Event: Bath in 100 Objects, various venues, Bath, throughout 2011
Of all the heritage destinations you could head for in Britain, few can claim to be as saturated with venues as Bath. There are 17 museums in a single square mile of the place, representing one for every 5,000 local residents – a statistic tourism conspirators are seizing upon by making 2011 Bath’s Year of the Museum.
“We invited the city’s museums to nominate objects, and a panel of experts has now made the final selections,” says Robin Bischert, the Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus. The body has devised Bath in 100 Objects, a scheme inspired by the BBC’s History of the World in 100 Objects, picking out the artefacts which tell the story of the people and city since Roman times.
The usual suspects from the sacred hot spring spas and baths are included, but there are also eight-foot high chandeliers, ivory wig scratchers for fending fleas from the heads of 18th century it-girls, bronze busts of plasticine inventor William Harbutt and exquisite numbers from the Fashion Museum.
A digital museum forms a crucial part of the project, accompanied by tours and events throughout the year, with the public ultimately invited to select the final object to add to the 99 already chosen.
“The aim is not simply to chronicle the history of Bath, but to highlight some of the treasures on display in the city’s museums,” adds Bischert. “It’s part of a celebration of a fantastic range of museums.”