RAMM is back, and I love it!
My wonderful Mum came to visit me in Exeter from Reading last week. We went on a trip to Royal Albert Memorial Museum as it opened back up recently after about 5 years (!) of closure. I did go with my partner Darryl, a month ago, but we didn't get to spend much time in there, so I was eager to get back and have a good look around.
Wow, there have been working hard!
The ethnograpic collection has been totally modernised. The displays are cleaned up, decluttered and informative. The Victorian desire to collect is still tangible, by being informed throughout how vast the collection is, and being able to see the vaults behind glass. Yet, what is on show leaves nothing lacking.
I was most impressed by the new gallery wing. Garry Fabian Miller is a photographer I have not had huge dealings with in the past, yet his exhibiton "Home Dartmoor" was very well placed in Devon's wonderfully refurbished museum.
His large scale prints were beautiful and mesmerising. Miller takes all of his inspiration from Dartmoor, having lived there most of his life. Dartmoor is his nexus. His works have evolved from looking into the heart of Dartmoor and using it's history and it's beauty to inspire work that is thought provoking and very contemporary.
I bought his book "Home Dartmoor" from the gallery shop and read it in a couple of days. the prevailling theme throughout the catalogue, which is a discussion between Miller and his contemporary agriculturalist Tom Greeves is that Dartmoor is a history book and should be respected.
I looked at the collection of flint tools, prints of leaves and the "camera-less" photographs and felt that the exhibition perfectly mirrored RAMM's aim of chronicalling Devon's history. Garry Fabian Miller just went the next step and showed us how we have always and will always respond to Devon.