2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


‘Popping up’ around Blackpool town

Since the launch of our three pop-up museums created by local adult community groups on 23rd July, all seven pop-up museums (including four made by young people groups) have been making appearances around Blackpool. Our very successful Heritage Open Weekend saw the museums popping up at venues such as North Shore Methodist Church, Central Library and Lytham Hall.

More recently we have had some more great venues, which have hopefully provided engagement with a wider audience.

During October, ‘Blackpool’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ appeared at North Pier in the Carousel Bar. The cabinet was well received with North Pier’s rich entertainment and comedy heritage, as well as being the home of Frank Randle’s blue plaque. The plaque was installed in 2007 and celebrates the work (and antics) of the comedian. The Cabinet of Curiosities pays homage to the quirky characters of Blackpool, including entertainers and comedians and characters from the famous side shows. The pop-up museum was success while on North Pier, even gaining some recognition from the Frank Randle appreciation society.


Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities at North Pier

The Cabinet of Curiosities then moved onto quite a different location, a venue that we felt had another interesting connection with the museum – Sue’s CuriosiTea and Coffee Shop. Customers at this lovely cafe in Layton enjoyed the museum over Halloween and into November. We received lots of great feedback from those who had interacted with the museum!

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Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities at Sue’s CuriosiTea and Coffee Shop (image courtesy of Sue at Sue’s CuriosiTea and Coffee Shop)

‘Only in Blackpool’ did a long and successful stint at Blackpool and the Fylde College, appearing in the Blackpool Art Society exhibition held at the School of Creative Arts. We hope the pop-up museum inspired the students as well as any external visitors to the exhibition.


‘Only in Blackpool’ at Blackpool Fine Art exhibition at Blackpool and the Fylde College

‘Only in Blackpool’ then went of to Mrs Johnson’s Emporium wool shop on Bond Street in South Shore. Another wonderful partnership, the pop-up museum stood proudly in this beautiful shop. Of course, this museum is fabric based, made by Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and Liverpool based artists, Costumologists, so the venue reflected very nicely and the intricately sewn panels and objects fit in perfectly with the backdrop of the wool and haberdashery shop.


‘Only in Blackpool’ at Mrs Johnson’s Emporium Wool and Haberdashery shop, Bond Street

We were very excited to have Animals in Entertainment ‘pop up’ at Blackpool Zoo. Interpreting the history of animals used in entertainment in Blackpool, the pop-up museum fit in marvellously at the zoo and is now back on display in the exhibition room as you walk through the reception corridor of the zoo.

Blackpool Performers appeared twice at the Winter Gardens over half term and into the second part of the Autumn term. For two days during the school holidays, the museum ‘popped up’ at the top of the stairs in the Victoria Street entrance and wowed members of the public passing through and visitors to Illuminasia. On Monday 2nd November, Blackpool Performers was exhibited for education professionals to interact with at the Schools Conference. At this event, we spoke to teachers about how all seven pop-up museums can be used as a learning tool and talked them through our resource packs, unique to each pop-up museum and free of charge.


Blackpool Performers at the Schools Conference at the Winter Gardens

Hitting the Deck appeared at Blackpool Sixth Form art department for Heritage Open Weekend and stayed for the duration of September and October. Animals in Entertainment and The Game of Blackpool joined the deck chairs for a number of weeks and the museums were on display for a few of the college’s open days. We hope students and potential students found some inspiration in these magnificent pieces.

The Game of Blackpool and Hitting the Deck spent November and early December on display at Sainsbury’s superstore in Blackpool town centre. The pop-up museums sat in the window, visible to customers but also passers by and then moved up onto the mezzanine floor to greet customers coming into the store. The pop-up museums seemed to have attracted much attention from intrigued customers.

All seven pop-up museums were then rounded up at the end of last week for our Treasure Trove celebration event at the Winter Gardens on Saturday. For the first (and possibly the last) time, all seven were on display together for the public to view 12- 2pm, followed by a closed event for participants and stakeholders 2-4pm. Although the weather was against us with Storm Desmond in full flow, the event was successful and a wonderful finish to the project which will draw to a close at the end of this month.

Our pop-up museums will still be available to loan for schools and community groups with the option of our learning resource pack alongside. This service will continue to be free of charge, however you must provide your own transport to pick up/drop off the pop-up museum. All the museums require a van, a few will fit into a large vehicle. Please contact us for more information by ringing 01253 301004 or emailing beth.garlington@blackpoolvolunteers.org.uk.

If you are struggling to provide transport, we can recommend a low cost, friendly van and man service. Please get in touch!


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Heritage Open Weekend 11th – 13th September 2015

Can you find all our pop-up museums over Heritage Open Weekend? We will be ‘popping up’ around Blackpool and Lytham from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th at various locations. Take a selfie with our pop-up museums and send to us on Facebook or Tweet us @BPL_Treasures

Click on a photo to reveal where you can visit each pop-up museum!


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Treasure Trove ‘pops up’ at Museum in the Making Event

The start of the bank holiday weekend was a very cultured one for residents of Blackpool. Visitors to the Winter Gardens last Friday and Saturday got a taste of what is to come for the new Blackpool Museum Project. The Treasure Trove Project was among lots of current art projects and activities and we had lots of keen visitors exploring our three museums on display. We exhibited our three new pop up museums – ‘Only in Blackpool’ created by Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and artists, Costumologists, The Game of Blackpool, created by Claremont First Step and artists, Reet So and Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities, created by Blackpool Inspirations and artist, Alastair Price. All three museum proved very successful, particularly with families and younger visitors.

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The event included a range of entertainment, including dancing in the Pavilion Theatre, as well as short historical talks and a sound booth for visitors entering the event. The choir sang classic Blackpool songs which encouraged passers by to join in. This included the fabulous ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!’ Visitors had the opportunity to see the plans for the museum through a set of graphic images, sketches and photographs, on which they could provide feedback and ideas on post it notes. Of course, the event itself was held in the very location intended for the museum – the Pavilion Theatre and the surrounding ‘horseshoe’ area.

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For the Treasure Trove project, the event was extremely successful. We are hoping to get all seven of our pop up museums ‘popping up’ around Blackpool at events, community venues, schools and shopping centres/shop windows. If you would like to loan one of our museums free of charge, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you to the Blackpool Museum Project team for allowing us to be a part of Museum in the Making.

Thank you to Matthew Wright for the use of his photographs.


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Launch and Celebration Event image gallery

Images from our Launch and Celebration Event on Thursday 23rd July at Claremont First Step Community Centre.

Photographs by Matthew Wright.


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Launch and Celebration Event 23/07/15

Last Thursday, we launched three more pop up museums created by local adult community groups and regional artists. Since January, we have been documenting our groups’ creative journeys, recording each artist session here on the blog. Our participants have put in so much time and effort, producing very diverse ideas along the way, which have resulted in three very unique pop up museums.

‘Only in Blackpool’ by Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild and Costumologists

Only in Blackpool explores the Blackpool Tower and it’s entertainment heritage from 1950 onwards. The museum’s main structure is the Tower itself, surrounded by a variety of visuals symbolising it’s history. This includes the roof top garden, the circus and the more controversial history including an escapologist who married his partner suspended 400 ft off the Tower in 1985. The pop up museum captures embroidery and textiles with it’s beautiful sewn panels depicting the circus created by Costumologists and it’s beautifully embroidered flags, made by the members of the Embroiderers’ Guild. The pop up museum interprets the entertainment heritage unique to Blackpool Tower and unique to Blackpool, aptly titled ‘Only in Blackpool’.

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Only in Blackpool Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The beautiful detail on the side panels of the pop up museum. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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More beautiful detail – egg shaped Pauls Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Elephants on the beach and a wedding on the Tower! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The exquisitely embroidered flag, created by the Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

‘Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities’ by Blackpool Inspirations and Alastair Price

Blackpool’s entertainment heritage takes many forms. Blackpool Inspirations and Alastair Price chose to explore the very quirky Blackpool, looking at sideshows and some of the eccentric characters Blackpool has been home to. This ranges from the lovable clown Charlie Cairoli to the more risque side show character ‘two tonne Alice’. The museum uses gentle humour to explore Blackpool stars’ lives, deaths and antics and is presented in a wonderful sideshow style cabinet of curiosities. Built to draw the visitor in, the museum is very interactive and wonderfully intriguing.

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Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of things to explore in this pop up museum! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Exploring the lives of Blackpool characters… Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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…Including Two Tonne Alice! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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The cabinet is accompanied by a traditional Blackpool sideshow speiler and his glamorous assistant. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

‘The Game of Blackpool’ by Claremont First Step and Reet So

The fun side of Blackpool is well and truly captured in this entertaining guessing game created by Claremont First Step and Reet So. The game covers a broad spectrum of Blackpool entertainment, from the Illuminations to Punch and Judy. It educates each player, encouraging them to pick up a scratch card and guess what aspect of Blackpool they have been given from the clues provided. The visitor must find their clues by exploring the museum and make their guess before scratching the panel off to reveal if they were correct. The Game of Blackpool is highly interactive with lots of elements thought up by the group, including the themes and the use of charades. The group also contributed to the making of the museum, creating bingo balls and Punch and Judy accessories.

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One half of the Game of Blackpool. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of things to explore and play around with! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Lots of recognisable faces and objects! Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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A highly interactive pop up museum, guaranteed to enthuse the visitor. Photograph by Claire Griffiths

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Photograph by Claire Griffiths

These three fascinating pop up museums made their first appearance last Thursday. As well as launching the museums, we celebrated the work that has gone into creating them. Before the afternoon public appearance, we hosted a viewing for participants and stakeholders. This was a very successful event where the groups involved had the opportunity to see the outcome of their artist sessions and those linked with the project got to see the pop up museums and learn more about the project.


Val, a particpant from Claremont First Step with her Punch and Judy creations on ‘The Game of Blackpool’. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Emma and Kerry from the Blackpool Museum Project enjoying the Blackpool Cabinet of Curiosities. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


The museums are very appealing to the younger audience as well as the older. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Members of Blackpool inspirations with their pop up museum. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Blackpool Museum Curator, Emma and our Community Heritage Assistant, Beth enjoying the Charlie Cairoli and Paul glove puppets, part of Only in Blackpool. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Alastair Price explaining the gadgets on the Cabinet of Curiosities to it’s visitors. Photograph by Matthew Wright.


Janet, one of the participants from Blackpool Embroiderers’ Guild turning the gold dancers on the Wurlitzer automata. Photograph by Matthew Wright.

Our new pop up museums will be ‘popping up’ in the next few months at various events and venues. Our next event is the Museum in the Making event for the Blackpool Museum Project. This will be taking place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th August, 11am – 4pm in the Horseshoe and Pavilion Theatre at The Winter Gardens.

Thank you to photographer Claire Griffiths and photographer and Heritage Champion Matthew Wright for the use of their images.


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Memory Lane Cafe 23/06/15

We were delighted to be a part of the Memory Lane Cafe on Tuesday at Ibbison Community Centre. The Memory Lane Cafe is an event held every Tuesday and welcomes members of the community to come along, meet friends and share memories. This lovely idea was created by volunteers at the New Revoe Residents Association and so much hard work goes in every week to make the cafe a success. Visitors can get lunch and unlimited amounts of tea and coffee for just £1. Activities vary every week and include visiting artists, heritage talks and a weekly raffle.

We will be exhibiting a different pop up museum every month at the Memory Lane Cafe. On Tuesday we brought ‘Hitting the Deck’, created by young people at Blackpool Sixth Form and artists, Greenclose Studios. The visitors really enjoyed the deck chairs, admiring the colours and interpretation and reminiscing about Blackpool’s deck chair and beach heritage. The pop up museum also fit in very well with this week’s cafe theme, the Forties.




The ladies that run the Memory Lane Cafe put in so much effort – the community centre was beautifully decorated, the food was delicious and there was a great atmosphere. We were very impressed with the concept and the way the cafe was managed. Now in it’s sixth week, the event has proved a success with around 40 visitors in attendance on Tuesday.


The beautiful table decorations.


Brenda, one of the ladies running the cafe, looking fab dressed up for Forties week.





Historical objects brought in by visitors, from identity cards to old pennies!



We would like to thank the Memory Lane Cafe team for having us and we look forward to our next visit in July with another pop up museum.


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