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Growing the Museum

Two men and two women stood outside in the garden

The Project

Growing the Museum is a volunteer-led, community project at Melton Carnegie Museum, which was initiated to grow heritage fruits and vegetables in the grounds of the museum.

A team of gardening volunteers have been busy since the autumn of 2018 growing a variety of flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Together they have filled empty, unused spaces with colourful produce, which can be picked by museum visitors and passers-by.

As the flowers grew, so did the potential for outdoor events. The garden is now viewed as an extension of the museum and has created a new learning area, utilised for holiday activities, under five sessions and school visits.

The museum team couldn’t be prouder of the way the volunteers have come together to help make the museum’s outdoor spaces more welcoming. Together, they have turned bare, unexciting areas into educational, multi-beneficial spaces for everyone to enjoy and utilise.

Feedback from the project has been incredibly positive from everyone involved, and many museum visitors have gone home with something edible in their pocket!


The volunteer teams hard work was recognised within the local community, and it wasn’t long until neighbouring organisations wanted to get involved. St John’s Church, which sits across the road from the museum, enquired if the museum’s volunteers could support their gardening efforts. Shortly after, the local Morrisons also got involved, and a small partnership formed.

The combined groups supported each other by sharing plants, tools and resources. Morrisons provided a small gardening fund each month, and volunteers worked across sites contributing time, knowledge and skills.

At the 2019 ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood (IYN)’ awards the Thorpe End Bloomers comprised of Melton Carnegie Museum, St John’s Church and Morrisons were awarded a Level 4 Thriving award in their first year of entry. IYN praised their hard work which “enhanced the areas so much through their united efforts”, writing their “efforts and enthusiasm are to be commended”.

Growing the Museum from Home

After an amazingly successful 2019, with bigger plans for the coming year, Covid-19 meant the project had to be temporarily suspended. This didn’t stop the volunteers and they have come to the rescue, growing fruits, vegetables and edible flowers at home, ready to be transferred so that when the museum re-opened the gardens would again bloom.

Volunteers sent in pictures of how their plants were progressing and the idea of a diary was introduced to help gain back some momentum and record how the team were reclaiming the gardens.

Returning to the Gardens

Procedures have been put in place and this month the volunteers got the go-ahead to come back to the museum and develop the front gardens!

They plan on creating productive growing areas, with heritage fruit and vegetables, as well as introducing new ways to attract wildlife.

Moving forward, the team will also continue to add to the garden diary and they plan to share the diary on social media and develop a small exhibition to showcase their accomplishments throughout Covid-19.

We can’t wait to see what’s to come and wish the team the best of luck getting back to work!

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