This last month has been very busy for the Heritage bods. Our base in the Wilson Room is now painted and carpeted, some furniture has been installed and we have made a start on equipping our future ‘HUB’. The archive boxes are being sorted and labelled so that we can identify what we have, and some surprising finds are coming to light. The ‘HUB’ is now manned by Yvonne, James and Imogen on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 10 until 2pm and other volunteers are coming in to help and to do research for their own projects toward the website.
As well as our own personnel, we have already had at least four lots of visitors who are not resident here but have come in looking for information on their Bishopsteignton family members, and we have been able to use the resources to help them. To that end our next milestone will be to identify relevant online research databases and effect membership of them ASAP. That said, we were able to help our latest visitor, a man investigating the products of an Exeter Foundry that were ordered by Bishop residents in the 19th Century, by searching our own website and identifying the houses that the objects were ordered for.
During this month we have received even more artefacts, some from the Molly Coombe estate, which have proved to be fascinating and valuable. We have isolated these new additions to our collection for examination and cataloguing, and they will form the basis of a unique cataloguing system that is being designed for our archive by James and Imogen, and will be the subject of Imogen’s M.A. in archiving dissertation.
We also have some new plans and an excellent storyboard for the projected development of the mezzanine area of the ‘HUB’, which can be viewed at the HUB if you are passing.
Our new branding has come into its own this last month with the production of leaflets, banners and polo shirts.
The leaflet is in the format of the website and has been distributed on the Village Festival site and in the shops and pubs in the village. It is informative of what we are doing and where we are, and provides encouragement to get involved.
Pop-up banners were in use at the Church for our talk during the festival week, at the ‘HUB’ itself and in the Community Centre for our Open Days, along with a railings banner.
Branded polo shirts proved a great success and provided a stylish corporate identity at the Village Festival.
The Facebook page is still proving immensely popular and James has updated our information on the Devon Museums information website.
Events wise we have had a busy month with two Open Days, one for our researchers to come along and see what we are up to, and one for the general public to visit.
The talk by Rhoda Nevins at the Church during BVF week was very well attended, over 90 people came and, despite some technical hitches, was very well received. One item on display that was immensely popular was the sampler done by an eight-year-old resident of the village in 1840. This has not been seen for many years as it was in the guardianship of the previous curator of the museum. Therefore it has survived intact, although it needs cleaning and reframing, which will have a cost attached but will be well worth investing in, as it is such a unique part of village history.
We also put up an exhibit in our cabinet in the lounge bar of the Old Commercial Inn, of Gourd family Transport Memorabilia, retrieved from the museum collection. It has proved very interesting to many, as the family were very well known and remembered in the village.
The Village Festival was the main event of the month. The response to our presence on the festival site was phenomenal. The display of photographs and the model village from the museum proved an enormous draw, with residents of all ages fascinated to see how the village looked in 1840. Maggie Sullivan, who built the model, was on the site and was thrilled to see it displayed after all these years. Our presence attracted new volunteers and new interest, as well as several members of some of the oldest families in the village coming to talk to us, provoking more stories to be told in the future.
As part of the festival Jess Gibby held scrapbook workshops with adults and children from the school, the results of which are amazing and in the process of being scanned for the website.
A great vote of thanks to all our trustees and researchers who came out to man the stand and all the hard work of the volunteers who helped carry and set up. I feel it was a tremendous success and has helped to raise awareness of our efforts. Several people commented that Molly would have been proud, which is a great achievement.