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Remembered Today:

Collection of the Soldiers of the Oxfordshire Battalion Medals up for sale.


RitchiebytheC

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An excelant post Voltaire Thank you for putting the guidlines up as well as it shows what a museum SHOULD be doing .I think the section on Consequences of unethical decision to remove is very relevant here as it affects public veiws on museums .As you put I think the S of O might have a shaky future

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Moonraker
21 minutes ago, adrian 1008 said:

... Being registered with most of the large auction houses, I don't recall seeing any other military museum selling collections of medals as surplus to requirements...

 

Maybe not medals, but Googling "military museums selling collection 2021" led me to instances of museums considering selling off other artefacts in the past few months. I'm rushing off now, so don't have the time to check whether the reasons are Covid-related. 

 

(And there were some hits relating to pre-Covid controversies about other de-acquisitionings.)

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2 hours ago, Moonraker said:

I wonder how much the decline in fortunes reflects there having been a peak of interest and visits in 2014 and 2015 because of the stimulation from the WWI centenary?

 

    Exactly so-  The centennial years may well have-indeed almost certainly- given a false view of viability. I suspect that if Oxford's stats. could be taken further back, they would still show the longer-term decline-with a blip of false hope for the Great War centennial years.

   To me, the situation with Oxfordshire is a long-term side-effect of our army system of yesteryear. The association of army regiments with a specific territorial area was the backbone of Britain's military for nigh-on 3 centuries.  It is something I view as a matter of great pride. It had its faults- the pals battalions being the obvious example. But the regimental system and the county regiments served this country well.  But now we are on the reverse slope- the terrific loyalties built up by the territorial system of local links now acts, in heritage terms, as a curse.  

   I am a Devonshire lad. To me, the Devonshire Regiment of yesteryear is a source of pride- no more so than when standing at the Devonshire Cemetery at Mametz- It's the occasional local surname that grabs me by the throat- Stabb, Enticott, Trebilcock, Webber, etc. (Though not to forget 2nd Devonshires losses on "First Day"-with no known graves, just Thiepval). But the Devonshire Regiment marched into history as a separate entity in 1958.  It seems to me that-harsh though it sounds- Oxfordshire may have to break with a strictly territorial system or perish.

    A great strength of museums is that they conserve what even the richest cheque book cannot buy. Collections need time-they are garnered not merely purchased chattels. The sadness of the Oxfordshire matter is that it seems to be merely postponing the inevitable.  It seems a very great shame to break into collections if the same lack of financial viability comes round again in another year or so.  Preserving the corpus of the collections must be the prime responsibility of the Trustees. If placing the collections (Oxford City Museum?) is a viable solution that maintains the heritage in toto, then the nettle must be grasped- But,there again and a dilemma for any Trustee is whether to push the self-destruct button.

 

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A lot of it is the lack of interest with the modern generation unless you can fire up that interest which is dificult to do as we are talking about war. I have found there is a lack of interest in a lot of things nowdays especialy on the hobby side of things .The age of most clubs are getting older and older .Im not sure giving the medals to a larger museum would help either as the cost of displaying is a lot especialy with the current future and would probably just go into storage .

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56 minutes ago, GROBBY said:

as we are talking about war.

Maybe that´s the problem. I know this sounds a bit modern, and you maybe risk the support of the few traditionalists that still frequent the regimental museums, but what if, gently, you shift from the emphasis on heroics during wartime and put more emphasis on the role of the military as stabilizing part of a (democratic) society in war and peace, as important factor in the local economy, etc. exemplified by the history of the local regiment. Maybe it could also be a good idea (if this is not already done) to have a few examplary biographies of members of this regiment from different walks of life and social / educational background that span a period that is not limeted to just their time in the army. And yes, the times of war would still play an important role, of course. It´s just that the focus might be a bit wider.

GreyC

 

Edited by GreyC
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I fully agree with you and  some museums are doing that thing .One of my jobs at my museum is doing biographys of all the groundcrew that served in that sqaudron in the Great War i.e Births marriage schooling occupations parents siblings ect .These are then put on a database and uploaded to a touchscreen for the public to see if there are any relations on there .This is a 2 way street as if they find anyone you can give them more information but also ask if they have photos ect to expand your knollege .I must admit that im not keen on the modern idea of museums , display panels and 2 objects

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2 hours ago, GROBBY said:

I must admit that im not keen on the modern idea of museums , display panels and 2 objects

Me neither. Some modern museums concept seem to have borrowed their ideas from the look of the haute cusine. Looks nice, but very little on the plate. I like the analogue presentation of the exhibits, if possible as "hands on" experience.

GreyC

Edited by GreyC
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Hmm- I think there may be limits to the "hands on" experience of the Great War.   As featured in "Blackadder"...............

 

image.png.521eb01bf4cb6483ea79922d0512c0ac.png

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Hi,

I did not specifically refer to "hands on experience" in the Great War but to "hands on experiences" in museums generally and also more specific to regimental museums where (as I wrote) the focus should not soley focus on war activity but also (among other things) on the life of the soldier in the regiment. And here reinactments or other forms may well be possible.

GreyC

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knittinganddeath

Open-air trench museums could be fun, especially if there's also a tank that you can crawl around inside (my kids are always fans of pushing buttons and pulling levers). Of course, the problem is that you don't want to create a theme park. Still, I think that there is a benefit to physically interacting with objects of the period. I've read that the Smithsonian in the United States has created replicas of African objects in their collection so that people can handle things that look and feel like ones their ancestors would have used. Even though they aren't original, it seems that students react very strongly & positively to being able to touch the past, so to speak.

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My museum has a touchy feely section where the public can handle modern  reproduction objects i.e webbing/ uniforms / repro rifle/helmets /caps ,the kids love it so do the parents ( kodac moment ) .We also have a first war repro aircraft fusilage and wings where the children (both sizes) can play with the controls .Another where I live has the same

My museum is also working on building a short trench section outide but I think we are waiting planning for that .

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Sounds interesting and is exactly what I meant. Thank you for supplying this information.

Another way to increase visitor numbers would be cooperations with local schools that could get a guided tour for classes through the museum of the respective city during school-hours. I am sure, that this is also done at some places.

GreyC

 

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Yes was done at my museum but it was stopped for covid ,also about the anniversary we get a visit from a school in east london that was bombed in the first war killing a lot of children .

as we have a display on what happened

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Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing! Was that in one of the Zeppelin raids in 1915?

GreyC

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No it was in 1917 on the 13th June and was a Gotha bomber .It killed 18 children aged around 5 yrs old and injured 37 more . It was Upper North Street School Poplar.We are working to get more school trip organized but got to get rid of covid first .School trips ariving are great if very hectic and most of the time they are very interested in the first war

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Thanks for the update. My experience with kids of ages under 11 or so are similar to the one you describe. Rewarding but a bit hectic.

Wish you and your museum best of luck and lots of visitors once they are allowed back in.

GreyC

 

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We should be opening on the 21st May but I and others will go in before that to get the museum/ objects and aircraft cleaned

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  • 3 weeks later...
Kevin Tobin

First medals now appearing on a popular e site. Sold for £240 then auction house fees on top. Selling for £395 Buy It Now -minus site fees and payment fees. I suppose the buyer will make £50?

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Kitchener's Bugle

I was actually at this museum a couple of years back and had quite a long conversation with the curator.

I was advised that a fair amount of the medal collection had not been fully catalogued or researched yet and that then main volunteer responsible was having to retire due to age/health.

I was shown a number of groups that they had not yet "touched", and then asked would I like to help out, I said that I would of course other then the fact that I lived 150 miles away :o

 

Still things look to have moved on a fair bit .....rightly or wrongly!.

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Kitchener's Bugle

Here are some images that I captured of the collection:-

 

 

OX_f1.jpg

OX_f5.jpg

OX_G9.jpg

OX_G91.jpg

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Kitchener's Bugle

oxf_b1c.jpg

oxf_H1.jpg

oxf_H2.jpg

oxf_I3.jpg

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Thanks, KB.

Great to see.

 

Kath.

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