Photo Gallery


We purchased this lovely original 1970s oil painting by local artist Beryl Maile (complete with original label from the Dolphin Gallery in Wantage). This will be displayed as part of the Museum’s autumn 2023 exhibition of Beryl’s work. There has been a wonderful response to a public appeal for loans and many of these will be also be on display.

Summer 2023 we purchased this lovely gazebo for use on the top terrace. It provides a much-needed replacement for the old one which collapsed. It is a larger and sturdier gazebo, which we hope will not only be more appealing for café users, but it will also provide additional space for school groups and activities to take place in.

The Friends purchased a number of garment bags for the Museum’s vast collection of historical costumes; and a full-sized replica skeleton, which has been nicknamed Indiana Bones!

We have funded updates to the Infoactiv touchscreen in the galleries. The software has been updated, and it has been refreshed with some new games aimed at younger visitors. There are more in development, including an interactive map of the town so do take a look when you’re next in the galleries. More children have been using the screen, so it has definitely made an impact.

The Friends have recently given £10,000 to the Museum to cover the cost of this new case for the skeleton as well as making a contribution to the cost of the new case for the Lockinge Gallery.

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In 2015 the Friends bought this lovely Pearly King suit, which had turned up on eBay! Following extensive research into its origins, it is now on display in the galleries with information about the original owner, George Penney, and the Penney family’s business in Wantage.

As George was a slightly built man, the Friends have also purchased a custom made mannequin to display his beautiful suit to best advantage.

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One of two dress dummies for displaying costumes.

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The Museum Curator, Suzie Tilbury, with our recent purchase of a cartwheel to complete the redesign and refurbishment of the Wheelwright exhibition.

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We were delighted to welcome three members of the Friends of Chippenham Museum, one of whom was also the Curator, to the Vale and Downland Museum. Along with members of the committee and our Curator they enjoyed a tour of the galleries.

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Earlier additions to the museum’s collection, financed by The Friends:

This beautiful medieval finger ring and matrix seal were found in the Wantage area.

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These charming silhouette style paper cuttings were created by local Victorian artist Jane Elisabeth Cook, and in 1874 local firm Autotype produced a collection of her paper groups in a book, “A Sculptor Caught Napping”, which used a revolutionary new process for reproducing images. The Friends purchased these two cuttings, together with a copy of the book, at an auction in Amsterdam.
In October 2013 we additionally purchased a scan of the diary of Jane Cook (held in a collection in the USA).

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