Weston Unlocked: Behind the scenes at Weston Museum
With many shops and businesses getting ready to re-open from April 12th, most cultural venues will remain closed until 17th May – at the earliest. So while you can’t visit in person, we thought we’d bring you Weston Unlocked! A mini-series of features shining a light on what Weston’s wonderful cultural venues have been up to in lockdown.
For most people and organisations, lockdowns have been a strange and challenging time. And that’s certainly been true for Weston Museum, who are used to welcoming hundreds of visitors through their doors every day. But just because they have been closed, doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy. Quite the opposite. To find out what’s been going on behind the scenes, Robert, our student placement from Weston College caught up with Weston Museum’s Visitor Services Manager, Matt Hardy.
Matt also shares some great stories about Weston and the museum, from his favourite objects, to people travelling to Weston to drink the sea water, to the story behind Clara’s Cottage and much else besides.
I’m a Student in his final year at Weston College studying Level 3 extended Diploma Creative media Production. I am passionate about all things historical and spend much time dedicating myself to learning it. I am also a big fan of fantasy and spend time playing Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy-based video games.
Reflecting on the interview, I found every little detail intriguing and every story was more knowledge to add to my forever growing fascination about Human history. It was a pleasure to interview Matthew Hardy and learn about Weston Museums history, goals and how they have survived the pandemic.
Throughout my career, I have always been drawn to roles which have allowed me to create great customer experiences and help make amazing memories. In my role as Museum Operations Manager at Weston Museum, this is something that I am able to do every single day. Together with the amazing team of staff and volunteers, we are able to break down the dusty stereotypes surrounding museums, and show the community how fun a museum can really be!
Ever since moving to Weston in 2014, I knew that this was a special place to be. I’ve worked in various cultural and creative roles over the years, including Merlin Entertainments and West Midlands Safari Park. I’ve had a love of heritage (and a national trust tea room) from a young age, but there was always this feeling that someone like me, with my background, wasn’t allowed to access it. Heritage can sometimes be treated as a closely guarded secret, protected by a select few who would only share their secrets if they found you worthy. I have made it my personal mission to break down those walls and create new, exciting ways to encourage people to access their history with open arms. After all, the story of the town belongs to people of the town.
I am really proud to be part of a team who share these ideals and are constantly workings on innovative ways to engage with our community.
If you want to find out more about Weston Museum, check out their website. They have also created a programme of entertainment and educational content online, available via their YouTube channel and our Facebook page.