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Judges Lodging museum Celebrates Welsh Government ...

Judges Lodging museum in Presteigne Celebrates Welsh Government support,; new displays and new summer trails

Date Posted: 31/07/2018


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Judges Lodging museum Celebrates Welsh Government support

Date Posted: 31st July 2018

Judges Lodging museum Celebrates Welsh Government support

Mid Wales Museum Celebrates Welsh Government support

The Judge’s Lodging may have seemed a little quiet to outsiders of late. They have been busy planning their new future, as they move towards their charity, The Judge’s Lodging Trust, taking the building over entirely from Powys County Council, its current owners.  It has now received some exciting news to help it on its way – the Welsh Government has shown is support of this immersive award-winning Victorian museum through its new Transformation Capital Grants Programme, open to museums, libraries and archives across Wales.

MALD (Museums, Archives, Libraries Division) have chosen the Presteigne historic attraction as one of only four museums they are supporting over the next year in this new scheme. They are funding £120,000 towards a capital project with three aims: Firstly, work will be done to stabilise the roof structure of this Grade 2-star building, with new lead-work, slate repairs and a repainting of its front facade, making the building watertight for the future and sprucing up its appearance to visitors and residents of the town alike. Then a new, enhanced shop and Tourist Information Point, creating a more welcoming and accessible space for everyone. Finally, a new audio system to replace the much-loved, but sadly no longer functioning, walkman system, used to run the popular character-based audio tour for visitors. Recent audience research has shown just how popular this tour is, with characters taken from the real history of the building, such as Mary the Maid, William Luggar the Housekeeper, PC Rogers and prisoner William Morgan, all overseen by Richard Lister Venables, Chairman of the Magistrates, portrayed by the late actor Robert Hardy. A decision has therefore been made to keep it, but provide new technology to access it, and a Welsh version to be worked on to compliment it.

At the helm of the charity is Chair, Diane Gwilt, Keeper – Collection Services, National Museum Wales, and Gaby Rivers, the museum’s Manager, who has been a driving force for the museum since it opened to the public in 1997. Says Gaby ‘With the museum reaching its 21st birthday this year, this is terribly exciting news. It really feels like we are starting to forge forwards in our quest to protect this wonderful building and provide an amazing experience for visits’. Joking about the building’s legal past she says ‘we really want to do the museum justice’!

Staff at The Judge’s Lodging cannot pretend that it is all plain sailing, as the local authority move away from supporting the museum, and they are working hard to raise funds to keep the building moving forwards. To this end, they have just opened up a pop-up Welsh Tearoom, with all locally sourced teas, coffees, soft drinks and cakes, all served in vintage china.

A summer trail for families ‘The Judge Wants His Dinner’ is running throughout the school holiday, where participants search for cunningly-hidden ingredients throughout the historic rooms and get themselves a certificate and a mouth-watering recipe sheet at the end.  There is still a few more weeks to catch the incredible works of local artist, Simon Dorrell, in Circumstantial Evidence, a series of paintings of the period rooms of The Judge's Lodging in celebration of its 21st anniversary. Staff and volunteers are busy in the background pulling together information for their next community exhibition, Ladies of Llanandras, which whill showcase some of the town's amazing women from its past and present.

The museum has an active volunteering programme, run by Volunteer Coordinator, Sue Knox, so if you fancy helping The Judge’s Lodging do pop by, find out more, sign up to be part of the team...or even buy yourself a nice cuppa to show your support!

And if you can’t get enough of The Judge’s Lodging, why not watch it this Friday  (August 3rd) on Weatherman Walking, 7.30pm BBC Wales, where you will see the popular Welsh weatherman Derek Brockway visiting the building and giving his verdict!

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