“Mentioning South Molton Museum the other day to a friend, she turned up her nose and replied “There’s not really much there though is there? Kind of boring I guess.” Which, after having spent a few Saturdays here I can already tell her that that’s just not true. The thing that surprised me most about the museum is simply how many different things there are here. Anyone would be amazed about the sheer amount of exhibits they have-I’ve already learnt so much about this area. It turns out South Molton didn’t used to be a quiet quaint little town; it had a thriving wool industry and seemed to do rather well for itself. And its not just South Molton covered in the museum either. The surrounding areas like Bishops Nympton and North Molton also have their fair share of representation on display. Did you know that in one of the galleries there’s one of the earliest fire engines, the Newsham Pump from 1736, which was bought by South Molton around the same time that New York was trying to decide whether to buy a second one? Goes to show how successful South Molton once was. Trust me, its really cool. And they don’t pay me to say that, I volunteer.
I think that if more people knew what was held behind the blue front doors many more would venture inside. Everyone who works here is friendly and happy to help and there are lots of reference books on hand for those wanting to dabble further into local history. My particular favourite exhibit is the archaeology display as you enter. I had no idea there were so many finds in the South Molton region! And it’s mainly from Neolithic and Bronze Age eras, which really makes it clear how long people have been, hunting, working and living in North Devon. I hope as I become more accustomed to the museum I can find out more about the area in which I live so that I can share it with you. Or you could visit the museum yourself and discover something new and unexpected.”