The Museum was founded in 1926 by Bridgwater Borough Council, and its collecting area covered from East and West Huntspill in the North to Thurloxton in the South and from Ashcott and Burrowbridge in the East to beyond Nether Stowey in the West. In 1974 the assets of the Borough Council were absorbed by Sedgemoor District Council, which ran the Museum until 2009, when it could no longer afford to do so.It does make a financial contribution towards the present running costs. Since then the Museum volunteers have completely re-furbished the building and garden, have undertaken a re-display in new cases of the artfacts, and have begin an update of the Museum's catalogue.
The building is believed to be the birthplace of Robert Blake, General at Sea (1599–1657). It was built in the late 15th or early 16th century, and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.
Although it is commonly used, Robert Blake's name was never prefixed by "Admiral", which was not used in the Parliamentarian navy; his actual rank of General at Sea combined the role of an Admiral and Commissioner of the Navy.
Notable features of the museum include artefacts from Blake's life including his sea chest. The museum also illustrates Bridgwater's mercantile and marine past and includes important local historical events such as the Battle of Sedgmoor. As well as the Battle of Sedgemoor, the new Battle gallery covers conflicts from the time of King Alfred, the English Civil War as well as the 20th Century.
There is also a small collection of agricultural machinery and tools, and dairy equipment, a group of coins found in the bank of King's Sedgemoor Drain. In 2012 the Museum restored and put on display the Spaxton Mosaic. The collection also includes items of women's garments dating from the 19th century and Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, an extensive photographic collection, maritime and transport heritage items, brick, tile and textile items, and a Monmouth rebellion archive. The Museum houses the archive of the work of the local artist John Chubb, (1746-1818)
The museum also had an association with Channel 4's Time Team.
Famous quotes containing the words museum and/or blake:
“Life is in the mouth; death is in the mouth.”
—Hawaiian saying no. 60, lelo NoEau, collected, translated, and annotated by Mary Kawena Pukui, Bishop Museum Press, Hawaii (1983)
“My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;”
—William Blake (17571827)