The History of the Museum 1900-1983

1900 to 1983

Go back to History of the Museum - The Founding Years

The collection of the museum developed gradually from an initial focus on natural history and geology to a fuller representation of the history of the district. At the beginning the Cowle Museum had similar objectives to other contemporary museums: to make a collection of objects and associated knowledge available with the ultimate goal of sharing knowledge, improving education and  promoting an understanding of the world, all whilst illustrating the history of the locality. For the first 30 years it provided this resource without any staff or opening hours!

By 1927 the Museum had got into a bad way – the Miers report published that year actually described it as derelict. As a result the Museum Trustees appointed Mr C.I. Gardiner of Cheltenham as the first curator on the 25th April 1929 for two days a week at the salary of £100 per annum (around £4500 in 2013 terms)

Following this appointment the Cowle Museum was able to set regular opening hours and formally opened to the public within the premises of the Stroud School of Science and Art on 15 March 1930.

During this period the museum began a practice of documenting the collections and keeping records as well as expanding the collections to include archaeology and social history. There was also a focus on raising the profile of the museum amongst local people through a series of talks and lectures.

From the 1950s onwards the collections expanded dramatically, and the museum leased a further display room at the School of Science and Art as well as an office and a store room. Later as the collection outgrew the spaces at Lansdown, the Trust was forced to rent a series of storage rooms across the district. 

Click here for History of the Museum 1983 - Present

Did you know?

The Museum still uses the School of Science and Art as a storage facility - and yes, for those of you who remember visiting there in years gone by, the dinosaur is still on the wall!

 

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