The Culture24/7: History and Heritage highlights for September 2012

By Ruth Hazard | 31 August 2012
See inside the Gothic temple in Stowe as part of Heritage Open Days weekend this month© Landmark Trust
There are few better months to get excited about British heritage than September, as the nationwide Heritage Open Days weekend persuades a host of historic venues to offer the public free admission.

With a chance to learn about the 5,000-year history of bronze, the opening of a new museum containing 1,000 archaeological finds and a literary festival that will prove a bookworm's delight, there's plenty more to keep you busy for the rest of the month too.
Here's to a historic September...

Bronze, Royal Academy of Arts, London, from September 15

When you hear the Royal Academy describe this display as “a journey that will take you from 5,000 years ago to the present day, via some of the greatest names in art history”, you may realise that you have underestimated just how fascinating bronze can be.

This display will bring you up to speed on the incredible story of this precious metal, taking in Ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan bronzes, era-defining Medieval and Renaissance treasures and works by artistic legends Rodin, Picasso, Henry Moore and Louise Bourgeois.

Heritage Open Days, various venues, September 6-9

With 4,500 heritage sites staging Open Days across England, it’s hard to know where to begin. At the tip of the iceberg, there’s ghost hunting in Crewe, castle explorations in Lydney, perfect picnicking in Stowe and Darwin discoveries in Cambridge.

From rarely-seen sites to impressive museum collections, a whole host of venues are happily waiving admission fees, leaving you no excuse to miss out on the thousands of heritage gems that are waiting to be discovered during this one amazing weekend.

Doors Open Days, various venues, Scotland, weekends throughout September

There’s an equally action-packed programme awaiting history hunters further north as 1,040 Scottish heritage venues prepare to make good on the same open admission policy at locations across the nation.

Glasgow proves it’s a heritage hub on September 8 and 9, with an extravagant selection of events including a chance to nose around the city chambers, go behind the scenes at an animal hospital and take a tour of the cremator's room at a cemetery.

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, Canterbury, from September 8

After three years, a £14 million budget and an extensive restoration project, Canterbury’s Beaney Art Museum and Library will finally open to the public on September 8, marking its debut weekend with a programme of interactive art and history themed events.

Boasting seven permanent galleries, a special exhibitions space and a museum collection that includes antiquities from Egypt, ancient Greece and Anglo-Saxon Kent, a wander through the new site will allow you to enjoy exhibits that have been sourced from locations around the globe, as well as pieces found locally.

Behind the Scene: Stories from Manchester’s LGBT communities, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, until March 1 2013

MOSI’s efforts to bring to life the stories of Manchester’s LGBT community include number plates from the car Ian McKellan drove at Euro Pride, Manchester Gay and Lesbian Chorus memorabilia and the winning outfit from a competition at Sparkle transgender festival.

But this seemingly light-hearted celebration of the pomp and glory associated with LGBT culture will also open your eyes to the darker side of the community’s history. A calculator used by wartime code cracker Alan Turing is a stark reminder that the man whose efforts helped to win World War Two was later prosecuted for being homosexual and subjected to treatment with female hormones.

DH Lawrence Festival, various venues, Bruxtowe, September 6-19

The good people of Bruxtowe (the borough where DH Lawrence was born) are ensuring the birthday of their most famous former resident doesn’t pass unnoticed.
This two-week festival of literary-based thrills will have you snooping around the four Lawrence homes, strolling in the countryside that inspired his work, missing sleep for a night tour of the Birthplace Museum and getting involved in reading groups and lectures that ponder the nuances of Lawrence’s great writing.

It’s a Coast Thing, Scarborough Art Gallery, Scarborough, September 9

Someone’s clearly had a good rummage through Scarborough’s film archives to produce this rarely seen collection of footage capturing the seaside town and its surrounding areas during the past 100 years.

This one-off screening will show Flamborough climmers (egg collectors) gathering their wares in 1908, a Scarborough military camp at the end of the Second World War, the workings of Waddington’s Piano Factory and the final journey of the Whitby train in 1965.

Locals will also be excited to learn that the film features archive footage of Danny Wilde - an Elvis impersonator and bona fide Scarborough legend.
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