News in brief for the week ending October 1 2006.
29.09.2006 - Oxford Dictionary Teams Up With Up Tate For Free Biographies Of Holbein's Sitters
To coincide with Tate Britain’s major new exhibition, Holbein In England, the award-winning online edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is offering a ‘look behind the portraits’ with a free guide to the people who appear in Holbein’s masterly paintings.
For the duration of the exhibition, the online gallery will feature the Dictionary’s authoritative biographies of 35 influential men and women painted by Holbein during his time in England, and whose portraits are now brought together in London.
The Oxford DNB uses the portraits as routes to learn more about the royals, statesmen, scholars, and schemers who shaped, and circled, the court of Henry VIII.
The Dictionary’s gallery - which can be accessed from the Tate’s webpage - also makes available the Oxford DNB’s biography of Holbein himself, written by Dr Susan Foister, curator of the new Tate exhibition. To access the gallery directly visit www.oxforddnb.com and follow the link to Holbein.
Picture: Hans Holbein (1497/8 - 1543), Henry VIII 1536 © Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid
29.09.2006 - Kids Go Free In Historic Scotland Properties During October
During October 2006 Historic Scotland has extended their opening hours to a range of properties and are offering free admission to children under the age of 16 and accompanied by a paying adult.
For more information see the Historic Scotland website
29.09.2006 - English Heritage Extends Its School Visits Programme In Yorkshire
English Heritage is to extend its popular Discovery Visits programme in Yorkshire during October to give schoolchildren throughout the region the chance to swap classrooms for castles and books for bunkers.
The autumn/winter programme builds on a pilot initiative this summer, which attracted more than 1,000 children and their teachers. The visits start again this month (October) with further events at the historic sites of Whitby Abbey, Richmond Castle, Brodsworth Hall in Doncaster and the Cold War Bunker in York.
"The success of the summer programme demonstrates that history matters," said Lynne Minett, Education Manager for English Heritage North. "Children love the way they can live, breathe and feel history and I hope more and more schools will take advantage of the programme this autumn."
28.09.2006 - Brain Improvements Explored At Science Museum
An exhibition opening at the Science Museum in London on October 10 2006 will investigate how medical technology could boost our brains and give us control over machines in the future.
NEURObotics…the future of thinking? is an interactive exhibition, with exhibits showing how a pianist improved her performance with EEG neurofeedback treatment and how brain scans can show a person is lying. Orwellian stuff.
“This technology is here and has the potential to radically affect what it means to be human in the 21st century,” said Emma Hedderwick, exhibition manager. “We have to think about where we want the boundaries to be, both morally and in terms of legislation.”
28.09.2006 - British Library Launches Online Sound Archive
The British Library has created a major new online archive of historical sound recordings for students, researchers and academics.
Archival Sound Recordings, realised in conjunction with JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee), makes 12,000 unique materials available, including popular music, radio drama, oral history, and field and location recordings.
”Sound recordings represent a massively untapped resource in the field of education,” said Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library. “The learning possibilities across almost all subject areas are immense. The Web offers a means of widespread access to rare, historic and hugely valuable sound resources and this site demonstrates the British Library's commitment to research and further education.”
Highlights of the archive include interviews with artists such as Anthony Caro, David Bailey and Elisabeth Frink, and radio material illustrating the richness and diversity of African writing and political culture in the 1960s and 70s.
28.09.2006 – Museum of Thetford Life Reopens
The Grade I-listed Tudor merchant’s house now has improved visitor facilities as well as a recreated Tudor garden and new displays on the history of Thetford and the Brecks.
Conservation work was carried out on items in the collection while the building work was going on, including two large medieval limestone coffins and marble busts of Roman Emperors Otto and Tiberius.
The project is just part of a five-year, £1.6million project to improve links with the local community.
Picture: Thetford's little mermaid, a medieval copper alloy figure found on the outskirts of the town. Courtesy Norfolk Museums Service
28.09.2006 - Natural History Museum's Dinosaur Star Is Not A Cannibal After All
Scientists have re-examined fossils of the dinosaur Coelophysis, currently featured in the Natural History Museum (NHM) Dino Jaws exhibition as a cannibal, and found that it wasn't a cannibal after all.
The examinations, carried out by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, have found that some of the fossil bones found in the fossilised stomach of a Coelophysis unearthered in the 1940s belong to a crocodile-like reptile and not to a young Coelophysis. Many of the other small bones could not be positively identified and the scientists have concluded there is no evidence for cannibalism in Coelophysis.
The NHM's Dino Jaws exhibition brings to life a gruesome scene set in the Triassic period 210 million years ago, where an adult Coelophysis devours its young. A replica of one of the fossils - now re-examined by the American Museum of Natural History scientist - is also on show.
"This new work shows that our previous ideas about Coelophysis were mistaken," said Paul Barrett, dinosaur expert at the Natural History Museum. "In fact, it casts doubt on the idea that any dinosaur was a cannibal." Exhibition staff are now working hard to update Coelophysis in the Dino Jaws exhibition so that it reflects the new research.
28.09.2006 - National Galleries Of Scotland And Tate Form Alliance To Acquire Anthony D’Offay Collection
The collection comprises major groups of works by individual artists, among them Diane Arbus, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Vija Celmins, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ron Mueck, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Robert Therrien, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol and Lawrence Weiner.
“This is an extraordinarily generous gesture by Anthony d’Offay," said Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate. "The acquisition of the d’Offay Collection would transform the representation of recent art in the national collections and offer the possibility of displays of contemporary art across the country.”
Anthony d’Offay has offered his collection to the two institutions on a part gift, part sale basis.
"We now have an opportunity with Tate to bring great modern art to a wide audience across Scotland and the rest of the UK,” added John Leighton, Director-General, NGS.
As well as dramatically improving the representation of modern and contemporary art in Edinburgh and London, the collection would also be made available to other museums and galleries across the UK. The NGS and Tate are still in discussion with Mr d’Offay about the details of the plan and no further details are being made public at this stage.
27.09.2006 - Doors Open Day Set To Reveal Edinburgh's Hidden Secrets
Edinburgh Doors Open Day is your annual chance to take a peek behind closed doors and visit buildings of architectural and historic interest in the city – all for free.
On September 30 2006 there will be more than 60 buildings, old and new, open to the public. Free brochures are available from the tourist information centre, all public libraries, shops and public buildings throughout the city. Alternatively, download the brochure as a pdf from www.cockburnassociation.org.uk.
27.09.2006 - Digital Archive To Preserve Their Past Your Future Records
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) will create a digital archive for historic material collected during 2005’s Their Past Your Future project, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The announcement comes during the annual Archives Awareness Campaign, which encourage people to learn about their own history with events at archives and record offices around the UK.
“Their Past Your Future supported a huge variety of projects across the country,” said MLA Head of Digital Futures, David Dawson, “and created a variety of digital materials such as learning resources created by teachers, DVDs of interviews with veterans, photographs of life on the home front and community histories.”
“We will be working with the University of London Computer Centre to gather this material, archive it, and then make it accessible to all, via the internet.”
The project will be funded by the MLA with a £40,000 development grant from the Big Lottery Fund, and is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2006.
27.09.2006 - Blue Plaque Unveiled To Architect Thomas Smith Tait
Architect Thomas Smith Tait (1882 – 1954), one of the most influential inter-war architects, has been commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at Gates House, Wyldes Close, London, NW11.
Smith Tait lived there for more than twenty years and completed some of his most important and respected commissions, including Selfridges, Oxford Street (1926-9), the Daily Telegraph Building, Fleet Street (1927-8) and Unilever House, Blackfriars (1930-3).
27.09.2006 – Their Past Your Future Wins Design Award
The Their Past Your Future project created to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War has won the People's Choice Award for Best Use of Flash at the Y Design Awards.
This year's were the inaugural Y Design Awards, a new initiativelaunched as part of the London Design Festival which recognises andcelebrates the UK's leading creative talent demonstrated through theuse of digital technology.
26.09.06 - Tiny Transatlantic Boat Makes Final Journey To National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
Father's Day, the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic, has returned to Falmouth, 13 years to the day after she sailed into the record books.
The 1.64 metre vessel was transported to Falmouth from Florida, accompanied by her record-breaking Captain, Hugo Vihlen. He agreed to donate the micro-yacht to the Maritime Museum to appear in a new exhibition opening in February 2007.
Vihlen triumphantly sailed into Falmouth harbour aboard Father's Day on 26 September 1993, after successfully crossing the Atlantic from Newfoundland in Canada.
30 years before that, in 1968, Vihlen set the original record for crossing the Atlantic in a small boat when he sailed the 6ft April Fool from Casablanca to Florida. Englishman Tom McNally beat the record in 1993 with his 1.7 metre boat Verahugh in 1993. Months later, Vihlen stole it back again with his voyage in Father's Day.
Whilst visiting the Museum, Vihlen said: "I was 61 years old, retired, and I went full force into building this boat Father's Day. On Father's Day you should be able to do what you want to do - that's your thing. This was my thing and aboard Father's Day I was able to do it.”
Father's Day will go on show at the Maritime Museum early next year.
26.09.06 - National Museums At Chatham Gets Major HLF Funding
A ground-breaking new museum involving a partnership between the National Maritime Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Science Museum and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, has received substantial support from Heritage Lottery Fund in the form of a £4.97m grant. Total funding allocated to the project now stands at £9.2m.
The project recovers for future generations the 19th Century No.1 Smithery building at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Once described by English Heritage as the South East's "most intractable building at risk", the restoration of this building will largely complete the regeneration of the heart of The Historic Dockyard, which is also a potential World Heritage Site.
The project is due to open to the public in 2010 and will unlock access by the public and by specialists to a wide range of internationally pre-eminent collections of museum artefacts.
Total cost of National Museums at Chatham is estimated at £14million, £2.2m of which has previously been secured from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) (Thames Gateway) for emergency stabilisation of No. 1 Smithery, the building which will house the project.
25.09.2006 - Cutty Sark To Receive £12 Million HLF Boost
The Cutty Sark is to receive almost £12 million from the Heritage Lotter Fund (HLF) to fund a massive restoration project.
The 137 year old ship, which resides in dry dock in Greenwich and is the world's sole surviving tea clipper, will temporarily close to visitors in November 2006 to allow essential maintenance work to commence. It is said to be in a serious state of deterioration.
Eventually the ship will be lifted three metres above her current position and a glass bubble attached to the waterline to give visitors access to the hull area in a dry berth.
"The Cutty Sark is one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions and once fully restored will be able to welcome even more people who will learn about its fascinating history," said Carole Souter, Director of the HLF.
25.09.2006 - National Council On Archives Launches First Community Website For Archives
The National Council on Archives launched Britain's first community website for archives on September 25 to help celebrate the start of this year's Archive Awareness campaign.
From Hereford's Cider Museum to Derbyshire's Magic Attic Archives, www.communityarchives.org.uk will showcase a wide variety of archives to help people uncover the treasures lying in the country's collections.
This year's Archive Awareness campaign launches this autumn with a record number of events taking place in archives across the UK over the next few months. For more details log on to www.archiveawareness.comThe 2006 theme is 'Neighbourhoods and Woods' and encourages people to investigate the history of their own community and woodland.
25.09.2006 - Manchester Urbis Show Extended Due To Popular Demand
In Manchester, Urbis’ summer exhibition will soon be coming to a close but due to popular demand the exhibition has been extended by a week until 8 October.
Artists in residence have been producing original artworks on the exhibition walls, based on visitor responses to the city, as well as a creative 3-d interpretation of the journeys people have taken between Manchester and other cities across the world.
As a final send-off to the show, Urbis will be holding story telling sessions for the under 5s – an urban version of the well-loved fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk, which sees our hero travel from Manchester into space.
25.09.2006 - MLA Adds Voice To Protests Over Bury Council's Proposed Lowry Sale
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has strongly urged Bury Metropolitan Council to reconsider its decision to sell the LS Lowry Painting “A Riverbank” from the Bury Art Gallery and Museum collection.
In a letter to the council, MLA Chief Executive Chris Batt said the council’s decision to sell the painting to help plug its deficit could be a false economy, as there would almost certainly be financial repercussions from the sale.
The MLA respects the council’s difficult financial position and understands the need to address the budget deficit,” Mr Batt said. “However, the Bury Metropolitan Council signed up to certain protocols when the Art Gallery and Museum received registration - the MLA’s museums quality standard."
“By selling the ‘A Riverbank’ to raise revenue, the council would be in clear breach of those protocols.”
Mr Batt said Bury Art Gallery and Museum is currently applying to upgrade its registration to full MLA Accreditation. Not only does the council stand to lose registration, but it would be unable to proceed with its application under the Accreditation standard if the painting sale goes ahead as a revenue raising exercise.
“A museum’s participation in the Accreditation scheme is taken into consideration by funding organisations such as National Lottery distribution bodies and the MLA-V&A Purchase Grant Fund,” Mr Batt said.