On the first floor of the Farmhouse visitors will begin their journey with two galleries dedicated to interpreting Abbey Farm’s transition from farm to museum and the refurbishment project itself. In time we will be re-designing these areas to add the themes of ‘Creating’, ‘Learning’ and ‘Believing’ to the ‘Celebrating’ and ‘Remembering’ galleries already in place.
In addition, there are two Farmyard Galleries. The first gallery, ‘Working Village,’ looks at working life in rural communities. The second, ‘Working the Land,’ tells the story of food and farming.
What To Look Out For
When you are in the Working Village gallery look out for the portrait of farmer Budge by James Loader, 1841, and the pub sign from the Hood Arms, Kilve.
The painting features Farmer Edward Budge who lived at Haselbury Park Farm where he farmed 350 acres, he regularly won prizes for stockbreeding at the Bath and West Show.
The pub sign is from the Hood Arms at Kilve and features an anchor and chough, the crest of the Acland-Hood family of St Audries.
In this gallery you will also find the Bread Cart used by Charles Hole, a baker of Watchet.
Working the Land
In the Working the Land gallery look out for the painting of a Somerset weaver, the wooden rattle, and the cheese press made in Mark.
The painting ‘Weaver at a Loom Park’, 1887, shows Grace Perry weaving in a cottage in South Street, Crewkerne. Her lodgings were provided by Robert Bird a wool and linen manufacturer and local benefactor.
The rattle was used to scare birds from the crops. Young boys were often given this job.
The cheese press was made in the village of Mark, Somerset around 1900, at the foundry of Albert Day.
Around the Museum
Many objects have been carefully conserved for display in the museum. Also, look out for the the Seavington Friendly Society banner which takes pride of place in the Celebrating gallery and the Mapstone Wagon in the Abbey Barn which was restored by wheelwright and coachbuilder Greg Rowlands.
There are some contemporary additions too. Look out for a large panoramic painting by James Lynch in the Farmhouse. This impressive ten foot wide panorama from the top of the Mendip Hills, features many of Somerset’s distinctive landscape features – the Somerset Levels, Glastonbury Tor, the Quantocks, Exmoor and the coastline.
The museum galleries also feature work by local photographer Pauline Rook providing colourful images of Somerset life as it is today. In the Farmyard there is a striking life-sized sculpture of a horse, made from reclaimed metal, by artist Harriet Mead.
Within the Farmhouse galleries there is a wonderful artwork created by pupils from Elmhurst Junior School in Street. Working with local artist Kate Lynch the children have recreated rural farm life from the 1940s.
The Working Village Gallery
The Victorian Kitchen
James Lynch and Panoramic Painting
The new Mapstone Gallery will utilize Glastonbury’s significance as a creative hub. Here we will stage temporary exhibitions.
The Abbey Barn will also provide a unique space for temporary exhibitions and installations.
In the Farmyard there is a striking life-sized sculpture of a horse, made from reclaimed metal, by artist Harriet Mead