‘Conversations and Memories’, a permanent installation, is a lasting legacy to the tramway men, women and their families whose lives were lost or changed by the Great War. The sculptural installations have been designed by artistic duo Musson&Retallick, winners in the 2017 International Civic Trust Awards for their Somme Memorial Artwork in Barnsley.
Tramways throughout the UK lost many men to the war effort. The tramway industry was also host to significant social change. Female tram workers became very visible in positions of authority, yet it was a decade before emancipation. Recruitment trams were the scene for life-changing moments. Injured men returning from war often could not physically access trams. The National Tramway Museum’s Nationally Designated collections include a range of fascinating material relevant to the period, including oral history recordings, rolls of honour, employee records, wage books and photographs.
Musson&Retallick have used the Museum archives and community engagement to inspire the final artwork, which consists of groups of abstract steel figures, standing in different locations around Crich Tramway Village. Each group of figures will represent a different story relating to material in the collection.
The artists have developed designs through a series of creative workshops with visitors, local schools, community groups, and museum volunteers. The celebratory weekend will include post-installation talks and walk arounds with Musson&Retallick. The Curator will be offering sessions that allow access to parts of the Museum’s collection which inspired the artworks not usually available to view. There will also be art activities for children and families throughout the weekend, as well the opportunity to ride on our historic trams and explore the rest of the Tramway Village.
‘Conversations and Memories’ has been made possible by National Lottery players through HLF’s First World War then and now programme, ACE Grants for the Arts, Derbyshire Freemasons through Foundation Derbyshire and Derbyshire County Councils Community Leadership Scheme. Museum Development East Midlands’ Working with Artists programme has supported the Museum in the development of the project and the selection of Artists.