Shipston Museum is open!
Nearly 400 years ago Royalist Civil War soldiers marched through our Shipston streets. On Saturday 5th August a troop from Lord Hopton’s Regiment of Foot re-enacted that event for another historic moment: the launch of the Shipston Museum. In the Town Square, the Town Crier’s bell rang to mark the official opening with the soldiers marching to the West Street Museum’s home in Old Clark House for the ceremony.
The crowds followed the soldiers to the front door where trustee Martin Russell thanked the Regiment and drummer Alice Free, while Trustee President Bekky Hillman introduced the Museum.
Dick Burge, who has long been associated with the Museum, performed the opening ceremony, reminding us of the Museum’s long journey, starting with the Shipston on Stour and District Local History Society. At one point it was in the old School Room and then Sheep Street before moving to the home of his fellow curator Mike Ashley. It was Mike’s dream to have a proper base for the growing collection. To him the finds and donations from local people were not just artefacts, but the story of Shipston and its surroundings.
Sadly Mike died before the dream could be fully realised, but it is still ‘in the family’ as daughters Rebecca Ashley and Justine Taylor are trustees. Dick recognised Mike’s immense contribution before cutting the ribbon and announcing that the Museum was now well and truly open!
Nearly 100 visitors accepted the invitation to see the displays which included the story of the region from when giant mammoths were wandering in the ice tundra through to Roman times, the medieval town market and the now defunct Shipston railway. Most found it difficult to choose their favourite items among the many fascinating articles. For one man it was the Quaker bench which he admired as a carpenter, for another the maps had always been of interest. And for one little girl it was the handling room, where she was able to pick up Roman tiles and medieval dishes.
The Museum will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4pm until the autumn. There’s an opportunity not just to visit but also become more involved – either by supporting the Museum as a Friend or becoming a volunteer, either front-of-house to greet visitors, to help with administration, cataloguing or follow up research. To find out more please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org