Dodo Roadshow: Dunham Massey

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To mark our selection as a Finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015 we’re embarking on a unique and ambitious tour of the country – the Dodo Roadshow.

Beginning at Land’s End on 8 June and concluding in John O’Groats one week later, the famous Oxford Dodo will visit more than 20 museums and galleries along the way. 

Dunham Massey: The Stamford Hospital

As fellow finalists in the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2015, it was great to meet the Oxford Dodo when it called by on Thursday.

Dunham Massey1Here the Dodo is in the ward of the Stamford Hospital at Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham. The hall became an auxiliary hospital during the First World War and 282 soldiers were treated here. To mark the centenary of the First World War the clock has been turned back and hospital rooms recreated. Actors playing soldiers, nurses and a variety of other characters perform scenes in the hospital rooms whilst visitors walk through the ward, recreation room, nurses’ station and operating theatre. You can look at letters, photographs and medical notes, listen to recordings that recount a brain operation and experience the house as the hospital that it became for two years.

Dunham Massey has a large archive and collection and the recreation is based on photographs, letters, scrapbooks, oral history recordings, original artefacts such as beds, bedside tables, screens and bedding, and a remarkable log that records of all of the soldiers treated in the hospital. A great deal of research into the archive and the people connected with the hospital was done by Dunham’s volunteer team.

Dunham Massey was given to the National Trust in 1976 after the death of Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford. He was away from Dunham for most of the First World War and served as Aide-de-Camp to General Lloyd. His mother, Penelope, Countess of Stamford, was the hospital’s commandant and his younger sister Lady Jane was a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurse. Letters to the family from nurses and soldiers, and correspondence between the family members reveals an insight into life in the house during the war.

The whole Dunham team is delighted to have been shortlisted for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015. The Stamford Hospital will be open until 11 November this year (open Saturday – Wednesday) then the team will be changing the house to tell a new story based on another fascinating chapter in Dunham’s history.

Good luck on your travels, Dodo!

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More than a Dodo

I'm Public Engagement Manager at Oxford University Museum of Natural History and I look after permanent displays and other interpretation. I do a bit of social media on the side, too.

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