As part of an on-going project we are collating data for agriculture from the villages. An indication of the weath of material available has been listed by Duncan and that list can be seen here. As research continues, we would welcome any old photographs, details of farm sales or use of farm land from Beaminster or any of our villages so please get in touch or come in and see us if you have any information.
The large number of watermills and manufactories used in Beaminster and the surrounding villages is one of our key areas of record-keeping and research. Duncan Harris has just put together a very useful list of sources available within the museum. This will be updated as more items are found.
For 145 years, there has been a masonic lodge here in Beaminster and many local families have been and still are actively involved in its charitable works.
The United Grand Lodge of England is celebrating its tercentenary this year so the museum, as part of that celebration, is hosting a summer exhibition in the ‘niche’ highlighting some of the characters, skills and activities of Beaminster Masons over the years.
Their early connections with excellence in craftsmanship can be seeen in some of the exhibits. It is also clear to see that Masons of old, if not today, could certainly dine well and heartily! Can anyone, today, eat that much?
There are still some lovely , locally crafted walking sticks available for sale in the museum shop so if you forgot yours when on holiday, you know where to come. Souvenir and practicality in one visit.
There are also some very original, light-weight, finely finished wooden bangles for only £2 each!!! (A steal!)
The Museum is delighted to once again host a photographic exhibition from Beaminster School students. This is now an important part of the Beaminster Festival and a valuable experience for the students themselves, showing their work to a wider audience.
So, apparently, museums are failing to close the participation gap. Hmm: not so sure that is true in Beaminster. We have children of all ages, learned professors, ‘staying over the road’ visitors, ‘want to see great-granny/grandad’s contribution’ visitors, overseas visitors of all ages from many countries – and people who return just because they enjoy what is on offer. We have also installed a stairlift that has been seen to double as a handrail for the very young.
Thankfully, we are rarely crowded and a local welcome is here – a welcome to suit you and what you want to do, whatever your age or background. We can’t do anything about the exterior but come inside and just have a look around. Have a laugh. Ask questions. Enjoy the things to do. Create your own list of things to do – we don’t expect anyone to do anything except explore and hopefully get a bit puzzled at times. See Opening times for more information.
Along with the current exhibition, Wood you know we are delighted to be showcasing items from some of our local craftspeople in the shop. Peter Wheeler has a wide selection of items including an amazing array of walking sticks, jewellery boxes, large egg cups, garden dibbers, light pulls and bangles and – be quick! – there are six of Alice Blogg’s bowls still available.
We also have second-hand items ‘looking for a new home’ which have been donated by some of our volunteers. The large wooden bowl went very quickly but more remains.
Sadly, there is insufficient space in the shop for us to have larger items from our local world-renowned cabinet-makers but there are pictures of some of their work and we can put you in touch with them.
Are you a pupil at St Mary’s Academy in Beaminster? If you are, you may be doing the Research project this holiday. Please do come and see us. (Please bring an adult with you.) We are expecting you and will be happy to help if we can. We have lots of things on display and our stewards (the people on the desk) can help you find things more quickly. We also have lots of information on the computer and can help you search for photos, letters or other types of record. Just come and tell us what it is you are researching. We look forward to seeing you.
Two exciting new temporary exhitions open Saturday 01 April at 10:30. First, we are celebrating 40 years of friendship with St. James in Normandy. Second, we are celebrating all things ‘wood’.
The commune of St James sits in Basse Normandie, not far from Le Mont St Michel and bypassed to the West by the A84 to Rennes. A small but active town, it has much in common with Beaminster which undoubtedly contributes to the success of four decades of municipal twinning sharing history, culture and socio-economic experience. Our exhibition, opening on 01 April, showcases the history of this enduring friendship.
The current activities of Saint James, prononounced sɛ̃ʒɑm in French, can be followed through the town’s website.