The Sherborne Heritage Alliance
The Museum has recently enjoyed excellent relations with its next door neighbours, The Somerset and Dorset Family History Centre, which occupies the former Conservative Club building. Since 2007 we have rented what was the Old Billiard Room on the second floor to house our reserve collection, it being a sizeable space with stable environmental conditions. At one of our regular inter-staff meetings it was suggested that we unite, along with the town's other museum, the Sherborne Steam and Waterwheel Centre, to form a Heritage Alliance through which we could provide mutual support, promoting each others' events and sharing knowledge and facilities. We all share a common theme in that we are run by volunteers entirely for the benefit of the community.
On April 14th 2012, the new Alliance held an open day in the Catholic Church Hall to jointly raise funds, recruit volunteers, demonstrate our day-to-day activities and generally increase public awareness. It is hoped that we will establish this as a regular Spring event.
Sherborne Memory Café
The Museum recently became involved with Sherborne's Memory Café, run by South and East Somerset Alzheimer's Society and held on alternate Thursdays in the Catholic Church Hall. It provides a place for people with dementia and their carers to meet in the company of others in a friendly and informal environment. Once a month, the curator takes in a box of artefacts or photos from the Museum on a theme of the Society volunteers' choice in the hope that it will promote conversation, stimulate memory and assist with reorientation. The experience is extremely rewarding and there are enormous benefits to be gained by participants.
On April 21st 2012 the Café kick-started Dementia Awareness Week in style with an afternoon jaunt to the Museum, to look at and enjoy the exhibits (and to partake of a home-made cream tea provided by Museum volunteers!)
Memory Café Volunteer Team
Dorsetshire Regiment Old Comrades Association
The Museum is proud of the town's long association with the Dorsetshire Regiment Old Comrades Association and, in 2006, was delighted to provide accommodation for the Association Standard when the local branch closed.
The Standard has become a popular exhibit and is normally on display in a prominent position close to the reception desk. A flexible arrangement means that occasionally it is absent, when the Standard is used for special events; during 2011 it was paraded at Wootton Bassett for repatriations and also travelled to Europe where members attended the unveiling of the Memorial to the Regiment on the Somme. Although paraded at a number of anniversaries, it is always returned for the Remembrance Sunday parade through town.
Photograph by Judy Nash
The Green Shed
After Coldharbour Hospital was closed in 1983, its clients moved to The Whitehouse, run by the NHS, where they were involved in various projects including the making of kindling. When funding changed, this service was going to be lost until Mike Burks, Manager of Castle Gardens Nurseries, suggested a convertible space within the garden centre to which the clients could relocate.
The Green Shed recycling project was born, with financial aid from Chalk and Cheese, for adults with learning difficulties to find meaningful work and become integrated into the community.
The Museum had in its possession a large wooden model of the engine 'Mallard' made by the original occupants of the hospital, which we were delighted to offer on extended loan to the workers and volunteers in The Green Shed.
A grand unveiling of the model took place on the 7th August 2012 by Mrs. Stewart, a former Chief Occupational Therapist at Coldharbour; she remembered the train very well, as did one of the clients who used to play on it. We were all very happy to see 'Mallard' in its new home, embarking on a new lease of life in a different, but most appropriate, context.
Sherborne Community Orchard
Illustration of A Short History of Grammar reproduced by kind permission of Rachel Hassall, Sherborne School Archivist.
In 2009, Sherborne became a 'transition' town which means it became positively committed to tackling the twin challenges of climate change and fossil fuel depletion at the community level. The Sherborne Community Orchard Group evolved from Transition Sherborne and are currently engaged in discussions with other groups as to where an orchard benefiting the whole community would be best placed.
The Museum Curator has been researching Sherborne's 'lost' orcharding and cider heritage and has been happy to supply the group with information to help them establish a precedent as well as images to illustrate their talks on the subject and names of apple varieties once grown in the area.
Community orchards are great places for providing local fruit to share, offering spaces for contemplation or local festivities such as wassailing, acting as carbon sinks and a refuge for wild life as well as preserving old varieties in danger of disappearing. To follow progress see the Sustainable Sherborne website.