There’s something fishy going on at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.
The popular undersea world at the museum is being redeveloped and will make a welcome return to the museum when it reopens, thanks to a funding boost from the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The museum has been awarded a £4,000 grant from the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund, which is funded by DEFRA, to help people understand the fantastic wildlife along the coast. The funding will be used to transform the undersea display into a more interactive exhibition, making use of the museum’s precious specimens and introducing digital elements to engage visitors.
North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Brian Moores, says: “The old undersea room was a big hit with young visitors and the museum team wanted to keep its immersive feel, but make it more interactive and up to date. Following consultation with Coastwise, a local volunteer group which both monitors and educates people about our coastal environment, the new Coast Explorers idea was born. The new exhibition will include portholes into the undersea section to enable good views of existing specimens, as if you are in a submarine. It will include many more interactive opportunities to learn about our coastal creatures.”
Coast Explorers will include a section about the important coastal environment of Braunton Burrows and also provide an introduction to North Devon’s internationally designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The new gallery will encourage people to explore, learn about and care for our important natural and historic assets, including discussion of topical issues such as plastics in our seas.
AONB Manager, Jenny Carey-Wood, says: “We are delighted to support this new exhibition at the museum covering the wildlife, sea creatures and birds found along the outstanding coast of North Devon. The display will help children and adults to make the connection between what they do and the nature all around them, so they can enjoy its beauty and look after it for future generations.”
Follow the progress of the museum’s new extension project, including behind the scenes photos and information about the new displays at www.barnstaplemuseumblog.wordpress.com.
Top: Design for the new Coast Explorers exhibit.