The award winning Haslemere Museum is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. Set in beautiful historic grounds, in the heart of the town, the rich and diverse collections have been inspiring visitors since it opened in 1888.
To celebrate this milestone, a range of activities is planned throughout the year. Highlights include a summer exhibition uncovering the fascinating stories behind the collectors who gifted their wonderful treasures to the museum, with a chance to see rarely displayed artefacts, handle objects and learn how they became part of the remarkable collections.
Visitors should also look out for a series of special events including anniversary talks by distinguished corporate patrons as well as gallery and garden tours. A time capsule containing a range of items that will will be planted to give visitors in another 130 years a glimpse of life at the museum today.
As part of the celebrations, there will be a ‘Memories of the Museum’ project. Using a mixture of oral and written memories, this will build a picture of how the museum has impacted people’s lives. Anybody with special memories to share will be able to contribute to the project online, or in person at the museum.
Keep an eye on the social media pages too, not only will they keep you up to date with all the activities that have been planned, there is going to be special content posted throughout the year, that will show a different side to the museum.
The museum was founded by Sir Jonathan Hutchinson FRS, an eminent London surgeon, who set up a country home on the edge of town. He had a passion for collecting objects and built up an extraordinary collection of artefacts, purchased at auction and on overseas travel, which he originally displayed in the grounds of his home. Visitors were welcome by appointment to view Sir Jonathan’s collection of rocks, shells and wildlife specimens. His Sunday afternoon tours became so popular, that he had to expand and by 1895 moved his museum into the town.
Now, 130 years on, it is one of the largest museums in South East England and the collections are a rich resource of local, national and international heritage. It has a wonderful tradition of learning and offers a lively programme of events throughout the year which provide enjoyment for everyone. As an independent registered charity, it is responsible for raising all its own funds and relies entirely on donations, bequests, sponsorship, and hire fees to keep going.
Curator Julia Tanner says: “There is so much to celebrate. Our founder is considered to have revolutionised the role of museums in education and made his collections accessible to everyone. Our collections remain at the heart of the museum and every year thousands of visitors come to learn, enjoy and be inspired and we are determined to ensure this continues. This place has enormous appeal and is as Sir Jonathan Hutchinson intended ‘more a museum for Haslemere, than one of Haslemere’.
Make sure you keep you up to date and be the first to find out what special celebrations are planned, visit www.haslemeremuseum.co.uk for more information.