To keep up with the ever-moving, ever-evolving UK cultural sector, you’d think the 24 Hour Museum would need to do what it says on the web page and work 24 hours a day.
And you wouldn’t be wrong. Like a round the clock news channel for museums, galleries, culture and heritage we bring you the very latest news, exhibitions and major events: 2005 has been no exception.
From Dundee to Liskeard, Swansea to Great Yarmouth our team of journalists – staff, students and volunteers alike – has worked tirelessly to get the lowdown on archaeological discoveries, take a look at blockbuster exhibitions and tip you off about top museum events in your area.
Below are just a few of the stories we ran during the past year that we’re particularly proud of. So, if you will, cast your mind back to January and an archaeological discovery of vast significance.
The news that the first Roman circus to be unearthed in Britain had been found in Colchester broke just after the new year had been ushered in.
© The British Museum.
Rumours that it was the biggest chariot-racing arena outside of the Circus Maximus in Rome filled local and national press, but were dispelled before you could say Charlton Heston when the 24 HM scored an interview with the man who found it.
2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. All year exhibitions told the story of the hardship endured and courage displayed by the people who lived through the bloodiest conflict in human history.
© Chris Breese/ 24 Hour Museum.
Working alongside MLA and the Big Lottery Fund, the 24 HM built a new WW 2 themed section to carry numerous news stories, features and trails.
Among those stories was a report from 24 HM East Midlands Renaissance Student Journalist Chris Breese’s visit to the Their Past Your Future exhibition in a Nottingham shopping centre. There he met WWII veterans and heard about their experiences of 60 years ago.
This past year has been a bit of a blockbuster one for all the Tate galleries, but Tate Modern pulled off a major triumph in securing the work of the Madonna-endorsed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Self Portrait with Small Monkey, 1945 by Frida Kahlo. Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico).
Top 24 HM contributor - and 24 HM/Museums and Galleries Month Writing Prize winner - Helen Barrett went along to see what all the fuss was about.
Museums and Galleries Month 2005 had a bit of added value in 2005 as the great English public was invited to dig out their Fabulous Finds to be identified by museum experts at nine events.
Throughout the country 24 HM Renaissance Student Journalists were on the spot to get the scoops as the treasure poured in through the doors.
Particular highlights were prehistoric fossils from millions of years ago and, for the more gruesome of mind, a length of used – that’s right, used - hangman’s rope.
While national museums and the big regionals tend to hog headlines, the 24 HM has equal eyes for the thousands of unique smaller institutions that work tirelessly to preserve the UK’s heritage.
© Emily Sands/ 24 Hour Museum.
In this case our attention was drawn to the former home, and venue for the writing of his most famous work, of literary giant John Milton.
Staff had decided to restore the view at the rear of the cottage in Buckinghamshire to how it looked in an 18th century painting. 24 HM South East Renaissance Student Journalist Emily Sands travelled to Chalfont St Giles to get the lowdown.
As if pounding the north east museum beat wasn’t a tough enough assignment for intrepid 24 HM North East Renaissance Student Journalist Alastair Smith, he went beyond the call of duty at Beamish Open Air Museum.
© Alastair Smith/ 24 Hour Museum.
Answering famous children’s author Terry Deary’s challenge to pit sinew and flesh against iron and rails, Al took on the Beamish Tram over a distance of 2.5 km (1.5 miles).
But would his sturdy journalist’s legs stand up to the challenge?
2005 turned out to be yet another super successful year for the 24 HM children’s zone, www.show.me.uk.
As well as a nomination for a Webby, Show Me received some outstanding contributions from its ever-active readers.
© Temple Sowerby School.
When archaeologists moved onto the site of a local bypass, the pupils of Temple Sowerby School went along to lend a trowel.
Having given a spot of Phil Harding a go, they tried a Jeremy Paxman for size and filed a series of top-notch reports, not to mention pictures, to Show Me.
As another chapter was written in the incredible maritime archaeology tale that is the recovery of the Mary Rose, the world’s media was watching. There was a Sky News helicopter, a BBC boat, countless radio and newspaper journalists and, of course, the 24 HM.
© 24 Hour Museum.
During what was clearly an emotional moment for the team behind the pioneering excavation, one of the Mary Rose’s anchors and her stem were raise from the Solent bed.
It was a privilege to be there.
From one heroic mission… to another as 24 HM’s very own Richard Moss strode with all the necessary dash and daring to the Imperial War Museum and an encounter with TE Lawrence.
Col T E Lawrence,1919 (detail) by Augustus John, oil on canvas. © Tate, London 2005. Courtesy of the Estate of Augustus John/ Bridgeman Art Library.
A much-talked about character Lawrence was a man of significant depth and variation and in October the IWM opened an exhibition bringing the fascinating man to very colourful life.
Moss, I might add, did an equally top job telling our readers all about it.
Since reopening after a major re-fit, the South London Gallery has consistently dazzled us here at 24 HM... er HQ... with its imaginative and adventurous exhibitions.
With Her Noise, it didn’t disappoint.
© 24 Hour Museum.
Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon joined the line up for this show of experimental music and aural art that featured, among other things, a sonic bed and an electric walk around south London.
Caroline Lewis was despatched and returned equipped with several hundred words ready for what can only be described as our readers’ listening pleasure… enjoy.