In 2019 I volunteered to research and curate an exhibition about music and musicians for my local community museum in the Cotswolds. The Swinford Museum typically houses displays relating to rural life and so my music-themed exhibition was to co-exist alongside permanent displays of farming equipment and stonemasonry, a patent reminder of the context for my musicological research. Twelve months later, the eclectic exhibition was complete and ready to reveal the dynamic history of music’s role within this rural community. Exhibits included unique vintage musical instruments, early vinyl records, crystal radio sets, school country dance clothing, choristers hymn books, grave decorations and oral histories of war-time singing, folk music and village festivities.
Thank you to everyone who helped with the creation of this years exhibition, whether through contributions of instruments, oral histories, photographs, newspaper clippings, vintage clothing, books, records, music magazines, record players and radios (and anything else which I’ve not listed!). Special gratitude goes to:
Liz Saul and Lilley Mitchell of BBC Radio Oxford for the radio interviews and publicity for the exhibition.
Morley Harps for the loan of such wonderful vintage instruments, posters and funding contribution for the museum.
Composer Nathan McCree for the kind donation of Tomb Raider CDs and the programme from the world premiere of the Tomb Raider Suite.
Mike Monaghan, drummer extraordinaire, for the photos, videos and recollections of your time rehearsing in Filkins Village Hall.
The family of Glass Animals musician Ed Irwin-Singer for the loan of the poster and ‘cork characters’!
Richard Martin of the Cotswold Woollen Weavers, as always a fountain of knowledge about the history of Filkins and Broughton Poggs.
Trish Poole for the loan of church artefacts and the Filkins hand bell group performances.
Sheila, Ena and Hilary from the village shop and post office for your wonderful recollections which helped to bring the exhibition to life and link past with present.
Kevin Robbins and Peter Blackett for the oral histories of musical events in Filkins from years gone by.
Sheila Henderson, church organist, and Brian Carlick, organ tuner, for the fascinating detail about the church organs in Filkins and Broughton Poggs.
Finally, and most importantly, Diane Blackett, the permanent curator at the heart of the museum, without whom my music-themed exhibition would never have happened; a truly HUGE thanks to Diane.
The exhibition leaflet can be viewed here:
For further details about the museum itself and future exhibitions go to http://www.filkins.org.uk/village-facilities/swinford-museum/