Alfred Gillett Trust

An amazing collection of shoemaking heritage including a curious machine that creates poetry in latin! The Alfred Gillett Trust has much to offer visitors but is not yet fully open to the public so Heritage Open Days provides a valuable opportunity for the team to share their stories. And in a year where we celebrated 'Astounding Inventions', that poetic machine stepped straight into the media spotlight!

Sam Cullen, Office Manager, Alfred Gillett Trust, Somerset

An amazing experience. Obviously numbers were down the first few days because of the sad news of the Queen's death, but overall the event was warmly received by visitors with lots of new engagement and supporters.

Why we take part

To share our collections. As we are normally closed (until we open a new museum in 2025) this is a key engagement opportunity for us. As a small organisation, we don’t have lots of marketing power so being part of a national festival is a great opportunity for us.

Two people looking at the back of a tall, dark wooden box like machine standing on four legs in the middle of a museum gallery

Visitors were intrigued by the inner workings of the curious Latin Verse Machine / © Arnhel De Serra / HODs 2022

What we do for HODs

The Alfred Gillett Trust in Street are opening their doors to celebrate the 'Astounding Invention' that is the Latin Verse Machine (LVM). The LVM, or Eureka, is a one-of-a-kind machine that creates Latin poetry. Come and discover how and why John Clark, (cousin of the shoemaker Clarks) created this machine and how it continues to inspire students of engineering, poetry and computing today. (2022 Event Directory description)

The difference it makes

  • As a result of HODs we now have links with two local educational organisations we had struggled to connect with previously. We gained new volunteers and supporters.
  • We have shown the importance of strengthening events with additional activities outside of the core exhibition.

Visitor Quotes: 'Absolutely Amazing' and 'Wonderful experience, friendly, knowledgeable staff. Blew my socks off!'

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Nice surprise & best bit!

How long visitors stayed and engaged with us at every level. Seeing people walk through the door unsure of what they would be seeing and leaving with massive smiles on their faces having been surprised and delighted by our offer.

Sam's Top Tip

Just go for it. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to arrange events and make sure you publicise.

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