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Personal treasures filling the People’s Museum

Pieces of the Berlin Wall, an exotic globe-travelling seed pod and toy unicorn are among the personal treasures submitted for a new People’s Museum in Newton Abbot.

The project is the brainchild of Kate Green, Outreach Worker with the Newton’s Place museum and community space project taking shape in the former St Leonard’s Church, Wolborough Street.

Kate is asking 40 residents of all ages to name a personal item they’d never part with and display it in a decorated treasure chest. The boxes, collectively known as the People’s Museum, will form the first temporary exhibition at Newton’s Place when it opens early next year.

"A museum is full of objects with interesting stories attached to them," said Kate. "It might be something as ordinary as a hat but then you discover it belonged a king or someone amazing and it becomes fascinating, it’s all about the story."

"The idea with the People’s Museum is to find what objects people have tucked at the back of a sock drawer that they would never throw away. Perhaps the spoon they won an egg and spoon race when they were six, or something picked up on holiday or when they got married and now treasure. So we’re getting people to talk about their special objects and then saying why not put them on display but instead of using little plastic plinths let’s create a celebratory display cabinet."

Each person taking part is given a plain box and encouraged to let their creative juices flows so the end product is a colourful and unique piece of art.

"The only way I’ve been able to describe the boxes is a cross between a shrine to your object and a Faberge egg," said Kate. "And it doesn’t matter if your prized possession is too big for the box as we can take photos or consider 3D printing to represent it. All the materials and my time is free and the exhibition at Newton’s Place will be secure. And once it ends everyone will get to take their boxes home."

People wanting to be considered for inclusion in the People’s Museum can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Owing to the nature of the box-making sessions only individuals or very small groups will be eligible.

The photo shows Kate with one of the completed boxes. On her computer screen is an image from one of the workshops.

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