Reinterpreting the Past

Just before leaving Tudor House at the end of March, I was able to see the project I had been managing finally come to fruition. It had been 2 years in the planning, 6 months in the fundraising, and 18 months in the delivery.

Image shows a mannequin wearing a Tudor style green gown, black kirtle, white ruff and black coif, stood in front of a display board entitled "Who is Margery?".

The idea from the board of trustees was to completely revive the museum’s interpretation, restore the 16th Century embossed ceiling, steer the story back to the Tudor origins of the building, which at the time was a kind of lost story in the city, and create a more cohesive, professional feel to the museum.

Picture shows foamex display board saying "Women of the Cross Keys" on display in the museum.

As with any project that promises to change the direction of an organisation, there were fears to overcome, particularly that of the volunteers, money to raise and resources to gather. My application to NLHF’s Our Heritage grant was successful and we were quickly able to raise the match-funding needed. By keeping the communication lines open and being clear about the aims, I was able to keep volunteers on side and allay fears that the scope of the project would lead to a reduced offer for visitors.

After all the hard work and juggling that Covid restrictions created, it was wonderful to see everything start to come together. Working with designers, Heritage Insider, we created display boards, vinyls and hands on activities to be used around the building.

Picture shows 3 vinyls, silhouettes of Tudor children: Edward, Isabelle and Thomas.

Entering the Tudor Worcester area, you can hear street sounds, find out about the food they ate and what the city was like in the 16th Century. In the Cross Keys Tavern, you can hear music, people chatting and the clink of pewter tankards. The smell of hops brewing fills the air and the boards tell you about Tavern life, the people who lived there and the women who ran it.

Image shows vinyls attached to wall in Broadcloth room depicting the 29 processes wool went through before becoming broadcloth.

I can’t begin to explain how pleased I am with how this project has turned out. A museum that was full of unconnected themes, told via laminated sheets of paper, now has a coherent story, a professional feel and, most importantly, a unique place in the city’s heritage offer. What a fantastic note to end my Tudor House experience on!

Image shows Tudor Time Team Trail bags created for use by older children visiting the museum.

I’ll be talking in more detail about the project and how we managed it in a time of Covid in my newsletter. If you’d like to be on the mailing list, enter your email below.

Published by Tonia

www.collettconsultancy.co.uk

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