Culture 24/7: Top History and Heritage exhibitions to see in the UK for November 2013

By Ben Miller | 01 November 2013

Ice Age tribes in Derbyshire, the return of a £2.3 million helmet in Cumbria and cabinets of curiosities in Lancashire and Devon - here are this month's history highlights...

A photo of various types of brown and white ancient pipes laid out in a row
These three post-Medieval clay tobacco pipes, found in Sheffield during the 1960s, are part of a Castle Market-based display at Weston Park© Museums Sheffield
Crosby Garrett Roman Helmet, Tullie House, Carlisle

Back in 2011, curators at Tullie House were foiled in a bid to buy this revered bronze Roman helmet, seeing their £1.7 million auction offer eclipsed after a fundraising campaign which included a £1 million National Heritage Memorial Fund pledge and a £50,000 donation from one particularly generous individual supporter. The buyer, who paid more than £2.3 million for the portrait of a youthful, curly-haired soldier, has now lent it back to the gallery for a display which is certain to attract thousands of visitors.

A Baltic Gem, Creswell Crags, Worksop

A small, amber pebble, found by Victorian archaeologists in the Robin Hood Cave – the largest cavern at Creswell Crags – is a craggy miniature gateway to the (often unresolved) stories of Ice Age tribes in deepest Derbyshire. Find out why amber was also put to medicinal and decorative effect.

Essentially Me! (from November 1); What do you Collect? Cooking the Books (from November 5), Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter

A recipe for a fine display in Exeter, where one man’s fastidious collection of cookery chapters and foodie ephemera represents a passion for culinary history. An open call for local people to share their objects and stories also results in an intriguing cabinet of curiosities.

Sheffield Castle Revealed, Weston Park, Sheffield, from November 9

Castle Market’s imminent relocation from its 1960s home – once the setting for a medieval castle, and the scene of archaeological excavations at the start of the last century - has seen historians revisit some of the finds from the site. See objects and images from the digs here.

Aston Hall by Candlelight, Aston Hall, Birmingham, until November 10

The Jacobean-style mansion near Aston Villa FC restores its popular winter event, with a 17th century winter theme which will see servants preparing the place for the return of former owners the Holte family. Cue musicians, actors, performers and enough candles to fill a wax factory.

Collections Show, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, from November 16

Taking inspiration from Work No 231, Martin Creed’s flashing neon spelling out a call for “Things”, and the Grundy House Museum which was once home to gallery co-founder Cuthbert Grundy, this cabinet of curiosities curates the belongings of the good people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast. Lighters, Daleks and the possible head of Tutankhamen are a few to look out for.

Fabulous Forty, National Wool Museum, Llandysul, from November 23

A welcome return for the exhibition which marked the 40th birthday of the National Slate Museum last year. Discover how the Victorian workshops became the North Wales Quarrying Museum, turning disastrous job losses into a heritage joy for more than 2.6 million people and counting.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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