The Streets of Bournemouth: a virtual museum

Patricia Gargan tells us what's happening on the streets of Bournemouth

By Rose Malik

Cliff Cottage, 1863

The Streets of Bournemouth is a virtual museum; it’s the first ever interactive online museum devoted to the history of Bournemouth and endorsed by travel writer and former resident, Bill Bryson who said: “The project is a once in a life-time opportunity for the people of Bournemouth to participate in the creation of the town’s first centralised online history of Bournemouth.”

The story of Bournemouth online
The virtual museum aims to capture the story of Bournemouth’s development in a project that will help celebrate the town’s bicentenary in 2010. Funded by an award of £440,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it will bring together the past and the present through its community archive where residents will be able to contribute their own photographs, memories and stories.

Thanks to a partnership between Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Borough Council, the museum will feature collections and expertise from Bournemouth Libraries and the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, providing a mix of maps, photographs, paintings, drawings, objects, musical archives and information.

At the end of the two-year project, visitors to the website will be able to see how their streets have changed over the last two hundred years by clicking through layers of historical maps. They will also be able to call up a timeline, showing associated images and select strands of information about Bournemouth ‘s people and its buildings, its development as a health and seaside resort, and many other defining aspects of the town’s story.

It will also include the conservation of Bournemouth Libraries’ early Victorian Day Collection of glass n eg atives that show a now largely unrecognisable Bournemouth. The collection will be placed online with other historic images as a lasting record, so that it’s accessible to all.

Bournemouth in a Box
In addition to the website, there will be a primary schools programme, featuring the creation of “Bournemouth in a Box”, which will allow teachers to access a blog and postcard-making facilities to introduce pupils to their local and family history.

Contact us at streetsofbournemouth@bournemouth.ac.uk if you have ideas you would like to contribute or if you would like to volunteer to help.

This page was last updated on 29 May 2014.

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