Stokes Croft Museum

16 08 2010

The Stokes Croft Museum and Fake Memory Arcade, to give it its full name, opened on Friday in an old bank building opposite Hamilton House. The new museum cum art installation is the brainchild of South Africa-born artist Katy Bauer, who dug into her own savings to rent the building and create the museum.

Set up in partnership with the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, the museum celebrates what Stokes Croft is like today. So there are no old photographs of days gone by, but a wheel from Jake’s Bikes around the corner at the back of Hamilton House, and a specially-commisioned piece from street artist Cyclops, a smaller version of his infamous skull on the top of Westmoreland House.

“The project aims to shift the reverence automatically afforded museum environments from the past to the present,” Katy says, “with local visitors encouraged to add anecdote, knowledge, ephemera, and fresh observation. These contributions will create an archive and the museum experience will become increasingly layered and changing because of it. People will stamp themselves directly into history instead of waiting for someone to get it all wrong a hundred years hence. 
 
“The museum contains what is apparent – chips, dogs, the post office; and also reveals that which is hidden – artists, anarchists, policy, the shattered and the generous. Some of the displays will be curious inventions. However, all the displays will be true.

“My aim is for the diversity in Stokes Croft to be acknowledged and valued, thereby making its residents and workers less vulnerable to rapacious development. The world is full of stories about the tragic loss of such environments after the fact. That’s just not good enough. We need to make sure we acknowledge things other than profitability as being precious.”
 
The Stokes Croft Museum and Fake Memory Arcade is open Wednesday to Friday, 11am to 3pm; and Saturday, midday to 4pm. On Mondays and Tuesdays, it will host the Stokes Croft Arts Academy.

For more information, visit www.stokescroftmuseum.info


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