The Museum of Oxford is to open a new Micro-Museum and community exhibition to highlight the history of Oxford to residents and visitors.
The Micro-Museum - which will display objects from the Museum of Oxford’s ‘Explore Oxford’ gallery, including Charles Dodgson’s (Lewis Carroll’s) pocket watch and a tin of Frank Coopers Marmalade which was taken on Scott’s final expedition to the Antarctic– will be a temporary space for visitors to explore Oxford’s history during the Museum of Oxford’s Hidden Histories redevelopment.
The museum will be hosting its grand-opening on Saturday 6 October. Highlights from the event will include music from Oxford Waits – a band who take their name from 17th century city musicians, a demonstration in hand to hand combat, Anglo-Saxon crafts, object handling, and more. It will be taking place from 10am – 5pm in the Gallery at Oxford Town Hall and is free to attend.
The grand opening will also see the launch of the Micro-Museum’s first community exhibition. ‘The Windrush Years – Next Generations’ will be open until Saturday 23 March and will be free to attend.
The exhibition will focus on the oral histories of the local Windrush generation accompanied by the testimony and costume from BK LUWO, as well a reconstruction of a typical West Indian front room/living room of the 1960s/70s. The launch event will also see performances by Amantha Edmead of Kuumba Nia Arts, Janet Stansfeld Gospel Singers.
The exhibit is a part of a programme of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the docking of the SS Empire Windrush and has been co-created in partnership with ACHKI (Afrikan Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative) and BK LUWO.
The Micro-Museum will allow visitors to find out more about the Museum of Oxford redevelopment which will open in 2020.
The Oxford Hidden Histories redevelopment will see the Old Museum, which was partially closed in 2011, transformed to increase the size of the museum and the number of objects on display from 286 to around 750. It will tell the often-overlooked story of Oxford, its people and its communities through exhibits, objects and new oral histories.
The project aims to create an award-winning museum and heritage events space in the centre of Oxford.
The project will also see the creation of a new shop and reception desk, forming a much improved welcome area for the museum and improved facilities for the museum’s 100+ volunteers.
In the summer the museum hosted a crowdfunding campaign and raised £1,681 towards the redevelopment from online and offline donations. So far, £101,000 of a £450,000 fundraising target has been raised. The team will be continuing to fundraise towards the redevelopment over the next few years.
Earlier this year, the museum was awarded a grant of £1.63 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The Development Trust was granted charity status by the Charities Commission in July 2017, which allows it to receive gift aid, and raise funds to support the improvement of facilities, collections, exhibitions, learning opportunities and advocate for the museum’s stories and its services.
Technical design and the relocation of some of the exhibits started in summer 2018; with construction due to commence in summer 2019 and the new museum opening by summer 2020.
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and City Centre, said: “Even though it may be small in name, the museum team and volunteers have all worked very hard to ensure that the wealth of Oxford’s history is reflected within the exhibition space.
“We are very excited about the grand opening and the beginning of the Micro-Museum’s first community exhibition. The exhibition will allow us to find out more about the experiences of the Windrush generation who came to Oxford.
“We hope that visitors to the micro-museum will be inspired by the history of Oxford and want to find out more about the exciting Museum of Oxford redevelopment.”
To find out more about the Museum of Oxford’s go to www.oxfordhiddenhistories.org.