What a summer!

During summer 2020, we opened up our carpark for local people to come over and play in the space, and created something to help in the middle of the pandemic. This summer, those same local people have come back into the Museum, and we couldn’t be happier!

The summer is always a challenging time for us as a museum: trying to be open more for our visitors, take our own holidays and put on a wonderful programme for our families to enjoy. And this year was even harder, with very few staff it was a real juggle at times. We have had so much help this summer, we could not have done it without:

  • 00Live Steam Trains sharing their love of Hornby trains with us
  • The Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers, back in their rightful place in the middle of the Museum, bringing us all so much joy
  • Thames Water’s learning team, and their brilliant water challenge every Wednesday
  • Musical Mark, helping us all improve our singing on Thursdays and Sundays
  • Philippa Davies, reading her book on bank holiday Monday

Not to mention the brilliant Bees United team for putting together their exhibition, Farwell Griffin Park – The Fans’ Story, which will be up until the end of the football season. Hosting the launch on the exhibition on Friday 13 August, then seeing Brentford go on to win their first premier league match was a summer highlight.

It was also a joy to see our steam train back in action for the first time since 2019. So much work has happened behind the scenes to get the engine back up and running. Listen out for the whistle next time you are in the Museum. As our volunteers get back in the swing of things, we will slowly be able to run it more often. We will update our What’s On as we know more running dates.

Our community engagement programme has welcomed many new first time visitors, families from the Hounslow Children’s Centres, Autism Hounslow, Ethiopian Women’s Empowerment Group and more!

The Pump and Grind Café team have worked so hard, and kept us all going with tea and cake. The first summer holiday for the Our Barn team, and they have coped so well. Our new cleaner has been unflustered in the face of lots of small children having fun. To our volunteer team, we owe an enormous thank you. They keep our tills running, gardens tidy, buildings safe and collections cared for. We could not do it without them, and knowing we have them by our side makes all the difference to what we can achieve.

We also have the best visitors in the world! The visitors who came back to pay when Liz broke the tills (sorry, he he! – Liz), the 5 year old who helped us put out the drip buckets in a torrential downpour, the families we have seen every week, and the toddlers who are always happy to chat. The school holidays can feel long, but I hope we have helped lift the load this year.  

Once we have recovered, we have so many exciting plans for the autumn, with the Museum back in steam on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 October, and half term fun from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 October.

So thank you to you all, without you being involved in every way, we could not have got though this summer without you.

Liz, Emma, Joanna and Hayley

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