Culture24/7: History and Heritage exhibition and event highlights for December 2012

By Ben Miller | 03 December 2012
A black and white photo of people enjoying themselves outdoors in Victorian Britain
John Gay, Tug of War, Ashenden, Buckinghamshire (1971) - part of the England at Leisure exhibition at Andover Museum this month© English Heritage

The Dickens Museum is back, reindeer are swimming and The Dandy is in fine fettle. Here are our final History and Heritage highlights of the year...

Christmas Through the Ages, National Museum of Flight, East Lothian, December 8-9

Flights of nostalgic fancy courtesy of retro toys and games – Hula Hoops, Hop Scotch, Twister and Rubik’s Cubes replacing smartphones and consoles, if only temporarily.

The displays focus on the ghosts of Christmas food, gifts and trees past.

Charles Dickens Museum, London, reopens December 10

The decision to close the museum dedicated to Charles Dickens was a difficult one for organisers, coming in the bicentenary year of his birth and at a time when the eyes of the world were on London.

That said, it’s a great moment for the place to capitalise on Dickens’ position as one of the forefathers of British history. More than £3 million in repairs and enhancements have been carried out on the pair of listed buildings and the displays within them.

Festive Trails, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, from December 15

A festive quiz at the astonishing mine monument to Welsh pit industry.
Trail sheets will be available to families upon arrival, with prizes available from the shop before you leave.

The Swimming Reindeer: Ice Age Art and Storytelling, Creswell Crags Museum, Worksop, until December 16

The Crags have done well to procure this 13,000-year-old husk of Ice Age art from the British Museum, sculpted from the tip of a Woolly Mammoth using a flint knife.

It’s named due to its depiction of a male reindeer appearing to swim after his female companion, and the accompanying exhibition tells the story of the era’s reindeer migration.

The Art and History of the Dandy, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

From Hitler-parodying propaganda vehicle to modern-day marvel, the Dandy’s 75th birthday is honoured by a display assisted by none other than Morris Heggie, the man responsible for editing the comic for 20 years.

“It takes people from the first issues, in 1937, right up to the present day,” he says, promising a selection of “rare and unusual items” honouring Desperate Dan and chums.

England at Leisure, Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age, Andover

Thirty photographs from the English Heritage vaults show ladies and gents at leisure from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

Bicycle-riding Victorian women and 1950s English seaside resorts feature prominently. High style is never far from the surface.

The Voice of the BBC: 90 Years of Public Broadcasting, Science Museum, London

After a year in which it has courted some malign, this small exhibition is the place to remember much that’s good about the Beeb – beginning with its first broadcast, on November 14 1922, and surveying the transformation of radio during the early 20th century, when thousands of people began tuning in for entertainment and information.

Those early days were played out from the 2LO station (“this is 2LO, London Broadcasting Station calling!”) The transmitter might have been replaced in 1925, but it still symbolises the origins of radio, standing at the centre of this display.
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