Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending October 15 2006.
13.10.2006 - Famous Dundee Portrait returns home after Art Fund & HLF Grants
The McManus Galleries & Museum in Dundee is to make its most expensive ever purchase – an early painting by Scottish master Sir Henry Raeburn, of Dundee’s ‘Eastern Prince’ George Paterson, thanks to grants from the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
After months of fundraising the portrait was secured by Private Treaty sale for £131,581, with the help of a substantial £48,000 grant from The Art Fund and additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
John Stewart-Young, Project Director of the McManus Galleries & Museum said, "With this painting we have an irresistible combination: a very fine and perceptive portrait by Raeburn, Scotland’s foremost portrait painter, and a Dundonian sitter – probably the only Dundonian ever painted by Raeburn!"
George Paterson (1734-1817) was born in Dundee but made his fortune in India. The son of a weaver, Paterson was schooled in Dundee before studying medicine in Edinburgh.
After rising through the ranks of the British army he was posted in India, where he recorded his meticulous observations of Indian life in an intriguing personal diary, three-quarters of a million words long, which is now housed in the British Library.
As the McManus Galleries are closed for refurbishment until 2007, the portrait will be unveiled and temporarily displayed at the National Gallery of Scotland.
13.10.2006 - Try Out ye olde Longbow at Mount Grace Priory
From 12 noon, on October 21 and 22, 14th century archers will be demonstrating the ancient and noble art of archery at Mount Grace Priory in Yorkshire with a selection of longbows and crossbows, giving visitors - young and old alike - a chance to try their hand with a traditional longbow.
Throughout the middle ages, archery was the one sport that commoners were allowed to practice; every Sunday, village greens all over the country would be filled with locals practicing their skills, and young men would often develop large arm, shoulder and back muscles from the repeated effort of firing the bow.
The event is being staged by experts in medieval archery from the group Arrowflight as part of English Heritage's Medieval Have-a-Go Archery weekend.
13.10.2006 - Rare 15th Century Papers acquired by Jersey Archive
A collection of documents charting the history of a prominent Jersey family from the 15th century has been deposited at the Jersey Archive.
The private papers of the La Cloche Family have been deposited with the Jersey Heritage Trust and are now available for members of the public to study at the Jersey Archive in Clarence Road.
The documents, which have survived in private hands for over 500 years, include private papers dating from 1444 and concerning the rights of the tenants living on the Fief du Chesnel. In total the collection includes 11 documents from the 15th Century.
"We are delighted that the descendants of the La Cloche family have deposited their records with the Trust as it will ensure that the important information they contain can be accessed by researchers and members of the public for generations to come," said Linda Romeril, Senior Archivist for the Jersey Heritage Trust.
"We would be happy to talk to any other families or individuals who might like to deposit their records at the Jersey Archive.”
13.10.2006 - Centre For Life Website Wins Top Tourism Award
The Centre’s Marketing Manager, Ian McGregor picked up the Tourism Website of the Year award at the ceremony on Ocrtober 10 which was hosted at Newcastle Civic Centre.
The awards, run by Regional Development Agency One NorthEast, recognise leading individuals, businesses and attractions that are contributing to the area’s thriving tourism industry. Picture: Ian McGregor at Centre for Life with the award.
12.10.2006 – Red Lady of Paviland to return to Wales
Ancient bones discovered on the Gower peninsula in Wales are to be returned to the country after more than 180 years.
The 29,000-year-old male skeleton, known as the Red Lady because the bones are dyed ochre red, have been held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History since 1823, a year after they were discovered by the Reverend William Buckland, then (the first) Professor of Geology at the university (who got the sex of the skeleton wrong).
The campaign to repatriate the archaeological find, spearheaded by the Gower Society, can now be hailed a success, though it is not known where the bones will go on display in Wales. They may go to Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum, while an interpretive visitor centre near Paviland Cave, where the Red Lady was found, has been suggested. The Paviland bones are considered a Welsh national treasure.
12.10.2006 – Public invited to see Stone Circle Repair Work in Cornwall
A 4,000-year-old stone circle on Bodmin Moor will undergo repairs next week and the public are invited to come and have a look.
The Trippet Stones, on Manor Common between Bodmin and Blisland, originally comprised 27 stones. Only 12 of these remain, and half of them are no longer standing up. The last stage in a programme of erosion repair will hopefully prevent vertical stones from going the way of the others. Cornish archaeologists will fill in the holes around the bases of the stones.
Visitors can come and watch the conservation work on October 17 and 19 when Tony Blackman of the Cornish Archaeological Society will be on hand to talk about the moor’s prehistoric features. The site is a mile north west of the A30.
12.10.2006 – Discover Your Past Life At Leeds Royal Armouries
TV hypnotherapist Andy Mercer will be unlocking the doors to people’s past lives at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on October 21 and 28.
Andy’s appearance will form part of the Spooky! week running during half term and the week leading up to Halloween. The museum promises ‘spooktacular’ events including a ghost hunt with clairvoyants and paranormal investigators and a horror maze.
The Past Lives Regressions will take place from 7-9pm on each Saturday, with sessions costing £8.50. Contact the museum to book a place for this and the ghost hunt (over 18s only).
12.10.2006 - Puppet Collection Saved for Bridgnorth Museum
A rare collection of 41 historic puppets is to go on display at Bridgnorth’s Childhood and Costume Museum next January after it was bought with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The collection of puppets, part of a private holding, may have been broken up if it gone to auction. The collection features a troupe of fully working marionettes, some dating back to 1840 when they were made by renowned puppet-making companies The Rozella Troupe and the Lanchester Marionettes.
The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild purchased the collection for the museum with an award of £24,800 from the HLF.
11.10.2006 – Make Blog History On October 17 2006
The History Matters campaign is calling for a mass blog on October 17, and wants as many people as possible to write an online diary on that day for the national record.
The blogs will be held by the British Library for posterity, as a record of daily life. The date, October 17, has been deliberately chosen as an ordinary weekday of no particular significance.
Participants – hopefully tens of thousands – are urged to reflect in their diaries how history itself impacts on them that day, whether it be travelling past historic buildings or how business history influences their decisions. It could even be listening to 1960s pop music or looking up some old sports statistics.
While the blogs will record the mundane and everyday, it could be that they themselves help historians in the future.
The idea is inspired by the work of the Mass Observation Unit, a social history resource founded in 1937 at the University of Sussex, and blogs will be held by them as well as the British Library, National Trust and others.
Write your blog diary on www.historymatters.org.uk. Diaries can be added from October 17 to 31 2006.
11.10.2006 – Mona Lisa Replica goes on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery
A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting which once belonged to artist Joshua Reynolds has gone on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.
When the Duke of Leeds gave the 1602 copy to Reynolds towards the end of the 18th century, he believed it to be the original. Later, chemical analysis proved that the Mona Lisa that hangs in the Louvre was the authentic one, painted about 100 years before the copy.
The copy, however, is a valuable artwork in itself because it has fewer layers of varnish on it than the real Mona Lisa, which means it has browned less. The colours, therefore, indicate how vibrant Da Vinci’s work would have been 500 years ago.
The painting has not been on show in a British institution since 1902, and belongs to descendants of the family who bought it as part of the sale of Reynolds’ studio after his death in 1792.
11.10.2006 – Kinetica Museum of Electronic and Experimental Art Now Open in East London
The UK’s first museum devoted to kinetic, electronic and experimental art is now open in London’s Spitalfields.
Kinetica's collection includes work dating back to the 1920s as well as pieces by contemporary artists like Nam June Paik, with exhibits ranging from performing robots to holographic projections.
The opening show, Life Forms, is free and runs to November 14 2006. The Museum is located inside Old Spitalfields Market in London’s Whitechapel. Opening times 11am-6pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday (closed Monday).
11.10.2006 – Liverpool Cultural Projects Awarded £650,000
More than 100 cultural projects in Liverpool have been given a boost by grants totalling £650,000 awarded through the Liverpool Culture Company.
The funding will give the go-ahead for a vast range of projects, including a new cultural centre for young people and a feature-length community film.
“It’s great to see that many of the smaller organisations have been included in this process, with grants starting from less than £1,000,” said Jason Hasborow, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Culture Company. “It might be a small amount to some groups, but it is often the difference between a project being allowed to go ahead, or sinking without a trace.”
10.10.2006 - Culture Minister Unveils UK's Next Three Nominations for World Heritage Status
The Antonine Wall, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Twin Monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow have been chosen as the UK's next three nominations to become World Heritage Sites, Culture Minister David Lammy announced on October 10 2006.
If accepted by UNESCO, the three sites will join the Tower of London, Blenheim Palace and Stonehenge on the list of 27 UK World Heritage Sites.
"I am extremely pleased with the nominations for 2007 to 2009. The Antonine Wall will be an important addition to the existing Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage site," said Mr Lammy.
"Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is world known and an impressive example of waterways engineering in the late 18th century. And the twin Anglo Saxon monastery at Wearmouth and Jarrow are a historic legacy of Benedict Biscop's vision in the seventh century which produced Bede, the greatest scholar of his day, who shaped European thought."
The nominations, together with those from other countries, will be submitted to UNESCO in February 2007, 2008 and 2009. The nominations will be assessed by expert advisers to the World Heritage Committee with final decisions made by the World Heritage Committee.
Photo: the Antonine Wall courtesy Historic Scotland
10.10.2006 - Pride of Old Limehouse to be Restored
The building where Labour politician Clement Attlee made one of his last speeches as Prime Minister in 1951 has been saved with a grant of £80,000 from English Heritage.
The grade II listed Limehouse Town Hall in Tower Hamlets, East London has been languishing on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register since 2003. The grant will allow its neglected Italianate exterior to be repaired as the first step towards a major programme of work which will see the Town Hall become a centre for the community, local history and business.
"I am delighted that English Heritage has now been able to help secure the future of this historic landmark of London’s East End with a repair grant," said Paddy Pugh, Head of Advice and Grants for London Region at English Heritage.
"The imaginative and creative end-uses proposed for the building will put the heart and soul back into Limehouse and enable local people to share in and appreciate its fascinating history."
09.10.2006 - HMS Belfast Brought to Life with New Audio Tour
Visitors to HMS Belfast will now be able to tour the famous cruiser with the help of a newly developed audio guide.
The Acoustiguide is included in the price of entry and each visitor is given an mp3 audio wand, which delivers high-sound quality information in English, French, Spanish and German. TV presenter Tony Robinson has also narrated a special family tour available from the end of October 2006.
HMS Belfast is the largest surviving example of Britain's 20th century naval power and is now a museum moored on the Thames. She served in both the Second World War and the Korean War.
09.10.2006 - Re-enactors to Battle it out to Find the 'Real' Robin Hood
English Heritage have challenged Nottingham's best known Robin Hood re-enactor - Tony Rotherham from The Tales Of Robin Hood visitor attraction - to prove his worth.
Steve Lunn, English Heritage's own Robin Hood, will compete against Rotherham at Nottingham Castle on October 14 and Richmond Castle on 15 October in a number of archery events. The competition will test their accuracy and speed with the longbow and even have to shoot at targets on horseback.
The archer with the most points will be presented with a specially-made ash arrow, with a silver head and white feathers with red edges.
09.10.2006 - Isle of Man's House of Keys to Commemorate 125 Years of Women's Suffrage
The House of Keys, lower chamber of the Isle of Man's ancient Tynwald parliament, is commemorating the 125th anniversary of it voting to introduce voting rights for women.
Visitors to the Castletown venue will be able to hear a recreation of the 1881 debate on votes for women and take part in their own vote on the issue.
The 1881 Election Bill delivered the first instalment of women's right to vote in parliamentary elections within the British Isles, making the Isle of Man the first place in the world to give all women the vote in national elections.
09.10.2006 – Historic Scotland use Computer Game to Educate Kids about Traditional Building Skills
A futuristic computer game designed to encourage children to consider careers in traditional building crafts has been piloted in a scheme at Stirling Castle.
The Heritage Game involves a series of adventures that take place at a virtual version of the castle. Children have to enlist the support of various people including stonemasons, steeplejacks, joiners and slaters to safeguard the future of the castle.
Eventually the game will be available online, although initially it will be used in the classroom as part of a teacher’s lesson plan. It is expected that children will also be encouraged to play the game at home.
“We hope to see them rolled out to schools throughout the UK where they fit with the curriculum for history, citizenship and careers,” said Sue Mitchell, Historic Scotland Education Manager.
09.10.2006 - Libraries Reach out to Communities with £80 Million HLF Funding
The Heritage Lottery Fund is putting £80 million into strengthening the place of libraries in community life.
The Community Libraries programme will provide capital funding to improve library buildings so that they can offer a broader range of activities to their visitors. The scheme has been developed together with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and applications open from October 9 2006.
The programme will help create new spaces in libraries, bringing under one roof activities as diverse as reading groups, advice services, local history workshops, mother and toddler groups, community meetings, exhibitions and performances, healthy living workshops, language courses and family learning.
Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Sir Clive Booth, said: "An increasing number of people are using library services and it is clear that our local libraries are at their best when they act as focal points for community life, providing a range of reading, learning and information activities."
"Libraries made clear to us that they would welcome Lottery funding to put libraries at the centre of community life, bringing together a range of community uses and activities under their roofs."
09.10.2006 - National Trust for Scotland Appeals for Families to Move to Remote Island
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is looking for two families to join the community on the Hebridean island of Canna, the most westerly of the Small Isles, a group of islands near Mallaig.
Currently home to 15 inhabitants, the Trust-owned island has two properties available for rent - a new family house and a Victorian townhouse. The latter, says the Trust, would be suitable for turning into a bed and breakfast, as 30,000 tourists visit the remote island every year.
"We are very keen to hear from families who wish to take up the opportunity to live and work on Canna," said Alex Lindsay, NTS Director for the Highland & Islands. "Applicants should be keen to play an active role in the development of the island’s community."
"It is hoped that bringing in new residents will contribute to the safeguarding of the school, community and economy of the island, whilst increasing the skills base and making a valuable contribution to island life."
People interested in finding out more about these opportunities should click on the Canna application on the NTS website or call the National Trust for Scotland on 01631 564 710.
09.10.2006 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster to get Makeover
The RAF’s only airworthy Lancaster bomber, part of The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby, is to benefit from a new lick of paint and essential maintainance work.
Work will include a complete paint strip and repaint, changing its current 'Mickey the Moocher' paint scheme to the nose art of the 'Phantom of the Ruhr' Lancaster which belonged to 100 Squadron. The aircraft will also have its flying control rods replaced during the maintenance work, which should take around six months and be completed by the end of March 2007.
The major maintenance contract, awarded to Atlantic Airmotive Ltd, will take place at Coventry Airport and will enable the Lancaster to continue to grace the skies until the next maintainance period is due in around eight years time.
09.10.2006 - Thief makes off with £65,000 Clock from Temple Newsam House
A thief has stolen a clock worth £65,000 from Temple Newsam, a stately home near Leeds.
The break-in occured late on Thursday night, October 5 2006, and the thief is believed to have made off on foot over the adjoining golf course. Dating to the early 1800s, the ornate clock was acquired by Leeds City Council in lieu of inheritance tax for £65,000 in November 1998.
The incident follows thefts at the house in April 2006 of two carved ivory tankards and two Chinese Meiping vases.
09.10.2006 – Massive Re-enactment to Mark Battle of Hastings Anniversary
To mark the Battle of Hastings’ 940th anniversary, 3,000 re-enactors and performers from across the world will gather on the original battlefield, next to Battle Abbey, on the weekend of October 14 & 15 to accurately replay the sights and sounds of the battle.
The biggest English Heritage re-enactment ever to take place on the site will see hundreds of re-enactors representing the armies of William the Conquerer and King Harold as they face each other on the field of battle.
A tented encampment, traders market, archery and falconry displays together with musical entertainment will precede each battle, which will take place at 3pm on each day of the weekend.
To book tickets phone 0870 333 1183 or for more information see the English Heritage website