News In Brief- Week Ending February 25 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 19 February 2007

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending February 25 2007.

a photograph of a spitfire plane flying over a fort on the coast

23.01.2007 - South coast forts form partnership for new spring season

In advance of their Spring opening at the beginning of March Newhaven Fort, Seaford’s Martello Tower and The Redoubt Fortress in Eastbourne have joined forces to create the Sussex Coastal Forts partnership (SCF).

The SCF partnership has introduced a shared ticketing scheme and visitors to any one of the three attractions can take their ‘proof of entry’ from their first visit to either of the other two attractions and gain reduced admission.

The three separate attractions are also going to be pooling knowledge and skills and sharing resources to maximise their limited funding.

23.02.2007 - £250,000 funding towards restoration of Scott's huts in Antarctica

The campaign to restore the huts used by the British expeditionary teams led by Scott and Shackleton during their exploration of Antarctica nearly a century ago has received a £250,000 (NZ$692,000) boost.

Culture Minister David Lammy pledged the funding, which comes jointly from the DCMS and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on February 23 2007. It will be paid to the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust to kickstart their campaign to restore Scott’s hut at Cape Evans.

“The British explorers of the Antarctic in the early years of the 20th century have a place in our national heritage that is unique," said David Lammy. "Their stories – of determination, endurance and incredible bravery – have inspired young and old alike ever since."

"The huts they built for shelter have been preserved up to now by the very climate they were made to protect the explorers from but now, nearly a century later, they need restoration."

a stamp with mans portrait superimposed over a map

23.02.2007 - Campaigners honoured on abolition of slave trade stamps

Landmark legislation that marked the beginning of the end of the slave trade is portrayed on six stamps issued by Royal Mail on March 22.

The Abolition of the Slave Trade issue features six stamps, issued in pairs, which combine contemporary portraits of key individuals from the abolition movement, set against backgrounds linked to their work.

Abolitionist William Wilberforce (1st Class), Member of Parliament for Hull, is depicted against an anti-slavery poster. The other 1st Class stamp features Olaudah Equiano, a prominent African campaigner. A former slave, Equiano successfully brought the plight of kidnapped Africans to public attention through his highly successful autobiography.

The other stamps include portraits of campaigners Granville Sharpe (50p), Thomas Clarkson (50p), Hannah More (72p) and Ignatius Sancho (72p).

23.02.2007 - MLA looks for excellence in the public libraries of England

A consultation document called A Blueprint for Excellence – Public Libraries 2008–2011, has been published by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) that is designed to set in motion the process for improvement and innovation in England’s public library service.

The MLA campaigns for improved standards in libraries and will be working with key stakeholders over the next three months to deliver an action plan for change.

John Dolan, Head of Library Policy, MLA said: “There must be a clear sense of purpose and value endorsed by current and potential library users; policymakers; library managers and staff and all stakeholders, on what communities can expect from their community, urban and city libraries. This is critical to the future success of the public library service and positions their worth at the heart of future policies."

To access the consultation document visit the MLA website

a photograph of a tower set within an ornamental garden

22.02.2007 - New heritage volunteer initiative launches at Bolsover Castle, Chesterfield

The search is on to find people with a passion for the past to take part in an innovative new educational project at Bolsover Castle, near Chesterfield.

The new initiative, launched by English Heritage, aims to attract volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds to help bring history to life for the thousands of school children that visit its sites each year. Recruitment in Derbyshire begins with an open evening at Bolsover Castle on Thursday March 8 from 6pm - 8pm.

Volunteers will be taking part in and developing a range of imaginative activities aimed at secondary school pupils, using the spectacular art, architecture and history of the site. Responsibilities will include welcoming school groups, developing learning resources, and assisting with lively guided tours.

To book a place at the open evening at Bolsover Castle, or to become a volunteer, contact Kate Davies on 01793 414438 or email:

22.02.2007 - Export bar placed on rare and beautiful Neolithic Jadeite axe-head

Culture Minister, David Lammy, has placed a temporary export bar on a ‘jadeite’ Neolithic axe-head that once formed part of the collection of one of the fathers of British archaeology. This will provide a last chance to raise the money to keep the axe-head, which dates from before 4000 BC, in the United Kingdom.

Found near Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, the Neolithic axe-head is one of only 100 or so examples known from this country. It is a particularly fine specimen, beautifully shaped and polished, which shows off with considerable sophistication the tonalities and gradations of the fine hard ‘jadeite’ stone from which it is manufactured.

Its importance is further enhanced by the fact that it once formed part of the historic collection of Lt-General Augustus Pitt Rivers, now recognised as one of the fathers of British archaeology.

a photograph of a cave painting of an ox

22.02.2007 - Better Access for Creswell Crags cave art complex

Work funded by the East Midlands Development Agency and Derbyshire County Council has taken up the old B6042 at Creswell Crags, transforming it into a 700m bridleway which will give horse riders, cyclists and walkers access to the ancient site.

The work, which has involved building banks and dry stone walls, to create the 700m bridleway is designed to give a sense of what the gorge would have looked like ten to 50,000 years ago.

A section of new road was opened last year, which was designed to cut down on the effects of traffic at Creswell Crags and it is hoped the new bridleway will be open for use in May 2007.

22.02.2007 - At-Bristol to close its Wildwalk and IMAX attractions

At-Bristol science centre has announced it is to close two of its struggling attractions with the loss of up to 45 jobs in an effort to cut costs.

The science centre is due to close its Wildwalk attraction and its IMAX theatre in April 2007, due to poor attendances and a lack of core funding. Management say the cuts have to be made to establish the long-term viability of the centre, which will now concentrate on providing interactive exhibitions and programmes at its two remaining attractions – Explore and the Planetarium.

It will also continue to provide science-based exhibition and education services to schools and colleges.

photo of a child holding a miners lamp

22.02.2007 - Big Pit Mining Museum on the look out for migrant miners

Big Pit Mining Museum is looking for workers from abroad who came to work in South Wales' mines after World War II.

The museum is producing an illustrated booklet telling their story and it wants to interview former miners who were born in Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Italy or the former Yugoslavia.

Anyone with any relevant information is asked to contact Ceri Thompson on: 01495 790311 or email:

22.02.2007 - £400,000 in funding for sparkling new displays at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston is to benefit from £400,000 funding to develop new displays of its nationally and regionally important collections of glass and ceramics.

Attractive new display cases will replace the existing elderly ones, providing up to 100% more display space, which will be enhanced by new lighting and decoration. The latest audio-visual and digital technologies will also be used to develop a range of interpretation activities for visitors.

Funding came from a variety of sources including £135,490 from the European Regional Development Fund, North West Regional Action Plan and £243,600 from Single Regeneration Budget distributor AvenCentral Partnership and the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council’s Renaissance in the Regions initiative.

an artists drawing of a futuristic box-shaped building

21.02.2007 - Lightbox seeks public help to make gallery art installation

The Lightbox, a new gallery and museum opening late summer 2007 in Woking, has been awarded a £10,000 grant from Awards for All for a new public art project entitled Make Your Mark.

The lottery funding award will enable more than 8000 people across Surrey to participate in one of the region's largest ever public art projects and will result in the work being used in a specially commissioned art installation ready for the opening of The Lightbox gallery and museum.

Project co-ordinator Vikki Nisbett is now looking for clubs, day centres and societies which cater for individuals of all ages to take part in the scheme by producing a creative handprint. The handprints will be used by an artist to produce an original piece of artwork to be exhibited in the building at the opening.

Groups interested in creating a piece of art for the project, or people who can volunteer to help or are merely interested about the first ever gallery and museum in the town, can contact Vikki on 01483 725517 or e-mail:

21.02.2007 - NPG unveils portrait of VC winner Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry

A new painting of Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, the first living recipient since 1965 of the Victoria Cross, is to be unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday February 22.

The acrylic-on-panel portrait by artist Emma Wesley was painted from three sittings of between two and four hours which took place in late summer 2006 in the front room of Beharry’s London flat.

The portrait’s focus is on Johnson, the soldier, rather than his immediate surroundings. Emma Wesley says: "What is important about Johnson is within him, his modesty, his bravery, his generosity, humility and humour, less so his surroundings."

The portrait is on display in the National Portrait Gallery’s Contemporary Galleries from Thursday (Ground floor, Room 41).

a painting of an old man with stick, flat cap and waxed jacket

21.02.2007 - Royal Cambrian Academy to host auction to raise funds for urgent improvements

The Royal Cambrian Academy has announced a public auction of art on March 16 2007 to help raise sufficient funds to install an urgently needed air conditioning system.

Based in Conwy, the Academy is the oldest academy of art in Wales and was founded 125 years ago. It needs £60,000 to install the new equipment.

All the works of art in the auction have been donated by members of the Academy and it also includes a work by the late Sir Kyffin Williams. Visitors can view the works from February 17 to March 16 in the venue's Lower Gallery.

See the Academy's website for more details about the auction. Picture (not in the auction): Sir Kyffin Williams, John Jones. © RCA

21.02.2007 - Heritage buses damaged by museum fire

Six vintage buses have been badly damaged by a fire at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre in Ruddington.

Fire crews were called out during the morning of February 21 and tackled the fire quickly, which had started in the row of closely parked buses. It is not sure what caused the fire yet, although arson has not been ruled out. An investiagation will be carried out by local fire officials.

Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre is home to around 25 buses and coaches, many of them coming from the local area. It is also home to the preserved Great Central Railway in Nottinghamshire and a large model railway complex.

shows an artists recreation of a museum interior

20.02.2007 - Darlington Railway Museum begins refurbishment

The £1.7m refurbishment of Darlington Railway Museum has begun in a three staged development that will be completed in the next 12 months.

The first part of the work - to re-tile and repair the roof of the building, is now underway with the second part due to deal with the installation of a new heating system. A third stage will see the creation of new displays, during which time staff will also source artefacts and gather audio-visual information and interviews for interactive displays.

Work will also be carried out to ensure new storage facilities and a study centre for archives and artefacts are of the highest standards to ensure their safety.

When completed, visitors will be guided through the museum via a series of six storylines, starting with an introductory video highlighting the contribution Darlington and the railways have made to the world, as well as explaining what the museum and the town offers.

Further storylines will include information on Darlington and manufacturing as well as the Stockton to Darlington Railway and Locomotion No 1.

20.02.2007 - Leicester University experts begin project to edit the Brownings' letters

Scholars at De Montfort University (DMU) have set to work on a £500,000 research project to edit 527 letters written by or to famous Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning during the years 1854-1856.

The three year editing project, based in DMU's Centre for Textual Scholarship (CTS), is being undertaken by a team of academics and will result in volumes 20-22 of The Brownings' Correspondence annotated in an edition of all known letters written by or to the poets, which is expected to reach 40 volumes when complete.

20.02.2007 - Archaeologists wanted for Scottish Archaeology Fair 2007

The Council for Scottish Archaeology (CSA) is currently organising the 2007 Scottish Archaeology Fair and is looking for participants. The Fair will take place at the Strathpeffer Pavilion, near Dingwall on Saturday May 5 2007, and forms part of CSA contribution to Highland 2007.

The Archaeology Fair takes place every two years and participants range from local archaeology, history and heritage societies, to national organisations such as Historic Scotland. CSA is keen to encourage hands on activities, and where possible, relate these to the local area.

Eila Macqueen, Director of CSA said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for people to become involved with Scotland's archaeology and for groups, societies and organisations to let the Highlands, and the rest of Scotland, know about their work and what they do."

If you're interested in participating, or want more information, contact CSA on 0131 668 4189, or see the CSA website for more information.

The deadline for registering an interest is Friday March 16.

a photograph of large building with a classical frontage and domed tower and a pair of large naval guns in front

19.02.2007 - Imperial War Museum acquires vast archive documenting the plight of Italian Jews in WWII

The Imperial War Museum in London has accepted as a gift the Collezione Gianfranco Moscati, an extensive private collection of letters and memorabilia documenting the Nazi persecution of Jews during the Second World War.

The collection comprises nearly 1,500 items - including letters, telegrams, travel documents, yellow stars, photographs and other personal memorabilia. A small number have recently gone on display in the UK for the first time in the Museum's permanent Holocaust Exhibition.

Gianfranco Moscati was born in Milan in 1924. During the German occupation of Italy during the Second World War he was forced to flee to Switzerland to avoid Nazi persecution. After the war he returned to Italy and settled in Naples, and started collecting material relating to the experiences of Jewish families and individuals who had not been able to escape the persecution.

Today the collection is a major resource of international renown. Signor Moscati has chosen to deposit the collection at the Imperial War Museum to ensure its long-term preservation and to make it available to the general public as well as to historians and students who regularly use the IWM's collections and archives for academic research.

The Director-General of the Imperial War Museum, Sir Robert Crawford CBE, will formally accept the gift on February 20 2007.

19.02.2007 - Historic steam engine heads back from Manchester to Liverpool

Lion, a steam locomotive that worked on the world's first passenger line between Manchester and Liverpool for 20 years in the 1840s - 50s is heading back to Liverpool for restoration.

The engine, which was built in 1837, is owned by and has been on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester - in the very location where it once used to deliver passengers - for the last eight years.

Lion will travel back to Liverpool on a lorry to undergo conservation work before going on display as a star exhibit in the new Museum of Liverpool, which is due to open in 2010.

19.02.2007 - Farnham's Crafts Study Centre gets funding boost

The Crafts Study Centre in Farnham, Hampshire, is celebrating receiving a total of £108,000 in grants to support research and exhibitions of modern and contemporary craft.

Planned exhibitions include Alaistair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers, curated by distinguished design historian Lesley Jackson, Urban Field, a collaborative show of new work by some 30 artists, and Bending the Rules, which will looks at the links of craft with film, lighting, sculpture and textiles.

The awards were from The Paul Mellon Centre (£36,000), Arts Council England South East (£62,000) and The Foyle Foundation (£10,000).

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