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Making Guildford Museum Relevant To Our Times

Published on: 5 Aug, 2021
Updated on: 5 Aug, 2021

By Nick Bale, deputy chairman of the Friends of Guildford Museum

The Friends of Guildford Museum is a local group that has supported the museum raising funds and providing volunteers for 25 years.

Many members were disappointed that the plan to expand the museum was stopped last year due to funding difficulties. However, the recent reopening of the museum offers a fresh start after a major clean-up and improvements during the pandemic.

At the Guildhall, the Mayor of Guildford, Marsha Moseley, cuts the cake to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Friends of Guildford Museum, in the presence of Jen Powell, the chairman of the Friends of Guildford Museum, and Peter Hattersley, a former chairman.

Many exciting ideas emerged from the expansion project and some of these can be used to make the museum more relevant today.

Guildford has been at the centre of one of the most remarkable features of recent times, the video-game industry, and has been nicknamed ‘The Hollywood of gaming’.

From the founding of Bullfrog Productions by Peter Molyneux in 1987, more than 70 studios have emerged in Guildford – making more than 200 games and releasing more than 4,000.

This little known part of Guildford’s history is now the focus of a collecting project and a summer 2022 exhibition at the museum, with support from the Guildford Games Festival and the National Videogame Museum.

More than 30 of the games produced in Guildford have been donated to the museum so far but there are many more to collect.

The friends association are themselves looking forward to new things after the enforced curtailment during last year. For one, they have raised their public profile by starting a Facebook page. This allows interaction with a wider community who have a keen interest in the town’s heritage, such as The Guildford Dragon NEWS itself.

The friends most significant initiative this year, however, is to arrange a series of public talks by high-profile speakers at the Guildhall on Friday afternoons:

Wanborough Manor – Surrey’s School for Secret Agents, by Paul McCue, is on Friday, Septembert 10, at 2.30pm.

Eglantyne Jebb, an unconventional woman who founded the Save the Children Fund, by Clare Mulley is on Friday, October 22, at at 2.30pm.

Lewis Carroll in Numberland, by Professor Robin Wilson  is on Friday, November 19, at 2.30pm.

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