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About Us

The West Somerset Rural Life Museum, The Victorian Schoolroom and The West Somerset Photographic Archive 

About Us

The Museum and Victorian School Room are housed in the old school at Allerford, leased to us by the National Trust. The school, built in 1821, was in use to 1981 and then, in 1984, it was reopened as the Rural Life museum, which is owned and administered by a committee of Trustees. The Trust is a Registered Charity which is completely self-supporting, and all the members of staff are volunteers.

The pretty village of Allerford lies off the A39 five miles from Minehead and one mile from Porlock and has interesting old cottages and a famous Packhorse Bridge. It is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1085 and is well worth a visit in its own right.

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The Museum Collections

The museum collection was originally started through the efforts of the West Somerset Archaeological Society members and now contains several thousand artefacts from clay pipes to ploughs, mostly from the Exmoor area. When you enter the museum you will be transported back in time and will probably recognise objects used daily by your parents, grandparents, local tradesmen and farmers. 

Most of the artefacts date from the early 1800s to the late 1950s and are displayed in themed areas covering a very broad range of rural social history. An extensive photographic archive of West Somerset is available to browse and topical exhibitions of memorabila are organised at various times.

The Victorian SchoolRoom

The Victorian Schoolroom has its original desks and benches from 1821 together with slates, text books, toys and examples of school work by the pupils during the Victorian era. Visiting children can dress up in Victorian clothes, write on the slates and play with some of the toys from the period.

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