We have enjoyed another busy and varied week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil, Somerset.
Intriguingly, our week starts and ends with a Dorset connection. Last Friday, we were in Dorchester for our annual Research Trip, investigating another Museum to pick up hints and tips and to see if we can use these to develop the service we offer at CHAC.
We started our day at the Keep Military Museum, located on the junction of Bridport Road and Barrack Road, Dorchester, which was the home to the Regiments of Devon and Dorset. The Keep was completed in 1879 and designed to resemble a Norman Castle. The Keep is built of Portland Stone, which gives it a white appearance.
We enjoyed a superb tour, climbing ever higher up the spiral staircase – and were mindful not to look down as we climbed! Of particular interest was the outreach work completed with local schools and sixth form colleges. We were shown around the dedicated outreach room and the replica uniforms used to illustrate a series of talks and activities. On the way to the newly opened replica trench with periscopes to view the ensuing battle at the front in case of snipers, we passed Adolf Hitler’s desk complete with Christmas card from the Fuehrer!
Very small details like display stands and archive drawers were another great spot.Our tour was completed with a roof top glimpse out over Dorchester in the brilliant sunshine and explanation of how the Keep Gateway was part of the Barracks layout.
On our way to leave, we also received a number of documents related to Yeovil including a leaflet related to the “Cessation of Conflict on VJ Day” – a helpful addition to our collection as we have a selection of items on VE Day, but only a few on VJ Day. Following our enjoyable lunch time arrangements (soup with side serving of seasonal vegetables) we completed our day at Dorchester County Museum, with a noticeable focus on the new archaeology gallery. The display of small tokens on resin blocks so both sides were visible was a great insight.
The following day we were in Yeovil Town Centre for 9am with our Yeovil Calendars at the “Super Saturday” Event between the Farmer’s Market and ‘Busker’s Base’ – 1 of 4 we were informed!This was very much worth attending as we did well in terms of calendar sales and explaining the background and purpose of CHAC – one lady even asked when our next lecture was due!
So to Shaftesbury for Thursday 1st October 2015 – report due next time.
View from the top of the Keep Military Museum, looking out over the layout of the barracks – a little changed by modern construction!
Part of our Display from “Super Saturday” in Yeovil on Saturday 26th September 2015