A cartoon from 1910 about Exeter City’s still-record victory of 14-0 against Weymouth.

Exeter City Football Club to become museum thanks to National Lottery funding

Exeter City’s home ground St James Park will become a museum as club supporters and experts work together to showcase the incredible history of the football club.

A new grant from the National Lottery means the whole stadium will be used to display artefacts and memories from former and current players ahead of Exeter City’s 125th anniversary.

The funding means there will be new displays at St James Park and a series of special exhibitions.

Members of the Exeter City Supporters Trust worked with the trust’s History Group and academics from the University of Exeter to secure the £63,700 funding, with the main contribution coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a £50,700 grant made possible by National Lottery players.

Over the last two years, University of Exeter researchers have been working with City staff, supporters, fans, current and former players, volunteers and students to develop a rich archive, which includes film, photographs, sound, and artefacts, to showcase City’s fascinating history and illustrate the role the Club and Supporters Trust have played in the community over the last one hundred years.

Gabriella Giannachi, Professor in Performance and New Media, her colleague Will Barrett, a number of trust volunteers and thirty-one undergraduate student interns, in collaboration with the University of Exeter’s Digital Humanities team, created a web archive for the Club and Supporters Trust called Grecian Archive. Their work also resulted in exhibitions in St James Park and The Phoenix featuring photographs and images of Exeter City’s most important moments, and a film featuring interviews with former players and others connected with the club.

The new project is due to start in September and run until 2019 – the 125th anniversary of the first known football match at the ground, aiming to take inspiration from this rich history to create museum around St James Park.

The museum approach will involve using the whole stadium as a base to display the heritage of Exeter City Football Club. Experts will sort, catalogue, digitise, store and display the club’s heritage collection, seeking museum accreditation and joining the well-known Europeana portal to seek a wider international dissemination. There will be new display cabinets to showcase the collection, including one dedicated to fan memorabilia. The special exhibitions will include collections held by former players and supporters as well as fans.

Members of the community and supporters will be able to get involved and work with the team and a group of volunteers to deliver the workshops and project celebration events. New films and additions will be made to the Grecian Archive site.

Paul Farley, Club and Supporters Trust Director and chair of the Exeter City History Group said: “This is brilliant news. What a wonderful way to mark the 125 years of football at St James Park and to enrich the redevelopment currently underway. Massive thanks to the University of Exeter and the National Lottery for all their support. We look forward to working with supporters, former players and their families, local community groups and heritage organisations to develop a museum the club and city can be proud of.”

Professor Giannachi said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be able to work with the Club and Trust to create a bespoke museum to host Exeter City Football Club’s amazing history. We can’t wait to celebrate the fantastic opportunities this grant offers by collaborating with players, past and present, fans, volunteers and anybody interested in football, history, Exeter, and heritage.”

The project will run until March 2019. For more information or to offer to help in any way please contact: historygroup@ecfc.co.uk



Date: 22 August 2017

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