MGM 2007 - Seven Events For Seven Days In Museums & Galleries

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 20 May 2007
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photo shows spirit surrounded by figures

Tate, currently home to an exhibition about William Blake and slavery, is hosting a debate called Slaves to the Past for MGM 2007. The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan circa 1805-9 by William Blake. Courtesy Tate, all rights reserved

We're well into the third week of Museums and Galleries Month 2007 and there’s still plenty going on at venues up and down the country. We’ve been trawling through the 24 Hour Museum what’s on section for highlights, picking seven events for the next seven days.

This week’s events kick off at Tate Britain, where the Institute of Ideas are hosting an in-depth debate about the way in which we view the abolition of the slave trade.

This fascinating debate which features a panel of luminaries from across the cultural sector will ask difficult questions like; “Should we celebrate the end of slavery, or is it better to reflect on the evil of slavery itself?” “Should museums make restitution for collections built on slavery” and “Are there problems with the current preoccupation with documenting and commemorating slavery?”

The debate begins at 8pm on May 21 and is free to attend.

a photograph of a group of punch puppets

Professor Bill Dane’s puppets will be at Llandudno Museum from May 22. © Llandudno Museum

Over at Llandudno Museum, there is an opportunity to see one of the finest puppet collections in Britain as Professor Bill Dane’s collection makes a visit to the museum.

A remarkable collection was amassed by the professor during his professional career as a performer on the promenade at Aberystwyth on the west coast of Wales and spans Punch and Judy characters to puppets from the French fable of Guigno. The collection opens at Llandudno on May 22.

The Unseen Treasures exhibition at the University Gallery and Baring Wing, Newcastle is an exciting new exhibition which brings together many important pieces from the Sena Collection for the first time.

Photo shows dark painting in deep brown tones of a woman's body floating in a river with a lyre floating nearby

John William Waterhouse, Study for Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus. Courtesy University Gallery and Baring Wing

Some of the collection’s striking and evocative paintings are of women both contemporary and mythical, particularly in the case of a painting recently identified as the sketch by Frank Bramley (1857-1915) for ‘Saved’.

It’s the companion piece to ‘A Hopeless Dawn’ where the daily lives of ordinary women are the subject of these dramatic and tension-filled paintings.

A talk on May 23 will ask whether the Victorian women we see in this collection are they are shown as they really were. It will explore the roles of fashion, class and morality in the way that women were portrayed and how this moulded the Victorian ideal of womanhood. This free talk begins at 6pm.

a painting of a grotto with various figures

Jason Ho's Whisper Residency opens at the Chinese Art Centre on May 26. Courtesy Chinese Arts Centre

From May 26 to June 3, Jason Ho invites you to be part of his vision as he brings his vision to life at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester as part of his Whisper residency.

Jason takes his inspiration from two turn of the (last) century directors; David Belasco - famed for his innovation and lavish sets, and turn-of-the-century tastemaker Dion Boucicault, a pioneering exponent of comic and sensational melodrama.

He has taken these elements and reformed them to create tableaux vivants - or stage pictures - performed in silence and comprised of visual narrative and the moving image without the need for sound.

a photograph of penguins

Is it cold down there? Ice Station Antarctica opens at the Natural History Museum on May 25. © NGM

The works currently exist in the form of scripts and this Whisper residency marks a shift to bringing these scripts to life. Members of the public are invited to book twenty-minute sessions with the artist to build a performance of a new script based on a short story by the French author Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893).

No experience is necessary and participants will not need to speak. The result will be filmed and all participants will be given a DVD of their movement at the end of the project. From June 5 all the films will be combined in a loop to form the finished piece and available to view as part of the Open Studio. Sessions run from 10am to 5pm. Pre-booking is essential as places are strictly limited.

If turn of the century stagecraft and avant garde film-based art isn’t your thing, then perhaps you’re more the active, outdoorsy type. If so, our next event might be more your thing.

a photograph of a man in armour grimacing and wielding a sword

He's going to get medieval on your...! At Caldicott castle on May 28. © Plantagenet Society

Could you live in the Antarctic? Could you work in a smelly penguin colony? It might sound like fun, but would you really cut it in the coldest, windiest and most remote place on earth?

From May 25 you can find out at the Natural History Museum’s brand new exhibition ‘Ice Station Antarctica’. Created in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey and using a combination of stunning, high quality visual imagery, interactive activities and real Antarctic objects, the exhibition will create a series of mini-environments for visitors to explore the realities of everyday Antarctic life.

From penguins to poleaxes; we wouldn’t give you a 24 Hour Museum rundown without giving you a re-enactment could we? So… Caldicot Castle in Wales are continuing their fine tradition of having some of the very best events available in the land, with a Medieval Tournament from noon on May 26.

photo of an old glazed pottery beer bottle surrounded by broken bits of glass, pottery and wood

Many people don't realise how much historic items are literally lying under their feet. Courtesy Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery

The Plantagenet Medieval Society will be quite literally out in force all weekend with ferocious combat between armoured knights, displays of archery - including a chance to have a go – as well as period music and dance.

There will also be brass rubbing and an opportunity for children to learn how to become a squire!

Finally we finish of with a load of old rubbish. Peter Hammond has been spending a lot his time rifling through Victorian rubbish. Come and meet him on May 27 at Mansfield Museum and find out more about the Victorians through the things they threw away.

Hear the smelly story of how the rubbish reached the ground and handle lots of Victorian bits and pieces including dolls’ tea sets, buttons and combs made of bone.

These are just some of the hundreds of listings featured on 24 Hour Museum for Museums and Galleries Month 2007. To discover more just enter MGM into the search box on this page or see the What's on Page to search by date or place.

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