Corwen Museum began life in 2015 as a temporary exhibition celebrating Corwen as a Railway Town, to coincide with the return of the train to Corwen after 50 years. The exhibition was so successful that it was decided to make it permanent and the Museum was born. That exhibition is now displayed upstairs, whilst downstairs they tell the history and heritage of the beautiful and rural Edeyrnion area of South Denbighshire. They are totally volunteer run.
They normally open from March to October, using the winter months to create new exhibitions for the following season. 2019/20 was no exception and their volunteers worked hard on displays to tell the story of the Evacuees to Corwen in the 2nd World War. With the support of the Dee Valley AONB through their Picturesque Landscapes Project, and the Cowper Powys Society, they also created an exhibition around artists and authors with a connection to Edeyrnion. The opening weekend was very successful.
They arranged a competition for local schoolchildren, asking them to create a picture of their favourite local landscape. These were displayed. The standard of the work was exceptionally good, and it was a great complement to the Museums’ display of local landscape prints by J M Turner, Moses Griffiths, John Ingleby and Edward Pugh.
On Saturday 14th March, the Museum closed due to the Coronavirus. Many of their volunteers are over seventy and vulnerable and did not want them to be put at risk. As social distancing would spoil the experience of visiting the Museum and would have very few volunteers who could safely steward those visitors; the Museum have therefore reluctantly decided that they will not be re-opening until at least the Spring 2021.
The Museum has found new ways of meeting their aims of educating the public about the Edeyrnion area. Over the last three months they have posted daily items of interest on the Corwen Museum Facebook page and keep their website updated. Three of the volunteers attended training from the Peoples Collection Wales on digitising images and they are now using this as a platform for reaching large audiences as they start to input their collection. This will take time but will result in a permanent archive which is easily and freely accessible to all and which upgrades the profile of the Corwen Museum.
As people cannot come to the Museum they are going out to the people. They are contacting owners of empty shops in Corwen to ask if they can put their displays in their windows and they would like to display weatherproof display boards on bare walls in the town to show ‘then and now’ photographs of the buildings and the town. They plan to make the town their external Museum, telling stories of Corwen to local people and visitors as they wander the shops and businesses.
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