I was there - photos that might be used to help promote the museum and add a splash of colour to the aforementioned web information. I don't get working days like that very often, so I was determined to make the most of it.

The meeting went very well, with lots of enthusiasm shown and the understanding that something had to be done, and between us we could get it sorted and improved. One big topic was the fact that the museum is going through a bidding process for funding to get the place refurbished. And it sorely needs it. It opened in the 1970s and hasn't really had much attention since then. It's very worthy and does a fantastic job, telling the story of country life in Somerset - mostly from a Victorian point of view - and preserving dying arts, ways of farming and living off the land, and showing just what life was like for real country people in times gone by.


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The orchard has long-lost varieties of apple trees and even a few sheep, rare breed Portlands. The red thing that looks a bit like an old gypsy caravan is a mobile shepherding hut. (If you're familiar with Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching and Wee Free Men stories, this is exactly the kind of hut that Granny Aching had.)



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The museum is centred around, and in, a Victorian farm and farmhouse, but its biggest asset (in every possible way) is the magnificent 14th century Abbey Barn. It is a glorious building, both inside and out, and is actually a protected scheduled ancient monument.

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The sheep, which didn't actually run away from me - unlike most of the sheep I've ever met.

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It was Owl Day while I was there and, because it was half-term, there were quite a few families around. Among the fabulous creatures on display was Midnight, a very rare black barn owl.

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Inside the Abbey Barn. I'm sorry the picture of the inside of the roof (a couple lower down) is blurry. It was so dark that I needed a long exposure and didn't have a tripod with me. So I shook a bit. Even though it's blurry, I still like the result.

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A couple of the displays inside the cow sheds. As I say, the museum is looking a bit 'tired' these days, but hopefully that will change as the project gets public backing, funding approval and the right promotion. And that's where I hope my help might come in. Should be fun.

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And to put it all in context, this shows just how close the museum is to the Tor and its thousands of visitors.

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I hope to be able to report on the progress of the bid and the refurbishment project from time to time as things happen. I want to be involved in this, in a small way helping however I can, and with luck I will be because they'll need lots of help to tell people what's going on and all the wonderful things they'll be doing. I'll keep you posted.

Tags: glastonbury, museum, uk pics
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