News In Brief - Week Ending July 16 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 10 July 2006
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  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending July 16 2006.

woodcut of a jester dancing next to a man beating a drum

14.07.2006 - English Heritage Jester Peterkin Sets Off On 100 Mile Jig

Peterkin, the English Heritage jester, has started a 100 mile jig to the Festival of History. The jester set off from Bristol on July 12 and aims to arrive at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire by August 12 for the festival's opening.

He will be following in the steps of a similar foolish venture by Will Kemp, a comic actor from Shakespeare's company The Chamberlain's Men, who jigged the 100 miles from London to Norwich in 1599. Like Kemp, jester Peterkin will be jigging along his route to authentic 16th century music - see the English Heritage website to keep track of his progress.

14.07.2006 - Sculptures Inspire Poetry Reading At Derby Museum And Art Gallery

Contemporary ceramic sculptures by Angelan Vernon on display at Derby Museum and Art Gallery have provided the inspiration for a Nottingham-based poet.

Dave Wood will read his new poems at the gallery on July 27 from 1-2pm and this will be his third collaboration with the museum. Sculptor Verdon's works are made from bone china and are abstract, polished forms.

screen shot from the futuremuseum website

14.07.2006 - Futuremuseum Website Launched For Southwest Scotland's Museums

The website has been launched, providing free online access to southwest Scotland's museum collections. It cost £500,000 to develop and aims to maximise access to collections and deepen understanding of the region's rich and interesting history.

More than 10,000 objects are to be photographed for the website over a three-year period. Items are chosen by curators to best illustrate their collections and some 1,500 images have already been added to the website.

14.07.2006 - Great Art Quest To Help Schoolkids Engage With Local Art And Galleries

Year four and five pupils from schools across the country will be working with artists and storytellers to get to know their local gallery and the stories behind the artwork displayed there.

The project, called the Great Art Quest, was developed after a survery found that only 32% of children could remember visiting their local art gallery. A total of 30 schools are participating and teachers from each school will attend a training day at London's Somerset House before leading the Great Art Quest excursions in the autumn term.

painting of some small figures in front of stylised mountains

14.07.2006 - London's Ben Uri Gallery Set To Display Largest Number Of Solo Shows In A Fortnight

The Ben Uri Gallery, the London Museum of Jewish Art, is looking to claim the world record for the greatest number of solo artist's show at a gallery in a fortnight, from August 10-24.

Curated by Sarah Lightman, the gallery has 24 exhibitions lined up over the two weeks with an accompanying series of talks and workshops.

Picture: Oreet Ashery, Village Series III

14.07.2006 - MAGDA To Cease Operation After 20 Years

The Museums and Galleries Disabilties Association (MAGDA), founded in 1986, is to cease operation at the end of July 2006. MAGDA was originally a Museums Association special interest group.

Guy Purdey, a committee member and former chairman of MAGDA, was reported as saying that MAGDA had moved towards a purely informational role and was not doing enough to meet its charitable aims. The committee is currently in talks with the Department of Museum Studies at Leicester University to make MAGDA's archive of publications, training materials and reports available.

The Round Reading Room from the Great Court

13.07.2006 – Round Reading Room In British Museum To Host First Emperor Of China Exhibition

The British Museum has just announced that the Round Reading Room – where Karl Marx and other luminaries once studied - will be temporarily converted into an exhibition space to host a major display on China.

The First Emperor will run from September 2007 to April 2008, and will feature the largest ever loan of terracotta warriors from ancient capital Xi'an.

The decision was made following the sell-out success of the Michelangelo Drawings exhibition, which attracted a record number of visitors and led to the museum staying open until midnight every Saturday in June – a first in its 253-year history.

“The First Emperor, the man who introduced the idea of a unified state and effectively created China in 221BC...provides an unmissable, one in a lifetime, opportunity for the public to understand China’s past, present and possible futures,” said Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. “We want as many people as possible to see it.”

The need for a larger temporary exhibition space has led to the decision by the museum’s trustees to build a new space, but it will not be ready until 2010.

13.07.2006 – Historic Environment Champions In Half England’s Local Authorities

Historic Environment Champions, an initiative launched two years ago to look after the country’s built heritage, are now to be found in more than half of England’s local authorities.

The Champions have developed close relationships with Design Champions promoted by CABE, ensuring a coherent approach to both design and the historic environment in local areas.

Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage, made the announcement at a national conference where Champions from all over England were encouraged in their work by Culture Minister David Lammy and Baroness Andrews, Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department of Communities and Local Government.

“The public is passionate about local heritage because it helps to create a distinctive sense of identity and place,” said Mr Lammy. “It is our duty in national and local government to match this passion with firm leadership which ensures that the historic environment has a sustainable future.”

a photograph of a man peering through an aquarium tank

13.07.2006 - Hormiman Museum Aquarium Re-opens After £1.5m Refit

The Horniman Museum is set to continue its pioneering role in the history of aquaria when it opens an new ambitious aquarium on July 14 2006. For more than a century the museum in London has had the unique distinction of housing the first free public aquarium in Britain, which opened in 1903.

The new aquarium offers visitors a beautiful glimpse of life from the waters of the world. Fifteen living displays in seven distinctive zones provide authentic habitats supporting more than 150 different species of animals and plants.

"It's going to be a greatly enhanced space," said the museum's Aquarium Curator, Kerwin Porter. "Visitors will be able to descend into the basement or living underbelly of the museum, into what's bubbling beneath." Photo: Horniman Aquarium Curator Kerwin Porter. © Horniman Museum

13.07.2006 – First Ever Public Value Inquiry For The Arts

Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, has announced that a major public debate about the role and value of the arts is to be launched later this year.

“In developing a more confident and challenging vision of what a vibrant, more publicly accountable, 21st century arts ecology could and should look like,” said Mr Hewitt, “the Arts Council itself needs to have the courage to enter into a new relationship with the public, and place public dialogue and engagement and participation at the heart of what we do”.

He highlighted the role that arts can play in responding to today’s social challenges such as cultural diversity and climate change, and heralded a golden age for the arts. He also said he wanted to address the issues of relevance and barriers to participation.

a photo of an abbey ruin

12.07.2006 - Archaeologists Dry Out Dryburgh Abbey In Scotland

A delicate project is being carried out to protect the magnificent Chapter House at Dryburgh Abbey from the damaging effects of damp. Historic Scotland has organised the project to stop water seeping in from below ground level – which could damage the fine paint and stonework.

"This is a highly important conservation project which has been carefully planned to protect the Chapter House, which is a fabulous piece of Scotland’s heritage," said Peter Ranson, Historic Scotland District Architect. The abbey was built in 1150 by the Premonstratensians, an order founded in 1120 by St Norbert, that emphasised austerity and hard work. Picture © Historic Scotland

12.07.2006 - RAF Marks 70th Anniversary Of Formation Of Fighter Command At Bentley Priory

The Royal Air Force celebrated the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Fighter Command with a gala dinner on July 12 2006 hosted by the Battle of Britain Fighter Association in the historic headquarters at Bentley Priory in Stanmore Middlesex.

Eighteen surviving veterans of the Battle of Britain were guests along with, Lord Drayson, Minster for Defence Procurement, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff and Air Commodore (Retired) Peter Brothers CBE DSO DFC and bar, a highly decorated Second World War veteran Fighter pilot.

The Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight performed a poignant flying display over the Priory before the Queen's Colour Squadron performed a display of continuity drill. Fighter Command was formed at Bentley Priory on 14 July 1936 under its first Commander-in-Chief, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding (later created First baron of Bentley Priory).

shows a picture of the earth from space

12.07.2006 - Natural History Museum Student Summit Examines Evidence For Global Warming

The Natural History Museum's Student Summit is meeting this week to discuss the scientific issues surrounding climate change, examining whether the evidence confirms global warming and what effects any changes may be having.

This four-day conference is aimed at A and AS-level students and key speakers include Sir David King, the government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Jonathan Porritt, writer and co-founder of Forum for the Future and other eminent scientists, academics, journalists and artists.

After Question Time-style debates with queries fielded to panels of experts the student delegates will be able to vote on the issues with outcomes passed on to both government and local government partners.

12.07.2006 - National Museums Liverpool To Return Human Heads To New Zealand

has agreed to return five sets of human remains to New Zealand - including three preserved tatooed heads or toi moko - after a formal request from Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington.

Toi Moko were originally the heads of Maori warriors killed in battle - either those of friends or relatives which were mourned over or the heads of enemies which were reviled. By the 1820s many of these had found their way into museum collections although the remains still have strong cultural, spiritual and religious significance to Maori communities today.

The Human Tissues Act of 2004 has made it easier for museums to repatriate human remains from their collections.

photo of a fields seperated by a road with stonehenge in the background

11.07.2006 - Salisbury District Council Approves Stonehenge Visitor Centre Plans

Salisbury District Council has approved a planning application from English Heritage to develop a new visitor centre for Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

The council also stated that the visitor centre could not be started until the government has approved the published A303 roads scheme to alleviate traffic problems around the World Heritage Site.

The council’s Planning and Advisory Committee made the final decision on July 10 and it will now be referred to the Secretary of State who can decide to call for a public enquiry – if not, then the council’s verdict will be final.

11.07.2006 - Hadrian’s Wall Becomes Part Of New Trans-National World Heritage Site

Hadrian’s Wall has joined the 550km Upper German-Raetian Limes in Germany, which marked the ultimate Roman border line in the north of the Roman Empire, to form a new Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site. More sections of the Roman frontier will be added as they are put forward and agreed upon by the World Heritage Committee.

The wall was built by the Emperor Hadrian in about 128 AD and marked the northern border of Roman Britain. Most of the Empire’s huge frontiers followed natural features and Hadrian’s Wall was one of only three man-made borders.

“Linking this World Heritage Site with the frontiers of the Empire in other parts of Europe will add another dimension to the story coming here that visitors will hear and read about,” said David Ronn, National Trust Regional Director.

a painting of a peacock feather

11.07.2006 - Sheffield’s Ruskin Gallery Undergoes Major Rehang

The collection at Sheffield’s at the Millenium Galleries has undergone a complete rehang allowing the display of a new selection of art from the gallery's John Ruskin collection, some of which has not been on public display since the 1950s.

The new displays include artworks, books and minerals, with works by JMW Turner and pre-Raphaelite artist Charles Fairfax Murray. They focus on appreciation of the natural world and emphasise inspiration and creativity with an interactive exhibit for children.

John Ruskin gathered the collection for his first museum in Walkley in 1875. Picture: John Ruskin, Peacock Feather © Sheffield Galleries

11.07.2006 - Tate Announces Launch Of New Tate Media ‘Broadband Arts Channel’

Tate has announced it will be launching Tate Media in September 2006, transforming the existing Tate Online website into a ‘digital broadband arts channel’ over the next three years. The new site will allow people of all ages anywhere in the world to research, enjoy and participate in the visual arts

Tate Media will combine online aspects with TV production, major public events and magazine publishing. It plans to provide access to material that Tate has not been able to offer before and will also offer a forum for further collaboration with the creative industries.

Tate Online is already the UK’s most popular visual arts website, currently attracting almost 1 million unique visitors a month.

a photograph of a stone building with a tower at the front

10.07.2006 - English Heritage Launch New Buildings At Risk Register

English Heritage has launched its Buildings at Risk Register 2006 at the same time as the BBC has announced a new televised campaign to save the nation's Rural Heritage called Restoration Village.

The Register, published annually, brings together information on all Grade I and II* listed buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments (structures rather than earthworks) known to English Heritage to be ‘at risk' through neglect and decay, or vulnerable to becoming so. In addition, Grade II listed buildings at risk are included for London.

During 2005-6 English Heritage offered grant aid towards 68 buildings at risk, totalling £4.9 million. 68 entries have been added to the 2006 register while 94 have been removed as their futures have been secured. A further two have been demolished and one has been removed following reassessment. For more information see Photo: Former engine shed and clocktower at Derby Railway Works. © English Heritage

10.07.2006 - 28,000 School Children And Teachers Agree - Museums Excite And Inspire

A major new research study undertaken by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) shows that children have fun and enjoy learning more in museums. The study also reveals how teachers are enthusiastic about museums and their potential to suport learning.

The report, which was compiled following school visits to 69 UK museums, was funded by MLA's Renaissance in the Regions programme and also revealed how children had expressed high levels of enjoyment and satisfaction and had learned new things at museums.

"It clearly shows the enormous potential of museums to successfully generate the full range of learning outcomes; however there is still a great deal more that could be done by museums given the resources," said MLA Chief Executive Chris Batt.

'What did you learn at the museum today?' can be dowloaded from the MLA website

a photograph of a stone gargoyle head

10.07.2006 - Lincoln's The Collection Scoops RIBA Award

The Collection, Lincoln's new art gallery and museum, has been awarded a Royal Institute of British Architects Award.

The new museum of art and archaeology opened in Lincoln on October 1 2005 following a massive £12.5 million development.

Located in the centre of the city, it was purposefully built to fit in with its historic surroundings and is faced in Lincolnshire limestone while the roof has been made to look like lead to complement the roof of Lincoln Cathedral nearby.

"All of the spaces have been beautifully considered and detailed," said the RIBA judges.

10.07.2006 - Culture Minister Launches Consultation On Returning Works Of Art Spoliated By The Nazis

Culture Minister David Lammy has launched a consultation on whether the current statutory and other legal restrictions preventing national museums from giving back works of art in their collections should be lifted to allow the return of items which were lost during the Nazi era.

The consultation invites views on how far a power to make the return of objects lost during the Nazi era should extend, who should be responsible for taking decisions and what continuing role the Spoliation Advisory Panel should have.

"The government remains committed to doing all it can to correct some of the terrible wrongs that were committed during the Nazi era," said Mr Lammy. "The Spoliation Advisory Panel has helped bring many of these injustices to light and has proposed fair and equitable solutions throughout."

The consultation will run for four months, from July 10 to November 10 2006. For more information about the work of the spoliation advisory panel see

a photograph of adults and children at a summer stall

10.07.2006 - V&A Launches Its Village Fete For Late July

For the seventh year running the V&A will be hosting its annual, alternative Village Fete in the John Madjeski Garden on July 28 and 29.

Featuring the best in contemporary design, the fete is designed as a fresh take on this English summer staple. The event brings together over 30 UK designers including Tatty Devine, Mark Pawson, Lizzie Finn, Flyaways, Richard Shed, Ed Carpenter Poke and Digit.

Stalls will range from etcha-sketch, body painting, freaky vegetable peep-shows and a tombola with the chance to win a signed convex mirror designed by Sebastian Wrong for Established and Sons. The fete is unticketed and free. More details at or call 020 7942 2000.

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