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The Redevelopment Project

Somerset Rural Life Museum reopened on Saturday 3 June following completion of a £2.4 million redevelopment project led by the South West Heritage Trust.


The Museum tells the rich story of Somerset’s rural and social history. Visitors can explore rural life from the 1800s onwards and discover more about the county’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming, working life and rural crafts. The magnificent 14th-century Abbey Barn remains the centrepiece of the site.


What’s new?
  • Refurbished galleries in the farmhouse and former cowsheds will mean museum collections are better cared for, displayed and interpreted.

  • Outside spaces such as the Farmyard and orchard contain new sculptures and family trails that interpret the history of the site and its buildings.

  • A new café will offer fresh local produce as well as a stunning view of Glastonbury Tor from the outside seating area.

  • The Community Learning Space will provide a new dedicated area for museum activities. It will be used by school groups and is available for the local community to use outside museum opening hours.

  • A refreshed programme of events and exhibitions

  • Opportunities for volunteering

Project representatives at the museum for the site handover in April 2016. Left to right: David Heeley of the Museum Friends, Tom Mayberry of the South West Heritage Trust, Russell Lillford of Somerset Building Preservation Trust, Alison Templeton of Somerset County Council, Peter Renshaw of Viridor Credits Environmental Company, and Chris Poolman of Ken Biggs Contractors.

With grateful thanks


The redevelopment was chiefly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Somerset County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation and other generous funders. The Trust is also most grateful to Somerset Building Preservation Trust and the Friends of the Somerset Rural Life Museum for their consistent support. Building work was undertaken by Ken Biggs Contractors Ltd.


More about the Friends

The Friends of the Somerset Rural Life Museum is a separate registered charity which brings together people who are passionate about Somerset’s past and future. The Friends support the museum in many ways, including co-ordinating research, raising funds for special projects and improving access to the collections. The Friends meet regularly throughout the year to enjoy illustrated talks, outings and social events, as well as working on specific projects.

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