News In Brief- Week Ending November 5 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 31 October 2006

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending November 5 2006.

photo of hilly landscape

03.11.2006 – Quantocks archaeology survey proves it's been a busy 4,000 years

English Heritage has proved that there’s a lot more to the tranquil landscape of the Somerset Quantocks than the beauty described by one-time residents Wordsworth and Coleridge.

The Historic Landscape of the Quantock Hills, published on November 3 2006, is the result of three years’ detailed archaeological study of the area, recording the goings on there as far back as 4,000 years ago, up to the 20th century.

Among the findings were ancient burial grounds, Iron Age hill forts, industry and even WWII and Cold War military activity. Even in the Romantic poets’ time the area was full of industrial activity with bark rippers, charcoal burners and woodsmen using the oak woods to fuel the tanneries in the villages around the hills, plus copper mining and textile industries dotted about.

“It was surprising to discover that such a relatively small area – 99 square kilometres in total – contained such a rich and varied history,” said Iain Porter, Project Development Officer for the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

03.11.2006 – Artist to sell 'mystery' from a stall on Preston Market

An art project aiming to inject a little more mystery into the lives of Prestonians is coming to the city’s market this month.

Artist John Newling will be setting up stall in Preston’s Covered Markets on November 21, 22 and 23 2006 to offer a unique transaction to shoppers: their experiences of mystery in exchange for an insurance certificate ‘against loss of mystery’.

The artist commented: “Markets for me are places of transactions that belie the shinyness of the mall and high street, giving instead a visceral sense of a community chatting and moving through a space that is at one and the same time ancient and contemporary. In a society that has profoundly moved towards the audit of our activities the marketplace seems a fine context to sell insurance against loss of mystery.”

The outcomes of this little jaunt will inform later stages of the same project, presented as part of the In Certain Places public art programme.

03.11.2006 – Fred Dibnah’s cap donated to Stockport Hat Works Museum

A cap worn by celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah has been donated to Stockport Hat Works museum.

Fred wore the cap on his wedding day to his third wife, Sheila, in 1998. It was new at the time, but as it became a favourite of his to wear at functions, it began to show signs of ageing and was relegated to being worn only in his workshop.

His stepson Nathan has given it the museum on long-term loan, where it will be displayed with a signed photo of Fred and a script of Fred Dibnah’s Age of Steam.

Fundraising for a lasting memorial to Fred, in Bolton town centre, has gathered £30,000 so far.

photo of a flag flying in front of a sunset

02.11.2006 – Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre closes for refurbishment

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, opened in 1974, is closing its doors for a major refurbishment made possible by £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The doors will open again in spring 2007, with a brand new exhibition and Ambion Parva, a full-size replica medieval village at the location of the 1485 battle. The battle marked the end of the War of the Roses, and saw King Richard III lose his life and crown to Henry Tudor.

“Now is an incredibly exciting time at Bosworth,” said Leicestershire County Councillor Ernie White, “and the changes currently being made will create an unforgettable experience for our visitors.”

“Thanks to the popularity of King Richard III, who lost his life and crown here, the site welcomes people from all over the world. We are currently working with the New Zealand branch of the Richard III Society who want to include the Bosworth revitalisation project at their 2007 Australian Convention.”

02.11.2006 - Culture Online launches new online resource for cultural sector

An online ideas store to help cultural websites stand out from the crowd has been launched by Culture Online, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Called ProjectsETC, the new site aims to encourage information-sharing between institutions and focuses on the overlapping areas of education, technology and culture.

Subjects covered include the truth behind web statistics, search engine optimisation, how to make websites accessible and case studies, practical guidance and comment pieces about real issues facing the cultural sector in the digital age.

Mike Saunders, project manager for ProjectsETC, said: "ProjectsETC is about using the internet to spread best practice and to inspire people to look at interactive technologies in a creative way. Many museums, galleries and other cultural institutions are grappling with what to do on the web."

Log on at

02.11.2006 - Education Volunteers sought by English Heritage

English Heritage is looking for volunteers to take part in an innovative new educational project at Pendennis Castle, Cornwall.

No special skills or experience are required, just a passion for the past to help bring history alive for youngsters. Tasks will range from welcoming school groups to assisting with guided tours, so plenty of enthusiasm is needed.

“I am delighted to be launching the Education Volunteer Programme,” said Kate Davies, Education Volunteer Manager. “It will give members of the local community the chance to develop all kinds of new skills and harness their enthusiasm for heritage in a very positive way. Crucially, their passion and commitment will in turn help to ignite the interest of the many children who visit our sites."

Recruitment in the South West begins with an open evening at Pendennis Castle, near Falmouth, on November 13 from 5-7pm. For more details, or to become a volunteer, call Kate Davies on 01793 414438 or email

photo of a pair of brown leather boots

01.11.2006 – Old Vic and Imperial War Museum present Somme Theatre

The Old Vic Theatre and the Imperial War Museum London (IWM) have joined forces to present a brand new play commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Somme Theatre, to be performed on four nights from November 15-18 2006, explores the realities of life on the front line and at home during the longest and most costly land battle in British history, fought from July 1 to November 18 1916. The play will begin at 7.30 in the IWM’s dramatic glass-roofed atrium.

The project has involved 85 volunteers from South London secondary schools and community groups, with workshop sessions exploring various aspects of army life in the First World War.

“An important part of the Museum’s remit is to engage young people and help them understand and make connections with their past," said Helena Stride, Head of Education at IWM London. "Somme Theatre has provided a unique way of doing this and we have been delighted by the response from schools wanting to work on this exciting project.”

Call 0870 060 6628 to book free tickets to the play. Picture: a pair of officer's leather boots from the IWM's Somme Online Exhibition © IWM

01.11.2006 - Royal Pavilion Offers Cheap Entry For Locals

Brighton's Royal Pavilion is offering reduced entry fees for residents of Brighton and Hove until February 27 2007.

The former royal palace - the only one in the country owned and managed by a local authority - will only be charging £3.60 per adult who can produce proof of residency (council tax bill or utility bill) on the day of their visit.

Two accompanying children can also go free of charge with each adult, with additional children charged £1 each.

photo of a circular white building

01.11.2006 - Tate St Ives launches winter pass ticket scheme

Tate St Ives has launched its new Winter Pass scheme, offering unlimited access to the Cornish gallery until March 30 2007 with one ticket.

The pass costs £6 and is valid at all times except school holidays. Visitors will be able to see the current winter exhibitions, including works by artists of the world famous St Ives school, and the pass also covers the start of the forthcoming spring season featuring works by Francis Bacon, Bryan Pearce and emerging local artists.

Passes are available from the Tate St Ives admission desk.

1.11.2006 – Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries 2007 judges announced

The judges for the 2007 Gulbenkian Prize for museums and galleries have been announced. The prize awards £100,000 – the largest single arts prize – to the UK museum or gallery which is judged to have made the most worthy innovation in the last year.

The panel of judges will be chaired by author and broadcaster Francine Stock, and includes museum consultant Tristram Besterman and the Guardian’s architecture editor, Jonathan Glancey.

Also on the panel for 2007 are Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Richard Calvocoressi; scientist and Director of the Materials Library, Dr Mark Miodownik; historian and broadcaster Dan Snow; and broadcaster Mohini Sule.

Now in its fifth year, the Gulbenkian has established itself as one of the leading prizes in the arts world. In the week following ss Great Britain’s win earlier in 2006, it attracted a record number of visitors.

The closing date for entries is November 3 2006. The winner will be announced during Museums and Galleries Month, May 2007.

a photograph of a circualr blue plaque on a wall with writing on it

31.10.2006 - English Heritage unveils Blue Plaque for Cetshwayo, King of the Zulus

King Cetshwayo (c1826 – 1884), King of the Zulus, has been commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at 18 Melbury Road, London, W14, where he stayed in the Summer of 1882 following his exile from Zululand.

During this time, he met Prime Minister Gladstone and visited Queen Victoria at Osborne House. Although the duration of his stay was short, his visit made a significant political impact - very few African princes, and no other Zulus (save those accompanying Cetshwayo) had visited London at this time.

The blue plaque was unveiled on Monday October 30 at the end of Black History Month and just days after English Heritage announced its commitment to revealing the fuller story of England’s history by researching and making public any connections between the transatlantic slave trade and properties in its care.

31.10.2006 - Will Self, Grayson Perry and the Routemaster Bus line up for Late at Tate Britain in November

Late at Tate Britain, the gallery's series of after-hours events that happen on the first Friday of every month, will be taking the city of London as its muse for the night of November 3. The evening of talks and tours includes appearances, readings and debates by artists and literary figures including Iain Sinclair, Will Self, Grayson Perry and Peter Bazalgette.

There will also be a night-time city tour on a Routemaster bus with Royal College of Art Professor and qualified Routemaster bus driver, Joe Kerr, departing from the front of Tate Britain.

For further information about Late at Tate Britain visit the Tate Britain website.

a pencil and chalk drawing of a seated man in waistcoat and frock coat

31.10.2006 - Wordsworth Trust purchases Coleridge portrait

The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere has purchased an 1814 pencil and chalk drawing of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge by Royal Academician George Dawe.

The only finished representation of Coleridge in existence between the years 1809 and 1814, the pencil and chalk drawing was considered by the poet to be far more like him than any other previous attempt. It was made by Dawe following Coleridge's move to London after two years as William Wordsworth's houseguest in Grasmere.

At the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere the portrait will enter one of the most comprehensive Coleridge collections in the world. From November 2006 to July 2007 it will also feature in an exhibition at the Trust called The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner: The Poem And Its Illustrators, which will centre on Coleridge’s greatest poem.

The portrait was purchased at auction for £40,681 thanks to a £20,340 Art Fund grant and additional funding from the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund.

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