Ilkeston - Museum Joy
w/e 03 April 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Victorian Extravaganza

The Good Friday Walk of Witness had a theme of "Easter joy begins here!" and it was certainly a joyful occasion the following day when the Erewash Museum opened the refurbished Hayloft and Stable Block to the general public with their first event of the season, a Victorian Extravaganza.

There were numerous volunteers on hand to welcome visitors and even a horse and carriage in the forecourt with a blacksmith in close attendance demonstrating his skill. The next stage of the project is to redevelop the gardens at the museum and although a fence prevented access to part of the garden, plans were attached to it showing the proposals.
Lace Making

Inside the museum two ladies, also in costume, were displaying the art of lace making.

But the main focus was on the Hayloft and Stable where an extension has been built.
Previous Event

I include this image from another event five years ago merely as a comparison and to show the steps that led up to the Hayloft before the new extension was built.

Those steps have now been replaced with a new flight inside the extension plus a new lift to enable disable access. A wall display contains many photos plus details of the alterations which have included converting the coach house to become the Old Stables Tea Room and the stables to become a new exhibition area. The Hayloft itself has been completely refurbished as a learning suite and research area. It is also available for hire by local groups and contains a local history library with numerous books about Ilkeston and the surrounding area. That alone deserves a closer look when the museum is not so busy.
Stables & Coach House

Below the Hayloft are the stables (left) and coach house (right) and although there are steps to negotiate, access for the disabled is easily available by returning through the main museum building to the forecourt at the entrance.
Stable Exhibition

The museum is housed in Dalby House and the stables now contain a permanent exhibition telling the story of the building. Dalby House, like the Hayloft, has had alterations and extensions added over the years and the observant will be able to pick out the different periods of construction when made aware of them.
Tea Room

The recent alterations to the Hayloft and Stables have been financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In the past refreshments at events like the Victorian Extravaganza with provided in the Hayloft but the alterations have now created a Tea Room in what was the Coach House. This has also created an exhibition space with details about Victorian food and diet.
Interested Visitors

As more and more visitors arrived during the day to explore museum staff must have been extremely pleased with the response and the interest shown by the local people. The museum has won the coveted award for being the best museum in Derbyshire for a number of years now and the recent refurbishment will hopefully mean it is well on the way to retaining the title.
Cycle Park

The museum is within easy walking distance of the town centre with nearby car parks too but there is provision for anyone arriving by bicycle to secure their vehicles in the forecourt. I don't suppose there will be many though arriving on a penny farthing, even a modern version like those there on Easter Saturday. I'll probably walk there and one thing for sure is, in the words Arnold Schwarzenegger, I'll be back.

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