News In Brief - Week Ending November 19 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 13 November 2006
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Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending November 19 2006. This page is updated every weekday.

photograph of the side of a building with an illuminated face on it

17.11.2006 - Talking electronic creature attaches itself to wall in Plymouth

Passers by in Plymouth are currently taking the opportunity of communicating with an 8-metre-high digital creature attached to the side of a Plymouth University building .

The electronic creature, called Noogy, will respond to weather conditions, movement of people in the building and text messages. It has been created by an LED (light emitting diode) display on the side of the Portland Square building at the University’s Institute of Digital Art and Technology.

The project was devised by Birgitte Aga, the Institute’s Outreach Curator, a post funded by the Arts Council to take the work of the Institute into the community and to audiences further afield. Find out more at

17.11.2006 - Extinct Shetland pig latest arrival at island’s museum

Although they died out about 100 years ago and no-one living has ever seen one, Shetland Museum and Archives has managed to replicate a Shetland pig for a display of a reconstructed 18th century croft.

The Shetland pig, known as a grice, was a boar-like creature noted for its dissimilarity to other domestic breeds. However, no photographic evidence of the animal exists, so for the Museum’s reproduction of the pig, much research onto written accounts was undertaken by Museum curator Ian Tait and archives assistand Angus Johnson.

The resulting creature – based on an immature boar and created by taxidermist David Hollingworth – can be seen from April 2007 when the museum opens in Hay’s Dock near Lerwick.

sepia photo of a Victorian woman in a kind of sedan chair

16.11.2006 – Previously unseen images of colonial life go online

Thousands of photographs and film clips representing almost 150 years of British colonial life have gone online.

Images of Empire has been developed by the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum and allows users to explore more than 6,000 still and moving images from the museum’s collection, dating from 1860 to the present day.

Key themes in the collection include indigenous cultures, political and royal events, wars and conflicts, sporting occasions, industry and commerce and leisure activities.

16.11.2006 - English Heritage celebrates the splendour of the UK's Jewish architecture

English Heritage has published a new book about Jewish heritage in England. The first comprehensive guidebook to England's undiscovered Jewish architectural heritage, it is based on an authoritative national survey and has been published to celebrate the historic architecture of 350th years of the Jewish community in England.

The full-colour guidebook reveals more than 300 Jewish buildings and landmarks in every region but also raises concerns that Jewish architecture is under unprecedented pressure and is more at risk now than ever before.

"These buildings include some of the finest synagogues in Europe, especially precious because they escaped the ravages of the Second World War," said the book's author and Director of Jewish Heritage, Dr Sharman Kadish.

"They may sometimes be geographically isolated from today's thriving Jewish communities, but they still have great value, both spiritual and cultural, in providing Anglo-Jewry with a sense of history and identity."

Jewish Heritage in England is available for £16.99 from all bookstores and from English Heritage Postal Sales at or 01761 452 966.

photo of rocks with spirals carved into them

16.11.2006 – Web archive of prehistoric rock art wins award

A major archive showcasing England’s finest collection of prehistoric rock art has won a national award.

The Northumberland Rock Art website, which features more than 6,000 images of rock art panels in Northumberland, was launched in 2005 by Newcastle University with rock art specialist Dr Stan Beckensall. It has now been recognised at the 2006 British Archaeology Awards, where it received the Channel Four Television Award (ICT category).

“What really pleases me about this award,” said Dr Beckensall, “is that what began as a rather solitary, low-key activity turned into work that has been acknowledged of prime importance to archaeology.”

16.11.2006 - Immigrant registration cards made available online by National Archives

The National Archives at Kew have made more than 1,000 registration cards of foreign nationals who came to London available to see online.

The cards, which can be seen at, were mandatory until 1991, and the online examples all date from between 1914 and 1991.

They feature personal information such as addresses and employment history, and many include head and shoulders photographs of the individual.

“These files give individuals a fascinating insight into the people who settled in London over the past 100 years,” said Roger Kershaw, head of operations and immigration specialist at The National Archives. “Not only do you learn valuable information about the family’s history, but you can also start to identify with the individuals from their portraits and the circumstances with which they fled to the UK.”

a photograph of a girl sat on the floor with her left hand raised

15.11.2006 - DaDaFest 2006 Launches Across The North West

DaDaFest, the UK's largest festival celebrating the work of disabled and deaf artists is taking place in venues across the North West until December 12 2007.

Focussed in Liverpool with events taking place across the North West, the festival brings together internationally acclaimed top-class professional artists, local home grown talent and up and coming young disabled people.

This year's exhibition programme includes visual and performance art taking place at venues across Liverpool including Tate Liverpool, Bluecoat Gallery and World Museum Liverpool and (for the first time) Manchester.

The programme also includes seminars and workshops that tackle current issues for disabled and deaf artists. For more information and exhibition details see the DaDaFest website.

15.11.2006 - Wellcome Trust acquires rare book from the collection of John Dee

Europe's leading resource for the study of the History of Medicine, The Wellcome Library, has been successful in its bid at Sotheby's to purchase a rare book from the personal collection of the late John Dee, the eminent Elizabethan mathematician and astrologer.

The book, signed and annotated by John Dee himself is: Bartolommeo Viotti, d. 1568. De Demonstratione libri quinque (Paris, 1560). Only two copies of this book exist within the UK and are relatively inaccessible to the public.

"Dee is of great interest as a scholar, and in terms of his annotations in books," explained Frances Norton, Head of the Wellcome Library. "His ownership of this particular book shows that he took an active interest in the contemporary debate on the importance of demonstration and self-experimentation, as led by the founder of modern human anatomy, Vesalius."

The book, which will now be available for members of the public to look at joins three other books from John Dee's collection at the Wellcome Library.

history matters pass it on logo

14.11.2006 - Report says heritage and historic environment has never been so popular

Heritage has never been so popular according to new figures published by English Heritage and key partners from the heritage sector.

The Heritage Counts report identifies the results from the History Matters PASS IT ON campaign launched in July 2006 by key heritage organisations to raise awareness of the importance of history in our everyday lives.

The report found that around seven out of ten adults visited a historic site last year; there were 56.4 million visits to 874 historic environment attractions in 2005; visits to historic gardens rose by eight percent between 2004 and 2005 and over 12 months almost 9,000 hours of television coverage was devoted to heritage, which translates into two billion viewer hours.

It also emerged that every year around 40,000 people offer their time as volunteers in the heritage sector whilst five percent more children visited historic attraction in 2005, making a total of 2,580,000 visits.

However, against these encouraging figures, the report also highlights the challenges facing public buildings as a result of major changes in the way public services are delivered.

Town halls, fire stations, courts, schools and libraries up and down the country are, it says, in serious danger of decaying unless new uses can be found for them.

Copies of the report are available from English Heritage's Customer Service Department on 0870 333 1181 or at

14.11.2006 - Manx National Heritage launches wildlife photographer competition for kids

Manx National Heritage has launched its ‘Manx Wildlife Through the Lens’ - Children’s Photography Competition.

The competition, designed exclusively for children, is in three separate age categories. The first is for children 10 years old and under, the second is for children between and including the ages of 11 – 14 and the final category is for applicants between and including the ages of 15 - 17.

Photographs must be of Manx wildlife scenes, animals or landscapes and winners from each age category will be presented with a digital camera, together with a Family 4 site admission ticket for the Island’s heritage attractions for use during summer 2007.

Winning and commended images will be displayed in an exhibition at the House of Manannan, between Wednesday December 27 2006 and Friday January 19 2007. All children submitting an entry will be entitled to free admission, accompanied by a paying adult, to the House of Manannan for the duration of the exhibition.

For more details and entry forms see the Manx National Heritage website:

photo of a large neoclassical building with a fountain in front of it

13.11.2006 - John Moores 24 Visitors' Choice prize awarded

Nicholas Middleton has won the £1,000 Visitors' Choice award at the John Moores 24 exhibition of contemporary painting at Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery.

His monochrome oil painting, Scene From A Contemporary Novel, depicts a young woman in a rubbish-strewn street and polled a total of 709 votes out of the 5,063 cast by visitors to the Walker between September 16 and October 29 2006. Visitors could choose any of the exhibition's 52 pictures.

"This is a well-deserved Visitors' Choice winner with its almost photographic detail which cannot fail to fascinate the viewer," said An Bukantas, the Walker's curator of fine art. Click here to view the painting online.

13.11.2006 - Birmingham's Lozells and Soho Hill Townscape Heritage Initiative launched

Birmingham City Council has teamed up with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Advantage West Midlands to launch the £1.68m Lozells and Soho Hill Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

The initiative encourages homeowners of properties with architectural or historical interest to restore, repair or reuse them, and the money will be spent on specific projects over the next five years.

Grants of up to 90% may be made to help restore authentic architectural and historical details, 70% grants are available for repairing buildings' structure and fabric and 40% grants are available for bringing vacant floor space back into use.

The funding will be made on a first come first served basis, so if you think you may be eligible contact Birmingham City Council's conservation team straight away on 0121 675 0620.

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