News In Brief - Week Ending July 2 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 26 June 2006
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  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending July 2 2006.

photo of a diver underwater

30.06.2006 – Wreckmap Britain 2006 Underway

The Wreckmap Britain project is now underway, encouraging divers to record what they find as they swim near the seabed around the UK.

Divers are asked to take note of wrecks they encounter, supplying interesting features, artefacts and dimensions to the Nautical Archaeology Society, which is making a database of wrecks. A form for recording details can be downloaded from The project has been organised in conjunction with Seasearch. It follows a successful pilot programme in 2005 – read about it here.

30.06.2006 - Steam Powered Internet Machine At Chatham Historic Dockyard

An unusual sculpture by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane goes on display at Chatham Historic Dockyard on July 1 2006. Steam Powered Internet machine links a steam engine to a computer, allowing visitors to surf the net, powered by one of the driving forces of the Industrial Age.

“As well as being fascinating in its own right, the work has a synergy with JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, which was recently voted Britain’s favourite painting,” said Rob Tufnel of Turner Contemporary, who commissioned the work. “It depicts sail, under which the Empire was established, being superseded by steam.”

“The fact that The Temeraire was built here at the former Royal Dockyard in Chatham in 1798 makes it quite fitting that we start our tour here at the Historic Dockyard.”

It will also be the Dockyard's monthly Steam Train Weekend, when steam trains will rumble through the yard. The sculpture will tour to other venues in Kent from July 14.

Antony Gormley, Field for the British Isles, 1993, terracotta (detail)

29.06.2006 – Major Exhibitions At Revamped London South Bank Centre

Among the plans for the revamped South Bank Centre, announced by Artistic Director Jude Kelly on June 29, are two major art exhibitions in the opening season.

The centre will host the first ever full-scale museum show in London by sculptor Antony Gormley, and a major international survey of the development of contemporary painting since the 1960s. The latter, entitled The Painting of Modern Life, will include works by Gerhard Richter, Malcolm Morley, Vija Celmins and David Hockney.

In addition, Jane and Louise Wilson will be artists in residence, creating work rooted in the South Bank and spread across the site, it was announced.

work by Richard Strachan

29.06.2006 – Shortlist for 2006 Aspect Prize Announced

Four artists have been awarded £5,000 each after being short-listed for the 2006 Aspect Prize, one of Britain’s leading art prizes, open to artists living and working in Scotland.

The paintings of Graham Flack, Delia Baillie, Tom Mabon and Richard Strachan will now go on exhibition at Paisley Museum and Art Galleries until July 30th. The artists will also exhibit their work in London next January, when one of them will be selected as overall winner and receive a further £10,000.

The four were selected from a record number of 178 entries - the largest since the competition (formerly known as the Kennox Prize) was started in 2003.

photograph of a man holding a book in front of a castle

28.06.2006 - Kenilworth Castle Revamp Celebrated With New Guidebook

A new guide to Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire has been written to coincide with the completion of the spectacular £2.5m programme of works by English Heritage to restore the Gatehouse.

Written by architectural historian Dr Richard K Morris FSA, the book tells the fascinating story of the development of the castle and gardens and the people that inhabited it. With its impressive Norman keep, John of Gaunt's great hall, and the magnificent buildings raised for Queen Elizabeth I, the castle is a remarkable time-capsule of Medieval and Tudor history.

"The guidebook presents a readable account of the latest academic research on many aspects of the castle, from the stone keep built for Roger de Clinton in the 1120s to the identification of Amy Robsart's 'octangular chamber' in Sir Walter Scott's novel Kenilworth (1821)," said Mr Morris. To order the book, which retails at £3.99, see Picture © Crown Copyright

28.06.2006 - 26 Artists Receive New Eyes Awards In The Blackdown Hills

Twelve ‘New Eyes’ grants of up to £3,000 each have been awarded to 26 artists and craftspeople living or working across the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset.

The ‘New Eyes’ project is funded by the Arts Council of England and South West and Taunton Deane Borough Council and is aimed at all creative people living or working in the area who want to learn new skills or increase their knowledge of new technologies. All commissioned work will begin this summer, with the final events and exhibitions programmed for September 2007.

To keep up to date with the artists' progress, opportunities to attend digital and artists workshops, events and talks visit the New Eyes website at

27.06.2006 - Kirby Muxloe Castle Re-opens After Two Year Restoration

After two years hard work by a firm of specialist conservation contractors, English Heritage has announced that the 15th century Kirby Muxloe Castle, one of Leicestershire's most important historic buildings, has been saved from deterioration and restored for public use.

The £490,000 project, which began in the Spring of 2004, involved restoring the historic brickwork of the gatehouse and southwest tower, part draining the surrounding moat and rebuilding the timber bridge entrance.

"The castle is now safe for all members of the public to explore-with the provision of improved disabled access to the castle and an improved pathway down to the bridge," said English Heritage Architectural Technical Specialist Gurdev Singh. The Castle re-opens to the public on July 1 2006.

a photograph of an old church

27.06.2006 - Historic Scotland Finish Restoration Work On Fortrose Cathedral

Historic Scotland has announced it has completed a difficult major project to stop sections of Fortrose Cathedral on the Moray Firth from collapsing.

The eight-week project involved creating a temporary internal 'skeleton' of props, beams and rods to hold the 110 foot long, 45 foot high medieval ruin steady while old iron rods, inserted during the Victorian period, were removed. State of the art scanning equipment was also used to monitor the process.

"The work means these beautiful ruins, which are an important part of our national heritage, will remain strong for centuries to come," said Stephen Watt, Historic Scotland District Architect.

27.06.2006 - Wellcome Trust Announces Lively Series Of Free Talks For July

The Wellcome Trust is running a lively series of events in July at the Soho Theatre in London as a taster for events to be held at its new £30 million venue due to open on Euston Road next summer.

Themes to be tackled include; What Makes Us Happy? (July 11); Exploring the Rhythms of Life (July 19) and Full of Life, Long Life? (July 26). Each event runs from 6.30pm - 8.30pm and are free but must be booked in advance. For more information see the Welcome Collection website or phone the public ticket hotline on 020 7611 8442.

a sheaf of a letter with drawing and words on it

27.06.2006 - New Home, New Audience For Historic Theatre Archive

An invaluable archive of British theatre history is to get its first purpose-designed home, with the help of a £250,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Hand written papers from George Bernard Shaw, early designs for a National Theatre by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, and material from Laurence Olivier, Antony Hopkins and Judi Dench and Alan Bennett form just part of the Royal National Theatre Archive.

Currenlty stored in a Brixton Warehouse, the archive will now be moved to a temperature and humidity controlled space at the NT Studio, a former technical workshop next to the Old Vic in Waterloo. The Archive, which is due to open soon, will be available free of charge five days a week with one late-night opening.

a photograph of a stately home

27.06.2006 - Hemp Beds To Be Grown At Osbourne House

Gardeners looking after the Walled Garden of Queen Victoria's former residence on the Isle of Wight, Osbourne House, are to grow hemp as part of an educational display.

Hemp, or cannabis sativas, is a variety of cannabis with a low narcotic value and will be grown as part of a display of plants used for fibre production. Traditionally hemp was used, along with several varieties of flax, to make fabric for clothing and for cordage, rope, carpets and sails.

"We hope that the two displays this year will give an insight into how these beautiful plants have an important use to this day," said Deb Goodenough, English Heritage Head Gardener. Picture © English Heritage

a photograph of a young man in an RAF cap

26.06.2006 - Blue Plaque For Guy Gibson Leader Of Dambusters Raid

Guy Gibson V.C. (1918-1944), was commemorated with an English Heritage Blue Plaque on June 26 2006 at 2pm at 32 Aberdeen Place, London, NW8.

As a leader of the Dambusters Raid, Gibson is one of the most celebrated heroes of the Second World War, and Sir Winston Churchill called him "one of the most splendid of all our fighting men." The success of the mission was immortalised in the classic British film "The Dam Busters" (1954) with Richard Todd in the lead role as Gibson.

Guy Gibson and his wife Eve moved to the flat at 32 Aberdeen Place in the summer of 1942 and it is the only address in London at which Gibson is known to have lived. The unveiling comes at the same time as the Bomber Comand exhibtion at Imperial War Museum North, which explores the Allied bomber campaign in WWII - and of course the role of Gibson and the Dambusters. Picture © IWM

a painting of a man in rural attire of the eighteenth century

26.06.2006 - Face Of Pioneer Of The Smallpox Vaccination Revealed By Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust, one the world's largest biomedical charities, has acquired a portrait of the late Benjamin Jesty - the Dorsetshire farmer who was the first known person to successfully practice smallpox vaccination.

Jesty discovered the vaccination in 1724 when he realised that if dairymaids who caught cowpox accidentally were immune to smallpox then those who caught it deliberately would be equally immune.

After many years in the possession of the Jesty family, most recently on a remote farm in South Africa, the painting of Jesty has now been acquired by the Wellcome Library on Euston Road, London.

"We are delighted to add to our collection of historic pictures a work that records so emphatically the human factor in medical advances," said Frances Norton, Head of the Wellcome Library. Picture © The Wellcome Trust

a photograph of a female ships figurebead in blue tunic, bonnet and holding a bouquet of flowers

26.06.2006 - Historic Ship’s Figurehead Back on Display In Isle Of Man Museum

An historic ship’s figurehead has gone on display at the Isle of Man Nautical Museum in Castletown, after Manx National Heritage stepped in to preserve it. The figurehead, from an unknown vessel, was washed ashore at Bride around 1895.

It was previously on view inside the main gate at the Curraghs Wildlife Park, Ballaugh, before being gifted to Manx National Heritage last year.

"I am delighted to say that the figurehead is now back on public display, after some conservation treatment, undercover in the more appropriate surroundings of the Nautical Museum, alongside other artefacts illustrating the Isle of Man’s links to the sea,” said Matthew Richardson, Curator of Social History, Manx National Heritage. Picture © Manx National Heritage

a photograph of three men stood in a courtyard next to a large sculpture

26.06.2006 - Art Fund Gives William Turnbull Sculpture To Fitzwilliam Museum

The Art Fund, the UK’s largest independent art charity, has given the Fitzwilliam Museum a dramatic sculpture entitled Large Blade Venus (1990) by William Turnbull.

The sculpture, acquired for £141,000 from the artist, is being donated to the Museum in honour of The Art Fund’s former Chairman, Sir Nicholas Goodison, who retired in 2002 after 17 years as chairman and 27 as a trustee. Sir Nicholas and his wife have been significant donors to the Fitzwilliam through The Art Fund, adding over 70 pieces of contemporary craft to the Museum’s collection.

"We chose the Fitzwilliam as the recipient for this gift as we are keen to help the Museum develop its holdings of contemporary works of art, and hope to encourage others to do the same,” said Sir Nicholas. Standing over 3m high the bronze sculpture is now displayed in the museum's new Courtyard area. Picture © 2006 Michael Derringer

shows a photograph of a woman dressed as Anne Boleyn

26.06.2006 - Anne Boleyn Returns To Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle in Yorkshire will be the venue for a 'Royal visit' on July 1 and 2, when a very personal portrayal of the last hours of Anne Boleyn, second wife to the infamous Henry VIII, will be staged in a series of presentations by Royal Armouries Live.

Anna Ward, a historic interpreter from the Royal Armouries in Leeds, will recreate the role of Anne Boleyn, reflecting on the love shared with the king, Henry VIII which went awry when she failed to produce a male heir. This failure eventually led to a conviction for adultery, incest and treason, followed 17 days later by her execution.For further information, please contact Helmsley Castle on 01439 770442 or visit

a photograph of a small Scottish Castle cum country house

26.06.2006 - Black Watch Museum Re-opens After Refurbishment

The Museum of the Black Watch has re-opened following an extensive refurbishment. New displays, interactives and teaching resources explore the history of the regiment from 1939 to the present and include films, artefacts, photographs and personal reminiscences.

The museum is particularly hoping to attract school groups and a younger generation to find out about the history of the regiment. Photo © Black Watch Museum

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