News In Brief - Week Ending March 4 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff Published: 26 February 2007

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending March 4 2007. This page is updated every weekday.

a photograph of an ornate dress

02.03.2007 - Art Fund presents rare court mantua to Historic Royal Palaces

After a tug of war with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Historic Royal Palaces have acquired an extraordinary 18th century court mantua, thanks to a £80,275 grant from The Art Fund.

Outbid at auction by the New York Museum, the exquisite dress was export barred by Culture Minister David Lammy allowing the Historic Royal Palaces the chance to raise the funds to acquire it.

The mantua, made from French silk brocade, an enormously expensive fabric dated to the early 1760s, is woven with a design of stripes and scrolling garlands in silver and trimmed with sparkling silver lace. It is believed to have belonged to Mary, Marchioness of Rockingham, who was married to Charles, 2nd Marquis of Rockingham.

It will be on permanent display at Kensington Palace from Saturday March 3 2007.

02.03.2007 - Volunteers needed for George Bernard Shaw's residence

The National Trust is looking for volunteers to help run , the former home of the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire.

Room and visitor reception stewards are being sought to meet and greet visitors, ensure the safety of people on site and provide information about the house and its history. Garden stewards are also required.

Anyone with a friendly nature, a passion for the work of GB Shaw with some time on their hands is invited to call Emily Watts, Assistant House Steward on 01438 820307.

02.03.2007 - Lottery grant to help reveal history of Victorian graveyard

Thanks to a £30,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund the heritage of one of Greater London's biggest Victorian cemeteries is to be revealed with the creation of a visitor exhibition that will uncover the varied history of the site.

The St Edward Brotherhood, established in 1982, lies within Brookwood Cemetery near Woking and also houses the bones of a martyred English king who was made a saint. The site is also the end of the line for a Victorian railway - the Necropolis Railway - used exclusively for transporting corpses from the capital for burial.

The monastery is based in two Anglican chapels, the larger of which, now St Edward the Martyr Church, guards the bones of St Edward, who was made king in 975 but was murdered at Corfe in Dorset some four years later. Suspicion fell on his stepmother who is said to have arranged the murder in order that her son, Ethelred – known to history as The Unready – could succeed to the throne.

A permanent exhibition is to be built in a former monks' dormitory and will offer visitors details of St Edward, the Brotherhood and the Necropolis Railway. It will be augmented by activity days when monks will demonstrate icon painting and bookbinding.

Help in creating the exhibition will come from John Clarke of the Brookwood Cemetery Society and Woking’s gallery and museum, The Lightbox.

a detail of a painting showing a mountain on the edge of a lake

01.03.2007 - Public funds save Turner's Blue Rigi for the nation

JMW Turner's The Blue Rigi has been saved for the nation, thanks to an overwhelming public response to the fundraising appeal launched by The Art Fund and Tate in January, and a major grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The Art Fund and Tate launched the appeal on January 22 2007 and over 11,000 people have since donated over £552,000 to save the watercolour for the nation, making it one of the most successful public appeals ever.

Donations have been received from all over the UK and there have also been contributions from as far away as Singapore, United States, Japan, Russia and Australia. People who still wish to contribute to the campaign can do so until 6pm on March 5 2007 with all money received going towards acquiring the work for display at Tate Britain.

Donations can be pledged online or by buying a digital brushstroke of the Blue Rigi painting at the Save the Blue Rigi website.

01.03.2007 – Heart urn donated to Ryedale Folk Museum

An urn believed to have carried the heart of a man who died 450 years ago is one item in a collection of 10,000 social history artefacts to be donated to Ryedale Folk Museum, North Yorkshire.

The collections has been built up over 50 years by brothers Richard and Edward Harrison, who live in Kirkbymoorside. The Museum is now looking to secure £1 million in funding to provide a purpose-built home for the collection.

watercolour sketch of a ship

01.03.2007 – Rare drawing of Captain Cook voyage bought by Whitby Museum

A rare drawing entitled The Resolution in a stream of pack-ice (1772-3), by William Hodges RA, has been bought at auction by the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby.

The drawing, by the official artist on Captain Cook’s second voyage, was purchased for £80,275 with the help of £14,875 from The Art Fund. It depicts Cook’s ship The Resolution under reduced sail in a choppy sea under overcast skies with streams of pack ice floating past.

Very few visual records remain of the hazardous second voyage (1772-75), undertaken by Cook to confirm the existence of Antarctica (then called the Great Southern Continent).

“This fresh, striking watercolour is a remarkable survival,” said Sir David Attenborough, an expert on William Hodges, “and shows the artist at the height of his powers. It exudes the chill of the Antarctic air and captures the low, raking light of the southern hemisphere beautifully.”

Additional grants for the acquisition came from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund; the Garfield Weston Foundation; The Normanby Trust and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

01.03.2007 – Aspect Prize call for entries

The Aspect Prize 2007 – one of the largest prizes for painting in the UK – is calling for entries from artists living and working in Scotland who have not had a commercial solo exhibition in London in the past six years.

First prize is £15,000 with the opportunity to exhibit in a major London gallery. Three runners up will receive £5,000 and take part in the Winners’ Show in London next year.

The deadline for entries is May 25 2007. Entry forms are available from The Aspect Prize, Gilliland & Company, 216 West George Street, Glasgow G2 2PQ. More information:

01.03.2007 – Scottish Lead Mining Museum saved by funding package

The Scottish Executive has thrown a £30,000 lifeline to the Scottish Lead Mining Museum in Wanlockhead, which was due to close in 2007 due to lack of funds.

The money means the museum will be able to continue operating for another 18 months, during which time its application for Museum of Significance funding will be decided.

a screen shot of a website

28.02.2007 - Tate launches pioneering vodcast programme

Tate has launched its latest online venture, TateShots, a new monthly art programme available online and featuring highlights from Tate exhibitions, collections, public events and performances.

Sponsored by Bloomberg, the online magazine programme is free of charge, from Tate’s website, and can be viewed on a computer or downloaded as a videocast (vodcast) for viewing on an iPod or similar device.

TateShots will present around six short videos a month, with a focus on modern and contemporary art. Showcasing the rich range of activities at the four Tate sites, the programme will include interviews with artists, studio visits, behind the scenes tours with curators and conservation experts and clips of unmissable artist performances.

The launch issue includes pieces about Gilbert and George, Mark Wallinger and Martin Creed as well as a look at Tate Liverpool's Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde.

28.01.2007 - English Heritage launches wildlife flora and fauna survey

English Heritage are hosting a month of wildlife surveys at all of its sites throughout North Yorkshire to see if the mild winter has affected the flora and fauna in the county.

“We had one of the warmest Januarys on record, and with only a brief cold snap in February before the mild weather returned," said English Heritage’s regional marketing manager, Nicola Bexon.

"We’re already seeing buds starting to appear on trees and daffodils bursting into bloom over a month early, so we’re now looking at how the weather has affected the animal and bird populations at our sites,” .

Sites hosting the wildlife surveys include Rievaulx Abbey, Whitby Abbey, Scarborough Castle, Helmsley Castle and Richmond Castle. For directions and admission costs, visit or call 0870 333 1181.

photograph of a museum interior

28.02.2007 - Princess Royal to visit Weston Park Museum Sheffield

HRH The Princess Royal will be visiting Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, for the official Royal opening of the site and also to mark the launch of new schools workshops on Tuesday March 6.

The visit comes just weeks after the Museum was nominated for the UK’s largest arts prize – the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries 2007.

Weston Park Museum opened to the public on October 14 2006 following a massive £19m redevelopment project. Since then it has seen 120,000 visitors walk through its doors in the first three months of opening, smashing targets for the first year nine months ahead of schedule.

During the visit The Princess Royal will be taken on a tour of the site and will meet pupils from Beck Primary School in Sheffield, as well as members of local community groups who were involved in the creation of the new displays.

28.02.2007 - MA voices concern over Bolton Council museum sale plans

The Museums Association says it is concerned by Bolton Council's decision last week to look into generating funds by selling off items in the borough's museum collections.

An executive meeting of the council on Wednesday February 21 approved a decision to look into ways in which income might be generated by selling items from the museum collections, although with the caveat that the museum service must not undertake any action that would break the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council's (MLA) accreditation guidelines.

The council is aiming to raise £300,000 from the sale to go towards savings of £4.7m across the adults services department. It is thought the council will be looking to sell items that are small and not accessible to the public, and that are stored but not in good condition.

Caitlin Griffiths, the MA's advisor on professional issues, said: "We are naturally concerned about reports coming out of Bolton about the Council's decision to look into generating funds by selling off items in the Borough's museum collection. However, we are hoping to be able to discuss this with Bolton as soon as possible."

a colourful poster advertising a gig

28.02.2007 - London gallery books punk band Xerox Teens to perform with dancing dogs

London gallery Studio Voltaire is to play host to a bizarre gig featuring bad-boy indie garage rockers, Xerox Teens, accompanied by a dancing dog display team.

The unlikely pairing sees the teenage post-punk rockers accompanied by Richard Curtis' K9 Freestyle Dog Display Team. Curtis, a bone fide dog handler and trainer is a seasoned performer and well known face at dog shows world wide. He describes his canine displays as: "basically One Man and His Dog without the sheep but with music instead."

The gig takes place on March 3, 2007. Contact the gallery (see link above) for more details.

28.02.2007 - Historic boats unveiled at Holy Island

A £60,000 project to restore and enhance a treasured part of Holy Island's history was unveiled on February 28.

The three upturned herring boats at Lindisfarne Castle, which formed a series of boat sheds gutted by fire in October 2005, were officially opened by Elfreda Elford, who used to live on the island, and National Trust archaeologist Harry Beamish.

Installed by Edward Hudson in conjunction with Edwin Lutyens at the turn of the last century, the herring boat sheds were added when the then derelict castle was turned into a holiday home. A visitor centre with a series of interpretation panels have now been added to the sheds charting the history of the boats and telling the story of the herring industry on the island in the 19th and 20th centuries.

a photograph of a man with a bicycle

27.02.2007 - Yorkshire Air Museum exhibit has curators scratching their heads

is asking the public to help them find out more about a curious new item recently put on display. Although it is a genuine WWII artefact, few people seem to have seen one before.

The item in question is believed to be a Royal Air Force Lamplighter's bicycle, used by the person who went around the base lighting oil burning 'Tilly' lamps. The bicycle was manufactured by BSA and bears an RAF stamp and a serial number – 2437.

Donated by Philip Jenkinson of North Devon, who was a mid-upper gunner on Halifax bombers of No. 10 Squadron, based near York at Melbourne during WWII, the bicycle is thought to be a 'one off'.

"We were delighted to receive the artefact, but we would like to know more about it," said Yorkshire Air Museum's Ian Richardson. If you have any recollection of using such a machine, the museum would be pleased to hear from you. Contact them on +44 (0) 1904 608595 or e-mail:

27.02.2007 - Josef Beuys sculpture inspires students at Laing Art Gallery

An artwork by influential German artist Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986) is to go on show at the Laing Art Gallery, on loan from the Tate Collection.

The work is on loan as part of the Visual Dialogues project, a partnership initiated and managed by Tate. Students from Newcastle College have worked with artist Cath Keay to develop and produce innovative interpretations in response to the piece, which helps the viewer to explore the themes in Beuys’ work.

Beuys strongly believed that art had the power to shape a better society and his original work can be seen at the Laing alongside the work it has inspired from March 3 until July 3 2007.

photo of a man in a suit crouched down in front of a castle

26.02.2007 - Free entry to Cadw sites on St David's Day

Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government's Historic Environment Service, has announced that there will be free entry to all its fee-paying monuments on March 1 2007, St David's Day.

The policy extends to all of Cadw's directly managed properties, and is part of the Welsh Assembly Government's plan to widen access to the historic environment of Wales.

"Following the success of last year's decision to allow free entry on St David's Day we hope many people will take this opportunity to visit a site in Cadw's care and appreciate for themselves the magnificence of Wales's historic environment," said Culture Minister Alun Pugh.

26.02.2007 - Lindisfarne's oldest resident opens new visitor centre

Holy Island's oldest resident has opened a new visitor centre next to Lindisfarne Castle in two upturned boats.

Elfreda Elford, who is in her 90s, has been a regular visitor to the castle for over eight decades.

The boats replace the originals which were destroyed by fire in 2005 and house a new visitor centre telling their story and that of herring fishing on Holy Island.

It is a tradition of Britain's east coast to use redundant boats as sheds and there are a number of others at the harbour on Holy Island.