Experience Barnsley prepares for 10th anniversary celebrations

Experience Barnsley, based in Barnsley Town Hall, marks its first decade in June with a huge party for the community featuring a massive birthday card, cake, giant replica cardboard cut-out of the Town Hall and a very special auction.

Everyone is invited to join the birthday party on June 27 where visitors will be able to enjoy a slice of cake, sign a massive birthday card (online or in person), and share their memories of Barnsley as they celebrate the last ten years of the museum.

As part of the celebrations, the museum is planning to auction off King Tut – one that many residents and visitors to Barnsley may recognise as the sarcophagus that stood in the telephone box across from the Town Hall. It will have a reserve of £300 but people can bid by phone prior to the day.

A number of schools are invited for the day as Experience Barnsley encourages as many people as possible to join the party.

The museum opened in Barnsley Town Hall on June 27, 2013, with the aim of being a place where locals could explore their heritage and visitors could discover more about the borough. Acting as the people’s museum, it is curated by the people, for the people and about the people.

Experience Barnsley is a space for the community, bringing people together and their work, which spans exhibitions in the space, an extensive outreach programme and multiple community groups such as Feels Like Home, Action for Autism Barnsley, Age UK, u3a and Butterflies Dementia Support and Activities Group.

While the museum has only been welcoming visitors for 10 years, the objects, photos, documents, films, and stories it houses have been collated and collected over a much longer period.

Telling these stories has only been possible because of the support and donations from people living in the borough, and from those who left Barnsley but still feel the strong ties of shared heritage. The volume of material and the generosity of donors has been the museum’s biggest strength.

For instance, Experience Barnsley has seen various high-profile exhibitions featuring The Romans, Ancient Egypt, the World Wars, Slazenger, Star Wars and the 80s.

Councillor Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Culture and Regeneration, said: “As a town and borough predominantly known for its coal and glass industry it was felt important to create a museum which told the many stories tucked away over the centuries. As well as presenting a timeline, the museum also explores working life, leisure time, and home and family over the years and it continues to collect items.

“The museum currently houses incredible medieval finds, Victorian costumes, and digital photos of life in lockdown. It’s brought a lot of nostalgia and happiness to the borough since it launched and is keeping our history alive.

“Whether you like reading about people’s lives, looking at photos, examining objects, watching films or getting hands-on, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Experience Barnsley.”

As part of the celebrations, the Experience Team will whittle down their favourite moments since opening before asking the public, via social media, to vote for theirs ahead of the 27 June when a cardboard cut-out of the Town Hall will be revealed.

The replica Town Hall will feature 10 windows depicting the community’s highlights since opening. A new highlights film and podcast a will also chart the journey.

For more information about Experience Barnsley Museum visit www.experience-barnsley.com

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