DORKING MUSEUM IN FEBRUARY

 

As we come into a new decade, the team at Dorking Museum would like to thank visitors, supporters, volunteers and members for contributing to an eventful and exceptional year in 2019 and look forward to another exciting year in 2020. 

Are you making the most of this valuable local resource that celebrates the rich heritage of the town and surrounding villages?

In 2019, around 3,500 visitors were welcomed to the Museum, but that is only part of the story.  The team also took 1,100 people underground on tours of the South Street Caves and 500 people on its programme of guided walks in Dorking town, on the Deepdene Trail and at Betchworth Castle.  Its youth activities benefitted over 130 children and adults on school and youth group visits and welcomed 350 participants to its school holiday and half term family activities. Museum Gallery Talks and book launches attracted around 200 visitors and a similar number attended the team’s talks and presentations at other venues, as well as many who saw the Museum’s exhibitions ‘on the road’ at Dorking Halls and Brooklands Museum.  In addition, there were also archive visits, oral history interviews and much more besides.  

The Museum mounted three new exhibitions during the year and held two community events for Remembrance.  The South Street Caves were used for filming for a BBC/PBS television series while the Museum was nominated for the Women’s History Network Community History Prize for the short film ‘Suffragettes in the Surrey Hills’, hosted a joint community First World War digitisation event in conjunction with Oxford University’s ‘Lest We Forget’ project and provided the Dorking content for the national Mayflower 400 website and self-guided walking app.  The Museum’s publishing arm, The Cockerel Press, had a bumper year, producing and publishing six new books on a range of local themes.  

With online coverage taking museums to a wider national and international audience, the Museum welcomed 44,000 visitors to its website and amassed 1,100 followers on Facebook, 2,500 on Twitter and 600 on Instagram.  

Museum Chairman Nigel Arch sums up the year: “Every year our reach gets wider, and more people within our community are able to benefit from our services and facilities. Dorking Museum is a real jewel in the crown for both the town and district.  We reach far and wide, our activities not confined by the Museum’s walls, celebrating our shared heritage.”  

If you would like to get involved in 2020, please visit the Museum, take part in any of our outside activities, volunteer a little time, become a member or support in any other ways.  For details, please visit the Museum’s website.

Our current Spring exhibition is ‘How do we look at Dorking?  The Town and its Landscapes over 150 years’.  The Museum’s curator of paintings, Sandra Wedgwood, has been gathering together paintings and drawings of the area, from conventional views to interesting interpretations of the local townscape and landscape.  She seeks to shed light on the questions, how have we seen our surroundings over the last 150 years? Is there a clear pattern? Do we see them as Realistic, or mostly realistic with some artistic licence? Do we want them to be Romantic or simply Beautiful?  Can modern Technology help us see them anew or does it cause us to interpret them from our imagination? Evidence comes from works by prominent local artists like Charles Collins and those who visited and captured local views like Arthur C Fare as well as more contemporary interpretations such as that by Harvey and Ackroyd and even views from a drone.  As Sandra says, “I want people to look closely at the images on the wall rather than to read words about them. I hope that they will find them fascinating.”  

The Walking in Dorking team has been building its programme of guided walks with a number of new themed walks developed during the year.  These are available for group bookings as well as a schedule of walks for individual bookings. See Dorking in a new light with a Museum guide!  The Spring programme of scheduled walks kicks off at the end of February, with itineraries including The Deepdene Trail, Hidden Dorking, Historic Pubs, Dorking in the time of the Mayflower and Betchworth Castle.  The first two will be a Hidden Dorking Historic Walk, February 29th, 2pm, and a Mayflower 400 walk, March 1st, 2pm.  Details and bookings on the website.  

 

 

The Museum is at 62 West Street, Dorking RH4 1BS.  Open from January 4th on Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm. Visit www.dorkingmuseum.org.uk.  Enquiries to admin@dorkingmuseum.org.uk or phone 01306 876591.

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