We’re marking our 50th birthday at home here in the centre of Richmond, with a fabulous new special exhibition in April, and the launch of our fundraising efforts for the year to carry out enhancement works to one one of the museum’s most loved spaces.
King Olav V of Norway officially opened the museum on 25 July 1973, three years after work to relocate it from ‘behind the wire’ at Richmond Barracks had begun. A small museum had always existed within the barracks up the hill, where The Garden Village is today. But the army was moving out of the barracks so a new home was needed. Not an easy task, but Colonel Jonathan Forbes was on the case, looking for suitable venues in the town.
Forbes retired to the Kings Head Hotel for a drink with a fellow officer, Peter Kirby, to regroup. Peter pointed through the window at the then dilapidated, redundant church opposite, saying “That’s the place for your museum. It’s an ideal location.” Three years later the museum opened in the former Trinity Church, and we’ve been here ever since.
“During this anniversary year, we are focusing on The Normanby Room,” explains Director and Curator, Lynda Powell. “It’s been nearly a decade since the room, at one time off-limits to museum visitors, was opened up as part of our major redevelopment in 2014, and we now need to carry out conservation to our extensive collection of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson furniture, as well as improving the lighting and the glazing to ensure the room continues to have that special, sparkling wow factor.”
As well as various events and activities in the museum throughout the rest of the year to mark the golden anniversary, there’s also a chance to win fabulous prizes in a Grand Draw.
“We’re very grateful to the team at the Coaching Inn Group, owners of The Kings Head Hotel, for their generous support of the Grand Draw, with a prize of a three night bed and breakfast break at any of their UK properties” adds Lynda. “We hope to welcome old friends and new throughout this anniversary year, and look forward to sharing the improvements our anniversary fundraising efforts bring about in due course.”
Grand Draw tickets are on sale now, available from the museum shop, or call 01748 826561 to get yours. Find out more about the Grand Draw here.