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.



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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Beginning to tell the Tales from The Tundra

Hi, my name’s Jhinuk and I’m an Illustrator based in London, originally from the Midlands. You can find out more about me and my work here. This is my first blog post about my collaboration of work with Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery on our project with the working title ‘Tales from the Tundra’.

Today I visited Nuneaton Museum with an exciting agenda to kick off my work with them as Illustrator in residence. I was greeted by the sunny gardens of Riversley Park (which the museum overlooks, for those who don’t know it yet).

The blooming, colourful gardens of Nuneaton's Riversley Park (in front of Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery)

The blooming, colourful gardens of Nuneaton’s Riversley Park (in front of Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery)

Let the planning and research begin!

Today went by so quickly, but definitely filled my head with a set of strong starting points for some sketches and themes for illustrations I could create.

In a planning meeting with the museum team, I learned about the background of objects in the Inuit collection and the research the team had already made. It all definitely helped me to understand how my illustrations could interpret interesting stories.

From different perspectives of the team, we discussed exhibition designs, visitor activities relating to my illustrations, events where I could talk about my research and making it all accessible. The team thrashed out their ideas with me and vice versa. We planned in dates to carry it all out, helping me to slowly determine a deadline for my final illustrations (even if I don’t know what they will look like yet!).

How I spent the afternoon:

I got some gloves on and delved into boxes of Inuit objects found in the collection store!

Photographing some Inuit objects and focusing on different details in them allowed me to think about what elements I could study further, both visually and for their meaning in the overall story I want to tell. Many materials including delicate seal skins, walrus ivory and beadwork had been crafted into games and vital everyday tools by this particular Inuit community. The additional decorative patterns of the Inuit texts in bibles and embroidery on boots also helped to spark off a number of ideas on what colours, materials and crafts I want to explore in my illustrations.

The museum team and I talked about local visitors, what would excite regular and new visitors of all ages to find out about the Inuit collection? Would they like to learn about Canon Jack Turner – a man who travelled to Baffin Island to meet Inuit people and who returned with these wonderful objects that he donated to Nuneaton Museum? Would I make my illustrations uncover the skills and everyday lives of Inuit communities? Would visitors like to learn about Inuit people’s beliefs and spiritual values?

Can you help?

I would love to hear what you would like to learn from my illustrations and the Inuit collection. Feel free to leave me a comment. And in return, perhaps I’ll give you a sneaky peek at some of the wonderful objects from the collection I studied in my next blog post. Until next week….

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Really radical ribbon writing

No it’s not a tongue twister!

In preparation for the arrival of the giant Godiva puppet which will be visiting Nuneaton on Saturday 5 July, pupils from the George Eliot School have been busy preparing something for her!

As part of the Ribbons for Godiva Challenge, they have beenribbon event 006 writing lines from George Eliot’s famous novel ‘Silas Marner’ onto ribbons which will then be tied onto the trees outside the Museum & Art Gallery. They will be inspected by Godiva when she arrives so I hope she is impressed with what she finds!



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Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery at Astley Book Farm

Museum at AstleyThe Museum was priviledged to be invited to the celebrations for Astley Book Farm’s 10th Birthday on Saturday 28 June.

We decided to take along a copy of Robert Evens’s diary from 1833. You may know that Rober Evans was Land Agent for the Arbury Estate and the the father of George Eliot. It drew a great deal of attention and we were busy throughout the day answering questions.


A huge ‘Thank You’ goes to the to the team at the Book Farm who looked after us so well throughout the day. It’s a fabulous place to go if you are a book lover, or even if you just like large portions of delicious cake!

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