It’s Playtime At Crawley Museum

Teddy Bear in doll's cot

On October 30th Crawley Museum will be opening their latest exhibition, and for it to be a success they need everybody’s help.

To make it work the museum is asking everybody who can to come along and share their memories of the toys they loved as children. If you still have that old teddy, a doll, or train that made you happy when you were small, Crawley Museum would dearly love to be able to borrow it for the duration of the exhibition.

The exhibition itself includes display boards, video, and toys which you can touch and play with. But what it’s really all about is your own memories of dolls, bears, Meccano, Hornby and Airfix.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the toys which you remember, they’d still love to hear your stories of the way you used to play, or indeed the way you still play today.

If you have an abiding memory of a much loved toy, or you have a toy which you are prepared to lend to Crawley Museum for other people to see and enjoy, then please get in touch. If you are in a position to make a loan of your cherished toy, don’t worry! The toys which you provide won’t be among those which will be used in the toy box and played with by other visitors, instead your loans will be carefully put in a cabinet where they can be seen, but not touched.

For more details on how you can get involved with the Toys exhibition, what it involves, times and dates simply ask at the museum reception, call 01293 539088, or send an email to office@crawleymuseums.org

Candomblé ferramenta display

Image of four metal objects: double headed axe with lightning bolts; jewelled cutlass; three tridents on stand; small copper figure.

Have you been in to see our loan from the Horniman Museum yet?

Until 15th December, upstairs in our Link Gallery we have a display case with four Candomblé ferramenta.

“Ferramenta” or ‘tools’ are used in the religion of Candomblé. Each ferramenta represents a particular Orisha – a spirit or deity from the large Candomblé pantheon. Candomblé developed from the religions of enslaved African people from the 17th to late 19th century, in the Bahia region of Brazil.

West African, particularly Yoruba, religious understandings merged with other African and Indigenous American beliefs as well as Catholicism to produce a distinctive Afro-Brazilian religion which, through music and dance celebrates life and its continuance.

These four ferramenta were collected in 1998 as part of fieldwork undertaken in Brazil by Keith Nicklin, former Keeper of Ethnography at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

They are on loan to us from the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, London as part of its Object in Focus loans programme. Object in Focus gives access to the Horniman’s collections by offering objects on short term loan.

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Education and Community Liaison

I have been carrying out the role of Learning and Liaison officer for Crawley Museum over the last 12 months. This involves working on learning activities as well as liaising with members of Crawley’s communities. As part of my work I have run outreach sessions for schools, and have also drawn up the education session summaries for the sessions at the new museum when it opens. I am now working on activity sheets and am developing plans for a range of learning opportunities in the new museum, including children’s craft activities, preschool sessions, and adult learning opportunities. I am fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers who are interested in helping with this, and we recently held a very interesting workshop on family learning. Some of the volunteers have also helped me with running stands at community events. These have included Armed Forces Day, the Crawley Big Seven-0 and the vintage picnics at Worth Park. We took along a selection of old photos of Crawley, and people really enjoyed looking at them and sharing their memories.

I have enjoyed getting to know a number of the local groups in Crawley and talking to them about ideas for temporary exhibitions and activities at the museum. This has included working with the Refugees Welcome Group on their community quilt project on happy memories, which will be displayed in the new museum. Other groups have included the Gurjar Hindu Union, the Polish Saturday School, the Crawley Campaign against Racism and the Crawley Inter-Faith Forum. I have represented the museum at events run by the CHAGOS (Cultural Heritage Across Generations) project which is led by social anthropologists from Edinburgh University, and have met with Raminder Kaur, who is planning to hold an exhibition based on her play Silent Sisters (about the partition of India) at the new museum. I have also worked with Southgate Forum, helping them to organise a community exhibition of photos of Southgate.

I’m very much looking forward to working more with people from all over Crawley in the coming year. If you know of any groups who would be interested in working with us please get in touch!

Andrea Dumbrell, Learning and Liaison Officer 

Being a Volunteer

The move to the new museum buildings at The Tree is an exciting time for anyone interested in local history, and offers a good opportunity for people to get involved in researching and talking about the development of Crawley. This is especially so as it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the announcement of the post-war New Town in 1947.

Being a volunteer offers excellent opportunities to indulge an interest in local history. I started working with the Museum earlier this year, and have been mainly involved in identifying and numbering items in the collection, and packing them for the move to The Tree. This has included everything from the remains of early pottery found during excavation work around Crawley, to modern ceramic pieces produced as local souvenirs, to scale models of buildings that are no longer standing.

I have also been able to put some of my professional skills to use in writing brief comments to go with some of the permanent exhibits for the new museum – a real challenge to put someone’s life into one hundred words!

Working with curator Helen Poole and her team, even in this small way, has been a real education, not only in the history of Crawley, but also in what needs to go on behind the scenes in a museum.

There is still a lot to be done before the new museum can open, so new volunteers are always welcome. And why not join Crawley Museum Society, and find out more about the history of our town, going back many hundreds of years.

Graham Crozier, Museum Volunteer.

Community stand

Volunteering at Community Events

I’m a Londoner. I lived in Horley for 25 years and moved to Crawley 10 years ago, but my roots are still in London therefore it was with apprehension that I turned up for my first event as a volunteer for Crawley museum. ‘Don’t worry’ said Andrea, ‘the people who turn up will tell you about Crawley’, and they certainly did.

The event was celebrating the 70th anniversary of Crawley New Town at Worth Park in May. Andrea had selected a hundred or so photos taken when the new town was being built to display on our stall. The photos were taken of the different ‘villages’ that now make up Crawley, as well as road networks, the airport and various events such as carnivals and parades. Those photos certainly brought back memories and provoked much conversation amongst the people who turned up – old and young alike!

A group of men in their seventies were the first to turn up and they certainly knew the history of Crawley! I imagined them in their wellies and grey school shorts playing all over the building sites after school! People recognised houses being built where friends had lived and the old shops in the various district parades. Andrea was hoping that someone would recognise one of people in the photos but sadly no-one did. The lack of cars on the roads was a talking point. No parking problems at Christmas in town in those days!

It will be interesting to have all these photos available in the new museum and to encourage people to record what they know about the places and scenes before this information is gone.

I certainly know more about the history of Crawley after my afternoon on the stall. My eight year old grandson also now knows a lot of local history after a visit to his school by Andrea and Helen. He is a bit of a history buff anyway, but was so full of interest after their talk he could recount practically word for word of what they had said without drawing breath. If the rest of his class were as fascinated by the talk as he was maybe we will have a band of junior volunteers when the museum eventually opens.

History is made by people and the legacy is carried on by people – never too young to learn! Or even too old?

Ann

12/08/2017

StellaMuseumVolunteeratCommunityEventBW

Volunteering at Crawley Museum

The door to local history opened wide for me when I joined Crawley Museum Society (CMS) 28 years ago – initially attending monthly meetings and trips to local museums.

Roger Bastable the late local historian, asked my husband Michael and I if we would use one of our lorries to help move the stored artefacts from The Tree to Goffs Park House Annexe. ( This is now in the process of a reverse move)

I then volunteered as a steward at Goffs Park, working with several different curators over time. Meeting many people, some local, some from overseas, even people who thought Crawley didn`t have any history. No two sessions were ever the same but always interesting.

I was asked about ten years ago by our then curator Janet Roskilly if I would be interested in audio history interviewing; I was very interested.

What evolved was a liaison between the WRVS and CMS to start a audio history course for volunteers. The course was run by Sussex University, who  sent tutors and equipment to our group learning sessions held at the Hawth. I worked with the WRVS on this project for several months then had to hand  back the recorder.

The museum was able to obtain our own Marantz recorders and I continue with interviewing to record our local history when requested.

After assisting with The Road to Crawley project and the Worth, Three Bridges and Pound Hill Exhibition held at the Hawth seven years ago I started with the support of our curator, Helen Poole to give talks on Worth and the surrounding area.

With Bill another volunteer we continue to give slide show and talks on Three Bridges and Worth to local groups and clubs to further local knowledge and raise funds for the museum.

Volunteering at Crawley Museum has certainly enhanced my local knowledge and brought Crawley’s history to more people in the community and given me a great deal of pleasure.

 

Stella Berrisford

16/8/17

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01293 539088
office@crawleymuseums.org

The Tree

103 High Street

Crawley

West Sussex

RH10 1DD

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