News In Brief - Week Ending June 10 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 04 June 2007
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Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending June 10 2007.

aerial photo of an airfield

08.06.2007 - Imperial War Museum Duxford to stage 'Flying Proms'

The Imperial War Museum Duxford is to host a proms concert with a difference - its Flying Proms Spectacular on July 21 will feature historic aircraft and hot air balloons along with the English National Orchestra and a firework finale.

Musically choreographed aerial displays will see the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster bomber take to the sky along with a Spitfire and ME109 who will stage a dogfight plus many other historic aircraft.

"The Flying Proms Spectacular really is a concert with a difference," said Tracey Woods, Marketing and PR Manager at Duxford. "To see the aircraft displaying to stirring music, sense the evocative atmosphere as dusk falls on this historic site and be thoroughly entertained by one of the best symphony orchestras in the world is a wonderful way to enjoy a summer's evening and not to be missed."

Visit the Duxford website or call 0845 225 6020 for more details. Photo: Duxford from the air © IWM Duxford

photo of an ornate Victorian pub facade

08.06.2007 – National Trust begins restoration of Crown Bar in Belfast

The National Trust has begun a £500,000 restoration project on the Crown Bar, Belfast, one of the finest surviving examples of a high Victorian liquor saloon.

The major project will include work to the Bar’s ornate tiling, stained glass, mosaics and mirrors, and to its most famous feature – the ten elaborately carved wooden booths, or snugs. The snugs, built for the more reserved customers, retain their gunmetal plates for striking matches and antique bells rung for service.

The Bar owes its extravagant style to Italian craftsmen who came to Ireland at the end of the 19th century to help build Catholic churches. Some are believed to have moonlighted on the interior of the Crown, giving it its flamboyant ecclesiastical look.

The Bar will remain open throughout the project and visitors will be able to see the craftsmen at work.

08.06.2007 - Huge re-enactment to take place at Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness will be the site of one of the year's biggest historical re-enactments.

Visitors to the castle on June 16 and 17 will be able to witness a recreation of the 1644 siege of the castle and see troops using weapons like pikes, muskets, broadswords and canon. They will be able to experience both camps as they prepare for the fight and try on some of the equipment and have a go at pike drill.

"Urquhart Castle has a long and bloody history stretching right back to the 13th century, and its strategic location meant that it played a key role in how Scotland's past unfolded," said Nick Finnigan from Historic Scotland.

"This event offers a great opportunity for all the family to learn more about those dramatic times by meeting characters from the past and finding out why they were ready to make such huge sacrifices to fight over this magnificent fortress."

photo of a series of stone walls covered with grass next to a bay

07.06.2007 - Historic Scotland starts conservation project at Skara Brae

Historic Scotland has started work on a project at House 7, one of the best-preserved houses at Skara Brae Neolithic Village in Orkney.

Experts have decided to replace the current metal and glass roof, erected in 1930, with a lightweight timber structure supporting an environmentally sustainable hydroponic sedum-planted mat roof.

Stephen Watt, District Architect at Historic Scotland, said: “This new state-of-the-art roof will work to stabilise the climate, preventing potentially dangerous salt-laden moisture migration, and creating a safe and benign environment inside.”

“The sedum grass covering will allow this new structure to blend in easily with the surrounding countryside, while also providing a buffer from the extreme marine environment.”

Skara Brae dates back some 5,000 years and was occupied between about 3,100 and 2,500 BC. It formed part of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site from 1999. Photo courtesy Historic Scotland

07.06.2007 - £250,000 grant approved for Cumbria museum to house Bluebird

A grant of £250,000 has been earmarked for a Cumbria museum to go towards housing Donald Campbell’s legendary Bluebird K7 jet-powered boat.

The Ruskin Museum in Coniston now has until September 2007 to raise the remainder of the £750,000 needed to provide a permanent home for the boat.

Campbell died 40 years ago attempting to beat his own world water speed record on Coniston Water and Bluebird was raised from the lake in 2001 and donated to the museum by the Campbell family.

The grant was approved by Cumbria Vision, a regional development organisation. If the museum succeeds in raising the rest of the money then it is expected that work will start in autumn 2007.

graphic from a website showing a fish on a counter

07.06.2007 - British Library web project explores changing face of British food culture

A unique project has just been completed bringing together nearly 300 interviews charting the revolutionary changes that have occurred in Britain’s food culture within living memory.

The project, Food: From Source to Salespoint, was a collaboration running from 1997 between the British Library's National Life Stories and the universities of Sheffield and Newcastle.

British Library researchers carried out hundreds of interviews with farmers, large retailers, cooks, food campaigners and consumers and focus on subjects like food ritual and tradition, consumer knowledge and power, changes in eating habits and cultural identity.

More than 40 audio extracts have been collated along with many other resources on Food Stories, a new British Library educational website aimed at 12-18 year olds.

The website aims to connect young people with the realities and complexities of food and food production.

The project involved a collaboration with a four-year academic research project which led to the development of Food Stories, an educational website exploring the changing face of British food culture.

photo of a group of students

06.06.2007 – Young people to join Amistad slave ship on tour

Young people from London, Liverpool and Bristol are joining the crew of the replica slave ship, the Amistad Freedom Schooner, on a transatlantic voyage commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

The trip, which will last 18 months, will see the five UK students trained as crew members along with 50 others from the US and Atlantic basin countries on the replica schooner. The original Amistad was commandeered by its African captives in 1839.

The voyage will begin from Amistad’s home port of New Haven in Connecticut on June 21 2007 and retrace the infamous slave trade triangle. After the 4,000-mile trip across the Atlantic, the ship will visit the former British slaving ports of London, Liverpool and Bristol in August.

The Amistad will be docked in Liverpool for the opening of the International Slavery Museum on August 23.

06.06.2007 – Cardigan DNA samples wanted by researchers

Researchers are looking for inhabitants of Cardigan, Wales, to help them build a genetic map of Britain.

Locals are being invited to take part in the national project People of the British Isles, which is tracing the history of migration in Britain. The Oxford University team carrying out the project is particularly interested in west Wales because they expect to find that many people there are linked to pre-Roman invasion Britons.

The researchers will visit the town on June 25 to take small blood samples from volunteers living in rural areas whose grandparents on both sides were born in the same location, within a radius of about 30 miles.

To take part, contact Tammy Day on 01865 863819, or email

logo of arts council england

06.06.2007 - Arts Council England outlinines streamlining plans

Arts Council England has announced proposals to streamline and improve its support services, following a review identifying how it could best provide high quality services while delivering value for money.

More than 160 staff are directly affected by the plans which recommend about 50 posts moving out of London and the loss of around 20 jobs. The changes could save the organisation £800,000 a year.

Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said: "These are far-reaching proposals and there are difficult decisions ahead but we are confident that what will emerge is a streamlined structure that provides excellent service in the most cost-effective way."

Unions have been briefed about the process and a consultation period will run until September 3 2007.

06.06.2007 - Malaysia culture minister to visit Nottingham Galleries of Justice

The Hon Minister of Culture, Arts & Heritage, Mr Rais Yatim from Malaysia and 11 senior officials will be visiting the NCCL Galleries of Justice in Nottingham for a special visit on Thursday June 7 at 11am.

The Minister and his group have been in London as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Malaysian independence. They will visit to the NCCL Galleries of Justice to consult with museum staff on a project to build a citizenship and law museum in Malaysia.

“As well as the museum and collection, we will be talking to them about our Crime Prevention work relating to guns and knives, which they have shown particular interest in replicating in Malaysia,” said Tim Desmond, Chief Executive of the NCCL Galleries of Justice.

photo of a man standing in an open church tower next to a church bell

05.06.2007 - St Teilo's new bell rung for the first time

The new bell cast especially for St Teilo's Church at St Fagans: National History Museum was rung for the first time on Monday June 4.

Mr Hefin Looker, one of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales' Patrons and former chairman of the the museum's Friends Committee, was given the first opportunity to ring the bell. Mr Looker funded the bell in memory of his late wife Gwyneth.

St Teilo's was moved stone by stone from its home on the flood plain of the River Lougher near Pontarddulais to the museum site and has been reconstructed as it would have looked around 1520.

Restoration work is ongoing and the church will be officially reopened on October 14 2007.

Photo: Bill Berry fitting the bell © Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales

05.06.2007 - Contenders for Living Landmarks Lottery millions announced

The final 23 projects bidding for a slice of £140m of Lottery funding have been selected.

All the projects have applied for a small number of grants of between £10-25m through the Living Landmarks scheme and must aim to transform, regenerate and revitalise their communities. A committee including experts in architecture, regeneration and the environment will decide who gets the grants in autumn 2007.

Projects that will now have the chance to further develop their proposals include the Milton Keynes Waterway Park, Lydney Docks Alive and a development at Lowther Castle and Gardens.

A further one-off grant of £25-50m will also be given to one of six short-listed projects. The winner of Living Landmarks: The People’s Millions will be decided by public vote in a televised contest on ITV later in 2007.

The People’s Millions projects are Sherwood Forest: The Living Legend, Connect2 (people, places, pride) in Bristol, the National Museum of Science and Industry Collections centre, Dry Tropics Biome at the Eden Project, Waterlinks in Somerset and A Million People – The Black Country as Urban Park.

photo of a fossil

05.06.2007 - Code of conduct drawn up to protect Scotland's fossils

A code of conduct has been drawn up to protect Scotland's fossil heritage.

The code was drawn up by Scottish Natural Heritage and aims to encourage institutional, academic, amateur and commercial fossil collectors to act responsibly and manage collections so that they are useful for future generations.

It includes an introduction to fossils, the fossil heritage in Scotland and the legalities of collecting, best practice in the collection and care of fossils, guidance for groups involved with Scotland’s fossil heritage and advice on donating fossils to museums.

The code will be available for public consultation until September 7 2007 and is available to download at the Scottish Natural Heritage website.

05.06.2007 - Archaeologists look for new evidence of Derby's Silk Mill

Archaeologists in Derby are trying to find original features of the city's Silk Mill.

Pits are being dug in Cathedral Green to try to work out where the mill race was, which channeled the water to power the mill. They also want to find where the doubling shop stood, the place where silk thread was doubled over to strenghten it.

A new development is planned for Cathedral Green and any new findings will be incorporated into the design.

The original 1717 foundations at Silk Mill are still visible, part of the world's oldest factory complex.

photo of a lake with trees on the far shore and a low hill topped by a building with columns along its front

04.06.2007 - National Trust launches partnership with The Prince's Trust

The National Trust (NT) and The Prince's Trust have launched a £1.2m lottery-funded partnership, called Getting into the Past.

Eleven NT properties, starting with the Wallington estate in Northumberland, will be taking part in the first year of the scheme, where groups of young people will learn new skills like conservation and customer services at these heritage sites.

The initiative provides experience-based training designed to boost personal confidence, develop skills, encourage physical well-being and allow participants to get in touch with their local heritage. It aims to help young people move into education, training or employment following their involvement in the project, which will run until 2010 and involve nearly 700 disadvantaged young people.

Photo © NTPL/Matthew Antrobus

photo of a stone fountain

04.06.2007 – UK’s oldest working fountain to flow again this summer

The splendid five metre tall King’s Fountain at , Scotland, will flow with water once more this summer following restoration works begun in 2003.

Thought to be the oldest fountain in working order in Britain, the masterpiece of Renaissance stonemasonry was commissioned c1537. It was returned to working order in 2005 by Historic Scotland and visitors will be able to see it flow each Sunday in July and August.

It cannot run all the time due to the age of the original stonework – there are 158 carved and moulding stones on it. However, careful monitoring utilising laser scans is in place to detect any erosion.

04.06.2007 – Eighties activists in Nuneaton wanted for exhibition

A new exhibition at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery will look at key events of the 1980s, and organisers want to hear from anyone who was an activist in the decade.

Anyone who took part in strikes, marches or political debates in the borough can get in touch with staff at the Museum to donate their stories and memories.

The 1980s exhibition will run from July 21 to September 2 2007. Anyone who can help is asked to call the museum on 02476 350720 or e-mail

04.06.2007 - Scottish coastal archaeology at risk from erosion

Experts have warned that key sites telling the story of Scotland's past are in danger of being washed away and action needs to be taken.

The charity SCAPE (Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion, based at St Andrew's University) is now working with Historic Scotland to make a list of landmarks at risk. The survey has so far named several sites 'perilously close' to disappearing, including two prehistoric settlements on North Uist and an ancient settlement at Sandwick Bay, Shetland.

With analysis underway, experts are beginning to prioritise certain sites for protection.

a photograph of the name plate of flying scotsman with steam rising

04.06.2007 - Return of Flying Scotsman delayed

The National Railway Museum has put back the date when the famous Flying Scotsman locomotive will be back on the rails.

It had been hoped that restoration work on the engine would be finished by January 2008, but a lack of raw materials means the overhaul could take the best part of 2008. December 2008 has been given as an estimated completion date.

Photo: Flying Scotsman at National Railway Museum, York. © 24 Hour Museum

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