Great North Museum: Hancock

Great North Museum: Hancock
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The Great North Museum incorporates collections from the Hancock Museum and Newcastle University’s Museum of Antiquities, the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery.

Highlights of the £26million museum include a large-scale, interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, major new displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal kingdom, spectacular objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt, a planetarium and a life-size T-Rex dinosaur replica skeleton.

The Living Planet display houses hundreds of creatures and by using a mixture of touch screen technology and hands-on investigations, visitors can investigate these animals and find out where they live and how they survive in such extreme places as the arctic and desert.

Live animal tanks and aquaria are integrated into this major display where visitors can see wolf fish, pythons and lizards to name a few. Star objects include a full size model of an elephant, a great white shark, a virtual aquarium, live animal displays, a polar bear, a giraffe and moa skeleton.

Venue Type:

Museum, Library

Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturdays: 10am - 4pm
Sundays: 11am - 4pm

Admission charges

Free (donations welcome)

The Hancock collections represent an amalgamation of many hundreds of individual collections amassed by leading naturalists who worked not only in the North East but throughout the world, pioneering the development of natural history as a science in the 19th and 20th centuries. The collections continue to be actively used by researchers from all over the world. There is research material of international significance within all parts of the collection and this provides an irreplaceable tool by which biological and geological principles such as taxonomy, variation, speciation, geographical distribution, evolution and typology can be studied.

In addition, the Hancock Museum library houses, amongst its extensive archives, one of the largest collections in the world of the watercolours and engravings of the world-renowned, Newcastle born 18th century artist and engraver Thomas Bewick. His works, particularly the engravings featured in History of British Birds and A General History of Quadrupeds, have attracted international interest. He is regarded as the "father of wood engraving" and the success of his technique led to it becoming the most popular form of book illustration for most of the 19th century. A selection of Bewick's work is on display in the Museum in The Bewick Shrine.

The collections reflect the Museum's historic specialisation in the Natural Sciences. The collections number well over half-a-million items, and these include over 1,000 type specimens. A type specimen is the original specimen from which a new species was named. In international terms, the most important collections are the freshwater and marine crustaceans collected by Professor George Brady, and the Carboniferous vertebrate fossils collected by Thomas Atthey and Albany Hancock, some of which can be seen in the Earthworks gallery. Both collections are consulted extensively by researchers from all over the world.

In addition to these collections, the Museum owns an important collection of early vertebrate material as well as historical ethnographic material, some of which is traceable back to the voyages of Captain James Cook. Some of the ethnography collections can be seen in the World of Difference display.

When looking around the Museum you will see a wide range of collections and some truly wonderful objects including the huge fossil tree from Weardale, the giant Spider Crab, the Sea Dragon or Ichthyosaur from Whitby, the skeleton of a Moa, the animals in Abel's Ark and the vast collection of birds including extinct species such as the Great Auk, Passenger Pigeon and Dodo... and not forgetting Sparky Williams, the internationally famous talking budgerigar. Sparky died over 40 years ago but he is preserved in the Museum and visitors can hear some of his recordings.

The Hancock also possesses small collections of archaeological material, most importantly, Egyptology. Although not numerous, these collections do contain some important material, including two New Kingdom mummies which can be seen in the Land of the Pharaohs gallery. One of these, Bakt-hor-nekht, remains wrapped, and has been the subject of extensive research, including pioneering CAT- scanning work in 1991.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Fine Art, Natural Sciences, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Thomas Bewick
  • Professor George Brady
  • Thomas Atthey
  • Albany Hancock
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

World Cultures

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This gallery shows some of the most exciting objects in the museum’s collection from many world cultures – the Islands of the Pacific, the great land masses of Africa and Asia, the plains of North America, as well some parts of Europe (including Newcastle, of course!).

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/world-cultures

Roman Empire

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

This display explores objects from the wider Roman Empire including a huge porphyry foot and one of the most famous coins in the world, a Roman silver denari of Anthony and Cleopatra.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/roman-empire

Natural Northumbria

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Visitors can discover what makes the North East region special in terms of the animals and plants as well as paying a 'virtual' visit to a number of sites in the area.

Investigation Hides provide the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at how animals and plants live and behave in the North East region's woodlands, uplands, lowlands, and coastal areas.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/natural-northumbria

Mouse House

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Mouse House is especially for our youngest visitors and their families. Designed to excite curiosity and encourage young children to explore, the Mouse House gallery is full of surprises introducing the museum’s exciting collections.

Young children and their families are also welcome to join free Mouse House activities. Visit the what's on section of our website to find out about our regular Mouse House events.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/mouse-house

Living Planet

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Bio Wall in Living Planet houses hundreds of creatures and by using a mixture of touch screen technology and hands-on investigations, visitors can investigate these animals and find out where they live and how they survive in such extreme places as the arctic and desert.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/living-planet

Hadrian's Wall

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

An interactive model of the Wall enables visitors to discover the detailed history of this amazing fortification as well as finding out about all the forts, milecastles and associated museums that can be visited today.

The gallery includes a wealth of archaeological finds and visitors can hear stories of life on the Wall from the people who actually lived at the time. Also on display is the gold Aemelia Ring, believed to be one of the earliest Christian artefacts found in Britain.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/hadrians-wall

Fossil Stories

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Discover the Earth's past through its fossil record and find out how amazing some of these creatures were.

Learn about the major changes to the landscape and the animals and plants that were around millions of years ago. Visitors can become palaeontologists and re-assemble a pre-historic creature using virtual technology. Sound, touch and animation brings alive a world that disappeared millions of years ago.

This gallery also has a display on Crystals and Gems providing a sparkling story about minerals their formation, function and beauty.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/fossil-stories

Explore More!

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

An exploratory space for all the family to find out about the Museum's collectors, the reasons why we collect, and the types of classification which can be adopted.

This gallery interprets the Museum's Anglo-Saxon and Medieval collections and provides a wide range of activities and handling material which can be studied either on a casual weekend visit or in a more formal class. Identification reference books and computer interactives support the themes of the natural world, ancient world and world cultures.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/explore-more

Ancient Greeks

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Find out what it was like to be an Ancient Greek and how this great civilisation was shaped by the mountainous terrain that helped to create many different city states.

Visitors can listen to stories of Greek myths, and a huge frieze portrays images taken from the actual objects which are displayed down the centre of the gallery.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/ancient-greeks

Ancient Egypt

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

An exciting exploration of life and death in Ancient Egypt, this exhibition combines the Museum's own Ancient Egyptian collections with a number of spectacular objects on loan from the British Museum.

The exhibition takes visitors through a fascinating journey which explores how the Ancient Egyptians were shaped by the Nile and how they lived their everyday lives as well as their mystical religious beliefs. Visitors can take a dramatic journey through the transition from Life to Death by passing though a tunnel which spans a virtual River Nile.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/ancient-egypt

Large group of protesters Downtown with signs reading “Fight poverty, not Hanoi,” “SAV-CAP in the Hill,” and “LBJ where’s your support?” for demonstration against curtailment of anti-poverty program, January 1967

"Not as it is written" - Black Pittsburgh in voice and image

  • 7 October — 1 December 2017

This exhibition depicts elements of race relations and the civil rights struggle in Pittsburgh, USA, by combining the spoken recollections of black Pittsburghers with historic photos from the world-class Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris archive held by the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

By using Pittsburgh as a case-study, this exhibition embodies one of the central messages of Dr Martin Luther King’s speech: that racism looms over our world and yet the thirst for freedom and dignity remains unquenchable.

The exhibition will run in parallel with the “Teenie Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice” exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA which takes place 29 July 2017 – 28 February 2018.

Image: Charles “Teenie” Harris. American, 1908–1998. Large group of protesters Downtown with signs reading “Fight poverty, not Hanoi,” “SAV-CAP in the Hill,” and “LBJ where’s your support?” for demonstration against curtailment of anti-poverty program, January 1967. Black and white: Kodak Safety Film. H: 4 in. x W: 5 in. (10.20 x 12.70 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6802. © Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive.

Find out more on the Freedom City 2017 website - www.freedomcity2017.com

Part of Freedom City 2017 - a city wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.

Freedom City 2017 is a partnership between Newcastle University, Northern Roots and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/not-as-it-is-written

Martin Luther King at Newcastle University, 1967

FREEDOM

  • 7 October — 1 December 2017

Great North Museum: Hancock presents FREEDOM a new work by Newcastle University’s scholar-filmmakers Ian McDonald and Geetha Jayaraman.

FREEDOM is a conceptual four-screen installation that celebrates the political energy of Martin Luther King Jr and underscores the ‘fierce urgency of now’.

Directed by Ian and produced by Geetha, FREEDOM takes the visit of Dr Martin Luther King to Newcastle University (in 1967 to receive an honorary doctorate) as the setting for an exciting visual collocation of the visit alongside and against archive material and contemporary visuals.

A response to his acceptance speech, FREEDOM deliberates on the three interlinked evils of capitalism that he spoke about: racism, poverty and war. Archival footage is combined with an immersive soundscape to weave portrayals of protests and activism in the UK and USA today into Dr King's speech.

FREEDOM moves from the streets of New York to voices in Memphis, marches in London, Enoch Powell’s visit to Newcastle and more.

Ultimately, FREEDOM prompts the viewer to ask questions about freedom: What is freedom? What is the relationship between freedom and activism? How do we achieve freedom today?

Find out more on the Freedom City 2017 website - www.freedomcity2017.com

Part of Freedom City 2017 - a city wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.

Freedom City 2017 is a partnership between Newcastle University, Northern Roots and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/freedom

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Science Uncovered

Great North Nights: Science Uncovered

  • 29 September 2017 6-10pm

Why don't you do something cutting edge to kick off the weekend?

Across the continent, Friday 29 September is European Researchers' Night so we thought we'd open the museum late and fill it with some of the North East's sharpest minds: scientists, thinkers, doers and fun-lovers.

Researchers are the innovators and the risk-takers, pushing the boundaries of what we know and what's possible. Grab a drink at the bar and chat with one about the burning issues of the day. Explore the museum. Meet a curator. Be the subject of ground-breaking current research. Be different.

Science Uncovered has been a big hit at London's Natural History Museum for years and our inaugural event in 2016 attracted 1000 visitors.

The theme this year is 'Oceans'.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 722950 in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/science-uncovered

Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali in conversation

  • 16 October 2017 5:30-9pm

**Very limited tickets available from 12 noon, Monday 25 September at www.greatnorthmuseum.org.uk**

Join us on Monday 16 October when Tariq Ali is special guest at an evening celebrating the opening of two new exhibitions in the Freedom City 2017 programme.

You'll enjoy a private viewing of FREEDOM (a four screen film installation) and "Not as it is written" (an exhibition of photos and oral histories from the Teenie Harris Archive) before hearing thought provoking talks featuring Tariq Ali, Ian McDonald, Charlene-Foggie Barnett and Ben Houston. There'll be a chance to ask questions, too.

See the full programme below:

5.30pm - Doors open, refreshments available
6pm - Welcome and introduction
6.15pm - Private viewing of exhibitions
7pm - Refreshments break
7.15pm - In conversation: Dr Ben Houston and Charlene Foggie-Barnett. This talk will respond to themes explored in the exhibition "Not as it is written".
8pm - In conversation: Dr Ian McDonald and Tariq Ali. This talk will respond to themes explored in the film installation FREEDOM.
9pm - Close
Timings are approximate and subject to change.

About the speakers

Tariq Ali is an internationally renowned Writer and Filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London.

Ian McDonald is Founder-Director of Film@CultureLab and Director of the Research Centre for Film at Newcastle University.

Charlene Foggie-Barnett is the Archive Specialist for the Teenie Harris Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Ben Houston is Senior Lecturer in Modern US History at Newcastle University.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/tariq-ali-in-conversation

Great North Museum: Hancock
Barras Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
NE2 4PT
England

Website

www.greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

E-mail

info@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk

Telephone

0191 208 6765

Textphone

18001 0191 208 6765

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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