Lost & Found: Redefining the folk arts and traditions of Wessex

Poole Museum 

The Salisbury Museum 

Museum & Art Swindon

Wiltshire Museum

Folk arts and traditions are the artistic expressions curated by a community, for a community, and the Wessex region holds a rich folk heritage. Lost & Found aims to break down pre-conceptions of folk by rediscovering, reinterpreting and reconnecting people to folk heritage through the tangible objects in our museums’ collections and the intangible, through the living folk traditions of our region.

With support from Arts Council EnglandNational Lottery Heritage Fund, and Swire  Charitable Trust, and working collaboratively with curators, folk experts, and local communities, we will research folk material and shed new light its significance to people and places today, paving the way for contemporary collecting and the co-creation of ‘new folk’, led by our diverse local communities. The project will culminate in a touring exhibition to four of our partner museums, showcasing folk art and traditions of Wessex for audiences across the region and beyond. 

The project will include

  • New research, reinterpretation and conservation of folk collections held by partner museums. 
  • Film / photography commission capturing the living folk calendar and traditions of the region. 
  • Contemporary collecting of folk heritage from our diverse Wessex communities into our museums’ collections. 
  • Community-led, new folk commission in each museum locality. 
  • Touring exhibition and associated public programme. 
  • New digital exhibition and Collections Showcase of Wessex folk. 
  • Evaluation and case studies. 

This project will address Wessex Museums strategic aims to:

  • Create partnership exhibitions and programmes that unite us, tell the stories of Wessex, respond to contemporary issues and engage more diverse audiences.

  • Use our collections to better tell the stories of the Wessex region.

  • Engage underserved audiences through relevant and co-curated events and activities.

Project updates

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Road Runner!

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Belly Buster!

The hen-bird on display at The Salisbury Museum was one of the last great bustards to be eaten in the town!

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