News In Brief - Week Ending May 20 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 14 May 2007
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  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending May 20 2007.

a rotunda building at the head of a formalised garden

17.05.2007 - National Trust Ickworth gardeners win award

An award for ‘disability confidence in the work place’ has been awarded to the gardening team at Ickworth House and Gardens by Job Centre Plus in the East of England.

The team, made up of Head Gardener Sean Reid, six full-time members of staff, careership students and volunteers, were nominated for the award by Katrina Evans from Mencap, the UK's leading learning disability charity that works with people with learning disabilities, their families and carers.

The award commends the team’s achievement in promoting positive attitudes to disability in the workplace and for their work with Colin Brinkley from Mencap, who suffers from learning disabilities.

18.05.2007 - Cardiff’s Museum project puts out call for sports fans

Cardiff’s Museum Project team is appealing to local sports fans to help them with their next exhibition which will celebrate the city’s sporting heritage.

Bats, Boots and Balls, the highs and lows of sport in Cardiff opens in the Old Library at the end of July and researchers are looking for stories, memories or objects to feature in it.

Exhibitions Officer Victoria Rogers stresses that the exhibition will look at all aspects of the city’s sporting life, so she’s hoping to include stories about amateur or parks teams, including those who play ‘just for fun’, as well as the city’s well-known professional sides.

Anyone with a story or object they’re willing to share should contact Victoria Rogers on 029 2087 3197 or

18.05.2007 - Subterranean find on Orkney could shed light on island's past

Archaeologists have found what they think is a souterrain - a subterranean Iron Age earth-house - in an Orkney field.

The find was made while the field was being seeded for barley and then examined by staff from Orkney College Archaeology Department.

"Preliminary investigantions... have shown this to be a souterrain, rather than a cist burial as was initially thought," said Dr Allan Rutherford from Historic Scotland.

"This example seems to conform to the Orkney form, with a long narrow passage and an oval chamber at the inner end. Structures like this are believed to have been used essentially as storage cellars and were usually associated with above-ground houses, although it is known that they may have had wider uses, particularly ritual."

Excavations will run at the site for around three weeks and are hoped to shed further light on the use and function of souterrains on the island.

a photograph of red flowers

17.05.2007 - National Trust launches appeal to preserve Hidcote Manor Garden

On Monday 21 May 2007 the National Trust will launch the Hidcote Centenary Appeal to help raise £1.6 million for this world renowned garden.

The National Trust plans to restore Hidcote Manor Garden to its rightful place as one of the most influential gardens in England, both as a place of beauty and as a centre of excellence to educate and inspire gardeners.

A generous donor has offered the Trust £1.6 million to turn this vision into reality – if the Trust can match the funding. The Hidcote appeal aims to help raise this money so that the garden can flourish once again.

Mike Beeston, Hidcote’s Property Manager, commented: “This appeal is vital in helping us raise £1.6 million so that we can continue our project to return Johnston’s original vision to Hidcote and showcase the garden for the next 100 years."

To donate to the Hidcote Centenary Appeal: call 0870 458 4000 or go to and click 'Donate Now' at the top of the page.

From the 21 May 2007 people will be able to select the Hidcote Centenary Appeal on the ‘Make a Donation’ page and also find out more about the appeal.

17.05.2007 - Blue plaque for Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams

Olympic gold medallist Harold Abrahams (1899 - 1978), the determined Jewish athlete portrayed in Hugh Hudson's Chariots of Fire, has been commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at Hodford Lodge, 2 Hodford Road, London, NW11.

Abrahams lived at this address from 1923 - 1930 and intermittently until his marriage in 1936. It was during this time that Abrahams enjoyed his greatest success in his athletic career, winning his famous gold medal at the 1924 Olympics and captaining the British Athletic Team at the 1928 Olympics.

The Plaque was unveiled on May 17 2007 by Harold's nephew, Tony Abrahams, and Chairman of the British Olympic Foundation, John James, also spoke at the unveiling.

a photograph of a semi ruined castle keep

17.05.2007 - Covenanters converge at Edzell Castle for civil war re-enctment

On May 19 and 20 2007, in the serene surroundings of Edzell Castle, one of the most beautiful historic properties in the UK, visitors will be invited to step back in time to one of the most turbulent times in Scotland’s history - the Civil War.

Members of Fraser’s Dragoones, the most northerly regiment of Civil War society, The Sealed Knot, are converging at Edzell to re-enact the Scottish Covenanters’ preparations on the eve of their valiant efforts to keep their besieged lands from the grasp of General Monck’s English army.

Visitors will witness heroic Covenanters recruiting troops and training as they prepare to battle the English and defend the country against Oliver Cromwell’s invading army.

The event runs from noon to 4pm on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May. Entry is included in the normal admission price to the castle.

17.05.2007 - Encyclopedia of Life underway at Natural History Museum

Work on the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) projects is underway at the Natural History Museum.

Launched last week, the EOL project is a collaboration with the world’s leading scientific institutions to create a free online encyclopedia of all the 1.8 million living species on Earth.

The EOL website will have detailed pages, checked by experts, for every species of animal, plant and organism. There will be images, videos, and details on genetic information, habitats, population numbers, prey and predators, whatever information is available.

Demonstration pages on the EOL website and real species pages will be live in 2008. It is expected to take 10 years for all the 1.8 million species that we know about to be online. However, there are an estimated 5-50 million species of animals, plants and organisms on Earth, so more will added as they are discovered.

17.05.2007 - MLA Partnership takes Action for Archives

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Partnership (MLA) has launched its new four year programme to develop England’s archives.

Action for Archives consists of regional programmes delivered by MLA’s Regional Agencies and four national programmes that will run from 2007 – 2011 and will be funded initially from the MLA Partnership’s existing budgets.

The Regional Agencies’ programmes will continue to provide a wide range of training and advice in response to regional needs and test new models of archive development.

David Lammy, Minister for Culture said: “Archives teach us about our history and identity. They are about our present and future, as well as our past. I welcome MLA's commitment to leading the development of archive services fit for the needs of the 21st Century.”

Four national programmes will benefit over 80 archive services across the country. For more information visit the MLA website.

a photograph of a large country house

16.05.2007 - Charities throw financial weight behind campaign to save Dumfries House

The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, has thrown its weight behind the eleventh-hour campaign by SAVE Britain’s Heritage to secure Dumfries House for the nation, by underwriting the acquisition of the house and contents up to a total of £2m.

The largest pledge in The Art Fund’s history, the pledge follows a £4m donation from the Monument Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, and £1m from the Garfield Weston Foundation to bring the total on the table so far to £7m.

Situated in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, about 50 minutes from Glasgow and 20 from Prestwick Airport, Dumfries House is one of the most important Georgian houses in the UK. An almost unique time capsule from the time of the Scottish Enlightenment, it contains an outstanding collection of untouched 18th century furniture selected specifically for the house at the time it was built, including pieces by Thomas Chippendale and his Scottish contemporaries William Matthie, Alexander Peter and Francis Brodie.

The pledges represent over a quarter of at least £25m thought to be needed to keep both house and contents together for public enjoyment. SAVE will be making an application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund – the government’s heritage fund of last resort – and to the Scottish Executive hoping that they will add their support. If the campaign fails the house will be sold and its contents will be auctioned separately in July.

The house has been put on the market by John Bute, the 7th Marquis of Bute; its historic furniture contents are due to be sold separately at an auction held by Christies on July 12 and 13.

16.05.2007 - English Heritage book explores Northumberland's unique hillfort heritage

A new book has been launched by English Heritage offering an eye-opening new investigation of hillforts, the iconic prehistoric monuments that form an integral part of the unique landscape of Northumberland National Park.

The book, Hillforts - Prehistoric strongholds of Northumberland National Park, presents key discoveries from nearly a decade of research, conservation, and interpretation focussing on the fascinating and extraordinarily well-preserved Iron Age hillforts that punctuate Northumberland's landscape.

a photograph of an orange football shirt on a display torso

16.05.2007 - Major new collection to be unveiled at National Football Museum

Three shirts from legendary football matches are to form the basis of a major new collection on display at the , Preston.

From May 24 visitors can see the shirt worn by Stanley Matthews in the thrilling ‘Matthews’ Cup Final of 1953, Bobby Moore’s shirt from the 1970 World Cup (swapped with Pele and immortalised in a famous photograph) and England full back George Cohen’s Number 2 shirt from the 1966 World Cup Final.

Also included in the collection is the World Cup ball from the first final in 1930 and a number of outstanding football-themed artworks, one of which is a small pencil drawing from 1950 by L S Lowry. The drawing, Going to the Match, was probably the inspiration behind the famous Lowry painting of the same name.

The outstanding collection of over 300 objects is on loan to the Museum from the Priory Collection, one of the finest private sporting collections in the country. Many of these rare items will be on public display for the first time.

a linocut illustration showing a downcast lion

15.05.2007 - Happy Ending for Fry Art Gallery as Bawden Aesop pictures come home

The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, Essex has purchased five linocut prints of Aesop’s Fables by one of the most important illustrators and printmakers of the mid 20th century.

Edward Bawden’s colourful pictures vividly recount some of Aesop’s most well-known and loved tales: the Frog and the Ox; the Hare and the Tortoise; the Gnat and the Lion; the Frog, Mouse and Kite; and the Peacock and the Magpie.

They were purchased at auction for £6,411 with a £3,141 contribution from The Art Fund, and additional funding from the Fry Art Gallery Society and the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund.

Bawden was largely responsible for reviving the interest in the linocut – a printmaking technique derived from the woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface.

Far from being a crude process, Bawden’s technical skill demonstrated the huge range of techniques and visual effects that were possible with the medium. He died at work on a linocut in 1989.

a computer generated images showing the outside of a new stand at a cricket ground

15.05.2007 - Welsh Cricket Museum gets lottery boost

Plans for a major new Museum of Welsh Cricket as part of the new pavilion complex at Sophia Gardens, the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club in Cardiff, have recieved a boost after the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the project £50,000.

A Glamorgan Cricket Heritage Gallery is currently being developed within the existing buildings at Sophia Gardens as a taster for a larger museum due to open in 2008 that will tell the story of Welsh cricket.

Anybody, whether an individual or a member of a cricket club, with items that could be donated or loaned for the Museum of Welsh Cricket can get in touch with Dr Andrew Hignell on 02920 419383 or by email:

15.05.2007 - MLA appoints new Head of Museum Policy

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has appointed a new Head of Museum Policy, Hedley Swain, who will provide leadership in delivering policies for the long-term transformation of museums services in England.

“Hedley’s experience in the cultural sector combined with his in depth knowledge of museum policy and the significant role these institutions play within communities make him the ideal person to work with our partners to provide customer-focussed museum services," said MLA Chairman, Mark Wood. "The MLA is delighted to have him on board.”

Hedley has been Head of Early History and Collections at the Museum of London since 1998 where he oversaw the creation of two new permanent galleries (London Before London and Medieval) and a number of exhibitions, most notably High Street Londinium in 2000.

A published author, he is a tutor at Birkbeck College and an honorary lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. He also supervised the creation of the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre and the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum.

a piece of film with a dots lines and other painted shapes on it

14.05.2007 - Iconic 1930s GPO animation gets Tate airing and cinema release

In collaboration with the British Film Institute (BFI) the Post Office animated film, A Colour Box, is being screened at Tate Modern and at cinemas across the UK from May 14 2007.

One of the classics of British animation, the 1935 short film was made by Len Lye who pioneered the technique of painting directly onto film stock, dispensing with the need for a camera.

The three and half minute film features a dizzying parade of dancing lines, squiggles, dots and arabesques – all set to a joyful Cuban soundtrack. It is also probably one of the most innovative uses of film in the history of advertising and a tribute to the instincts of the GPO Film Unit under John Grierson.

A Colour Box will also be screened in over 35 cinemas across the UK during May before Patrice Leconte’s film My Best Friend, starring Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon.

14.05.2007 - English Heritage launch guide book series for unusual and free heritage attractions

English Heritage is encouraging visitors to explore some of its more unusual and intriguing free historic sites through a series of new regional guidebooks.

The Heritage Unlocked series of eight guidebooks provides an introduction to more than 250 fascinating ancient and historic sites where entry is free. These include prehistoric remains and castles and abbeys, as well as country houses and even entire deserted villages.

English Heritage Guidebooks Managing Editor, Bronwen Riley, commented: "There are all sorts of amazing monuments in English Heritage's care that are completely free of charge. These new guidebooks will help the reader to discover and enjoy many delightful and less well known places."

Each of the Heritage Unlocked guides include features on the area's history, culture and character, as well as an informative entry on each site, all fully illustrated in colour. They also include colour maps and lists of useful websites and further reading.

The Heritage Unlocked series is available through English Heritage admission-charging sites and high street bookshops. The guidebooks are also available via the mail order sales hotline. Tel: 01761 452 966 or email:, or write to English Heritage Warehouse, Gillards, Trident Works, Temple Cloud, Bristol BS39 5AZ.

a photograph of a museum exterior

14.05.2007 - Exciting new gallery at Shipley Art Gallery

The contemporary craft space at Shipley Art Gallery will close on May 29 to make way for a new permanent gallery. Work has already started to remove the industrial history gallery and the whole of the Shipley will be closed for one day only on 16 May for the removal of large objects.

The new gallery will be dedicated to the display of Tyne and Wear Museums’ nationally important collections of craft and decorative art. It will give visitors more to enjoy and will interpret these collections in new ways to show the connections between art, craft and design.

A huge selection of historic and contemporary objects will be on display, from the everyday to the special, and will include chairs, quilts, lighting, teapots and jewellery. There will also be modern design classics by companies such as Alessi and one-off ceramic and metal sculptures by Philip Eglin and Ndidi Ekobu.

Original features will also be restored in the gallery which is due to open later this year. The £500,000 project is supported by major contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Foundation and Gateshead Council.

14.05.2007 - Sustainability and green technology championed at Weald and Downland Museum

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum will look firmly to the future on Sunday and Monday May 20 and 21, when it hosts its annual celebration of sustainability and green technology.

The event includes a day for the general public on Sunday May 20, and a ‘Sustainability for Schools’ day on Monday May 21. Both days will focus on exciting developments in modern building methods, materials and techniques, as well as examining other areas of sustainability such as alternative energy sources, energy efficiency, recycling and sustainable water use.

Admission charges on Sunday May 20 are: adults £8.25, over 60s £7.25; children £4.40, family ticket £22.65, and include a full day’s entry to all the Museum buildings and outdoor exhibits. Group rates are also available. Places for the ‘Sustainability for Schools’ day on Monday 21 must be booked in advance through the Museum’s School Services Dept on 01243 811028.

a photograph of an armoured car

14.05.2007 - Military vehicles descend on Amberley Working Museum

Amberley Working Museum will be holding its third Military Vehicle Show on Sunday May 20, providing a unique backdrop for a wide variety of historic military vehicles from before and after the Second World War.

The event cost includes standard entry, and allows visitors to see other exhibits on site, including a working vintage bus service and narrow-gauge railway, roadmaking exhibition, print workshop, EDF ENERGY electricity hall and the Connected Earth exhibition building.

Further details, including an event programme, can be seen on the Amberley Working Museum website - this link opens in a new window.

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