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Spalding Gentlemen's Society will host a Hidden Treasures event as part of the Heritage Open Days scheme

There will be lots to learn and enjoy at Spalding Gentlemen’s Society’s upcoming open day, say organisers.

The museum’s Hidden Treasures event, which is part of the Heritage Open Days scheme, will take place on Sunday, September 19.

Residents have been urged to go along by the society’s chairman Petronella Keeling, who said: “We’re always itching to encourage people to come along.

Curator Ian Hoult with a coin collection at the Gentlemen’s Society.
Curator Ian Hoult with a coin collection at the Gentlemen’s Society.

“The museum is open for anybody to come along to, especially with our open day coming up.

“Obviously during lockdowns we’ve been closed completely, and at the moment we tend to be open one Sunday a month. That is hopefully going to increase in the not-so-distant future.

“We’ve been doing some reorganisation within the museum to allow it to be easier to open.”

Petronella says the museum has a little something for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s the second oldest museum in the country. It started up in 1710,” she said.

“The society started in the age of enlightenment, as part of the coffee house scene. The idea was for gentlemen to get together on a Thursday evening and look at all sorts of different things coming into the country. Hence, they were drinking coffee!

“On the open day, our normal collection will be there.

“We have these glass plate images of very early photography, and we will have a small screen showing different films.

“There are artefacts from all over the world in the museum. That’s because people were avid collectors.

“There was one man who left to be a vicar in New Zealand and he brought back a whole collection of Maori items. So we have a large collection of those, which is very fascinating.

“We have early Peruvian pots – how we got those, we’re not quite sure at the moment!

“There is something for everybody, because we are a museum and a library and archive as well.

“We have a huge collection of books dating back to the 1700s, and there are more current ones as well. There are books on birds, books on every topic you can think of. You can just have a wander in and see if there’s something that interests you.

“Come and have a look at these old photographs we have. We have a big collection of them.

“There are artefacts from every era, and we are a collection of curiosities. Everything has been collected by people around here.

“We have massive amounts of information about locals of the past, like Joseph Banks and Isaac Newton. They were all involved with the society.

“We have people who can chat to you about all of this, and it’s a lovely way to explore.”

The society’s lecture season also kicks off this weekend (Friday evening, ) with a discussion about the voyage of The Beagle.

“Our list of lectures is hugely varied,” says Petronella.

“If you go onto our website, you’ll be able to see the width of what they are about.”

Visitors at the open day or lectures have been urged to book their places by visiting www.sgsoc.org, or emailing outreach@sgsoc.org

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