Gallery: Soda Stream, Action Man and the Space Hopper are remembered in 1970s exhibition at Moyses Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds
Liz Nice relives her youth during a tour of the 1970s exhibition at Moyses Hall Museum.
I spotted a Soda Stream as I walked in. Action Man was there, with Barbie hiding around the corner – I’ll bet she couldn’t wait to get her hands on him! There was Etch-a-Sketch and Mastermind, the Bionic Woman and a Chopper bike and suddenly my entire childhood unfolded before me. It is official. Anyone over 40 is now a museum piece.
It can be rather alarming to discover that you belong in a museum but a lot of the work the wonderful people at Moyse’s Hall museum in Bury St Edmunds get involved in is a reminder of the great value of stimulating our memories – indeed, helping older people to recall times past can be a hugely important part of their care.
Moyse’s Hall is launching a “Loving the 70s” exhibition, which starts today. Part of it will involve Memory Gathering days where special reminiscence boxes will be created and used to help older people recall that time.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council heritage officer Peter Jones, who wasn’t planning to dress up in 70s clothes for our interview, told me about one of his visits to a care home where a man, who twice had to be reminded that the woman sitting next to him was his wife, was still able to sing songs from his favourite era, word perfect.
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“We work closely with Age UK and produce a lot of memory boxes for different eras,” he said. “People find it really helps. Music and smells often stay with people when other things have gone, so we do our bit to help with that.”
Moyse’s Hall is one of 11 museums across Suffolk and Hertfordshire involved in a two-year ‘Saving the 70s’ project, led by the Association of Suffolk Museums. The project has been awarded a £247,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the overall aim to build up a picture of the 1970s across the two counties to see how it has impacted life today.
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For example, it was the beginning of higher spending power, foreign holidays and computer technology.
“When I lived through it, I didn’t think the 70s mattered that much,” said Peter Jones. “But now I look back and see how it changed from flower power to the Winter of Discontent, and I realise what an important moment in history it was.”
“Loving the 70s” brings the decade to life through oral histories, photos, documents, films and recordings. The focus is on leisure and entertainment in the region and there is a James Bond exhibit, a Tardis, a fondue set – naturally – and a macramé pot holder. As I toured my childhood, I suddenly noticed that our EA Life photographer Lucy ‘I never have my photo taken’ Taylor had dressed up as Agnetha from Abba and was disco dancing under the mirror ball, while Peter ‘Do I have to dress up?’ Jones had transformed into a cowboy and was riding a Space Hopper. Add to this Chris Morris, who is helping with exhibition publicity, donning a purple pimp’s outfit and I was reminded that the 70s should perhaps most be remembered for its fashion sense of humour –and its ability to dispense with our inhibitions!
Parents should come along to introduce their children to the time before iPads and 24-hour television. The time when Space Invaders was the biggest thrill around. The time when Ipswich Town were truly great.
It was our time. A time to boogie. And how groovy it was...
Anyone interested in contributing 70s memorabilia, photographs, documents, film clips and recordings should email: Savingthe70s@westsuffolk.gov.uk or phone Moyse’s Hall Museum on 01284 706183