Ludlow Buttercross – an ace museum with a nice town attached

Last night saw the official opening of Ludlow Museum at the Buttercross. It is fair to say that this project has taken much longer to bring to fruition than anyone thought it might. But it now looks likely that the museum will be fully open from mid-August. That’s good news because this is a great little museum.

This Saturday, 30 July, the museum is hosting a free public open day from 11am to 3pm. It will be well worth paying a visit.

I like this museum. I like the way the exhibits have been displayed. I like that the exhibition area is not overcrowded.

I like the entrance price – £1 for adults and 50p for children over five.

There is a surprising lot of space and there is not too much information to absorb. I hate museums and exhibitions that try to cram your heads with facts rather than letting you enjoy the experience. If you enjoy the exhibits, it is easy to read up on the subject online or in a book afterwards. The treat of museums is to be inspired.

Mayor_Paul_Draper_opens_museumLudlow Mayor Paul Draper opens the museum

Geology features strongly – Ludlow after all has its own Silurian epoch. The fossils and minerals are exhibited alongside artefacts and tales of the Anglo-Saxon era, the Civil War, the First World War and much more.

Museum_opening_geology

Our new museum is fully accessible for the disabled using a short ramp and a good looking glass lift.

Buttercross 18 May 14 from Broad Street 1000

Yesterday evening, we heard from Joanna Purslow playing Catherine of Aragon. It was a story of consummation, or not, and pomegranates.

Museum_opening_joanna_purslow_mayor

Click to view the video of Joanna’s performance

The opening of the museum will be a great boost to the visitor economy of Ludlow. If we are to keep attracting tourists, we need several heritage attractions. Now we have St Laurence’s, Ludlow Castle and Ludlow Museum as heritage anchor points. I hope that soon the Severn Rivers Trust will be able to build an education centre on the banks of the Teme. With our glorious restaurants, cafes and pubs, our great walks, historic streets, festivals and the friendly people of this town, it looks good for the future.

But we can never put our feet up and rest on the visitor economy. Tourism a short term business where people come to our town for a day or a few days. Everything from bad weather to a recession could diminish the trade we draw from beyond south Shropshire. That’s why we need to work hard all the time. That’s why the new Ludlow Museum at the Buttercross is so important.

There has been a lot of hard work put into this project by Ludlow Town Council, Shropshire Council and the Friends of the Museum. Thank you all for creating an ace museum with a nice town attached.[1]

Notes

[1]. For those too young to recognise this retro reference, the “ace” and “nice attached” slogan comes from a controversial campaign launched by the V&A in 1988. This was long before the days of Time Team and other programmes that have opened up our heritage to everyone. I worked alongside the stuffed shirt heritage elite of the day. They tut-tutted and muttered dark comments about how the V&A campaign was demeaning museums and lacked class. Personally, I thought the campaign was rather good. Our ambition should be that heritage is for everyone. The Buttercross is a great contribution to that ambition.