News In Brief - Week Ending February 11 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 04 January 2007
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Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending February 11 2007.

black and white photo of a front line

09.02.2007 – Their Past Your Future competition offers schoolkids the trip of a lifetime

The Imperial War Museum is offering secondary schoolchildren in England the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid overseas visits as part of the Their Past Your Future learning programme.

Winning groups of 24 A-Level students and four accompanying teachers will travel alongside IWM staff to a variety of destinations around the world, exploring the impact of conflict on people and places, as well as themes such as commemoration, human rights, national identity and commonwealth.

The first prize in the series is a visit to France and Canada in October 2007. For further details and an entry form, visit

09.02.2007 – Ripon’s Workhouse Museum to expand

Ripon Museum Trust has revealed plans to expand its well-preserved Yorkshire Workhouse, Sharow View, thanks to a £50,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The plans will make the building much more visitor-friendly and create a space to house the Local Studies Research Centre. Lost period features like iron gates and railings will be restored and displays will be improved.

The trust is keen to hear from anyone who has historic photographs of the workhouse – if you can help, contact the museum office on 01765 690 799.

09.02.2007 – Psychic museum closes due to unforeseen circumstances

A museum devoted to all things psychic is being forced to close its doors unexpectedly.

York Psychic Museum, opened by astrologer Jonathan Cainer, received on average only 100 visitors a week. Mr Cainer hopes he will be able to reopen it, but told York Press: “If you are asking me for predictions when exactly it will open up again, then it is hard to say.”

09.02.2007 – Asbo for Wandsworth Council over museum closure

Campaigners fighting to keep open following cutbacks by the London borough council have attempted to present the council with an Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO).

Protesters from Wandsworth Historical Society and Wandsworth Museum staff have accused the council of ‘acts of cultural vandalism’, but no-one from the council has so far been available to accept the 'ASBO'.

photo of ivory carved with depiction of enslaved Africans

08.02.2007 - Empire Museum to launch slavery loan boxes for schools

The (BECM) in Bristol is to provide loan boxes of slave trade related artefacts to bring history lessons on this part of Britain’s past alive for schoolchildren.

The news came after Education Secretary Alan Johnson announced that Britain’s role in the trade would be made a compulsory part of the secondary school curriculum. 2007 is the bicentenary of the act that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire.

The Museum’s loan boxes, which will contain original and replica objects like Abolitionist coins and Wedgwood china, are part of the educational programme supporting the Breaking the Chains exhibition. The two-year exhibition, organised to mark the abolition anniversary, will open on April 23 2007. Teacher training days are also planned as part of the programme.

“Because slavery can be a controversial subject, particularly when discussing whether people today should apologise, it is often avoided in the curriculum,” said Dr Gareth Griffiths, Director of the BECM, who supports the move to make it a compulsory topic.

“Pupils find it fascinating when they realise that the abolitionist movement was the forerunner to mass campaigning activities today such as Live Aid.”

08.02.2007 – Mill museum gets electricity switched on

A museum project in a historic cotton mill, held up by a lack of electricity since 2002, can finally get underway.

David Armfield’s restoration of the steam engine room of Grane Mill in Haslingden, Lancashire, was foiled when a nearby housing development cut off his electricity. The developers claimed that they were not contractually obliged to reconnect the power, but have done so as a gesture of goodwill.

The intervening years have taken their toll on the steam engine, though, which rusted a great deal without power or protection. The building needs much work to get it up to scratch. Mr Armfield is appealing for help – call him on 07754 868162 if you can lend a hand.

a photograph of several people holding cards of various sizes

07.02.2007 - Ironbridge Gorge launches discount scheme

A new joint initiative between the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which runs ten museums, and Telford & Wrekin Council, has been launched to help encourage local residents and their families to spend more time visiting the historic local attractions.

Holders of the Telford & Wrekin Flex Card will now receive a massive 40% off the price of an Annual Passport into the Ironbridge Gorge Museums - whilst the price of an annual Passport for the 60 plus, is down from £12.50 to £7.50, saving £5 while a Flex Card for senior citizens is free.

Flex cards, which also allow discounts at various other attractions are available from nine leisure centres throughout the region; non-residents can also purchase the card for a slightly higher fee although some concessions do not apply. For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 884 391 or visit

07.02.2007 - ICA joins Sony for digital art exhibition and competition

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is collaborating with Sony Ericsson to launch an initiative to help celebrate its 60th anniversary by inviting members of the public to compete for a place in a forthcoming exhibition.

59 high profile names - spanning film, design, art, literature, music, fashion, science and politics and including Bloc Party, Peter Blake, Chapman Brothers, Alison Goldfrapp, Helena Christensen and Nathalie Press, have committed to produce images for a book and exhibition inspired by the theme of ‘Tomorrow’.

All images will be taken using a Sony Ericsson K800i Cybershot phone. One lucky member of the public will be chosen to complete the final 60th image for the project.

The winning participant will get to see their work form part of an accompanying exhibition called All Tomorrow's Pictures as well as having their image unveiled in a hardback book at a gala charity event, both at London’s ICA. The winner will also receive a Sony Ericsson K800i Cybershot phone, a Bluetooth printer, a year’s membership at the ICA and a day with a professional photographer to learn tips from a master.

To enter the project, images can be sent via mobile MMS to The competition goes live on February 7 and will be open until March 2007. Further information and inspiration for pictures can be accessed via

photos of some pieces of gold jewellery

06.02.2007 - Corinium Museum hits Going for Gold target

The Corinium Museum in Cirencester, The Cotswolds, has raised its £20,000 target to keep a rare hoard of 3000 year old gold.

The Going for Gold appeal was launched last October and public donations amounted to £3,000 in just three months, which meant the museum was able to secure a further £17,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Fund, the Headley Trust and the National Art Fund.

A metal detectorist discovered the Bronze Age hoard near Poulton in 2004 - it is the only gold collection from this age to be found in the Cotswolds. It will undergo conservation before going on display at the museum from spring 2007.

The 59 pieces of gold, which appear to include fragments of jewellery and sheet gold work, were declared Treasure last year and the proceeds of the sale will be split between the landowner and the finder.

06.02.2007 - 350 year old artillery defences found at Edinburgh Castle

Archaeologists working beneath the entrance to Edinburgh Castle have found part of a frontal artillery defence probably built around 350 years ago.

It is thought that the two metre thick wall would have been built after damage caused by the sieges of 1640 and 1650 when the castle fell to the Covenanters and Oliver Cromwell.

"This discovery is very exciting as it just shows how much more history still remains beneath Edinburgh Castle," said Peter Yeoman, Senior Archaeologist at Historic Scotland.

The archaological work is part of the ongoing project to create a new visitor reception area at the front of the castle.

photo of a man holding a book with the word titanic on it in front of a model of a ocean liner

06.02.2007 - Titanic model goes on display at Aberdeen Maritime Museum

A replica of the Titanic has gone on display at Aberdeen Maritime Museum before heading for Belfast for the 95th anniversary commemorations of the ill-fated liner's sinking in 1912.

The model is a 1/144th-scale copy of the White Star Liner, and was built by Aberdeen student Stuart Robb and his partner. They spend three years constructing the ship out of wood, brass, plastic and card.

"The Titanic has become perhaps the most famous ship in history and it was the largest vessel of its day," said John Edward, Keeper of Science and Maritime History at the museum. "This is a superb model which is incredibly detailed." Photo: Aberdeen City Council/Norman Adams

06.02.2007 - Beachcomber finds ancient footprints on Welsh beach

A Welsh beachcomber claims to have found ancient human footprints dating back several thousand years, embedded in an ancient Welsh peat bed on Kenfig Beach, Porthcawl.

Speaking to the Western Mail, Steve Maitland Thomas said he had found a series of size eight footprints on January 19, "the day after storms had whipped up the sand revealing the bedrock below."

Maitland Thomas believes the prints were deeply impressed into the surface of the peat beds, which are now almost rock-hard, after being under tons of sand for the last 6,000 years.

photo of the side of an abbey building with an arched passageway running through it

05.02.07 - Archaeologists bid to unravel mystery of Thornton Abbey

archaeologists are bidding to unravel the turbulent post-dissolution history of Thornton Abbey, near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

A major project is underway as part of the £4.5m South Humber Bank Heritage Tourism Initiative to tap the site’s potential as a visitor attraction and also carry out conservation work and further archaeological investigation.

A key aim for the team of investigators is the task of unravelling the mystery of the site’s fate after it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1538. Built in the 14th century after the Peasant's Revolt, the abbey was one of England’s wealthiest Augustinian monasteries and boasts the nation’s best preserved monastic gatehouse.

In common with many medieval abbeys its heyday is well documented while its post dissolution history is shrouded in mystery.

“It’s a big mistake to believe history stood still after the monks left,” explaind English Heritage Archaeological Investigator Al Oswald. “Thornton has never been intensively studied and because the site has escaped modern development, there’s a great deal still to discover. The information we glean will be used to create exciting new interpretation panels and displays.”

The site will open to the public in June 2007. Picture courtesy English Heritage

05.02.2007 - British Library marks Auden centenary with tribute reading

Wednesday February 21 2007 marks the centenary of the birth of Wystan Hugh Auden and the British Library is celebrating the anniversary with a reading by some of the UK's top poets.

The poets lined up for the centenary reading are: Grey Gowrie, Richard Howard, Andrew Motion, John Fuller, Sean O’Brian, James Fenton and Peter Porter. All of them, with the exception of Sean O'Brien who was 20 in 1973 when Auden died, knew the poet.

Organised with the help of the Stephen Spender Memorial Trust, the reading will reflect the enormous breadth and technical variety of Auden’s published output, including both the poems of the 1930s that chart ‘a low dishonest decade’, and his later work published while resident in the United States.

The event takes place on Wednesday 21 February 2007 at the Shaw Theatre, 100 Euston Road, London NW1 2AJ (next door to the British Library) between 19.00 – 20.15. £10.00 (concessions £7.50). To book call 0207 412 7222

05.02.2007 - Plague of Moths attacks museum collection

Staff at a museum in Norwich are battling to save a historic textiles collection - from a horde of hungry moths.

The infestation at Strangers Hall, one of Norwich's most famous historic properties, has led museum bosses to declare a state of emergency and to embark on a campaign of freezing and other measures in order to bring the hungry predators under control.

Collections under threat at the museum include a rare collection of dolls, which is one of the largest in the country.

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