New acquisition opens the door on Larry Grayson

The Museum has recently acquired a significant collection of material relating to Nuneaton comedian and Generation Game presenter Larry Grayson.

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Pauline and Larry behind the scenes at one of his performances in the 1970s.

Pauline Pearson first met Larry at a Blackpool show in 1974. From that point the two wrote regularly to one another, exchanging Christmas and birthday cards.

“Thank you once again for remembering my 39th birthday… soon to be 40 now.. hooray!!!” (1986)

It was a friendship that would last 20 years, until Larry’s death in 1994. On the eve of his retirement Larry wrote to Pauline, “Thank you for your kindness over the years and being such a loyal friend and fan”.

Pauline was a huge fan of Larry’s; she carefully kept letters and postcards from Larry and compiled her own scrapbook of programmes and newspaper cuttings. Every year she would display her first Christmas card from Larry on the mantlepiece alongside his current card.

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The letterhead used on Larry’s earlier letters to Pauline.

Over the years Larry’s letters – written on rather fabulous notepaper – reveal a very personal and moving friendship:

“Don’t forget always keep smiling although sometimes it’s very hard to do (don’t I know so well)”

“Have rented a lovely  house outside Torquay in a delightful spot and very peaceful and away from the crowds and can really rest when not at the theatre or opening fetes”

“Now completely retired from show biz, no more stage shows or television it’s not the show biz I knew and loved over the years… I had the best years playing the best shows and the lovely theatres now all gone and worked with real stars and clever acts”

Pauline’s son, Graham, has kindly donated his mother’s collection to the Museum and remembers Larry fondly ‘He was always a gentleman, a wonderful warm human being who loved people and received much love and warmth in return’.

We’re delighted to provide a home to Pauline’s fan collection and memorabilia. In the coming weeks will be working through and cataloguing the collection.

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Gurkhas On Parade!

This Number Two Service Dress uniform was worn by  Sergeant Robin Rai, formally of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals, and donated to the Museum in 2013.
The Number Two Service Dress Uniform is worn for formal and ceremonial duties and is kept in immaculate condition.
The badge of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals can be seen on the jacket lapels and a ceremonial Kukri knife is attached to the belt.
The uniform together with a specially commissioned film in which Robin describes the uniform and what it means to be a Gurkha in the British Army, are now on display in our Local History Gallery.

Nuneaton and Bedworth has a proud association with the Gurkhas, who are based locally at Gamecock Barracks, Bramcote.

On the 26 April in Riversley Park, Nuneaton, there will be an inauguration of a special Gurkha Memorial to commemorate 200 years of Gurkha service in the British Army. Gurkha Uniform

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Last weekend of the Inuit Illustration exhibition on display!

If you haven’t been along to the latest exhibition on in the Landing Gallery at the museum – this weekend is your last chance! “The land that faces away from the sun: Changing lives on Baffin Island” ends this weekend.

Text panel in Inuit exhibition about artist

Text panel in Inuit exhibition -come and see the rest in the flesh…!

Please come along and tell the team what you think – give us feedback on our story of changing lives on Baffin Island. Tell me what you think about my illustrations depicting some of the stories I learned by researching the museum’s fantastic Inuit collection. You can leave feedback at the museum, here on this blog or through my website

The exhibition is open for the last time on Sunday 29th March.

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A second Access Assistant joins the Museum team!

Hello, my name is Rowena and I am the second Museum Access Assistant to join the team, working alongside Claire.
I am thrilled to be working at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery as I have been coming here as a visitor since I was a child. History has always been an interest of mine from a very early age.
I feel that  objects can tell amazing stories, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoy the Hands on History events. It’s very exciting  to be able to research the Museum’s collections and tell those stories to our visitors.
Our special family Event Days are also lots of fun and both Claire and I will be working on those with some great Make ‘n’ Takes planned for our younger visitors!
I do hope to meet you during the course of the year so if you see me in one of the Museum galleries don’t be afraid to pop over and say hello!Rowena

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Arc School Workshop

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Shannon, Lewis, Evan, Jamey and Callum – Year 8 and 10 students from Arc School Church End in Ansley, Warwickshire. Visiting their school to introduce myself and my work as an Illustrator was a brilliant experience.

They definitely gave me a different perspective on the Inuit collection the next day when they came to the museum. Whilst we looked at and handled some of the objects, the group asked questions that everyone would want to know, and that confirmed to me how much I’ve learned in the last few months – because I could answer most of their questions.

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‘What did they do if there were no shops around to buy things? And if I lived there what would I do?’

‘How did they get medicine when someone in their family was sick?’

‘Where is Baffin Island’?

‘Did they play football?’ (The answer is yes, of course – we even have evidence!)

The group got a peek into the collection stores at the museum to learn about the museum’s work behind the scenes – something I really enjoy the opportunity to do myself!

Afterwards the students helped to embellish one of my final illustrations, by producing their own print design based on what inspired them about life on Baffin Island. Here are some images from the workshop, but you can see the final designs in the exhibition ‘The Land That Faces Away From The Sun: Changing Lives on Baffin Island’ which opens tomorrow at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery.

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A very special ‘thank you’ goes out to Jane Sperring, the students’ teacher at Arc; Robin Johnson, Arc’s Cultural Curator (both supported the session so brilliantly) and Matthew Johnson, Outreach Officer at Nuneaton Museum who led the fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ tour at the museum.

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Finding out about Inuits aside from looking at my illustrations!

There is now less than a week to go before the exhibition ‘The Land That Faces Away From The Sun: Changing Lives on Baffin Island‘ opens.

The title of the exhibition is a rough translation of the place where the museum’s Inuit collection comes from – Baffin Island.

I’m looking forward to seeing what people think to my work and if they will be as interested as I am in the objects I chose to display. I’m also very pleased that the exhibition team and volunteers have worked so hard to help me make this interesting for everyone – including working out how to show this fantastic film about Arthur Canon Turner’s life on Baffin Island in moving image:

The DVD cover of a film about everyday life on Baffin Island - to be shown in the exhibition.

The DVD cover of a film about everyday life on Baffin Island – to be shown in the exhibition.

The film has everything from football frenzy in the snow to husky dogs in it!

Not only is there a feast for the eyes in the exhibition, the team and I have also organised for some games, tactile materials to touch and specially made aroma boxes for visitors to really experience life in Baffinland – we hope to see you there!

‘The Land That Faces Away From The Sun: Changing Lives on Baffin Island’ opens from Saturday 7th February at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery. Find out about the exhibition and related museum events here.

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Meet a new member of the team!

Hello! My name is Claire and I am one of the new Museum Access Assistants appointed by the Museum & Art Gallery.  I have always had an interest in objects from the past and love revealing the stories about the more unusual items in the collection. This role has exceeded my expectations by combining my passion for history and life long learning. The make and take sessions on event days allow me to get creative with our younger visitors. Our handling sessions let me share my knowledge of the collection with the public and let them get hands on with the objects.

Every day I learn something new and it’s wonderful to be part of such a lovely team. I’m very much looking forward to meeting you on our weekend event days!  However I’m not always dressed as a knight!Claire

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