Getting Greener!

Visitors to Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery will find changes taking place between October 1st and 24th when they visit.  The installation of new double glazed windows to replace the old wooden windows will be taking place, forcing some temporary gallery closures.    Changing to double glazing will help to make the building more energy efficient and help to reduce its carbon footprint by around half a tonne each year.    The museum is part of a Reducing Bills: Greening Museums Programme taking place across the West Midlands and has already reduced its energy usage by shifting to LED lights.

A programme of room closures appears below though these may be subject to change.

October 1st – October 24th George Eliot Gallery

October 1st – October 24th Picture Gallery

October 2nd – October 24th Local History Gallery

The museum will close entirely save the tearoom October 21st to October 23rd.  For up to date information people can log onto the museum’s facebook page, facebook.com/nuneatonmuseum

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New schools resource under development

Over the past few weeks, Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery has been working with freelance Education Consultant, Barbara Touati-Evans on a new resource for visiting school groups. The resource, which will take the form of a part taught workshop at the Museum, addresses the theme of slavery and exploitation, making links between both historic and contemporary examples. Here’s what Barbara had to say about the project:

“So far my research has focused on artefacts from the Museum collections and evidence from both the Museum archive and documents from the County Records Office in Warwick. I have uncovered some startling facts about the employment of young children locally during the Victorian period, particularly in areas of heavy industry.

Early on in the project, we decided to focus on the Museum collection and local history resources linking the Victorian period and exploitative working conditions. In many ways these can be mirrored in conditions seen in developing countries and this is the point I hope pupils will take on board, that slavery takes many forms and still exists.”Barbara Evans1

The workshop will be available to schools to book later in the year. If you would like more details of the project please contact Matt Johnson the Museum Outreach Officer on 024 7635 0720 or email museum@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk

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Followers Of Fashion

Our Access Assistants have been busy over the past two weeks preparing a little bit of fashion nostalgia for you to get hands on with on Saturday 20 September.

This month’s Hands On History2014-17-7 session is entitled“ Cravats And Crinolines” and will feature Victorian fashion accessories from the Museum’s collection. Discover a wide range of costume accessories for men and women from the early 19th century through to the 20th century and learn about the meanings behind some of them.

Objects to discover will include ladies and men’s hats, hatpins, parasols, purses and corsets. Visitors will be able to find out how fashions developed throughout the Victorian era and where items originated.

Just as a taster, take a look at these fabulous Wedding shoes from the 1920’s

All Hands On History sessions are free. No booking is required, just drop in from 11.00- 4.00pm.

 

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Tea Time Treat

On Thursday we were delighted to welcome the ladies from Edward Street Muslim Day Centre to the Museum & Art Gallery for afternoon tea and mark an important event.

The ladies have been working with the Museum collections and professional print artist Tracey Watson to create some stunning designs for a new Museum tea towel.

The ‘Mapping Memories’ designs are inspired by remembered buildings, landmarks and features from the borough by the ladies who are all first generation migrants to the area.

Identifying and remembering these local buildings unlocked many stories and anecdotes about migration to the borough in the 1960’s and 1970’s together with fond memories of long demolished buildings. Hands up who remembers the Palace Cinema on Queens Road?
Thank you to Maarya Johnson, Tracey Watson and all the ladies and helpers from the Centre for making the ‘Mapping Memories’ project a big success.

Our wonderful tea towels are available from the Museum shop, priced £4.50. No kitchen should be without one!Tea Towel

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Bake off is Back!

Here at the museum many of us are fans of “The British Bake Off” as well as being great cake eaters.  I thought in celebration of the series returning last night that it might be nice to blog a recipe from a book in our collection.  The book is titled ” The Experienced English Housekeeper” by Elizabeth Raffald and was published in 1782.

 

To make SHREWSBURY CAKES.

TAKE half a pound of butter, beat it to a cream, then put in half a pound of flour, one egg, six ounces of loaf sugar beat and sifted, half an ounce of carraway seeds mixed into a paste,

roll them thin, and cut them round with a small glass, or little tins, prick them, and lay them on sheets of tin, and bake them in a slow oven.

 

 

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From Caribou to Sinew

As promised, here are some of the objects from the Inuit collection I photographed last week.

Inuit bear and spear game

Inuit bear and spear game

Inuit harpoon hooks and sewing tools.

Inuit harpoon hooks and sewing tools.

Inuit fish and spear games

Inuit fish and spear games

Just by sketching away, some of the objects have already given me an insight into the incredible craftsmanship and creativity that Inuit people had, in order to survive!

Inuit games sketch

Inuit games sketch

Bow Drill sketch

Bow Drill sketch

Canoe stone sketch

Canoe stone sketch

This piece of sinew thread (pictured below) was so fragile. When I had delicately lifted it out of its archival quality packaging, I had to find out more. Why was this kept? What’s so precious about it?

Inuit sinew

Inuit sinew

Then I found out: ‘When a hunter brings a caribou back to camp, a seamstress slices its dorsal sinews (uliut) from the back, cuts them into ribbons, then cleans them and hangs them to dry. After a day, she splits the ribbons into thin strands with her teeth or thumbnail. She can store the sinew thread (ivalu) or use it immediately to sew clothing, tents, bedding, or kayaks…..’ (Reference taken from ‘Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing’ by Issenman B, 1997. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press).

How resourceful can you get! It inspired me to illustrate some of the process – which I will show you next week, stay tuned to Tales of the Tundra blog posts!

Inuit Doll

Inuit Doll

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Taking time to reflect

Well it’s been a busy week so far with the children’s summer activity programme in full swing but in addition to that I’ve been making special preparations for an event to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War.

The Museum & Art Gallery is participating in an event called ‘Lights Out.’

At 10pm on 4 August 2014,  buildings in the UK  are invitedto transform their appearance by turning out their lights, leaving a single light visible to the public. The single light left on could be in a number of different forms and can be both simple and creative. If buildings cannot go dark due to health and safety or any other reason, leaving a single light, prominently placed, will be just as inspirational.

We have decorated the glass fronted stairwell to the rear of the building with a cascade of poppies which will be illuminated by a single light between 10pm and 11pm.

People can take part in whatever way they chose and with whatever thoughts they have about the moment that Britain joined the First World War one hundred years ago. For more information go to: www.1418now.org.uk/lights-outcreate-your-moment/

Getting the poppies applied to the glass was a tricky business, especially for me! However help was at hand as Stephen and Neal from Nine Point High design company generously popped in and gave me a hand! Thanks chaps!Poppies

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