The old shop at Buxton Museum has been dismantled to make way for a new one, allowing us this rare glimpse of an empty foyer. Those of you who have visited the museum may have fond memories of purchasing souvenirs on your way out. Countless people have also worked behind the creaky wooden desk during its twenty-five year lifespan.
Despite being somewhat of an institution in its own right, the museum shop had its problems. It was too tall for young children to see the stock and members of staff found it hard to divide their attention 360⁰. The new shop will address both of these issues; the displays will be lowered and the desk is moving into a corner so employees do not have to turn their back on anyone, nor will they risk the injury that I call “owl-neck”.
The Derbyshire Police Norton motorcycle that became another long-term fixture in the foyer has also moved on. We decided that its unique rotary engine would be more at home in The Internal Fire: Museum of Power in West Wales. It took four men to move the mechanical monster into the foyer and it took four men to move it back out again!
Continuing the development; four glass-topped display cases that have featured in exhibitions beyond the memory of any current staff have been donated to Middleton Top Visitor Centre. The new foyer will create more space for people to sit down but we are planning a display on a subject that many visitors ask for; the history of Buxton. The museum has always concentrated on the bigger picture of the Peak District but with Buxton being the characterful town that it is, there is an undeniable appetite for its past.
This fantastic chunk of amethyst has been perched in a little cabinet in the front of the shop for at least two decades. I suspect that it may have been part of the stock at one time but no records exist to shine any light on the mystery. We have decided to accession it and add it to the mineral collection.
We hope to see you when we re-open in May.