Virtual Museum calls for volunteers to preserve local history

By Nigel Walrond   |   Sports Editor   |
Wednesday 9th August 2017 10:15 am
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Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, Kingsbridge Quay. (Courtesy Patrick Caseley - Kingsbridge History Society/South Devon Virtual Museum)

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The South Devon Virtual Museum is still seeking volunteers to help with the monumental task of creating a one-stop website for local history.

Dreamed up by Ken Prowse, chair of the Salcombe History Society, the idea is to link all the local history societies together online, and provide detailed genealogy, photography, posters, programmes and documents in one easily accessible place.

But the project is desperate for volunteers to help bring the museum to life, and is looking for people who are able to give an hour or two of their time, either working from home or at the office in Kingsbridge.

The museum is seeking assistance with the monumental task of scanning and uploading photographs, researching genealogy, or working on individual projects of interest.

The website already links most of the parish history societies in the historic Woodleigh Deanery area, including Aveton Gifford Parish Project Group, the Cookworthy Museum, Kingsbridge History Society, Salcombe Maritime Museum, South Milton History Group and Stokenham Community History Group.

Ken Prowse from Salcombe History Society said: “Lots of the local history societies have an ageing membership, with no information available on the internet. With that in mind, we want to create a website where this information can be accessed easily in one place.

“This will enable people to access it when and where they want to. And this will allow people who can’t get to meetings to keep up with the latest research.

“The South Devon Virtual Museum is easy to access, easy to comment on and allows people to explore the socio-economic history of the area. We are focusing on the historic area of Woodleigh Deanery, up to, but not including Dartmouth, Ivybridge and Modbury,” said Ken.

“We want to link together buildings, churches, people and occupations. But we have loads of documents that need sorting out - they need to be scanned and added to the website. We’re hoping to get a few people involved to take on individual projects, or research particular areas of interest. And at a later date, we hope to produce booklets on specific topics,” Ken said.

At their office in Quay House, Kingsbridge, the society has all the necessary equipment for the project, with scanners, computers and audio recording equipment.

“We’re hoping to get one or two people from each of the local history societies who are willing to put stuff online from home,” Ken added.

Devon County councillor Rufus Gilbert contributed £300 from the council’s locality allowance towards the development of the museum. And district councillor Judy Pearce contributed £200 from her locality budget.

Cllr Gilbert said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be in a position to help Kingsbridge maintain the town and community’s link to its history and culture.”

While Cllr Pearce said: “I think its a brilliant idea, the more information we have available online, the more use it will be to those who want to research things.”

The South Devon Virtual Museum can be found online at www.salcombehistorysociety.co.uk/virtual-museum.

If you would like to volunteer or find out further information, Ken Prowse can be contacted by telephone on 01548 854075, or email at [email protected].

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