In 2018 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. The photographs show two sections of the museum exhibition just minutes before the museum’s grand opening, with the hidden stories behind the exhibits awaiting their imminent connection with the present.
For museum opening times see http://www.filkins.org.uk/village-facilities/swinford-museum/
Thank you to everyone who helped with the creation of this years exhibition, whether through contributions of instruments, 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:
Morley Harps for the loan of such wonderful vintage instruments, posters and funding contribution for the museum.
The Music Department at Oxford Brookes University for kindly contributing towards the costs of the music exhibition.
Richard Martin of the Cotswold Woollen Weavers, as always a fountain of knowledge about the history of Filkins and Broughton Poggs.
Sheila, Ena and Hilary from the village shop and post office for your wonderful recollections which helped to bring the exhibition to life and linked past with present.
Diane Blackett, the heart of the museum, without whom my music-themed exhibition would never have happened.