Abergavenny Museum has celebrated 60 years since it first opened to the public. On Tuesday the 2nd July over 80 guests, which included former and current staff, long-time supporters and local volunteers gathered in Castle House – which itself celebrates its 200th anniversary this year – to mark the occasion.
Many attendees included people who were involved with the museum in its early days. Among the guests was Barbara Jackson who attended the opening in 1959. Her uncle Alfred and father Ernest were also the driving force behind the setting up of the museum. Members of Abergavenny Rotary Club were present at the celebration to represent those members in the 1950s who had set up the first museum sub-committee. The commemorative event was also attended by Ken Key, who was part of the working party who transported one of the museum’s key artefacts – the Adoration of the Magi wall painting – from the Gunter House in a wheelbarrow. Other guests included Beryl Jones whose husband Gwyn was a founder of Abergavenny Local History Society and worked with pupils from King Henry VIII School to curate the Welsh Kitchen display in 1960.
Guests were treated to a speech full of humour about the foundation of the museum by former curator Frank Olding. Chair of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor Sheila Woodhouse, gave formal thanks to staff and volunteers who have made the museum the success it is today.
Marking the celebration, Councillor Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for Governance and Law said: “Museums play a vital role in learning about Monmouthshire’s rich history. It’s wonderful to see so many people turn out to commemorate this establishment and remember the significant part it’s played in Abergavenny and the wider community over the last 60 years.”