The Culture24/7: History and Heritage picks for November 2011

By Richard Moss | 01 November 2011
a detail from an illuminated manuscript showing God with his compass sat astride the world
Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library. A detail from God the Creator in a French History Bible, Bible historiale, Clairefontaine and Paris (1411)© British Library Board
From illuminated manuscripts at the British Library and Joe Orton's desecrated library books in Islington to Surfmobiles in Coventry and a Historyfest in Edinburgh, there are history and heritage treats aplenty in store for November...

Illuminated Manuscripts, The Genius of Illumination, British Library, London, November 11 - March 13 2012

The clue is in the subtitle of this exhibition, which showcases some truly spectacular illuminated manuscripts collected by the Kings and Queens of England from the 9th to 16th centuries. On display will be the riches of the Library's 'Royal' collection, providing fascinating insights into the politics and belief of Royalty in the Middle Ages.

New Galleries of Ancient Egypt and Nubia at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford from Saturday November 26

Home to some of the finest ancient Egyptian and Nubian collections in the country, the Ashmolean Museum is going to take visitors on a chronological journey through the world's great civilisations with these galleries which complete the museum’s Ancient World Floor. The £5 million project will reveal objects in storage for decades, doubling the number of mummies and coffins on display.

Mineros, Bolivia, Hard Rock Gallery, Geevor Tin Mine, November 8 2011 – January 6 2012

What better place for an atmospheric exhibition about miners than a preserved tin mine? The history of the miners at Geevor also provides some interesting parallels in this exhibition of gritty photographs taken by Jean-Claude Wicky. Between 1984 and 2001 the Swiss photographer took more than 80 photos at 30 mining centres in Bolivia and the results are both haunting and stunning. See our Preview.

History Fest, Scotland's Festival of History November 17 – 30

"Our history has for too long been hidden in a sort of national attic," says the website for this two-week festival. Surprising really for a nation that seems readily in touch with its heritage. No matter, dozens of history talks, readings, workshops and tours are on offer here ranging from a descent beneath the streets of the capital to a tour of St Giles Cathedral. See

Malicious Damage: The crimes of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, Islington Museum, until February 25 2012

In 1962 the aspiring playwright Joe Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell were both sentenced to six months' imprisonment for malicious damage to library books borrowed from Islington Public Library. Now for the first time Islington Museum is offering a closer look at their famous handiwork along with other material reflecting the life and work of the ill-fated pair.

Wheels & Waves, Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry, until March 18 2012

As well as sex wax, surf boards and baggie beach shorts, an essential part of the surfer's kit is a good set wheels. This exhibition of classic vehicles used by British surfers from the 1950s to the present day includes a 1968 Split-Screen Dodge Camper, a range of VW Campers and Beetles and some iconic "woodie" cars. It also includes an array of surf art, photographs and memorabilia from British surfers past and present. Gnarly.

When I'm 64, Walsall Museum, Walsall, until December 7 2011

Mining its considerable costume collection, Walsall Museum charts the life of a little girl born in 1947 through the clothing she would have worn at different stages in her life. This fascinating sartorial timeline reveals the fashions of women who were among the earliest fans of the Beatles in the 1960s, and now find themselves at the magic age the band once sang about.
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