Christmas Carols at the Museum of Somerset

A Brief History of Christmas_webThe Museum of Somerset is hosting two Christmas carol evenings with musicians performing a medley of seasonal historical and local songs.

A West Country Christmas

On Wednesday 9 December at 7.30pm the museum welcomes the Voice of the People Community Choir and Halsway Manor Choir for ‘A West Country Christmas.’  Directed by Yvette Staelens they will perform traditional and folk carols and wassails from the West of England.

A Brief History of Christmas

On Tuesday 15 December at 7.30pm acclaimed historical musicians Blast from the Past will present ‘A Brief History of Christmas’ (pictured.)  This festive romp through 600 years of Christmas music, songs and stories features long-forgotten songs and tales as well as some familiar and well-loved carols.

Book now

‘A Brief History of Christmas’ is £10 and ‘A West County Christmas’ £8.50 with booking advised on 01823 255088 or via TicketSource on

Changes to usual opening hours apply from Christmas Eve until January 15, please click here for details.

Santa’s Grotto Opens at the Museum of Somerset

Santa poster 2015The Museum of Somerset elves are putting the finishing touches to Santa’s Grotto ready for families to visit in the run up to Christmas.

Santa’s Grotto open Saturday 5th, 12th and 19th December

Santa’s Grotto will be open each Saturday (5th, 12th and 19th) in December between 10am and 5pm. Due to its popularity families are encouraged to book their time slot in advance. Whilst visiting Santa, families can also enjoy the Elf Trail which takes visitors on a quiz trail around the museum in search of cuddly elves.

Visitor Services Manager Susie Simmons said: “Santa and his elves have been very busy decorating the grotto with trees and twinkly lights to make it magical for all the children to visit. We look forward to welcoming families to our festive events and activities and wish all our visitors a very merry Christmas.”

Booking in advance advised

Santa’s Grotto costs £4 per child, and includes a gift, with booking advised on 01823 255088 or The Elf Trail costs £1 per child, with no need to book.

Changes to usual opening hours apply from Christmas Eve until January 15, please click here for details.

New Dimensions: Contemporary Art Inspired by Hidden Collections

New Dimensions: Contemporary Art Inspired by Hidden Collections

An Exhibition at the Museum of SomersetPalstave Axe Variation No 1. by Chris Dunseath_web

Hidden objects from the museum stores are being vividly re-imagined in film, photography, sculpture, textiles and poetry for an exhibition at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

‘New Dimensions’ opens on Saturday 16 January 2016 and will feature work created by a group of professional artists who have been granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the museum’s extensive stores.

An innovative partnership

Those stores are at the Somerset Heritage Centre, on the edge of Taunton, where the county’s vast collection of archives, historic books and museum objects are preserved.  The museum reserve collections are usually only available for research and academic study. But in an innovative partnership between local artists and museum curators, these rarely-seen objects will be brought to life as the inspiration for contemporary art works. The new works will be exhibited at the Museum of Somerset alongside some of the objects they celebrate.

Sam Astill, Exhibitions Curator at the Museum of Somerset, said: “Our museum collections contain around three million objects and only a fraction of them can be on public display at any one time. This exhibition is a chance to see some of those hidden objects and to enjoy the new perspectives on Somerset’s amazing past that the artists have revealed.”

Work by six local artists

The exhibition features work by six local artists: Jenny Graham, painter and printmaker, Chris Dunseath, sculptor, Jacy Wall, textile artist and printmaker, Laura Aish, filmmaker and sound artist, Ralph Hoyte, declamatory poet, and Richard Tomlinson, photographer and filmmaker.  Among the collections that captured their imaginations are Roman jewellery, Bronze Age axes, Victorian and Edwardian insect and plant collections, postcards, and machinery from Somerset’s farming, industrial and domestic past.

Visit the blog

New Dimensions has been supported by Arts Council England using public funding from the National Lottery. The exhibition runs from 16 January to 16 April, 2016 at The Museum of Somerset, a service provided by the South West Heritage Trust.

For more information visit or follow the artists’ blog at

IMAGE: ‘Palstave Axe Variation No. 1’ is amongst the bronze sculptures created by Chris Dunseath.