Dartmoor brought to life in new museum films

Laura White
Laura White
Rob Pudner outside Okehampton Castle – © Matt Biggs

The Museum of Dartmoor Life, based in Okehampton, has recently been working in collaboration with Entertainingly Different and Autaura Productions to create five short films to educate, entertain, inspire
and excite children who can’t currently visit.

The films were shot and edited by Matt Biggs and feature Rob Pudner who also story-boarded and scripted the pieces. They are joined by well-known Devon folk singer/songwriter, Jim Causley.

Rob plays a time travelling curator who jumps between the museum and relevant locations within the Dartmoor National Park, with just a click of his fingers.

Jim plays button accordion whilst singing traditional folk songs to embellish the stories and he also performs one of his own compositions.

Jim Causley playing accordion in front of Wheal Betsy – © Matt Biggs

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the museum has been unable to open for most of last year. The trustees, manager and volunteers felt they needed to find new ways to educate digitally, particularly as school visits had ceased.
Trustee and Okehampton Town Councillor, Jan Goffey, said: “I suggested we engage local performer Rob Pudner who has a wealth of experience and expertise in working with children of all ages, facilitating expressive arts workshops across the county and beyond.”

Museum Manager, Kristy Turner, who worked alongside Rob developing film ideas and identifying museum artefacts to be featured, said: “We want children to see how fun, exciting and important learning about our past can be. By bringing together historic objects, stunning locations, a fun character and great traditional music, the team has created something really special that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Each of the five films focuses on a different area of Dartmoor’s rich history. They look at life during prehistoric, mediaeval and also Victorian times, as well as the importance of mining and farming to the area. Rob interacts with the viewers asking questions and playing guessing games. Rob said: “I have always been fascinated with museums and absolutely love everything about Dartmoor, so it has been a great pleasure and privilege to be part of this exciting project.

‘I feel it is so important that young people understand their past as this in turn allows them to embrace their present and forge their future.”

The films have been sent out to schools all over Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset to give teachers the opportunity to use them in the classroom as an alternative to a museum visit. By the end of the month they will also be released on The Museum of Dartmoor Life FaceBook page, @dartmoorlife Instagram page and on YouTube and the museum’s own website.

Local Life