Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending December 10 2006.
08.12.2006 - Dorchester reveals its historic tapestry
A new tapestry created by the people of Dorchester has gone on display in the town commemorating the 700th anniversary the town's charter in 2005.
Work began on the tapestry when a group of 25 dedicated weavers began meeting at Dorchester Arts Centre in 2005 to create a community embroidery. With support from the Arts Council Awards For All Scheme, a seven panel embroidery has now been produced that shows Dorchester from prehistoric times to the present day.
The tapestry is now on display in Dorchester Corn Exchange, with plans to display it at Dorchester Arts Centre permanently in the future.
08.12.2006 - BT searches for the nation's best telecommunications story
British Telecom’s heritage initiative, Connected Earth www.connected-earth.com, has launched a quest to find the most interesting telecommunications story to celebrate the launch of its new online interactive - People’s Connected Earth.
The new section is a dedicated area that allows people to share their personal stories and photographs relating to the history of communications – whether that be telegram, phone or more recently fax and text. Visitors to the site can post their memories to help bring telecommunications history to life. They can also vote for their favourite overall story and the winner will be revealed in January 2007.
The Connected Earth website is the hub of the Connected Earth partnership, bringing together the telecommunications collections of 11 heritage partners across the UK. If you have a telecommunications story you would like to share, log on to www.connected-earth.com/memories.
08.12.2006 - Campbell's Bluebird set to be restored and displayed at Ruskin Museum, Coniston
The remains of Donald Campbell's Bluebird are to be restored and displayed at Ruskin Museum in the Lake District after Campbell's daughter, Gina Campbell, donated the wrecked craft to the museum on behalf of the Campbell family.
Donald Campbell was killed when his Bluebird K7 crashed while attempting to break the water speed record on Coniston Water in 1967. The remains of the craft were raised from the depths of the lake in 2001. Campbell's remains were discovered later that year and buried in the village.
An appeal fund is now being launched by the Ruskin Museum to raise £750,000 to build an extension to display the restored Bluebird together with items already held by the museum that tell the story of this and other world water speed record attempts. It is hoped the extension with the restored Bluebird on display will be ready in two year's time.
08.12.06 - Work underway on new Grace Darling Museum in Northumberland
Work has begun on the transformation of the RNLI Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh Northumberland.
Closed since last year, the £1.4m project to restore it started in earnest on December 5 2006 with the demolition of much of the old building, which will be transformed into a modern two-storey building retaining its original brick facade.
Grace Darling became a national heroine after she and her father rowed through treacherous seas from Longstone Lighthouse to save sailors from SS Forfarshire in 1838. A museum in her honour was opened in Bamburgh in 1938.
Due to open in October 2007, the new museum will contain objects, paintings and Grace's 'coble' rowing boat together with new education and community facilities.
08.12.2006 - Historic Cartwright Archive saved for people of Northamptonshire
A valuable family archive has been saved for the people of Northamptonshire and the nation after a succesful campaign to raise £300,000.
The Cartwright Archive is an exceptionally fine collection of family and estate papers, comprising thousands of documents from the 13th to 20th century.
Although privately owned it has been in the expert care of the Northamptonshire Record Office, until the owners of the collection offered Northamptonshire County Council the first opportunity to raise £300,000 to permanently secure the collection for the nation.
Following a vigorous campaign the necessary funds have now been raised, with contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Cartwright of Aynho Charitable Trust.
07.12.2006 - Tate brings Turners together in campaign to save The Blue Rigi
Tate Britain is to display three famous Turner watercolours together as part of its campaign to purchase one of them, The Blue Rigi, for its permanent collection.
Culture Minister David Lammy slapped an export ban on the Blue Rigi in September 2006 to give time for the funds to be raised to buy the painting and keep it in Britain. The ruling came on the recommendation of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, who judged that the painting was of outstanding aesthetic importance and of outstanding significance for the study of Turner.
As part of the fundraising campaign the Blue Rigi will now join the Dark Rigi and the Red Rigi - all of them beautiful depictions of Mount Rigi as seen from Lake Lucerne in Switzerland - temporarily on display at Tate Briatin from January 22 to March 25 2007.
Tate must now raise £4.95m by March 20 to save the painting for the nation even though it was sold, subject to an export license being granted, at Christie's this year for £5.83m. The buyer is thought to be American.
07.12.2006 - 'Poirot' launches campaign for free access to National Waterways Museum
Actor David Suchet, most popularly known as TV's Hercule Poirot, has launched a campaign for the government to fund free of charge access to the National Waterways Museum.
The Waterways Trust, which is responsible for the Museum in Gloucestershire, is calling for £450,000 from the government to enable it to open free of charge - in line with other museums such as the People's History Museum and the National Coal Mining Museum.
The award-winning Museum is housed in a Victorian warehouse at the historic Gloucester Docks and charts the story of Britain's canals through a special collection which has been designated as being 'of National Importance'. The call comes on the back of the announcement that the government's policy of free entry to our other national museums yielded 34 million visits in the last year alone.
06.12.2006 - Plymouth wins auction for local Turner painting
Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery topped the bidding at an auction for a JMW Turner watercolour of the city making it the first Turner to enter the museum's collection.
Plymouth, From Mount Edgcumbe was painted in 1814 and went under the hammer for £80,000 at Sotherby's. It is one of the best known in a series of Plymouth scenes which Turner produced for the publication, Picturesque Views On The Southern Coast.
It pictures a group of sailors, ladies and gentlemen dancing on Mount Edgcumbe hilltop in celebration of the fleet of ships before them anchored at the Devonport docks.
Turner (1775-1851) visited Plymouth three times and spoke highly of the city and its surrounding countryside and the series of paintings and sketches he made were very influential to local and visiting artists.
06.12.2006 - National Waterfront Museum scores awards hat-trick
The National Waterfront Museum has scooped three awards in a successful week for the Swansea venue.
It has won a Regeneration Award for the best design-led regeneration project in the UK, an award from the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) for its architecture and design and also an Interpret Britain and Ireland gong for the quality of the interpretation of its exhibits.
The museum opened in October 2005 and has already attracted more than 280,000 visitors.
"The National Waterfront Museum is a huge success story for Swansea," said Cllr Chris Holley, Leader of the City and County of Swansea. "It is a terrific landmark building that deserves all the plaudits it has been gaining over the past year."
06.12.2006 - Culture Minister says museums' workforce is not diverse enough
Culture Minister David Lammy has said that diversity in museums is "not good enough" and that political pressure to promote it will increase in the future.
Speaking at a Museums Association conference of national museum directors, Mr Lammy said that at the current pace it would take about 30 years to be at the desired level of diversity. The group agreed with the minister that more is needed to diversify the sector's workforce.
Suggestions to tackle the issue included changing the sector's image to attract a more diverse range of young people, more links with higher education, more creativity in terms of collecting and exhibition programming, combatting low pay in museum jobs and a review of recruitment strategies.
05.12.2006 - Winner of football art prize announced
Ben Kelly from Macclesfield, Cheshire, has won One Love: The Football Art Prize with his painting The Final Whistle - Botofogo 4 - Pontepreta 2.
The painting was inspired by a visit to Brazil when Ben watched mid-table Botofogo beat top of the table Pontepreta, and shows a jubilant crowd as the players walk off the pitch.
Newcastle and England striker Michael Owen was at Manchester's The Lowry Gallery to present Ben with the £15,000 first prize. More than 800 professional and amateur artists entered the competition and the winning work along with the 81 shortlisted works are on display at the gallery until March 25 2007. Image © Ben Kelly
05.12.2006 - Viking treasure set to return to the north-west
A collection of Viking treasure found in 2004 is set to return to the north-west where it was found.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £45,000 has enabled , Grosvenor Museum in Chester and to purchase the Huxley Hoard, named after its finding place near Chester.
Consisting of 22 silver Viking objects, mainly bracelets, in the distinctive Irish Sea style, the hoard dates from around AD850-950 and will form the centrepiece to the Magical History Tour opening at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in July 2007.
Merseyside and the north-west have strong Viking connections. Norse expelled from Ireland in AD902 settled Wirral and Sefton. The legacy continues to this day with many Norse place names, like Thingwall, Meols and Raby, and evidence of Viking DNA in some local residents.
The hoard is currently in the British Museum and will head to the north west in early 2007.
05.12.2006 - Mr Hardman's Studio wins interpretation award
A historic Liverpool photographer’s home has won an award for museum interpretation.
The Interpret Britain and Ireland Award was presented to the National Trust-run Mr Hardman’s Photographic Studio at 59 Rodney Street by TV personality Loyd Grossman, recognising the outstanding way the venue informs and involved the public.
Mr Hardman’s House scored highly against a range of criteria including imagination and innovation, good interpretive planning and a clear commitment to accessibility, training and maintenance. The judge’s citation said the house “made for an enjoyable and atmospheric visit”, and “brought the Hardmans to life”.
Mr Hardman’s Photographic Studio was the former home and studio of Edward Chambré Hardman (1948-1988), Liverpool’s leading portrait photographer of the mid 20th century. Image © National Trust
04.12.2006 - Lottery helps Grosvenor Museum buy historic painting from Cheshire church
Chester’s Grosvenor Museum will unveil a major new acquisition on December 5 2006 in the form of a beautiful 16th century painting of Christ Blessing by Quinten Metsys (1466-1530), the leading artist in early 16th century Antwerp.
The painting was purchased with the help of grants from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Grosvenor Museum Society.
“This wonderful painting is displayed in the museum’s Art Gallery, where it significantly enhances the enjoyment and learning of our visitors,” said Peter Boughton, the museum’s Keeper of Art and Architecture.
“It greatly enriches our small collection of Old Master paintings, and significantly improves the representation of Christianity – one of the great themes of Western art – in our collection."
04.12.2006 - New cheddar cheese matured at the bottom of coal shaft at mining museum
The launch of a brand of cheese may not seem that unusual, but a newly created cheddar was made in a surprising way – it was matured at the bottom of an old coalmine.
Pwll Mawr Cheese from the Blaenafon Cheddar Company was matured 300 feet underground at the Big Pit Mining Museum in Blaenafon, south Wales, using traditional techniques.
“The maturing process is an important part of the science of cheese making and with the temperature at the bottom of Big Pit consistently at 10.9 degrees, it is the ideal environment to develop the flavour of cheese,” said Susan Fiander-Woodhouse, Production Manager at the cheesemakers.
04.12.2006 - World's oldest football returns to Stirling after its World Cup summer
The world’s oldest football has returned to its home at Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery and Museum after a summer on tour at the Museum Für Völkerkunde in Hamburg, Germany where it starred in an exhibition celebrating this year’s World Cup.
The 16th century ball is constructed from a pig’s bladder and covered by delicately interlaced leather, possibly from a deer, and is one of the Smith’s most popular exhibits.
“It’s good to have the ball back in its natural habitat,” said the museum’s Collections Manager Michael McGinnes, who travelled to Hamburg to retrieve the prized artefact. “It has always been admired by visitors and local people alike, and we were very happy to cooperate with our German friends in bringing this piece of history to the widest possible audience.”