Monday, April 30, 2012

Bringing Tudor Wakefield to Life!

Wakefield Museum has teamed up with Peter Brears, a highly respected historian, historic cookery expert, illustrator and son of the Merrie City to explore a now hidden side of Wakefield.

Believe it or not, the centre of Wakefield once housed rows of impressive timber framed Tudor houses built by wealthy merchants in the 1500s. The merchants bought and built finely decorated houses on Westgate, Bread Street, Northgate and near the Bullring using wood from (the) Outwood (see where that name came from?).

These buildings have all but disappeared. There are still a couple on Westgate and The Cow Shed restaurant on Northgate is a good example (it still has an original decorated plaster ceiling upstairs). Some of these buildings survive in bits in Wakefield Museum’s collections and, with Peter’s help, we want to show them off in the new museum. He has illustrated how they would have looked when they were first built - bringing them back to life.

The Tudor Wakefield display will be like a sketchbook of a forgotten Wakefield, combining our beautifully carved timber beams with Peter Brears’ thoughtful illustrations.

Corbel from a medieval building which stood in Bread Street. It has a carved relief of a knight figure holding a sword. Sadly the knight’s  face has not survived, but Peter's drawing shows how it looked and where is was on the building.

Peter Brears' wonderful drawings bring the fragmented timbers back to life

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yorkshire based company appointed to fit out the new museum displays at Wakefield One

After a tendering process that generated much interest from a range of specialist museum design companies from across the UK, we are pleased to announce that RS Displays have been awarded the contract to fit out the new museum galleries at Wakefield One. 

Operating from a 10000 sq ft studio and workshop on the site of Robin Hood airport just outside of Doncaster, the company have created a number of award winning world wide projects. In the last 15 years they have focused their creative and technical energies on creating engaging and immersive experiences for the museums and heritage sector.

RS have built and maintained an enviable reputation for delivering projects on time and within budget and combine the latest technologies with traditional craftsmanship backed up by a wealth of experience and expertise. They have worked on museum exhibition and gallery projects as varied as designing dungeons and dragons at Alnwick Castle to recreating the drama of the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’ in two state of the art visitor centres in Iceland. 
RS Displays built the dungeon displays at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
RS Displays manufactured & fitted an Ice Cave made from PETG plastic & steel in Hofn, Iceland
Needless to say we look forward to working with them. Watch this space for news and images of the new displays as they develop from design concepts to fabricated structures.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More on 'God Speed the Plough'!

You may have read our previous post concerning a named mug with 'God Speed the Plough' painted on it.  Our harvest mug is currently on display at Drury Lane Library, and will be going into Wakefield's new museum when it opens in the autumn.  

One of our team, whilst on holiday in Dorset this week, spotted this later, mid 19th century harvest mug on display in Shaftesbury's Gold Hill Museum.  
Harvest mug on display at Gold Hill Museum, Shaftesbury
Unlike ours, this one doesn't seem to have a name on it, but instead has a poem on the back, and is more finely decorated.
Our mug is named and dated, whereas this one has a poem instead (excuse the poor photo!)
The verse reads:
Let the wealthy and great
Dwell in splendour and state
I envy them not I declare it
I eat my own lamb
My own chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it
I have lawns, I have rowers
I have fruit, I have flowers
The lark is my morning alarmer
So jolly boys now
Here's God speed the plough
Long life and success to the farmer

Do you know of any other 'God Speed the Plough' mugs?
Do tell us about them!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Teachers - we need your help!

We are not only to redeveloping the museum content and interpretation, but also to assessing and redesigning our service for schools.  We need the input of current teachers so that we can best meet their needs when our new museum and library opens!

We plan to hold a couple of teacher twilight sessions, during which we can update teachers with the latest development, and discuss how we run our service for schools in the future.  Refreshments (and cake!) will be provided.  
Dates and times for these sessions will be announced soon.

We have also developed a questionnaire for those teachers unable to attend one of our sessions, and this will be sent out to our teacher contacts and all headteachers for the beginning of the Summer Term.  

So, if you are a current teacher and you don't think you are on our mailing list, please email us to be added.  

Not only will you have the opportunity to influence our future direction, but you will also be updated on our schools programme - including special free sessions for your pupils! 

Thank you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crocodile on the move!

Packing at Wakefield Museum is close to completion, but there was one job too big for our Collections Team to tackle alone - moving the Waterton Collection, including a large cayman crocodile!

Specialist conservation movers were called in to pack and move the beast which will be going back on display in the new museum - under the floor!  See this posting for more details.

The cayman is free from its case!  Seeing it (and its teeth!) this close-up  makes it clear what a powerful and dangerous animal this was!

Specialist packers tame the monster!

All packed up - for now!