Explore the fascinating world of the Victorian judges at this award-winning historic house.

Presteigne Community Collections Project

STOP PRESS - First community collections exhibiton opens!

We are in the throes of creating new, exciting exhibition spaces and visitor facilities, all aided by our new Community Panel and team of volunteers. We're being supported in our endeavours by the Heritage Lottery Fund and CyMAL: Museums Archives & Libraries Wales.

So what's it all about?

 BackgroundPC Vaughan, Presteigne of the Radnorshire Constabulary

The heritage focused on by this project is the collection of local items held by the Judge's Lodging.  The basis of this collection came from the Presteigne & District Museum, which was formed in 1973 and was situated in the basement of the building. The collection was gifted to The Judge's Lodging, when the latter opened in 1997 and has since almost doubled in size thanks largely to donations from local people. Today this collection consists of around 3000 photographs, documents, textiles and social history objects relating to the town of Presteigne, its inhabitants and surrounding area from pre-historic times to the 20th century.

 Since the opening of The Judge's Lodging in 1997 the visitor experience has very much been focused on the furnished period rooms, including the courtroom and the prison cells. However, the items on display in these rooms only form 40% of the collection.  The 60% of items relating to Presteigne and its surrounding area are currently under-represented in the building. Although some items have been incorporated into the period rooms and others are displayed in a local history room in the basement with inappropriate environmental and security conditions and in small room with no real focus, most items are in store and thus inaccessible to visitors.

Although local people are proud of their imposing heritage building, they also want to see and learn about the life of more ordinary people in their area. Similarly local schools are requested to study their locality and teachers and schoolchildren will be able to find even more use for the venue if the local history aspect is developed.


What we will do

Victorian business card for John NewellThe project will create access to the collection of  photographs, documents, textiles and social history objects relating to Presteigne, which is currently in store; by developing two rooms within the Judge's Lodging building to focus on the objects within the collection. One room will house a permanent exhibition depicting the history of Presteigne and surrounding area; while the other room will be developed into a temporary exhibition gallery with changing displays on community topics supported by activities and events.


Aims of the project

Maids in Presteigne High StreetTo bring the local collections to the forefront of future displays and activities

To create new ways of working with and accessing the collections

To increase the use of collections as well as the museum as a whole

To engage with members and groups of the community in new and innovative ways

 We will be working with a focus group, representing different areas of the community, to look into how to represent the history of Presteigne in the permanent exhibition room.  Working with this focus group, through questionnaires and with other interested parties we will also look at the topics for the first and future temporary exhibitions. 


Who for and uses

Lady Brydges of PresteigneAlthough the appeal of both rooms is intended for all visitors to the museum, the temporary space, especially, is envisaged as one in which different people and groups from the area can work with the museum staff closely on projects. It is hoped that one of the first exhibitions, for example, may focus on war, following the museums recent collaborations with a former POW from the town, which is currently causing great interest. The space may also be used for exhibitions led solely by groups, such as the local schools or youth group.

The permanent room will also be supplied with the equipment to allow it to house talks, demonstrations, education sessions and other events. These events are envisaged to be for local participation, with at least one event per temporary exhibition being free.

The text and education facilities relating to the temporary exhibition programme will be retained in the museum and will be developed into a resource for schools and other learning organisations.

Each temporary exhibition will be complimented by an online version, running from the museum's website.


Collection of additional information - oral, photographic, objects - used for both the permanent and subsequent temporary exhibitions will be archived appropriately within the museum.  To talk to us about this project, get in touch with Gaby, the Curator.  

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Forthcoming Events

Strange But True

  • list arrowStage strangeness

    The Victorian actress Sarah Bernhardt used to sleep in a coffin because she said it helped her to understand the tragic roles she had to play.


Historical Handy Hints