Creating a heritage hub
Woodbridge Museum is working with the WRT to create a heritage hub, uniting the Longshed, the Tide Mill, the public space and waterfront, with the Heritage Building, the new home of the Museum.
In keeping with its new location, the museum intends to create a new series of displays, describing the town’s Anglo-Saxon origins and its growth as a market, port and shipbuilding centre. Visitors will be able to get more information about the town and artifacts in the museum through computer terminals linked to a virtual museum. A simplified version of the virtual museum will also be available, via a WiFi network. Displays and exhibitions on the mezzanine floor will link to activities in the shed and potentially, to heritage boats moored on the waterfront, bringing to life the town’s maritime heritage and its importance to the people living and working here over the centuries.
The ground floor of the museum will house the reception and displays. The upper floor will house a flexible activities area which will be used to explore various aspects of the history of Woodbridge in different ways, providing activities for children, demonstrations, films, lessons, talks and so on. It will also be used, by prior arrangement, to allow access to items not on display and stored in a secure area.
From the upper floor there will be an entry on to a mezzanine floor in the Longshed, with views over the activities below. Projects in the shed will focus on construction and restoration of maritime craft used by people who lived, worked and traded in East Suffolk from Roman times to the last century – ranging from small boats used by river pilots in the 1800s to the full-scale replica of the Anglo-Saxon royal burial ship at Sutton Hoo. Each of the projects will be led by professionals and/or expert volunteers. Some reconstruction projects will involve experimental research using contemporary techniques and materials; all will provide opportunities for people to learn and participate under expert supervision.
A changing programme of information and activities on the mezzanine floor will link to the current activities in the shed and to heritage boats moored on the waterfront. They will include interactive displays relating to how and why maritime craft evolved and how maritime activities impacted on the lives of local people.
Such displays could, for example, cover:-
- Why boats are the shape they are and why it is better to carry a large cargo on a big boat rather than on many smaller ones?
- The difference between clinker and carvel construction and the relative advantages of each.
- How trees used to make large boats are selected and where they came from
- The impact of wind and tide on how boats sail.
- How pulleys (block and tackle) can be made to lift heavy weights.
- How to make sail and rope from hemp and flax. (a local industry)
- Navigation methods
The museum would be keen to appoint a member to be part of the team planning these displays. The manufacture of displays could involve local model makers and schools and could well be one of the early activities in the boat shed.
Any one interested in joining in the museum’s work is invited to contact museum director:
Contact: Bob Merrett, Woodbridge Museum Trust firstname.lastname@example.org