West Berkshire Museum is delighted to announce the opening of the Lives and Landscapes exhibition.
The museum has gone through many phases of change since it first opened in 1904. Most recently, West Berkshire Council refurbished the historic Cloth Hall and Granary buildings with major financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Greenham Common Trust and others. Following the re-opening in 2014, the council asked the public for feedback about the new museum. This was overwhelmingly positive although many people wanted to see a more comprehensive permanent exhibition telling the story of West Berkshire from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum is delighted to be able to respond to that with our new exhibition “Lives and Landscapes – the story of West Berkshire”.
As a result, it now has an immersive exhibition with many objects that have never been shown before, including beautifully crafted stone age tools, 4000 year old pottery, iron age hordes of gold torques and coins, a mammoth tusk excavated in Thatcham in 1936, civil war armour, the famous story of the Newbury coat, the old town stocks and artefacts from Combe Gibbet, the Greenham peace camps, the canal, local industry and much more, including a stunning 3D model and film all about the district. Together, they celebrate our local heritage, from the Mesolithic to mobile phone technology.
Our second floor galleries host a series of special exhibitions, along with Gallery 5 which can be hired to display original artwork, sculpture and crafts.
The café has been improved to create a welcoming and relaxing space, with free Wi-Fi and displays of original artwork from local printmaker Sarah Johns.
Cllr Dominic Boeck, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for Culture commented “West Berkshire has a fascinating history and the museum has been refurbished to make the historic buildings fully accessible, tell the story of the area, and promote educational activities to help people of all ages to understand and enjoy their local heritage. Since the museum re-opened it has attracted 30,000 visitors a year, three times the number that visited before the refurbishment. I’d like to thank the many museum volunteers who support the museum every day and have been heavily involved in developing the new exhibition. Do talk to our museum team if you would like to get involved or organise a visit for your school, cub, brownie and scout group or local history group.”
Meet the Curator
Family Discovery Day
Local Heritage Roadshow
For more information about these activities and running times please visit www.westberkshireheritage.org/whats-on or contact the museum 01635 519562