In 2011 we conducted a consultation exercise to see what the people of Daventry wanted from their museum. We then took these away, had a good think and built a plan for the new museum and how we are going to get there.
The museum redevelopment enabled us to unite the two main functions of the building (Town Council meeting and office functions and a public museum service) and streamline logistical arrangements.
A better balance between the buildings two functions and investment in professional quality display equipment has allowed the Museum to open for 4 days per week instead of one Saturday per month. Displays and other activity will be designed to engage people and ensure the Museum is a catalyst for people to share stories and ideas.
We wanted to involve as many people as possible in the creation of this Museum and for it to have relevance to everyone. It was not be created behind closed doors, but involved taking the Museum out to the people. Young People from Phoenix Youth working with Glassball Arts to tell their own version of the towns history and character through public art works and events. New satellite exhibits have been set up all round town so people come into contact with their history in their daily routines.
The Museum does not aim to present a single inflexible definitive story of the town, but rather seeks to stimulate curiosity and provide a platform for Daventry people to present their stories, views and expressions over the coming years. The aim is be to bring something out of visitors not just put something in.
Aspects of the towns history are presented in a thematic way encouraging discussion and inviting responses. Smart new display equipment allows volunteers and the public to produce varied and professional exhibitions using collections and loan material. Collections are rotated through this flexible approach providing a fresh experience.