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Are we nearly there yet? Exeter’s museum explores transport in the city and beyond with new exhibition this summer

The exhibition at Exeter City Council’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) will explore the theme of transport through the museum’s collections, drawing on exceptional artefacts and extraordinary stories of innovation and experiment.

Travelling forms part of our everyday experience of life. From the earliest times to the present, people around the globe have pondered the best means of transport to get to their destination. From the grind of the daily commute to once-in-a-lifetime journeys across the globe, human ingenuity has found a way to travel by land, air and water.

Opening on 15 June, Are We Nearly There Yet? A history of transportwill explore the ways people have moved through spaces, venturing across centuries and continents. Visitors will be able to see unique objects, such as a sled from Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1911-12 expedition to the Antarctic, parachute material made by local firm Heathcoat Fabrics, which played a crucial role in NASA’s 2020 mission to Mars, as well as travelling outfits, artworks, vehicles and transport ephemera.

The exhibition will also focus on the evolution of transport locally, in Exeter and Devon. One fascinating print depicts a moment in October 1816 when the Exeter mail coach was attacked in Salisbury by a lion which had escaped from a nearby menagerie. (The service was so efficient, the post was only delayed by 45 minutes!) Important questions about the future of travel in the region will be asked, exploring the impact our transport choices can have on the environment around us and the wider issue of climate change.

Holly Carter-Chappell, assistant curator at RAMM, said: ‘The ability to get from place to place quickly and easily is something we take for granted today, but it has taken centuries of human innovation to get us here.

‘As we come to terms with the challenges of climate change and what that might mean for how we travel in the future, this exhibition aims to encourage us all to consider our own use of transport and how we might need to adapt and change to meet these challenges.’

RAMM is grateful to Great Western Railway and Stagecoach for sponsoring the exhibition. Helen Scholes, Marketing Manager at Great Western Railway said: ‘GWR welcomes 100 million customers a year on board, demonstrating that rail is – and continues to be – an essential part of how we move. We’re delighted to support this exhibition that looks to the history of transport and, as we further invest in the communities we serve, in its future in Exeter, Devon and beyond.’

A programme of exciting activities will accompany the exhibition, including talks, craft activities, and train and track play days for families. The full programme of events will be available on the RAMM website at rammuseum.org.uk/whats-on

Are We Nearly There Yet? A history of transport | 15 June until 29 September 2024 | Entry is free