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The Guildford Story

Every generation needs to rewrite its story and Jill Draper discussed this with me about 18 months ago. A revamped Museum about Guildford needs to know the story it is telling so this is something we could start now. It could be used to generate ideas for articles in the press and lectures

An artefact a week

Many people have suggested featuring an object of the week on a website. The museum has been working toward this and has photographed a representative selection of objects so this would be easy to do and would be a great way to raise awareness. Members of the forum have the expertise to set up a website and the local press could be approached


A museum publication on Guildford would be another good step toward raising awareness. It could be a product of the work on the Guildford Story or perhaps a Children’s Guide to Guildford. Again there are plenty of people on the forum who could contribute to this

Exhibitions and lectures

We can find no plans for exhibitions from February to May so the exhibition hall would be free for simple exhibitions. It would be a good way to feature some of the key parts of the collection or we could stage an exhibition about the future of the museum.


The Alice Day was a great success. Many people have suggested staging more events and have expressed an interest in getting involved. One suggestion has been for a historic music festival with costumed actors and musicians playing period music in different historic buildings round the town. This could be combined with Heritage Day or could be a separate event. It would be a good way to get acting groups, musicians and choirs around the town involved and would reach out to the wider community. Ideas for smaller events include a Town trail day – start and finish at Museum and give a prize to all who finish, Engage with re-enactors and have regular characters in the Castle and Museum.


Other Ideas

  • Lunch-time talks,  say half an hour by a curator on one or more objects or aspects of work at the Museum. 
  • Pre-school rhymes/story time,  invite nearest pre-school facilities in town.
  • Knitting/craft group meeting weekly/fortnightly could make things for charity or for exhibition.
  • Existing craft clubs invited to meet at Museum for a change.
  • Use Museum as a base for a Quarry Street neighbourhood group, offer venue and refreshments, these are probably influential neighbours.
  • Hold a coffee morning for volunteers to meet each other or tea party, invite members of any group already identified as a group to work with in 2016/7.
  • Smaller events than Alice day in Castle grounds and Museum .e.g. Knights and squires for Dads and children, storytelling in 2 venues (or more) to ensure part of it takes place in the actual Museum.
  • Look for every possible place in the building to put something to do.
  • Have bags for under 5’s to give out (could be made up by volunteers) See good ideas at Watts gallery
  • Could also have some toys to play with  in the toy gallery not much room but could have a rotating set, e.g. Noah’s Ark, Doll’s House, Farm set 
  • Every Sat, have something for families to make and take these could be prepared by volunteers, e.g. the town flag, a mask, puppet,hat,
  • Have a Town trail day – start and finish at Museum and give a prize to all who finish
  • Study Day for adults who pay;  negotiate lunch at a pub
  • Join in with anything National. May - Museums Month, July -  Nat. Archaeology Weekend 
  • Engage with re-enactors and have regular characters in the Castle and Museum. Most people love talking to someone.
  • Run a competition for ,e.g estate agents, law firms, pubs any group which might join in.
  • Could be make a model of a Guildford building, cook a historic dish of food, photograph your staff in historic costume, anything which requires them to visit the Museum to see the results
  • Hold games sessions (sponsored by high tech games firms? )From simple Ludo, Snakes and Ladders to some more modern things.
  • Invite Queen’s Regiment Museum staff and volunteers to hold an identification day medals photos etc.
  • The same with S. H. C. for family history. Costume experts for identifying costume items
  • This summer persuade council to put floral display in old bus stop (They could put 2 less outside Debenham’s and then it would not cost any extra.) Museum staff could tend the display.
  • Next Christmas, advertise the shop as the place in Guildford to buy tiny presents for going in crackers! It was the best this year! Sell make- it- yourself crackers,  hold demonstrations of decorations to make and sell the wherewithal. If space outside, do wreath making,- some places charge £40 for this incl. coffee. Evergreens probably available from Parks dept.

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