News In Brief - Week Ending May 6 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 30 April 2007
  • News
  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending May 6 2007.

a painting of two men with their thumbs to their noses

04.05.2007 - Gilbert and George thumb their noses and help blind people see works of art.

The artists Gilbert and George have given permission to the national charity Living Paintings for their famous 'Thumbing' picture to be adapted so it can be 'seen' by people who are blind or partially sighted.

A wooden template will be made of the picture and a plastic mould then taken to produce a raised image of the portrait of the two men standing and thumbing their noses in a deliberately prankish manner – perhaps at the conventions of traditional art.

Blind or partially sighted people will be able to feel their way around the image with the help of an audio description on CD or cassette. The description will direct their fingers, tell the story of the painting and give them a history of Gilbert and George and their work. In this way the senses of touch and hearing combine to make up for the missing sense of sight.

The painting will now feature in the special exhibition Living Paintings, which features adaptations of some of the world’s most famous works like Sunflowers by Van Gogh, Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney and The Snail by Henri Matisse.

The exhibition is part of a free lending library sent to blind and partially sighted people across the UK.

04.05.2007 - First ever national email archive to be created by British Library

To celebrate the UK launch of the new Windows Live Hotmail, Microsoft has announced a unique collaboration with the British Library, to create the first ever archive of British emails today.

The Email Britain campaign, which will run throughout May, asks the British public to make email history by forwarding a memorable or significant email from their sent mail or inbox, for inclusion in a digital archive that will be stored at the British Library for future generations.

To contribute to the Email Britain archive, emailers should log on to for more information, or email directly to

Emails should be submitted under one of the following categories which should be typed into the subject box of the email: Blunders, Life Changing Emails, Complaints, Spam, Love and Romance, Humour, Everyday Emails, News, World Around You, Tales from Abroad.

04.05.2007 - David Lammy puts export stop on iconic Union flag from first sea battle between French and British

Culture Minister David Lammy has placed a temporary export bar on an 18th century Union flag. The item was flown as Lord Howe's command flag at the Battle of the Glorious First of June 1794; the first naval clash between the British and French of the French Revolutionary Wars, celebrated as a great victory by the British.

Last flown on D-Day, this will provide a final chance to raise funds to keep the only known example of a Union command flag to survive from this period in the United Kingdom.

The export licence application for the flag will be deferred for a period ending on June 3 2007 inclusive. This period may be extended until August 3 2007 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the flag at the recommended price of £48,000 excluding VAT (£49,400 including VAT) is expressed.

a photograph of a dragonfly on a flower

03.04.2007 - Hairy Dragonflies spotted at Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre

Staff at Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre have spotted the first dragonfly of the year buzzing around the mere (small pond). The creature spotted was a rare hairy dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) - even the female has hairs on her chest!

“Today with our warmer climate the dragonflies are coming out earlier – usually we don’t expect to see them until late May," explained Mike Webber, Learning Officer at Flag Fen.

"3,000 years ago our ancestors lived in this area when the climate was getting warmer and wetter, today we are also living through a climate change that is giving us warmer weather and bringing the dragonflies and flowers out earlier."

For anyone interested in dragonfly spotting Flag Fen is offering free entry to residents of Peterborough on May Day Bank Holiday. On June 3 Flag Fen will also be running a whole day devoted to the environment with insect and bug hunts, pond dipping and children’s activities.

03.04.2007 - Remus the Horse dies at Museum of East Anglian Life

The Museum of East Anglian Life has announced the death of Remus, its Suffolk Punch, thought to be the oldest horse of its kind in the world. Remus was brought to the museum as a one year old in 1980 and last week celebrated his 28th birthday.

“Remus will be sadly missed, not just by staff, but by generations of Stowmarket children who have grown up recognising him as a symbol of the museum," said Museum director Tony Butler.

"In his prime Remus was the museum’s working horse and was used for harrowing, loggings and cart rides for the public. For the last seven years he has enjoyed a well earned retirement.”

Remus will be cremated and his ashes interred upon the museum site.

photo of three people dressed in Anglo-Saxon costume

03.05.2007 - Scottish Archaeology Fair ready for the off

The biannual Scottish Archaeology Fair is taking place at Strathpeffer Pavilion this Saturday (May 5).

This free event, organised by the Council for Scottish Archaeology, will have lots of interactive events for all ages exploring the archaeology of Scotland and the Highlands.

It will be the biggest fair to date, with talks from local and national archaeologists and specialists, displays and workshops, guided walks of the area, opportunities to try ancient technologies and activities with the Young Archaeologists Club.

The Lochlands Vikings group will also be setting up camp in the village, demonstrating Viking crafts and technologies and staging a skirmish with some local Picts.

Check the Council for Scottish Archaeology's website for more details.

a photograph of man with greying black afro hair

03.05.2007 - Nobel Prize-winning author to speak at Empire and Commonwealth Museum

Wole Soyinka, the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, is to appear at the in Bristol on Wednesday May 9 between 12.30pm and 2.00pm.

In a rare visit to the South West, he will talk about his life as a human rights activist as well as reading from a selection of his best-known works.

Soyinka was born in Western Nigeria in 1934. During the civil war in Nigeria in the 1960s he was accused of conspiring with the Biafran rebels and held as a political prisoner for two years. He has published about twenty works including drama, novels and poetry and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

The event is part of Bristol's Festival of Ideas, which runs from May 9 - 30. The festival also includes an appearance at the Museum on the May 16 by William Dalrymple, one of Britain’s leading writers on Indian history and best-selling author of 'The Last Mughal'.

For information and tickets £6 (£4 concessions), phone 0117 925 4980.

a photograph of an ornate silver goblet

03.05.2007 - V&A acquires rare 18th century Marlborough silver

A rare 18th century silver ewer and basin which once belonged to Britain’s great military leader John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, has been acquired by the V&A for £840,000.

The ewer and basin - outstanding and rare examples of Louis XIV French silver - were offered to the V&A as a private treaty sale through Christie’s in March 2006, and the museum was given a deadline of April 2007 to raise the funds.

Crafted in Lille c.1711-12 by Elie Pacot (1657-1721), one of the greatest French goldsmiths of the era, for the Duke of Marlborough, the ewer and basin are of exceptional quality and in excellent condition. As a great deal of French silver was melted down by royal command during the reigns of Louis XIV and XV, they count as rare survivors.

The Duke, who was a renowned collector of silver, developed a taste for the work of Pacot after he led the siege of Lille in 1708. Decroated with the figures of Minerva (the Roman goddess of war) and other Roman emperors, the pieces were used for entertaining at Marlborough House and Blenheim Palace.

Now on display in the V&A's Whitley Silver Galleries, the important acquisition was made thanks to a grant of £290,000 from The Art Fund and significant additional funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and donations from trusts, foundations and private individuals.

a black and white photograph of a soldier wearing a beret

02.05.2007 - Veterans to recall the Falklands Conflict at the Royal Marines Museum

The Royal Marines Museum in Southsea is presenting an evening entitled We were there – The Falklands Remembered on May 9.

Veterans of the Falklands conflict will be present to give their personal accounts and recollections on the 25th anniversary of the war.

Major-General Julian Thompson CB OBE, who commanded 3 Commando Brigade in the conflict, will introduce the evening and link the speakers as well as provide an insight into his own experiences during the conflict.

Tickets for the evening are £7.50. The evening starts at 7pm. To book tickets call 023 9281 9385 x 242.

02.05.2007 - Shortlist announced for Museums & Heritage Awards

The shortlist for the 2007 Museums & Heritage Awards has been announced in preparation for next week’s awards ceremony on May 9 at the New Connaught Rooms, Convent Garden.

Those in the running for an award at this year’s event include: Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts, Pallant House, The Old Operating Theatre and .

The Museums & Heritage Awards aim to recognise and celebrate best practice within the UK’s museums, galleries and cultural attractions and will this year be presented by journalist and broadcaster Simon Calder.

Hundreds of entries were received across the 10 categories whittled down to a shortlist of up to five projects in each.

Categories include: Educational Initiative, Project on a Limited Budget, Permanent Exhibition, Temporary or Touring Exhibition and the Classic Award – presented to an attraction that been open to the public for ten or more years and has consistently seen continued growth and visitor interest.

a photograph of a large circular building resembling a large luminescent tyre

02.05.2007 - Coventry Transport Museum to open Boomtown Gallery

Coventry Transport Museum has recently completed a brand new gallery called Boomtown that charts Coventry's booming road transport industry from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The new gallery is the latest in a series of high profile developments at the Museum and features a real tarmac roadway, complete with working cats eyes.

Visitors who follow the course of the roadway will hear people talking about their experiences in the city and be able to have a go at building cars on a mock production line, play an 'engine organ' and explore where Coventry cars have been sold around the world.

The gallery also features a Mini emerging from a tunnel, representing one of the most famous chase scenes from the iconic movie The Italian Job, which was filmed in Coventry's sewers. There is also a recreation of Coventry's ring road, once described as the best in the country.

02.05.2007 - Juliet Haysom Wins Jerwood Sculpture Prize 2007

The fourth sculptor to win the £25,000 award for the Jerwood Sculpture Prize is Juliet Haysom for her work Spring.

Juliet has won a commission that will see her drill a bore hole above a natural aquifer in Jerwood Sculpture Park, in the grounds of Ragley, Warwickshire. The spring she creates will emerge as a mist of fine water approximately 100x100x200cm in size.

Spring will be unveiled in 2008 and it is expected that this drawing up of water and recycling into the earth will have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Now in its fourth year, the prize has built a strong reputation for quality and innovation. The first three commissions were won by Benedict Carpenter, Gereon Krebber and Judith Dean.

image of a building exterior on a dockside

01.05.2007 - Museum of Liverpool project gets going with ground cutting ceremony

The first turf has been cut for the new multi-million pound Museum of Liverpool at a ceremony on April 31. National Museums Liverpool Chairman Loyd Grossman joined Director David Fleming for the landmark event.

The ceremony marks the appointment of a main contractor, Pihl Galliford Try - a Danish/British joint venture, to build the multi million pound venture.

State of the art facilities will replace the Museum of Liverpool Life, which closed in 2006. Although still attracting 300,000 visitors every year, the museum was considered incapable of staging significant tourist exhibitions.

More than 1.6 million visitors pass through the doors of the city’s eight national museums each year.

photo of a man sat on a vintage motorcycle next to a red phone box

30.04.2007 - Amberley gears up for vintage motorcycle show

Amberley Working Museum's annual Vintage Motorcycle Show is set to return to the West Sussex venue in style, with more than 400 vehicles expected.

The event, taking place on May 6, will provide a unique opportunity to see a history of motorcycle design with motorcycles from as early as 1912 due to be there.

"Visitors are always so pleased to not only see the machines on display, but still working and lovingly maintained by their owners," said Museum marketing manager Sandy Wilson.

"The event has a great atmosphere - with entrants ranging from Moto Guzzi to Matchless, not to mention the odd Panther and Cheetah - that's hardly surprising!"

30.04.2007 - NVQ in Archaeological Practice launched

A new scheme has been launched meaning that budding archaeologists will be able to obtain relevant vocational qualifications.

The National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 and 4 in Archaeological Practice was developed by the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA), Education Development International and the Creative and Cultural Sector Skills Council.

As well as being used for accrediting on-the-job training, the award will be available to students and amateur archaeologists. Contact the IFA on 0118 378 6446 for more details.

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