Before her appointment as manager, Keri Quertier had been an active volunteer for the museum for many years. A specialist in archaeology, Keri graduated Bournemouth University with a degree in heritage conservation.
She said: ‘After college I worked for years in London, however the South West has always been my home. I have always loved visiting Dartmoor, it is such a historic and beautiful place.’
Growing up in Millbrook in Cornwall, Keri said that she had always appreciated the beauty of the countryside and rural community. Now living in Okehampton and raising a family, she is excited about taking on the new challenge as museum manager.
‘I am thrilled to have been appointed the new manger, we have such a wonderful team here. There are around 30 volunteers that currently work between the museum, the tourist information point and the shop.
‘The team is really versatile, they all have an expert local knowledge. Some volunteers will speak to visitors, others handle maintenance and some even come in to take care of the gardening.’
When asked what she hoped to bring to the museum as its new manager, Keri was quick to explain many ideas and activities she had in store.
Keri was particularly enthusiastic about encouraging more school activity days at the museum. She said that the museum was ‘an excellent learning environment’ and hoped to plan more educational workshops for the children of Okehampton and its surrounding areas.
Keri, who is also chair of governors for Okehampton Primary School, mentioned her involvement in potentially creating a ‘dementia friendly’ workshop for elderly people.
‘As well as getting more schools involved with the museum I also want to make the museum a dementia friendly part of the town. I think the museum would make a great place from those suffering with dementia to come and take part in some reminiscence therapy.
‘I really want to look at getting more people into the museum. Over the next couple of months we will be working hard to plan good quality events and workshops. The museum runs really well, but getting more people through the door is what can really put us on the map as a centre of learning.’
The Museum of Dartmoor Life takes visitors on a journey through time which begins at the Bronze Age and leads right through the Medieval times, Victorian era and early 20th century. The displays focus on all things Dartmoor, from tin mining to agriculture, the military and railway.
Trustees of the museum have had a busy few weeks preparing for the next exhibition as well as selecting a new manager. Debbie Pritchard, chair of trustees, said: ‘We are very pleased to announce that we have appointed Keri Quertier as the new manager at the Museum of Dartmoor Life. She matched the criteria for the role, has an excellent background and will work to a high standard.’
Most recently, the museum opened its exhibition all about Dartmoor tin mining. Last Wednesday archaeologist Tom Greeves, who has a knowledge of photography, delivered a talk on the now vanished part of Dartmoor’s rich history — from the earliest image of 150 years ago to the final demise of moorland tinworking at the outbreak of the Second World War.
Keri said: ‘The museum has so much to offer visitors, as well as arranging more talks and workshops I am also looking to bring in local theatre groups to feature at special events, this will allow for a combination of entertainment and education which will be a brand new engaging experience for visitors — particularly those who may have already visited the museum before.
‘We also have an exciting Halloween event coming up during half term, there will be lots of Halloween inspired arts and crafts for the children, as well as apple bobbing and other spooky surprises. Who knows? I may even get everyone to dress up!’