Private Tour of the Somerset Rural Life Museum

Tuesday 22 August

Somerset Rural Life Museum reopened in June following completion of a £2.4 million redevelopment project led by the South West Heritage Trust. The Museum tells the rich story of Somerset’s rural and social history.


Sam Astill talking to the group of Friends beside the remarkable scrap-iron sculpture of a horse in the Museum’s farmyard.

A large group of Friends met at the Museum to enjoy a highly informative tour led by Sam Astill, whose team led the SWHT’s redevelopment plans. During the tour, Sam described the concepts that shaped the new facilities and the difficulties and complexities of delivering the scheme. The goal was to preserve the essential qualities of the original and much-loved museum at the same time as finding new ways to tell the story of Somerset’s rural history.

It was clear to the friends that these objectives had been admirably achieved, with improved access to the Museum and greatly enhanced displays of the extensive collections.


The Friends enjoy hearing Sam’s detailed knowledge of the Museum while patrons of the café relax outside the beautiful Abbey Barn.


Sam concluded the tour by describing ongoing developments and improvements which are being implemented before Chris Cooper, Chair of the Friends, proposed votes of thanks to Wendy Flint for organizing the visit and to Sam Astill for having given the Friends such an interesting and stimulating afternoon.

Before the tour several Friends had enjoyed a delicious lunch in the Museum’s excellent café.