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Archive - Friday, 6 April 2012
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Guardian of county's past plans a busy retirement
AN OXFORDSHIRE museum curator has retired after more than 25 years uncovering the county’s history.
Lauren Gilmour outside Abingdon's County Hall Museum
But Dr Lauren Gilmour, 65, has no plans to give up her passion for the past as she leaves her latest role at Abingdon’s County Hall Museum after six years.
The mum-of-three says she will continue to volunteer as an archaeologist at local digs and may even get involved with local politics as a parish councillor.
Dr Gilmour was the curator at the Museum of Oxford for 11 years, from 1989 to 2000, and was part of the team that wrote the script for the Oxford Story tourist attraction 25 years ago.
She was also the Government’s museum development officer for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and Oxfordshire County Council’s archaeology curator at the Museums Resource Centre in Standlake.
Dr Gilmour, from Great Coxwell near Faringdon, said: “I have been lucky to be paid to do things that some other people would consider hobbies and interests.
“But it there has been responsibility and pressure.
“So it will be nice to go and work for other people as a volunteer. I am looking forward to using the skills I have to be helpful.”
She now hopes to become a parish council member in her village and also secure a role in the Oxfordshire Craft Guild.
Dr Gilmour, who has a doctorate in classical archaeology, was presented with a cake in the form of the Abingdon museum at her retirement party there.
She said: “The cake was beautiful and I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
She stepped down last month as the 17th century museum is due to reopen in the summer after a £3.5m revamp which has closed the attraction since October 2010.
Dr Gilmour helped raise the cash through grants.
Jane Bowen, former curator at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney, will now replace her.
Chris Brockbank, a member of the Abingdon Museum Friends, said: “They have done a brilliant job in raising the money.
”All thanks to those who have put a huge effort into this, and Lauren is one of those.”
Adela Thomas, audience development officer at the County Hall Museum, added: “She has made an enormous contribution to the museum.”
The Oxford Story attraction in Broad Street closed in 2007 after owners found it would cost £4m to refurbish.
Before coming to Oxford Dr Gilmour worked as an archaeologist in Lincolnshire.