Meet a mischievous little friend for young visitors

Preparations for the re-opening of the Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick.'Finlay, the museum mascot.
Preparations for the re-opening of the Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick.'Finlay, the museum mascot.

A mischievous mouse is set to become a star attraction for young visitors to an Alnwick museum.

Finlay is the new resident at the Bailiffgate Museum, which opens its doors to the public next Saturday.

Finlay and his family were dreamed up by volunteers at the independent museum, which has undergone a major revamp following a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

But trustees drafted in a prestigious design team to perfect the little creature. Finlay was designed by Caroline Miekina from JANVS Design/VIDAR Media, whose name has become well-known in the heritage and cultural sector.

Her designs were then brought to life by well-known sculptor Christopher Kelly, who has produced work for theatre, television and museums.

Christopher has also created the models of the Victorian schoolmistress and the 19th-century printmaker William Davison, whose face is that of a well-known Alnwick figure that people may recognise.

Caroline said: “I loved working on the development of Finlay. He is such a happy character with great educational potential.

“It is always great fun to work on designs and projects for children, especially where those designs can cut across traditional museum audience groups.

“Children don’t always appreciate the benefit and importance of heritage so it is a challenge to design child-friendly elements into a museum environment.

“Finlay puts that bit of extra child-friendly spark into what is already a broad and appealing collection.

“I hope Finlay will prove to be a memorable feature with which young children (and more than a few adults) will be able to identify.”

The cheeky little mouse is named after the grandson of volunteer Hilary Waugh and children will be able to read his Fabulous Facts on the new panels, telling the history of Alnwick and district.

A highlight for younger visitors will be a peek into a mouse schoolroom where Finlay and his family will be learning their history – but you have to be a small person to see it.

Trustee Jane Nolan added: “We know our younger visitors are going to love Finlay.

“He is full of fun and he knows a lot of interesting things that will surprise you.

“We think that discovering his little classroom will be a high point for families when they come to see Bailiffgate Museum.”