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Sherborne Museum

Founded: 1968        Governance: Independent Trust        Scope: Local History    Visited: Autumn 2017

The Abbey Gatehouse in Sherborne, all Tudor Gothic windows and warm golden stone, is a fine structure but promises a very bijou town museum inside. In fact, the displays range over two floors and into the next building too. They've grown up somewhat higgledy-piggledy since the Sherborne Local Historical Association was given the Gatehouse and set the Museum up in 1968, and are perhaps at the point where they could do with somebody sitting down with a flask of tea and a pen and paper and having a good think about reorganising them. They are no less fun, nevertheless, than any other set of displays in a museum of Sherborne's size and type. And in a hallway linking two galleries on the ground floor is a striking evocation of the town's streetscape, achieved not by making mocked-up shopfronts such as you find in many such displays, but by gathering together signs and street furniture, medieval floor tiles as a sort of signification of the ground level, and, beneath them, the pipes and conduits that make their way under the streets. It succeeds brilliantly. A flash of modernity comes with the digital version of that luscious and numinous manuscript, the Sherborne Missal. You don't get all the pages to flick through virtually - that would be too much to ask - but the selection includes the famous vignette of St Juthware having her head cut off and carrying it to the altar of Halstock church. The Missal glows in the corner of one darkish room, a magical portal to another world of thought and experience. 

Sherborne MuseumSherborne MuseumSherborne Museum
Sherborne Museum
Sherborne MuseumSherborne Museum
Sherborne MuseumSherborne Museum
Sherborne MuseumSherborne Museum

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