Welcome back , you are logged in

World Cultures Galleries are closed for redevelopment
this is a test ticker
Gallery 20 will be closed from Friday 1 Dec until noon Saturday 2 December
Toy Turtle from Brazil - part of the Moving Here project

Responding to Artefacts

People have always come to Exeter for all sorts of reasons – to retire near the sea or to make a new start. And some of the museum’s objects have made long journeys too.

Many were collected in distant lands and others show influences across continents.

During the Moving Here project, we’ve shown artefacts and recorded responses of a variety of people: the local synagogue and Hindu temple, women learning English, a black and ethnic minority disability support group, community interpreters, senior citizens and local history enthusiasts.

Here are some of the comments we’ve collected:

Tasmanian Aboriginal basket

Moving Here Tayenebe basket (266x265)

Delicate woven basket, called tayenebe, made by Aboriginal Tasmanian artists and gifted to RAMM in 1997 as a mark of friendship when RAMM had returned two pieces of shell jewellery to Tasmania because of their cultural significance

“Baskets are my least favourite, because they’re not visually appealing, but now I know the story, it’s interesting [and]… their significance is working for me…. The longer I look at it, the more I like it.” (Alan, local historian in Exwick History Group)


Silver amulet

Moving Here Silver Amulet (271x265)

19th-century silver amulets from Oman, made to contain a piece of text from the Koran

“The idea is similar to the mezuzah… we put on the doors of our houses. It’s a small container which holds a parchment of a prayer – the Shema – …which should be recited every morning and evening. In Cornwall, the Jewish community produce their own mezuzahs from Cornish tin.” (Richard Halsey, member of Exeter Synagogue, dealer in 17th and 18th-century furniture)


Chinese hairpin decorated with kingfisher feathers

Moving Here Chinese Hairpin (271x273)

19th-century brass hairpin. The head of the bird is set on a spring so that it moves.

“In ancient times, ladies used to wear these in performances. Nowadays in China, people like to decorate themselves a lot; they follow the old designs. I have a hairpin like this, but it is black. My grandmother came from a rich family and my mother still has some decorative clothes. They live near the mountains.” (Jo from China, just moved to Exeter)

“In Korea, older generations of married women have similar ones, called pinyo. They were… longer and they’re prettily decorated. It reminds me of those. High class, married ladies would wear bigger, longer, more beautifully decorated ones and lower class ladies would wear more simple ones – always on long hair, to hold it together.” (Deborah Kim, Korean student at Belmont Chapel English class)

“[I’m] amazed the feathers are still attached. The work in reproducing the peacocks is amazing and the colour is brilliant. It’s a colour you could see today in a store like Accessorise.” (Kathleen Moolman, TEFL teacher & Ruth Flanagan, teacher of English at Belmont Chapel)


Arctic map

Moving Here Arctic map (271x225)

Carved caribou antler map used by Inupiaq–Inuit fishermen. The map represents a short length of Arctic coastline. The user can work out where he is by feeling its edge.

“I think this is very interesting as a map. We are used to maps being visual with the landscape laid out from an aerial perspective. We are used to seeing everything. But it is tactile. It’s a different way of understanding the world. If it’s from within the Arctic circle, then four months of the year is spent in darkness.” (Rosamund Davis, RAMM volunteer)

“You have to be clever to read it.” (Caito Herreros, Spanish interpreter for Multilingua and art lover)


Tunic from Pakistan

Moving Here tunic from Pakistan 271x335)

This chola from Sindh would be worn by women in the desert regions of southern Pakistan and western India. The colours and designs relate information about the wearer’s age, marital status, religion and community. This photo shows the reverse of the tunic, which incorporates a piece of embroidery worn by the woman for her wedding. Over time, the garment becomes part of her daily life.

“In Algeria,… Women wear silver and pink embroidered clothes at a wedding. Men wear a burnous that’s brown or white. If it’s brown, sometimes it’s made from camel hair. For my wedding, I wore six outfits during [the course of] the day. Each one comes from a different place in Algeria. First the shadda, from the west of Algeria. It’s traditional… an outfit with a crown. Lots of necklaces and bracelets with silver. It’s very long, down to the floor…. There was a big party [for my wedding] with couscous with meat or chicken. [I come from] Relizane in the west of Algeria. It’s much bigger than Exeter, with a university. (Somia, Algerian student at Belmont Chapel English class)


Black burnished Roman bowl

Moving Here Black burnished Roman bowl (271x183)

This bowl – made in southwest Britain in the 2nd century – was found in Bartholomew Street East, Exeter, in 1959.

“It’s very delicate. I’ve seen people [in Turkey] using this kind of thing for drinking water. It makes me think of old ladies bending down. In rural areas, my dad used to teach…. [where they don’t have tap water]. They bring water from a spring and put it on a wooden slat. Then they dip into it with something like this.” (Anil Lee, moved to Exeter from Istanbul in 1988)


Nigerian headdress

Moving Here Nigerian Headress (271x310)

Yoruban headdress in the form of a face with intricate hair design

“[I am from Cabinda, the region between Congo and Angola]. The men have short hair and wear a single piece of cloth draped around them over the shoulder. Only the women have long hair…. The kings also wear an animal skin of leopard or lion, also draped over the shoulder. Sometimes they wear necklaces made from carved ivory.” (Marie-Therese, member of Rejuve-nation, from the Democratic Republic of Congo)

“It is worn during a masquerade. The museum acquired it in 1959 but it’s a lot older than that.” (Tony Eccles, Curator of Ethnography)

“I don’t think I’d be able to dance with this on my head! It would be nice to see someone with it on their head…. [I like African art]…. I’ve got African paintings on my wall…. A man sitting under a tree, women carrying water…. I’ve got a carving at home. But it’s not wood, it’s graphite…. And I’ve got a couple of heads. One reminds me of my son….” (Audrey Toms, Jamaican member of Rejuve-nation)

“Apparently there are 40 million Yoruban people around the world…. A lot of items we (RAMM) have were gifts given to the Reverend Henry Townsend which he then gave to the museum. He was a missionary in Yorubaland in the 19th century. He developed a good relationship with the people there.” (Rowena Hill, Conservator)

“You’d have a headache after wearing that all day!” (Simon Tootell, volunteer)


 Burmese jacket

Moving Here Burmese jacket (270x186)

Man’s jacket in red and blue from Myanmar (Burma)

“My mother’s half Karen (a tribe in northern Burma)…. The hill people wear similar clothes…. The men wear [a loose top and] trousers tied with a knot…. They still wear that… traditional people. It’s quite cool up there….

“In Burma, most females still wear traditional clothes, …more than the men. [Sarongs would be traditional] but I suppose trousers are easier. [For] high days and holidays they have very expensive sarongs, from silk…. It’s very attractive, I think. It makes a very feminine shape, especially the top [which would be] long-sleeved, semi-transparent – just tantalising glimpses!” (Captain James Fressanges, retired master mariner originally from Burma)

“It reminds me of South American [clothing]…. It’s quite a simple design…. It’s funny how people do similar things all over the world. (Doreth Lawrence, mother and nurse, born in Jamaica and living in Honiton)

“It is so gorgeous. The change of pattern and the trimming on the sleeve. Brilliant. I suppose it would be for cold weather. [It reminds me of] Tibetan people [I’ve seen on television]…. Look at the stitching…. If that’s the jacket, I’d like to see what goes with it.” (Audrey Toms, Jamaican member of Rejuve-nation)



Moving Here silk and wool shawl (271x176)

Blue silk and wool shawl from about 1800.

“Shawls were originally men’s clothes from northern India…. Europeans who travelled to India brought them back and they became fashionable.” (Shelley Tobin, RAMM Assistant Costume Curator)

“It looks very traditionally English. I can see the same style as from Romania, a little Russian, but more Romanian. For a middle-aged woman, not young, worn on her head to protect… from the wind, cold. If it was worn on the shoulders, it would be to look pretty (in Russia). Two hundred years ago, this would have been very, very pretty, but probably not very expensive.” (Zoe Isopova, housewife and English student)

“These patterns could be used on a dress. This could be used as a head scarf. I recognise this pattern – [it’s the sort of thing my mum would wear.] I like the blue colour.” (Aysegul Safitürk, teacher from traditional Turkish family)

“Shawls are still traditionally worn in Romania, for special occasions such as on a Sunday. The colours of these shawls are white, embroidered with blue, red and white and are specific to region. They are still worn by country not city folk and are now made commercially.” (Roxanne Pintilie, student in English class at Belmont Chapel)


Tillet block

Moving Here Tillet Block (271x304)

Early 18th century tillet block. A tillet was a loose woollen cloth wrapped around a bale of woollen cloth. Woollen cloth was exported from Exeter to many other countries. The tillet block was used to stamp the tillet to show that it had been through customs, was of good quality, the merchant it had come from and its destination.

“It’s so light. I was expecting it to be heavy. It looks like a block for batik designs in the Far East. [Looms] are still used in rural Turkey. Ladies – not men – still weave…. My mother had two looms – one carpet one and one for dyed rags to make rugs.” (Anil Lee, moved to Exeter from Istanbul in 1988, in a Moving Here session organised by RAMM Exeter)

“It looks German. It looks like a picture in an old manuscript. I associate the history of the book with Germany.” (Anne-Flore Laloe, historical geographer and French interpreter, in a Moving Here session organised by RAMM Exeter)

Reset MyRAMM password

Sorry, there was a problem resetting your password, please try again.

Your password, has been successfully reset, please close this popup and login.

Terms & Conditions

These terms and conditions (Terms) apply to the entire contents of this website. Please read these Terms carefully before using this website. Using this website indicates that you accept these Terms. If you do not accept these Terms, please do not use this website.
  1. These Terms shall constitute an agreement between you and us and shall set out the conditions upon which you may access the information available on this website
  2. We reserve the right to change these Terms, at any time and to notify you by posting an updated version of these Terms on this website, at which point they will become immediately effective
  3. Your continued use of this website after any changes referred to in clause 2 shall constitute your consent to such changes
  4. Access to this website may be suspended temporarily and without notice in the case of system failure, maintenance or repair, or for reasons beyond our control
  5. We reserve the right to, without notice, withdraw the availability of this website or any of its content and/or any of its functions, information or services
  6. We cannot guarantee uninterrupted and/or reliable access to this website and we make no guarantees whatsoever as to its operation, functionality or otherwise
  7. You are allowed to view, download and print out content from this website for personal use only in accordance with these Terms. All other copying whether electronic, hard copy or other format is prohibited and all other rights are reserved
  8. You shall only use this website in a manner that is consistent with these Terms and in such a way as to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and in particular, that you shall not (or not attempt to):
    • seek unauthorised access to our network or computer system
    • insert or knowingly or recklessly transmit or distribute a virus into our network and computer systems
  9. All copyright and all other intellectual property rights existing in this website (including, but not limited to, all design, text, graphics and the selection or arrangement thereof) are and remain our property
  10. The expression 'copyright' shall include the entire copyright, design right, rental right, right to authorise or prohibit lending and data right subsisting now or created at any time
  11. While we endeavour to ensure that the information contained on this website is accurate, complete and up-to-date, we make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of such information
  12. We make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, that this website or any software of any nature available on, downloaded or otherwise obtained from it, will be free from defects or viruses. Your use of this website is at your own risk
  13. We make no representations or warranties as to whether the information available on this website complies with the regulatory regime of countries from which the pages of this website may be accessed
  14. We may log your IP address (which indicates the location of your computer on the Internet) for the purpose of systems administration and troubleshooting.
  15. If you provide your e-mail address in order to submit an enquiry, comment or request for further information, we may contact you regarding your enquiry, comment or request. We may also send e-mails to you about the services that we offer.
  16. From time to time we may provide your information to our marketing or IT departments for research and analysis purposes so that we can monitor and improve the services we provide. We may occasionally contact you by post, email or telephone to ask you for your feedback and comments on our services.
  17. The failure by us to insist on any occasion upon performance of these Terms shall not thereby act as a waiver of such a breach or an acceptance of any variation of these Terms
  18. A person who is not a party to these Terms may not enforce any of its terms or conditions under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
  19. These Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in all respects in accordance with the Laws of England