News and Events
Spotlight on the Museum
The Flintham museum opened in 1999 and as part of our 20th anniversary celebrations we have staged an exhibition at the Spotlight Gallery, Newark Town Hall Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition is free to visit and available until Saturday 27 July, 10.30am - 3.30pm, Mondays to Saturdays.
Our exhibition looks at how the contents of the village shop at Flintham were found buried beneath decades of dust, and how volunteers turned the muck and muddle into a museum. Details of shopkeeping before supermarkets are given and there is an insight into how the village shopkeeper was more than just a retailer.
Other aspects of the work the museum volunteers do in the community are also displayed, including our successful 1960s project for people who have dementia and their carers. Visitors who have a relative or friend who has dementia will be able to take home a free 'fidget muff' on request. There's a section about different types of education in Flintham over the centuries plus a game where you choose one of six First World War characters and work out how hungry they might have been in 1918.
The cake we had at our 20th anniversary picnic is also on display. We couldn't justify the cost of having a large fruit cake made, iced and decorated so Helen, one of the museum's design team, volunteered to make a cake with a difference. She borrowed an idea from World War Two weddings and made a 'cake' from stiff card which she then decorated. Underneath the posh, pretty cover sat a proper, but very small cake. (We had made lots of other small cakes as well so everyone was able to have a slice!)
If you are in Newark between now and 27 July pop into the Town Hall and have a look at our exhibition. If you miss it, then go at another time because the Town Hall Museum and Art Gallery is well worth a visit.
Animals Invade Museum
Fortunately the museum is safe because all the animals, birds and insects are illustrated on advertising material, old photographs of Flintham and unsold shop stock. They are part of the latest shop window displays ready for the museum's opening on Monday 22 April at 2pm. As you might have guessed the theme for 2019 is animals and the new displays are colourful, quirky, fun and sometimes controversial. Come and have a look. We look forward to welcoming you.
Listening to Memories from the Recent Past
Most of us know an older person who has fascinating stories to tell about their younger days. Many of us regret we never got round to capturing those memories while loved ones were alive. On Saturday 16 March, 2-3.45pm at the Boot & Shoe's meeting room, Flintham a training session took place when a group learned how to record memories and understand more about everyday lives in past decades. The trainer showed that recording memories is not difficult to do and with a few techniques and memory triggers you can encourage people to talk about their past and value their own history.
Annual General Meeting
The Flintham Society's AGM took place in January 2019. It was a good opportunity to remind ourselves of how much we had achieved during the past year and to say 'thank you' to everyone who volunteers in running the museum and putting on a series of successful community activities. There are always opportunities to volunteer, whether as a committee member, as part of a short term project (and there are a number planned for 2019), or maintaning the pond and wild flower meadow.
Flintham Looked Forward, Sunday 11 November
Museum volunteer staged a series of 'happenings' in Flintham church on Sunday 11 November to reflect the ways in which village residents coped after the end of the Great War in 1918. David Valentine, a Flintham resident, used research about the village 1918-1928 and turned some of it into short playlets.
A good number came to the church to join us back in the past. Visitors listened to gossip at the village shop in 1920, decided whether parish councillors were making the correct decisions about a new cemetery and then stayed for a pint in the Boot & Shoe in 1926 to hear unexpected news. The three 'happenings' took place at 1pm, 2.15pm and 3.30pm.
While waiting there were illustrated folders to browse through with information about the period from a national perspective. Or visitors walked to the village hall (just down the lane from the church) where tea and home made cakes were available along with folders packed with Flintham Facts 1918-1928 and photographs of all the events we have staged about the Great War since 2013. The event was free thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Heritage Open Day 2018
On Sunday 9 September 2018 we are taking part in Heritage Open Day. Our theme this year is about Flintham women, some of whom gained the Vote in 1918. There will be a series of thought provoking statements about equality which we're pinning up in the weather garden behind the community shop. Come and have a cup of tea and a slice of home made cake and share your thoughts with other visitors. We tried out some of the questions at the recent school Fair and found that parents and grandparents had a lot to say and didn't always agree with each other. Fascinating!
Flintham Museum at Rufford Abbey on Wednesday 11 July
The County Council, supported by the Nottinghamshire Heritage Forum, staged a Great War Heritage Day at Rufford Abbey on 11 July 2018. Lots of museums and heritage sites took part and there was plenty to see and do. Flintham looked at the difficulties in feeding a family in 1918 when there was a shortage of food. We invited children to take on the role of a 'character' and fill in a quiz sheet which listed different typesof foods. They had to decide what they would have been able to eat every day, once a week, or not at all as the person they had chosen. Our stand was decorated with contemporary advertising and propaganda posters.
Museum Waves the Flag
Well, actually it's a banner which is rather too big to wave. Museum volunteers have been busy designing and making a banner which we'll unfurl at our community Peace Picnic in July. We want as many people as possible to have some input in the creation of the banner so we're taking it to the School Fair on 1 July. Children and parents will be invited to make pompoms from scraps of wool and the decorations will be attached to the banner. The banner links 1918 and the end of World War One with 2018 with an appropriate slogan. After the Peace Picnic it will be used at Heritage Open Day on 9 September and again at an event we're staging in November.
The Flintham Museum opened for the 2018 season on Monday 2 April at 2pm. The shop window displays have been changed and, as always, there's lots to see and talk about. The main window display has an eclectic selection of unsold shop stock and advertising material from 1911-1982 while the other window features Flintham Women. This is in recognition of some women gaining the Vote in 1918. We're open every Sunday afternoon until October and at other times by appointment. Look forward to welcoming you!
On Sunday 22 April, the museum was part of Radio Nottingham's Big Day Out.
Museum Accreditation. Every three years Accredited museums have to reapply to the Arts Council and prove that they are still worthy of retaining the national standard. The Flintham Museum reapplied in October 1916 and heard a year later that we had been assessed as fulfilling all the relevant elements of the Accreditation scheme.
The museum was runner up in the 'Totally Voluntary' category of the East Midlands Heritage Awards held on 9 November 2017. We were awarded a certificate for our project 'Remembering the 1960s' where we have been working with people who have dementia, their carers and hospital staff.
'People, Places and Patterns', an exhibition of photographs taken by Trevor Clayton took place on Sunday 29 October 2017 at Flintham Village Hall. Trevor, one of the museum's founders, was a professional photographer from 1966 until his death in 2005. This, the first exhibition of his work, showed a selection of his photographs, many in black and white of local scenes, local people and the unexpected richness and diversity of patterns in everyday natural objects. Tea and home made cakes were available as well as cards of some of the photographs. All the proceeds went towards the upkeep of the museum which is in need of new carpets!
Get on Your Bike ......
The museum re-opened for the 2017 season in April. This year's shop window theme is Travel and, as always, our shop window dressers have put together a lively, colourful and quirky display using unsold shop stock and advertising material. Look forward to seeing you on Sunday afternoons to the end of October 2017 and at other times by appointment.
The 2017 displays have caused lots of comments and interest. A group from the Attingham Trust came to the museum in July as part of an annual visit. The visitors were from museums and heritage sites in the USA, Brazil, Austria, Poland, Ireland, Australia, France, Spain and the UK. Some of the museum professionals left written comments including the following: "Thank you. This is the most inspiring museum I have ever visited", "Your enthusiasm, knowledge and diligence are clearly evident. Delighted to be in one of the smallest museums in England", "Moving and truly inspiring experience. I will take your ideas with me to Brazil. Thanks!!!"
Flintham Museum and Cotgrave Memory Cafe
Our first session of working with people with dementia and their carers at a Memory cafe in Cotgrave was successful and very enjoyable. We'd adapted a number of activities (see below) relating to the 1960s. For example, we encouraged people to match daisy badges with a celebrity's name to photographs, they handled and talked about a variety of themed objects (1960s fashion, 1960s food, a day out in the 1960s) and had a go at filling in quiz sheets about 1960s books and films. Music from the decade was played and iconic images were shown throughout the session in the background. The carers were invited to write about their relative's reactions on the day and a month later at the next Memory Cafe. The comments were very encouraging and we hope we're invited to go and facilitate another session in the future.
Remember the 1960s?
In March 2017 we celebrated the 1960s with an evening of quizzes, fun activities, cheese and pineapple on sticks and lots of music. It was part of a project we're developing which will eventually assist people in their early 70s who have dementia. The 1960s evening gave us an opportunity to try out a number of ideas, some of which we'll take to Cotgrave when we're helping at a Memory Cafe.
Tracing Your Family History?
Discovered that some of your ancestors lived at Flintham? Not sure what to do next? We have stacks of information about Flintham residents to help you further your search. If you live close enough please make an appointment to come and view transcripts of parish registers, copies of census returns and a range of local documents. If you live too far away get in touch and we'll make an assessment of how much information we have and contact you with a quote based on the amount of work required.
New Grant Helps Flintham Look Forward
Following our success with 'Keeping the Home Fires Burning?' a project about life in Flintham during World War One, the Flintham Museum has been awarded a further £9,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our latest project, 'Flintham Looks Forward' will consider the impact of the war on various aspects of village life, 1918-1928. The grant will be used for the following purposes:
- researchers will visit local and county archives and libraries, and the Wren Library at Trinity College Cambridge because the College owned property and land at Flintham during and after WWI
- a group of 35 residents will visit Cambridge by coach for a history-related tour of the city
- monthly newsletters will be delivered to every home in the parish and emailed to a wider audience between August 2016 and March 2019. Please contact the museum if you would like to be added to our mailing list
- a series of oral history sessions with older residents
- informal tea and memory events so that the village primary school children can chat with older residents and ask them questions about life when they were young
- a booklet about Flintham 1911-1928 which will draw together the research from both projects
- a two-day event in the church when there will be all sorts of activities using written, spoken and tactile material. As with our 'Meet the Families in 1913', anything could (and no doubt will) happen to celebrate the end of the project.
The Museum has been granted a 'Sandford Award for Informal Learning' bursary to provide a series of 'memory boxes' about the 1960s. We've called the project 'The Baby Boomer Boxes' (3Bs for short!) and are busy plotting the major events in the 1960s so that we can visit charity shops and put together a collection of appropriate objects for the boxes. The aim is to take or send the boxes to nursing homes and memory cafes to be used by people who were born in the late 1940s and 1950s and are now beginning to develop memory loss. The boxes could also be used by social groups as part of a fun evening with quizzes and the sounds of the '60s.
Waitrose Supports Museum
The Newark branch of Waitrose has designated the Flintham Museum as one of its three charities for the month of May 2016. Thank you to the staff at Waitrose for choosing to support the museum. We hope lots of people will post their green tokens in our box during May.
Keeping the Home Fires Burning? Exhibition 13 and 14 June 2015
An amazing amount of material has been amassed about the impact of World War One on the village of Flintham and its residents. An interactive exhibition of the major findings was staged in June at Flintham village hall. Visitors were invited to make up their own minds about how well villagers coped at home, at work, at play and at school. There were lots of fascinating stories about Flintham families. The exhibition was the final event of a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded project.
East Midlands Heritage Awards 9 June 2015
Flintham Museum volunteers were 'highly commended' twice in the East Midlands Heritage Awards for their project 'Meet Flintham's pre-World War One families in 1913'. The first recognition was in the Heart of the Community category and the second was a Special Award given by the judges. The judges' comments included:
- A Living Museum/real village
- Imaginative - a good idea done well on a modest budget
- Unique approach - would be a great idea for many villages/small towns to use when they have a significant historical event to commemorate
- Liked the intergenerational element
- Well planned
- Significant number of people involved - research/new skills/young volunteers
- Nice media cover
Details of the event are given below.
Museum 2015 season featured the WI
The National Federation of Women's Institutes celebrated their centenary in 2015. The museum's shop window displays concentrated on the impact of the WI shown through a range of unsold shop stock and advertising material. The display was a riot of colour and demonstrated the many aspects of Flintham's WI which was founded in 1929.
Washday Mondays - Reminiscence session
A eries of memory sessions are available for care homes and day centres. For further information please contact the museum. Subjects include Washday Monday, Celebrations, Childhood Games and Shopping.
A traditional games evening took place at Flintham Village Hall on Saturday 21 February 2015. Visitors were able to have a go at a range of games, similar to ones which were played in 1915 when villagers raised money to send presents to their serving men. There were games of skill, funny games, family favourites and card games. The evening was a great success with lots of laughter especially when the magician (aged 93) and his assistant got into a muddle. The assistant said it wasn't her fault that the magician was going deaf and couldn't hear the clues she was sending while the magician declared that the audience was making too much noise. By popular request a similar evening will be organised later in 2015. The second event took place in February 2016 and was equally successful.
The Flintham Museum Scoops Two County Awards
The Nottinghamshire Heritage Forum's award ceremony was held on 17 July 2014 and the Flintham M useum won the Best Event category with our 'Meet Flintham's pre-World War One Families'. This was staged last September when' characters' took on the roles of six Flintham families, stood outside the houses where the families once lived and chatted with over 200 visitors about life in Flintham in 1913. The judges were particularly impressed with how accessible, stimulating and engaging the event was, how many local people it involved (65) and how well it was managed, promoted and evaluated.
The second award was a new category, Special Contribution, and was a real surprise to the winner, Sue Clayton, who was unaware that she had been nominated. As the museum's volunteer curator and secretary since 1999, she has an important role in running the museum and the Flintham Society's other activities. Sue was also recognised for the work she does to involve individuals and other village organisations and for the support she freely gives to heritage organisations and concerns at county and regional level.
Flintham Open Gardens
Sunday 22 June 2014 the museum opened as part of Flintham's Open Gardens afternoon from 1-5pm. Behind the museum is a modern weather station designed and built by Martin Smith, an international craftsperson who specialises in quirky installations. Martin's brief was to interpret a series of weather notes kept by Flintham's shopkeepers, Fred White and his daughter Muriel. From 1911 until the 1970s the Whites made a note of the day's weather (except on Sundays) along with the shop's takings. Before fridges and freezers, it was important to be able to spot weather patterns so that perishable stock could be protected from extreme heat or cold. Museum visitors were encouraged to write a note about the weather on the day they visited.
As well as the museum eight gardens were open plus the church with flower displays, the community shop with ice creams, and teas and home made cakes were available in the village hall where there was a plant stall and home made greetings cards. The proceeds from the afternoon were divided between the museum, community shop, village hall and the church and each organisation was given £223.
Museum wins County Heritage Award
The Flintham Museum was joint winner of the Inspiration Award at the Nottinghamshire Heritage Awards held at Thoresby Hall on 20 July 2010. What did we do to win the award? We worked with the Flintham Primary school basing a project about fire safety using one letter in the Collection. This is what happened.
Fred White, the village shopkeeper, wired many of the village houses for electricity in the 1930s. He had no training, relying instead on a book about domestic wiring and a series of 'tutorials' from his nephew who was an electrician in Wolverhampton. Fred would draw a diagram of his proposed wiring and switch placement which was then sent to his nephew for comments. Back came a letter with suggestions and advice about the amount of materials which Fred should buy. Fred installed the wiring and then wrote to his nephew with details of the work he'd done. The museum has the book about wiring, Fred's diagrams, lots of invoices for electrical equipment and his nephew's letters. One of these starts with an apology. "I'm sorry to hear about the fire", wrote the nephew, "I forgot to tell you to" and there follows a list of precautions which Fred should have taken.
Using this letter as the starting point, we put forward a proposal to the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and received £200 to work with the school children on a project about smoke alarms. At an Assembly the children were told about electricity being introduced for the first time. They thought the idea of a shopkeeper doing the work rather odd and the letter about the unexpected fire very funny. Amid the laughter the serious side of fire was raised and one of the children demonstrated how to test a smoke alarm. Everyone was challenged to test their home smoke alarms once a week for a month, and they all received a diary to record when they carried out the tests. Smoke alarms were available for any family which did not have one. The regular testing exercise was a great success and we know that many grandparents were also involved and prompted by the youngsters to test their smoke alarms as well.
The Fire Service thought the project was worthy of a press release which attracted Radio Nottingham. The 20 minute Assembly was recorded and some of the children and museum volunteers were interviewed afterwards. Radio Nottingham then put together a four minute broadcast and so the message about smoke alarms and fire safety (plus free publicity for the museum) was spread across the County. And all this activity came from one letter which was written almost 80 years ago.