Extraordinary Tales from Ruddington and Beyond

After months of research and preparation, Ruddington Village Museum‘s eagerly awaited ‘Objects and Stories’ exhibition opens to the public today.

It’s being staged in the Old Chapel at the Framework Knitters’ Museum and presents “a small but diverse” collection of objects loaned by local residents, each with a fascinating story behind its existence. This project is the first of its kind to be jointly co-ordinated by the museum and staff and students from Nottingham Trent University.

Feixue filming back in May

To kick things off, their now rather famous MA student, Feixue Huangdu, is directing and presenting a video ‘live stream’ of the opening morning. This aims to start off the exhibition with a bang – and hopefully recapture the viral success of another recent live stream in the Village Museum by Feixue which famously attracted 438 thousand visitors Chinese viewers over the course of just an hour and 20 minutes! After we originally reported this news on RUDDINGTON.info back in May, it was followed by a flurry of local, national and international media attention! This included interviews for BBC Radio 4’s The World at One and news features on Chinese and Singaporean national television.

Gavin gets interactive!

As for the new exhibition, Ruddington Village Museum Trustee, Gavin Walker, told us: “It has been hugely rewarding working with Ruddington residents and MA students from Nottingham Trent University to organise the ‘Objects and Stories’ exhibition. The group has uncovered five remarkable stories, packed with drama and emotion, which have links to the village and the objects that will be on display.”

In the run-up to the event, lecturers and students from the university led a series of workshops with local residents, helping them to think about and draw interesting stories from the objects that have gone on display. “Sitting these objects beside one another, some recurring themes soon become apparent. For example, what makes many of them interesting to their owners is how they connect Ruddington with the rest of the world, as well as how they often encourage interaction between different generations of families” says Gavin.

One of the collection’s highlights is a handwritten book of illustrations and poetry from 1934 that features a recently discovered poem about the controversial ‘bodyline’ tactic devised by England cricketers when they took the Ashes in 1932. Visitors can even leaf through facsimiles of the sketchbook for themselves.

Other objects include historic photographs and documents, vintage household items, and a brass dragon that flew from Nepal – via the rucksack of a mountaineering submarine engineer. Their stories span the globe, such as an arduous caravan journey across the North American plains in the early Victorian era. Gavin promises: “Each one is certain to leave visitors with something to think about!”

Also, if you own an object with an interesting story, but have not yet come forward, there’s still chance to do so. Take the opportunity to take it in for an interactive session on Saturday 28th September, from 11am to 2pm. It may then even be featured in a future exhibition.

The ‘Objects and Stories’ general opening times, in Ruddington Framework Knitters’ Museum’s Former Methodist Chapel, are between 11am and 4.30pm from Wednesday to Saturday.

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UPDATE: Although originally planned to run only until Saturday 5th October, this exhibition has now been extended by four weeks!

Gavin Walker reveals: “The Village Museum’s Objects and Stories exhibition has received such a favourable response from visitors that we are extending its run until 2nd November. It’s clear the exhibition has been a hit with visitors, some of whom have been impressed by its global reach, others by the touching details of domestic life.”

However, he admits it’s a difficult exhibition to describe: “Five stories each of which is tied to a single object lent by a local resident. The stories range from epic adventures, emigrating to America and mountaineering in Nepal, to tales of family life told by a ‘glug glug jug’ and needlework sampler. With a range of activities for children (and the young at heart), it’s an exhibition which will appeal to all ages. So why not pop in to explore its surprising stories, or bring the family as a half-term treat.”

Thankfully you now still have time to judge it for yourself – as it will continue right the way through until Saturday 2nd November. Everyone’s welcome!


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