PRESS RELEASE from the Peak District National Park Authority, Nov 2013

A huge ‘thank you’ to the Peak Park Authority for creating this press release – it has produced lots of media interest, enquiries and bookings. Thank you!

News release

20 November 2013

Peak District van lady takes history on the road

A travelling museum housed in a van is being used to bring the past to life in the Peak District for schoolchildren and community groups of all ages.

The History Van is the brainchild of Jenny Bland of Castleton, an experienced educator and a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce), who has previously worked in museums at Kelham Island and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.

Supported by the Peak District National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, the History Van carries a collection of artefacts including billy cans and old parachutes, bobbins and spinning spindles, carpet beaters and dolly tubs. There is even a set of village stocks.

History presenter Jenny Bland said: “Having the van means I can take the collection to wherever people want to delve into history, to recreate and experience what life was like in different times – it could be at a school, care home, village hall or stately home.

“People get hands-on with history and become an historical character, whether that’s in ‘A Day at the Races with Edwardian Suffragettes’ or as a lead miner, a shepherd, a lace-maker, or meeting Florence Nightingale.”

The History Van covers all periods from prehistoric cave-painting to surviving on rations during World War II.

Jenny uses historical events, traditions and bygone industries to create activities to suit specific audiences, such as schools, Brownies, care homes, community groups and events.

Different activities tie in with the national curriculum, engage communities in their local heritage or enrich the lives of care home residents in imaginative ways.

She added: “I hope the History Van will give people a better understanding of life in the past and inspire everyone to find out about their heritage and visit museums and other places of interest.”

For more details, go to

Photo caption: Sam and Lucy from Castleton School with Jenny Bland and The History Van

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