Saturday 31st October 2015 from 9.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham celebrates its 8th birthday on 31st October but instead of a party we will be holding an Open Day. From 9.30 to 4.00 people are invited to discover what happens in the Centre and what they can find out from the wonderful collections that are housed there. Conservators will discuss their work with museum objects, archaeological finds, photographs, and documents, while experts will advise on finding how to research the history of a family, house, church and community, town and village.
Archaeologists will talk about latest finds and the wealth of archaeology in the county, have displays on Stonehenge and Avebury, Wiltshire’s historic landscape, and the Civil War, and they’ll also let you handle archaeological finds. Old maps and photographs are fascinating and there will be exhibitions of both with staff on hand to talk about them, while the Magna Carta exhibition will include a locally painted baron that took part in the 800th anniversary celebrations in Salisbury.
There’ll be the first opportunity to see items acquired through the HLF funded project, Creative Wiltshire & Swindon, including etchings, prints, ceramics and bells; you can also listen to recordings by local musicians. Local and family history societies will have stalls explaining their work in the county and how you can help with their projects.
You can take a tour of one of the strong rooms where documents dating back to 1148, when King Stephen was on the throne, are held. There’ll be treasure hunts and competitions for all ages and 8 mini lectures through the day. Light refreshments – cakes, tea, coffee and squash - will be available in the Heritage Café, open for one day only, where there will be screenings of old ciné films and local history presentations. Apart from the café everything is free, including membership of the History Centre.
There will be many secondhand local books for sale so join us for a free day out at our first Open Day for two years and discover many aspects of local and family history and enjoy some of our competitions. You have lived through history and stand at the end of centuries of evolution and the development of your community and your family. Explore ways of learning more about this from our many experts
The series of free mini lectures are:
10.00 a.m. Stories Behind Pub Names with Mike Marshman
10.30 a.m. Some Recent Discoveries in North Wiltshire’s Archaeology with Melanie Pomeroy-Kellinger
11.00 a.m. Matilda Talbot – an Extraordinary Wiltshire Woman with Claire Skinner
11.30 a.m. Horrible Cures & Remedies with Terry Bracher
2.00 p.m. Life in the 17th Century Ale House with Mike Marshman
2.30 p.m. Some Recent Discoveries in South Wiltshire’s Archaeology with Clare King
3.00 p.m. Family History on the Internet with Claire Skinner
3.30 p.m. Anecdotes from the Archives with Steve Hobbs
Limited capacity – first come get the seats!
There will be plenty in the Centre to keep you occupied for a few hours so do set aside half a day to visit us and take the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes and talk to our many experts about what you can find out and achieve when you visit us.