RAMM celebrates 150th anniversary
14 March 2018
A carnival of the animals in Exeter City Centre, a new children’s book and a commemorative beer are amongst the celebrations for RAMM’s 150th anniversary.
When the museum opened, it was known then as the Albert Memorial Museum, School of Art and Science and Free Library. To celebrate 150 years, RAMM is recreating some of the events that took place at the time, and has added some new ones.
The celebrations begin with the Carnival of the Animals on Saturday 21 April. As RAMM takes to the streets of Exeter, there will be spectacular animal puppets, music, performances, activities and atmosphere. Internationally known carnival company Shademakers will be bringing carnival animals inspired by the museum’s collections. Two creatures will be specially commissioned – a giraffe to represent RAMM’s famous Gerald, and another animal chosen by RAMM’s visitors and supporters. Everyone is invited to get hands on at the pop-up museum activities, marvel at the animal puppets and march back to the museum for cake-cutting and entertainment.
150th anniversary activities
Easter holiday family activities
Make puppets and masks for the carnival in the Easter family activities. Choose from drop-in sessions and creative activities with renowned carnival art designers, Shademakers.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
An exhibition by photographer Jim Wileman who has been capturing some of the museum moments that members of the public don’t normally see. RAMM gave Jim a ‘backstage pass’ to see the delicate conservation work in the labs and see how exhibitions are put together. Jim went on the roof. He watched the meticulous cleaning of the galleries. He visited the museum stores to see some of the many objects which are not currently on display…. Behind the Scenes at the Museum takes place from 20 April to 2 May.
Alfie’s Night Out
Illustrator Victoria Byron and writer Conor Magee have created a new children’s book specially for RAMM. Alfie is a sparrow who sits amongst the other birds in the gallery. One night, when the visitors have all left, something magical happens; the museum comes alive and Alfie goes exploring. Alfie’s Night Out will be available from the Shop at RAMM, and the original illustrations will be on display alongside some of Victoria’s sketch books in an exhibition from 20 April to 2 September. Young visitors can create their own stories with a puppet theatre and explore books that their parents and grandparents might have read when they were young.
Alfie’s Explorers’ Party
On Sunday 29 April, visitors to the exhibition will be able to join Victoria Byron, the creator of Alfie’s Night Out. The party will allow them to find out how she created her beautiful images and hear the book read by Conor Magee, who wrote the words. The book will be available for purchase with a 20% discount for those attending this launch, and Victoria will be signing copies.
EMG Symphony Orchestra: a celebratory concert
The original opening of the museum was celebrated with a concert, so EMG Symphony Orchestra will be performing the 150th Anniversary Celebration Concert in Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 28 April. The orchestra have specially selected a museum-inspired programme of music including Carnival of the Animals and Night at the Museum.
There will be a range of 150th merchandise available from The Shop at RAMM featuring a 150th anniversary illustration by Aylwyn Bowen. The museum has also teamed up with Exeter Brewery to launch Albert’s Ale – a special RAMM 150th anniversary beer.
Further 150th celebrations
The celebrations will continue throughout the year, with a range of events including the re-opening of the World Cultures galleries, the Hawksmoor Celebratory Concert Series and talks by former politician and current V&A director, Tristram Hunt (22 May), and Historian and BBC Civilisations presenter, David Olusoga (22 June).
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture, said: “This is a time for real celebration for the city of Exeter. We’re immensely proud of RAMM, the museum’s 150 year history, and all that has been achieved during that time. RAMM has a special place in the memories of generations of Exonians who have enjoyed visits to learn from the museum’s collections, to be inspired by them, and to discover new things. There is a wonderful range of events and activities to celebrate this special anniversary, and we welcome everyone to join in.”
Find out more
More information about all the events for RAMM’s 150th anniversary celebrations is available on the museum’s website www.rammuseum.org.uk/150th.