Wardown Park in Luton is making connections with Travelling People in its MGM exhibition. Courtesy Wardown Park
April 29 sees the beginning of Museum and Galleries Month 2006 with the theme of ‘Making Connections’. Galleries and museums across the eastern region have thrown themselves whole-heartedly into the spirit of things, with a plethora of events sure to pull in the crowds.
Cromer Museum begins on Saturday April 29 with tales of the East Anglian past from Hugh Lupton, a renowned storyteller. Thursday May 11 sees an illustrated talk by the curator, Alistair Murphy, about the past, present and future of Cromer and this links to Family Time Lines on May 31, where people can connect their own past to the history of Cromer. Finally on June 2 there is a tour of the town, led by Stuart Alexander telling tales of ghosts and local folklore.
The recently re-opened Strangers Hall. © Norwich City Council
Bridewell Museum and Strangers Hall in Norwich are hosting Oak Apple Day from 10am – 4pm on April 29 with a tour of Norwich’s lanes and history beginning at 2pm, led by The Lord Mayor and Klang the Snapdragon!
Klang is a modernised version of the mediaeval snapdragons that have traditionally been involved in May celebrations in Norwich. The walk will go from Bridewell to Strangers Hall and conclude with glasses of ‘May cup’ and games for the children.
Meanwhile over the Bank Holiday weekend in Cambridge The Fitzwilliam hosts art appreciation tours with Head of Education Frances Sword and family drawing sessions in the armoury.
The long-awaited opening of the Egyptian Gallery on May 27 will herald the beginning of a week of Egyptian themed events, from talks about conservation and ‘The Egyptian world of the dead’ to practical mummy wrapping on June 1.
The Egyptian Gallery at the Fitzwilliam re-opens during MGM 2006. © Fitzwilliam
Over in Bedfordshire there are a number of events relating to travelling people. At Luton’s Wardown Park on May 14 a Romany storyteller will be in place to share tales of traditional travellers’ lives. Not to be left out, Stockwood Park just up the road will be having a happy birthday celebration showing rural life in the 19th century and giving people a chance to have a go at old crafts.
Down in deepest Essex, Colchester Museum begins with interactive, hands-on tours of the museum enabling you to get up close and personal, with guidance from innovative director Peter Berridge.
The items in the exhibitions include one of the earliest known wooden human forms, known as the Dagenham Idol, and items from Queen Boudica’s attack on Colchester. On May 24 will be a revealing talk on the History of Tea Drinking.
Many more events will be going on around East Anglia so phone your local museums and galleries, get down there and learn about local history while having some fun!
Paul Dance is the 24 Hour Museum Renaissance Student Writer in the East of England region. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.