Our series of “Talking About…” events earlier this year was a great success. We would like to thank everyone who brought us information, objects and photographs, helped us make connections or found time to talk. The material from research, conversations and hours spent in our stores will enable us to enrich our interpretation plan with accurate information, stories of real people and fantastic displays.
Film is proving to be a particularly valuable resource. For example we have been given fascinating footage of vessels being built, launched and sailed on Windermere during the 1950s – and had the privilege of hearing first-hand what that involved. Archival material relating to local businesses has reinforced our understanding of the role that Windermere played both nationally and internationally – whether it’s information about the export of Windermere vessels by local boatbuilders, Anchorage Ltd, or photographs and brochures that record the development of Mallinson’s Motor Tours as they catered for visiting tourists
Early advertising material perfectly illustrates the transition of lakeside houses from indulgent private homes to luxury hotels. This elaborate advertisement for the Belsfield, one of the very first places in Windermere to boast electricity, says it all.
It was particularly moving to receive on loan the diving suit and equipment used by Bernard Frazer, a member of the 1962 team that salvaged SL Dolly from Ullswater, and to have the chance to read extracts from his dive diaries and talk to his family. These personal connections bring our collection to life.
What better location can there be for inspiring the next generation of engineers, artists, writers, mathematicians and architects than here? This is an inspiring project and we want young people to be at the heart of what we are doing. There will be no closed off fences stopping pupils from coming in, only an open door policy to encourage ideas, creativity and endless possibility.
We are asking teachers to get in touch so that we can work together on creating a meaningful programme of activity. We want to provide the future generations with activities and engagement that will motivate their own learning and create a sense of achievement – but we need teachers and pupils to help create this legacy. There will be opportunities for pupils to come on hard hat visits, work with the team creating audio visuals, watch the collection come back to life, learn boat building skills and test them out on the water! We want all of this to help shape what we offer once the doors are open to the public.
So, contact us, visit the site, meet the team and discuss how we can shape the Museum to fit the teaching that happens in schools. If you are interested please get in touch with Ian Read, Head of Learning, to discuss the possibilities.
Working with the Engineering Heritage Skills Initiative, we have managed to secure a bursary to support the apprenticeship of Matthew Foot for 12 months. Matt had already showed great commitment to learning heritage skills, particularly boat building skills, by volunteering one day a week at the Museum.
We’re delighted to be able to work with the EHSI to get this bursary, through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, which will support the placement. Matt will work very closely with the conservation team, contributing to the ongoing conservation work on the boats that will be on display when the new Museum opens.
We hope to have more apprenticeship and training opportunities in the future so watch this space if you want to find out more.