Marching on at rebranded Soldiers of Shropshire Museum
Shropshire's military museum has re-launched with a new name and big plans for its future development.
Military and civic leaders from Shrewsbury and around Shropshire gathered at Shrewsbury Castle to mark the occasion as Shropshire Regimental Museum became the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum.
Since opening at the castle in 1985, the museum has housed Shropshire’s Army collections spanning nearly 300 years and relating to the county regiments: The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry; The Shropshire Yeomanry; The Shropshire Royal Horse Artillery and the various militia and volunteers of Shropshire.
Its name change reflects the museum's desire to be more representative of modern military regiments.
Speaking at the launch, museum director Richard Gough said: "Myself and the trustees are delighted to welcome all of our supporters today to celebrate the relaunch of the museum.
"The regimental system and the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry finished at the end of the 1960s and the regiments were amalgamated into 'super regiments' like light infantry and rifles.
"So in order to remain relevant to our audience, Soldiers of Shropshire is a really good opportunity for us to extend our remit to cover the modern British Army and its regiments.
"The museum as the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum is home to the heritage of all the Shropshire soldiers.
"It is about broadening our remit and saying to everyone we are more than a county regiment museum."
The change of name marks a fresh chapter for the museum as it looks to expand its offering.
Mr Gough said: "This is the beginning of our next evolutionary step as a museum.
"In the last six months we have rebranded, we have built a new website, and we are building a really exciting formal education programme for schools.
"We are going to have a re-display of our significant collections which will open up the incredible stories of sacrifice of Shropshire soldiers over nearly 300 years."
Lieutenant Colonel Rex Sartain, incoming chairman of the museum trustees, said: "One of the things that comes very strongly from talking to people is so very few local people have actually visited the castle and the museum and that is something we really want to change for the benefit of the county.
"We have got a whole new programme kicking in and we want to grow the appeal of the castle and the museum together.
"We are also looking at increasing the number of 'friends' in order to be able to fund some of our great ambitions.
"The castle is an icon of Shrewsbury and we should be doing more with it."
The museum is one of the most complete regimental collections in the country and had more than 25,000 visitors in 2018.