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Visit to Discovery by the Friends of the National Railway Museum

Nov 23 2016 News >> Latest News

Back in April FODMs members visited the Locomotion Museum at Shildon, County Durham. We were warmly welcomed on a cold and foggy day and shown around by the “friends” group. We quickly realized that FODMs and the Shildon Friends have much in common.  So at the end of our visit we invited the Locomotion group to come and see us at the Discovery Museum.

Several busy months passed before they were able to take up our offer and come up to Newcastle. Now Shildon to Newcastle is a fair journey so the Locomotion team decided it would be easier to take the bus. However, not the standard Arriva service for them. With help from their friends at the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society the group travelled to Newcastle in style in an immaculately restored Bristol LS6G single decker.

After a coffee and a brief introduction to Discovery Museum we whisked them off to the basement for a tour of the Arcs and Spark electrical collections store. FODMs members Ed Dinning and Chris Watson led the tour and regaled us with all manner of tales about the objects and the development of the electrical generation and supply industry. The Locomotion team had plenty of questions for Ed and Chris. Perhaps this was because the railway line at Shildon was one of the first to use electric locomotives.

Over a working lunch we had a good exchange of idea about how friends groups can help museums. We also had a lengthy discussion with expletives about the sensible interpretation of health and safety regulations.

The early afternoon was given over to a quick tour of the galleries, the FODMs engines team workshop and the Great Hall. Realising that we had only scratched the surface of the displays many of the Locomotion team said they would come back to Discovery Museum for a longer visit.

Whilst we operate in quite different museums it is obvious that we both share a passion for presenting history to the public and a keenness to help our institutions prosper.

All too soon the visit came to end but happily with an agreement to keep in touch and share information and expertise. So there will be another trip to Locomotion next year

Graham Bradshaw

Last changed: Nov 23 2016

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