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December 2010 News Update

2009 has been quite a roller coaster. The launch event back in April kicked off the tour in grand style and did much to raise awareness of the project. The caravan had fifteen outings from May through to October. My Brother and I were on the road almost every week meeting people and spreading the word. Everywhere we went we were greeted with a positive response and it did much to confirm the notion that a museum dedicated solely to celebrating and researching Britain's annual customs and traditions, with their connected folkloric heritage, is something that the people of the UK would welcome and embrace. Visitors from abroad were also curious to see the connections that could be drawn between their own customs and those of the UK. It became quite apparent during the tour that although many of the customs featured inside the caravan were quite unknown to some visitors, almost everyone had some tale to tell of a festival or tradition that was known to them locally and that they had either witnessed as a child or as an adult currently. Many told of the increased interest they had noticed, as visitor numbers had grown over the years. Others told of festivals which are no longer maintained or have recently been re-established.

In many ways this year has been a form of public consultation. It's made me think of the social effect and value that the museum should seek to have. After all, this museum will differ from many others in that instead of being purely historic, it will deal with something that is a living tradition, something that is growing and changing as time moves on, becoming relevant or not for each new generation. How Folklore manifests itself in cities as well as rural areas is of huge interest and should be explored. There is still a vast amount of work to be done and this year has thrown up far more questions than answers. My main concern now is where the museum should be sited. Until this is decided upon I can't start to apply for funding as so much will depend on the region. Therefore the main aim for 2010 will be to visit as many areas across the UK as possible while hopefully taking in many of the customs and festivals that I missed while touring. As well as this, plans are afoot to mount a series of mini exhibitions across Britain, highlighting regional customs. If anyone out there knows of suitable venues who would be interested to have an exhibition running throughout the summer, please get in touch. These can be anything from a room in a stately home, to an existing exhibition space.

To mark the end of the tour it seemed fitting to have some small celebration and I, along with Sam Lee were delighted to welcome people to the benefit concert held on Dec 11th in London. My thanks go to all the performers who gave their time and energy to the night, Bishi, Jim Causeley, Lisa Knapp and the Belles of London and of course Sam Lee for organising things.

With the closing of the year I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have helped throughout 2009. There are too many to mention all by name but a few would be Doc Rowe and Jill, Kate Cornish, Henry Bourne, Matt Carr, Jonny Hannah, Spencer Horne, Anthony Costin, everyone at Purple, all my friends who decorated the various events and manned the stations. Thanks also must go to the various fund raisers who have given invaluable advise and are continuing to help as the project moves along. Thanks to all those who bought a ticket at the various fundraisers or even placed some money in the donation hat in the caravan, to those who have signed up to become a friend of the museum and those people who bought a Jonny Hannah poster. Thanks too go to the people who have kindly donated books, objects and archives for the museums growing collection. A big thank you must go to my parents who made a very generous Christmas donation. My apologies if I have forgotten anyone but my thanks to you all the same. I very much hope that 2010 will see your ongoing support and that the year ahead will be as exciting and full of potential as this one has been.

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