Chard MUSEUM EXHIBITS
Somerset is well known for its cider heritage and farms would take great pride in the quality of their cider, often paying their seasonal workers in cider! In 1877 there were 21,000 acres of apple orchards. Recent estimates suggest that this has reduced to about 1000 acres. Exhibits in the Museum include a horse powered cider mill and a hand powered apple press.
The old kitchen has an eclectic collection covering several decades. It includes cooking utensils and equipment, a traditional old range, artefacts for doing laundry and cleaning and a baby's crib and high chair. Visitors can step back in time and find things from their past, their parents and their Grannie's past.
The old school room is a re-creation of a Victorian classroom. Visitors can learn about what was in the classroom, the lessons that were taught as well as discipline and punishment. On the walls are large photographs of Chard schools from Victorian times. Young visitors especially enjoy this exhibit and it generates a lot of discussion.
Somerset carnival carts are often covered in intricate themed designs featuring moving parts and thousands of light bulbs - not to mention the characters, all played by members of local Carnival Clubs. The costumes in our unique exhibition come from the Chard Carnival and displayed by the Toms family. They were designed and hand-made by friends and family over 4 decades and the family change the display every year.
The Museum’s most recent building, contains a variety of displays including farm carts and examples of the products of local engineering firms such as Dening and Co. They made many of the agricultural machines on display around the Museum. A lace-making machine used in the Chard lace mills is another prominent feature.
Also in the Barn are several examples of the work of Phoenix Engineering, successors to John Smith, including a tarboiler used for resurfacing roads. The roof of this building is a product of Space Decks another contemporary Chard engineering firm.
Meanwhile part of the old New Inn building is the the Skittle Alley which displays a former forge with collections of tools used in the traditional work of wheelwrights, blacksmiths and carpenters.
Multi Media Room
The launch of our multi-media area is planned for 2021 . The multi-media room will exhibit histories of local businesses and organisations and shares oral histories of people who have lived and influenced local life.
Stories of larger organisations such as Numatic and Denings of Chard are combined with smaller business such as Dave Hill Plumbing. Individual stories include Sister Wilkens, who was arrested with Edith Cavell in WW1, and Harold Rogers who lived in the Museum when it was cottages.