Chippenham Museum was alive with the sights and sounds of the Victorian circus on Friday 1 November at their ‘Cabinet of Gin & Curiosity’ event. Fully booked and part of Museums at Night events across the country, the evening offered 50 guests the opportunity to enjoy circus sideshows and curious happenings around the museum by Rag & Bone Arts with a complimentary glass of locally produced Scout & Sage Gin.
The immersive experience was themed by Chippenham Museum’s latest display ‘The Obscure Eye Presents…’, open until 11 January. A fanciful exploration of circus, the display’s drawings, costumes and cabinets of curiosities by Wiltshire artist Grieg Miles reveal a story of the Ringmaster, his human wife, their circus family and performing fleas.
Chippenham based Rag & Bone Arts’ Adult Acting Group brought circus sideshows to life throughout the museum’s galleries with characters including a Palmist, Ringmaster, Explorers and Photographers. The pop-up gin bar served two varieties of Scout & Sage Gin. Based nearby in Semington, the micro-distillery was recently awarded Gold by Taste of The West in the Wine & Spirits category 2019.
Melissa Barnett, Head of Museum & Heritage Services, said “In an amazing finale to our week of Halloween activities and as part of the National Museums at Night promotion we were joined by Rag & Bone Arts to celebrate all things curious, weird and wonderful. We dimmed the lights, invited our guests to dress up and entertained them with Victorian styled circus characters who interpreted our collections in their own rather unique way. An evening like no other !”
Earlier in the week families enjoyed ‘Creepy-Crawly-Critters’, a day of free family fun on Thursday 31 October, which brought over 500 visitors to the museum to enjoy storytelling with the Zombie Zoo Keepers, an animal trail and crafts. On Tuesday 29 October families also enjoyed bookable Shadow Puppet Workshops. Both events were inspired by the animals in the museum’s latest exhibition ‘Strange & Wonderful Beings: The Work of Clifford & Rosemary Ellis’, open until Saturday 18 January with free entry.
Chippenham Museum, a Chippenham Town Council facility, is free to visit and tells the story of the people and history of Chippenham and surrounding villages from prehistoric times up until the present day with a varied programme of exhibitions and displays.