Leeds' Museums and Galleries Festive Roundup

By Graham Spicer | 16 December 2005
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Shows a graphic image of a cartoon father christmas and snowman glaring at each other

Santa Vs The Snowman at the IMAX cinema in Bradford. Courtesy National Museum of Photography, Film and Television

Museums and galleries in and around Leeds have a range of interesting events and activities on during the holidays – read on for some of the highlights.

The Royal Armouries will be entertaining visitors with carol singing on December 17, 19 and 23 and music and storytelling from the Trouvere Medieval Musicians on December 18. Not only that, but they are also staging a pantomime – Aladdin and His Magical Lamp - on several dates – check their website for details.

Something of the Night: Imagining the City, 1875-2005 is on at Leeds City Art Gallery until January 8 2006. Leeds after dark is explored through painting, photography, sculpture and new media.

Their Past Your Future is still on at Leeds Central Library until December 31. Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, it explores personal stories from the conflict and includes archive film footage, old photographs of Leeds and Luftwaffe bomb maps of the area.

Shows a photo of the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds with its modern octagonal glass tower

The Royal Armouries has medieval minstrels and is even staging a pantomime. © Board of Trustees of the Armouries

The Henry Moore Institute always has a range of interesting exhibitions showing, not all confined to sculpture. They are currently showcasing their most recent acquisitions of works on paper by sculptors and also have exhibitions examining the symbolism and power of bronze as a sculpting material and photographs from pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner.

Temple Newsham, just outside of the city centre, is a magnificent historic estate and the exhibition Restoration! – The Rebirth of a House, which runs until December 31, goes behind the scenes at the work involved in the restoration of its Tudor-Jacobean manor house.

Another local historic building from a much earlier date is Kirkstall Abbey. Its new visitor centre helps to shed light on the 12th century building, one of Britain’s best-preserved abbeys.

colour photograph of a ruined stone abbey framed by a tree in the foreground

The 12th century Kirkstall Abbey has a brand new visitor centre. Courtesy Leeds City Council

Further afield in Bradford the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television is well worth a visit with plenty going on to keep all ages happy. Their most popular IMAX film, Santa Versus The Snowman, returns, showing every day during the holidays.

You can also join in the seasonal activities there every Saturday and Sunday in December (apart from Christmas Day) and make a Santa or snowman bauble to help decorate the museum’s Christmas tree.

Robot Wars comes to the museum on December 17 and 18 at 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm, where the machines from the hit TV show will do battle. Book early for this popular event.

Until January 6 2006, you can see a festive display of Christmas-related items from the museum’s collection including a camera in the shape of Santa’s head.

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