Our Seaside Town - new exhibition to open at Scarborough Art Gallery

A new exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery will look at life in a seaside town as seen through the eyes of local people.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:32 pm
The early 20th century ice cream cart which used to operate on Scarborough’s South Bay beach can be seen as part of the display at the town's art gallery in The Crescent

Scarborough: Our Seaside Town can be seen at the gallery from Tuesday May 18 to Sunday September 12.

Curator Esther Lockwood interviewed team members from Scarborough Museums Trust, which runs the gallery, asking for their unique personal views and recollections of life by the sea year-round before selecting items from the extensive collections at Scarborough Museums Trust.

These will include an early 20th century ice cream cart which used to operate on Scarborough’s South Bay beach, the town’s ‘Pancake Bell’, rung to signal the start of the unique tradition of skipping on the seafront on Shrove Tuesday, and other seaside ephemera, paintings, vintage photographs and postcards.

The new exhibition looks a life in a seaside town

A clifftop diorama will provide the backdrop to a display of local seabirds from the Trust’s taxidermy collection – complete with smells!

Esther said: “I hope that this exhibition will help the collections to be seen afresh through the eyes of the people who work at Scarborough Museums Trust.

“Their thoughts and memories are the lens for interpretation, and their voice is prominent, rather than the more traditional curator’s voice, meaning that visitors can enjoy familiar objects in a slightly different way. I hope that this will spark intergenerational conversations, and encourage visitors to share their own reminiscences and recollections of living or visiting Scarborough.”

Visitors to the exhibition will also be encouraged to contribute by sharing stories, memories, photos, videos and more on social media using the hashtag #OurSeasideTown. The posts will then appear on a social media wall in the gallery.

Seagulls are a big part of life in Scarborough ... or any seaside town

Simon Hedges, head of curation, exhibitions and collections at Scarborough Museums Trust, said: “Scarborough: Our Seaside Town is about immersing yourself in a memory, not just the object or image but the sounds and the smells - a trigger to a different time and place.

“Our recreation of the 1950s museum diorama has not only the sound of the nesting birds of Bempton Cliffs – but that very distinctive smell awaits you as well…”

Scarborough Art Gallery has been awarded the VisitEngland ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard mark, signifying that it adheres to government and public health guidance with regard to Covid-19. Scarborough: Our Seaside Town is on the ground floor, and is fully wheelchair-accessible. Visitors to the gallery for the foreseeable future will be asked to book a slot via the Trust’s website: www.scarboroughmuseumstrust.com

The exhibition opens on May 18 and runs until September 12