Treasures of the Museum
Discover sixteen outstanding objects cared for by RAMM
Treasures of the Museum shines a light on some of RAMM’s most iconic objects, from an extraordinary collection of Roman coins discovered in East Devon, to our famous Giraffe named Gerald. Delve into Exeter’s astonishing history and discover the stories that lie behind some of RAMM’s treasured collections.
Discover these objects as you journey through our galleries on the Treasures of the Museum trail. Trail leaflets can be picked up on arrival at the Garden Entrance, or follow the trail on your digital device via Time Trail.
In a series of videos watch RAMM staff and volunteers tell us why they love each of the sixteen objects, and hear the fascinating stories that make these items so special. Watch the videos here.
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If you can’t make it into the museum, discover the sixteen objects below:
Joey the Stanley crane was born in South Africa and was brought to the UK in 1914. He lived happily at Kew Gardens for many years where his personality gained him a lot of attention from the public and the press. Find out more about Joey on RAMM’s collections database.
Dating from the early part of the 5th century BC, this helmet would have belonged to a ‘hoplite’, an armoured soldier who fought on foot with a long spear. Find out more about the Corinthian helmet on RAMM’s collections database.
This commissioned red cedar pole celebrates the connections between Exeter and the Nuu-chah-nulth of Vancouver Island. It was carved by renowned Nuu-chah-nulth artist and master carver Tim Paul. The pole was completed in June 1998 in the museum. Find out more about the Totem pole on RAMM’s collections database.
This suit of armour was not used in combat. It is made from two different suits of armour, as the helmet and shoes come from another suit. Highly decorative, it includes a wide variety of materials such as silk, metal, and leather. Several suits of Japanese armour were donated to RAMM in the late 1870s. Find out more about the Samurai armour on RAMM’s collections database.
This imposing costume was made in Tahiti to mourn aristocratic individuals. A senior relative would appear in a mourner’s costume to lead a spectacular procession, accompanied by family members. The costume was acquired by 1st Lieutenant Francis Godolphin Bond on the HMS Providence, which arrived in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, on 9 April 1792. Find out more about the Tahitian Mourner’s costume on RAMM’s collections database.
Charlotte Treadwin was an internationally important designer and lace maker. Her lace collection was one of the first collections to come to RAMM in the 1860’s. Lace-making was a really important industry in East Devon and helped many families to earn a living. Read more about Charlotte Treadwin’s lace collection in a research blog.
Eshu is a Yoruban deity. In a protective role, Eshu stood in the palace gateway in both male and female forms. Only the male form is now at RAMM. The figure is said to have been ‘presented’ to the Rev. Henry Townsend by Oba Ogunbona, a senior chief of Abeokuta, during a time of conversion to Christianity. Find out more about Eshu on RAMM’s collections database.
The meteorite is four billion years old and is an early relic from the formation of our planet. It was discovered in the geo geology collection at RAMM in the 1990s. Where it was discovered and who gave it to RAMM is a mystery. Find out more about the meteorite on RAMM’s collections database.
Gerald the Giraffe is RAMM’s most iconic specimen. He encountered big game hunter Charles Peel at Moshi, Tanzania in 1901 and arrived at RAMM in 1919. Find out more about Gerald on RAMM’s collections database.
Barbara Hepworth made this bronze cast sculpture in 1966. Her interest in pierced forms began in the 1930s when she was an advocate of direct carving against modelling. However by the late 1950s she had also turned to bronze casting. It is said to be inspired by the hamlet of Zennor, close to her home in St. Ives, Cornwall. Find out more about Figure in a Landscape on RAMM’s collections database.
Francis Danby painted this seemingly tranquil scene in 1855 but in the distance, behind the becalmed sailing ship, is a puff of smoke from a steam train – a transport revolution is underway. Find out more about Dead Calm on RAMM’s collections database.
The Hedgeland model of Exeter is one of the earliest surviving models of any town in Britain. The model was constructed by Caleb Hedgeland between 1817 and 1824 to record the city as it was during the late 1700s. Find out more about the model on RAMM’s collections database.
The Exeter puzzle jug is one of the most extraordinary pieces of medieval ceramics to have been discovered in northern Europe. It was discovered in pieces during building works in 1899 at the junction of Bear Street and South Street in Exeter. It was reconstructed by a conservator at the British Museum in the 1930s. Find out more about the puzzle jug on RAMM’s collections database.
The hoard is made up of 22,888 Roman coins, by far the largest coin hoard found in Devon and the third largest ever found in Britain. It was buried in around AD 350 but why, and by whom is a mystery. Find out more about the Seaton Down Hoard on RAMM’s website.
This incredibly rare Iron Age figure was discovered by quarrymen near Kingsteignton in 1867. Radiocarbon dating found the figure to be 2,400 years old. The object only survived due to the wet conditions and the clay it was found in. Find out more about the figure on RAMM’s collections database.
Rynchosaurs were lizard-like animals that lived around 250 million years ago in a period known as the Triassic. Their fossilised remains are found in Devon’s red sandstone cliffs. The skull fragment was found at Peak Hill near Sidmouth. Find out more about the Rhynchosaur fossils on RAMM’s collections database.