A major new exhibition celebrating the area’s industrial past will be officially opened tomorrow following the biggest revamp at Mansfield Museum in ten years.
Made in Mansfield is the first new exhibition in the Museum’s Arcade gallery in 27 years.
The Arcade, which leads from the Museum’s entrance to the original building, now focuses on the town’s major past and present employers and industries of the town.
The exhibition features artefacts, photographs, film and audio about Metal Box, Shoe Co, Mansfield Brewery, Barrs Soft Drinks, hosiery, precision engineering, mining, foundries and quarrying.
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Current and former employees will have the opportunity to see how the memories and knowledge they provided at a series of highly popular and successful memory days have been captured in the new gallery.
There are interactive activities including an electronic beer mat flipper, clocking-in machines and a chance to design-your-own-shoes.
Although Made in Mansfield is not aimed primarily at children, it features family-friendly trails and activities similar to those that won the Museum the Guardian’s Family-friendly Museum of the Year award. The gallery will also enhance the education department’s Made in Mansfield session, one of 16 different curriculum topics for visiting local primary schools.
It will be officially opened by Cllr Kate Allsop, Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration at Mansfield District Council, on Thursday. She will be joined by invited guests.
The £469,900 project was made possible by a £304,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £153,700 from the Council - mainly through volunteer time - in addition to £3,000 from the Museum’s existing budget and £9,200 in sponsorship from Mansfield Educational Foundation.
Cllr Allsop said: “This is a wonderful and truly exciting exhibition celebrating the industrial heritage of Mansfield. We have a great team of volunteers who help our small but dedicated team of professionals who work tirelessly to keep the museum at the forefront of cultural services. There is something for everyone so come along and see for yourself the rich history of Mansfield’s industrial past.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands said: “HLF is pleased to have supported the creation of this important new exhibition and it’s great to see it now open to the public. Showcasing Mansfield’s industrial heritage, the artefacts and archive material on display will show that the town has made a large contribution to the rest of the country and has much to be proud of.
“People have already embraced the project by contributing their own memories and I’m sure many will now be keen to visit.”