Pupils get a unique peek at Swindon museum and art gallery

By Anita Jaynes on 30 May, 2017

A group of intrepid pupils from Drove Road primary school got a unique peek at Swindon’s museum, as part of their investigation into plans for a new museum and art gallery in the town centre.

Year 4 pupils met with Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust director Rod Hebden at the Bath Road building, and scoured the museum for evidence that give clues as to who we are as Swindon people. They then studied the model for the iconic new building that is planned to house both Swindon’s own collections and touring exhibitions.

The story of Swindon, from prehistoric times to the current day, is told by fossils and Roman artefacts, and from examples of Swindon’s industry and innovation, and from the art and artefacts that Swindon people have collected. The children were shown how to interpret evidence, and then tasked with looking for traces of how Swindon would have looked in the distant and more recent past.

They recorded their findings, before hearing from Rod about how landmark buildings can act as a sign that they contain something very special.

“Swindon is cool and has some fantastic stuff, but some people hardly even know it exists,” Rod told the group.

“This building is not only important – it will also be very clever. It will collect rainwater that can be used inside, use solar panels to generate electricity, provide shade from the sun and be cheap and efficient to run. We can also borrow things from others, and lend some of our collections out. It will be a great place to meet up, have fun and find out about all sorts of things – science, technology, history, art and lots more.”

Shaurya Pandey’s favourite artefact was the mummy “because it’s ancient and suspicious”, while Walusha Fernandes was intrigued by the preserving pot that Romans buried in the ground to keep food chilled.

Teacher Mallory Deaton said being able to see the model helped the children envisage the size and scale of the new museum.

“I’m very excited by the prospect of this in the town centre,” she said.

“I’ve lived here for 25 years and done all the museums many times over, but I’d happily take a class to this every year. It’s walking distance of our school and a great addition to the area.”

Teaching assistant Lorraine Bloor lives in the town centre.

“It will be great to have this on our doorstep,” said Lorraine.

“It will generate interest in the area, and regenerate the rest of that part of town, which has had a distinct lack of care for some time. It really will be a game-changer for Swindon – the location is perfect. I think a lot of people who live near me will welcome this.”

For more information on the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust and its plan to build the new museum and art gallery go to www.swindonmuseum.org.uk

Pictured above: Rod Hebden with Drove Road School pupils at the new Swindon Museum and Art Gallery