Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Castleford Museum sneak preview!

Castleford Museum is really taking shape.  Many of the museum structures have been made, delivered and installed.  The objects have been selected and case layouts considered.  The graphic panels are just about ready to be sent to print.
As a special sneak preview here are some images of how the museum will look with the structures, cases and panels in place…
This is what you will see as you first enter the museum space on the third floor of the Castleford Forum Library and Museum building
Here you can see an example of the panel designs and the specially commissioned images of Iron Age Castleford. The large case will house an amazing and unique chariot.

A huge empty case! This will be filled with pottery and glass including some spectacular glass walking sticks.

A glass walking stick that will form part of the glass and ceramics display.  These incredible glass sticks show the skill and craftsmanship of the glass workers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wakefield Art Walk

Our special 1920s event – All in a flap at Wakefield Museum – is nearly upon us.

The flapper dresses have been prepared, the accessories chosen (check out the incredible scarab beetle necklace with legs!!!), the bow ties are ready to be tied, the feathers are set to be added to fascinators and a selection of roaring ‘20s hits chosen. 

A necklace made from real Egyptian scarab beetles

The scarab beetles' legs are visible on the reverse!

Create Café have designed a 1920’s inspired menu for the occasion:

Wakefield Art Walk special 
Wednesday 31st August 4.30-7pm
2 Courses with a tea or coffee - £10


Soup of the day with fresh bread £4
Thai Coconut Broth £4
Greek Salad with Feta Cheese £5

1920’s Inspired special – BBQ Ribs
BBQ Ribs first became popular when Henry Ford, in collaboration with Thomas Edison and EB Kingsford, began commercial manufacturing by making them from sawdust and wood scraps from Ford's auto plants in Detroit. The Kingsford Company then built the town Kingsford, MI. The company was later sold, and today Kingsford converts more than one million tons of wood scrap into briquets a year. So Ford not only brought the world affordable cars, he created an industry that made backyard barbecue easy.

Chargrilled Halloumi with Chargrilled Veg and Salsa £6
Grilled Salmon, Chargrilled Leeks & Fennel, Lemon Dressing £6
Chicken Noodle Salad with Thai Coconut Dressing £6

1920’s Inspired Special – Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing the sandwich by serving chopped steak on hoagie rolls in the early 1930s. They began selling this variation of steak sandwiches at their hot dog stand near south Philadelphia's Italian Market. They became so popular that Pat opened up his own restaurant which still operates today as Pat's King of Steaks.

Bakewell Tart with Pear and Almond Compote £3.50
Warm Triple Chocolate Brownie with Cream £3.50
Treacle tart with Orange Yoghurt £4
1920’s Inspired Special – New York Vanilla cheesecake, rhubarb syrup £3.50
In 1912, James Kraft developed a form of pasteurized cream cheese. Kraft acquired the Philadelphia trademark in 1928, and marketed pasteurized Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is now the most commonly used cheese for cheesecake.

DRINKS – All £2.50
For tonight only, we also have a selection of 1920’s inspired non-alcoholic drinks. We have put this list together by thinking of the traditional drinks that were consumed in this era and then adjusting them to be non-alcoholic versions. Not easy as most drinks in the era were Prohibition drinks meaning they were very short and very alcoholic…..!

Planters Punch – (Lemon Juice, Sugar, Orange, Pineapple, Grenadine)
During this era, "rum-running" became a "legitimate" trade in the United States. Smugglers used station wagons, trucks and boats to heist rum from Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. The Bronx was a rum based cocktail very popular in the 1920’s.

Mojito - (Lime Juice, Fresh Mint, Sugar, Soda)
This Cuban drink became popular in the mid-19th century, but it really became famous in the mid 1920’s when the recipe was adjusted to include Bacardi, and it became the national drink of Cuba, and spread into America.

French 75 – (Lemon Juice, Sugar, Soda)
The drink was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry's New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination of gin and champagne was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun, also called a "75 Cocktail", or "Soixante Quinze" in French. The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Free entry and activities
Wednesday 31 July 5pm – 7.30pm

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Young Curators' Club

We are excited to be launching a new Young Curators’ Club in September.

This free club will give young people the opportunity to get involved in the museum, handle real museum objects, discover interesting historical facts and try new craft activities.

Over the summer, young people are also invited to two drop-in activities to meet the session leader, find out more about the club, pick-up a members’ pack, and try a new craft activity to take home.

No need to book, just drop-in!

Free drop-in activities for 8-13 year olds
Learning Zone within Wakefield Library
17th August and 31st August

Saturday 17 August – Monster Pebbles – 10am to 12noon
Using the Sandal Castle stone gargoyle as inspiration, have a go at creating your own painted stone monsters!

Saturday 31 August – Butterfly Bonanza – 10am to 12noon
Taking a look at the butterflies in the Waterton Collection, and drawing inspiration from Waterton’s Nature Reserve, create your own butterfly feeder to take home.

Young Curators’ Club
  • Are you aged between 8 and 13?
  • Do you enjoy discovering interesting historical facts and trying new crafts?
Why not join the Young Curators’ Club?

The Young Curators’ Club will start on 21 September and will take place on the third Saturday of each month, from 10 am to 11.30 am.
Email for an information pack.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scissors, Paper, Stone

Wakefield Museums recently secured funding from Arts Council England to commission an artist to create an installation using museum objects in an innovative and exciting way in a special showcase in Wakefield One – the building in which Wakefield Museum is based.  

We were looking for an artist to use our collections as inspiration to create a beautifully engaging display. We asked artists to submit ideas that would allow people to engage with museum collections in a different way. 

We received loads of fabulous proposals that used the objects (we suggested a decorative Victorian bath or some stone heads) in some really interesting and unusual ways.

In the end we selected a proposal to use the stone heads in a piece called ‘Scissors Paper Stone’ by artist Rachel Sim.  Rachel is a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art.  Her work offers a graphic interpretation of cityscapes using various methods of printmaking to reflect her personal view of architecture and contemporary urban experience.

In Scissors Paper Stone, Rachel will explore the themes of renewal, reinvention and the passing of time in Wakefield.  She will create a series of sketchbook drawings of the architecture, patterns and textures of Wakefield.  These will inspire structures and prints that will be formed into a 3D installation -a cardboard city. The stone heads (from buildings in Wakefield) will then be placed on plinths within the cardboard city, allowing the viewer to peak through and spot them.

The installation will be in place from autumn this year.  So watch this space for more updates.

For more information about Rachel Sim, visit her website.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Behind the scenes for Castleford Museum

Some of the rarest and most important pieces going on display in the new Castleford Museum are the remains of an Iron Age chariot. 

After over 2000 years in the ground they are very fragile and had to be sent to a specialist conservation lab at York Archaeological Trust to get them ready for the exhibition. Here is one of the finished tyres in its protective sealed box being loaded into the van to come back to the museum stores. The next step is for a specialist mount maker to create some sort of cradle to hold it all in place.

Inside this box is an Iron Age tyre!
Buried in the chariot was the body of an Iron Age man. His remains are also very fragile and the conservator’s next job is to prepare the skull for display.
Archaeological conservator, Mags Felter from York Archaeological Trust

This skull was buried with the iron age chariot and is now very fragile

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Imagine... Castleford Forum Library and Museum

This is the top floor of the new Castleford Forum Library and Museum, it may not look special yet but imagine….

A brave warrior being immortalised in a grand chariot burial

A roman soldier in full armour, making his way to Castleford and missing the home cooking of Rome

The heat of a glass works – hot enough to melt the soles of your shoes

The anguish of a community ripped apart by closing mines, over time finding pride and strength in their town.

The roar of a crowd as Castleford beat Huddersfield 11 – 8 in the Rugby League Cup 1935

The great and good of Castleford in their fancy frocks playing marbles on a ‘Reet Night aht’

These are some of the stories you will encounter at the new Castleford Museum opening later this year; Imagine….

Monday, July 15, 2013

All in a flap - and the winner is...

The votes have been cast.  The scores have been counted.  We have a winner!

Thank you for voting on your favourite flapper dress

Come to Wakefield Museum on Wednesday 31 July (5-7pm) to see all 3 dresses, and see which one has gone on display along with carefully chosen accessories.

To celebrate the change in our displays, we are going all 1920s for the evening, and everyone is invited to come and get into the spirit!

Picture taken from a 1920s birthday card in the museum collection
Inspired by three gorgeous 1920s flapper dresses in our collections this event is bound to be hotsy- totsy!

The joint will be swinging, with a Charleston inspired Zumba, a fascinator workshop, bow-tie tying demonstrations, a display of vintage inspired headpieces, and much more.

So don’t be a sap, pop on your glad rags and head on down for a swell time.

Flapper Dresses
The public has been casting votes as to which 1920s flapper dress should go on display at Wakefield Museum.  For tonight only all three dress will be displayed, with our social history curator on hand to talk about the dresses and the museum collections.
Fabulous Fascinators
Join in with a drop in workshop to make a 1920s inspired hair fascinator.  Plus bow tie tying demonstrations for the gentlemen!

Milliner extraordinaire
Knottingley-based milliner, Deborah Walton will be showing some 1920s-inspired hats in her collection, and will be available for hat advice!

Photo Credit: Jessie Leong Photography

Charleston Zumba
Get with the swing of things with a taster session of Charleston Zumba from Sports and Active Lifestyles.  Sessions are at 6.30 and 7.00pm.  Sports gear not necessary!

A 1920s card in the museum collection

The Great Gatsby
“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Need some literary inspiration…take a look at some of the classic novels written during this period in a novel book display from Wakefield Libraries.

Mocktails @ Create Café
Indulge yourself with a 1920s style mocktail at Create Café.  Create café will also be offering a special menu for the evening.  Charges apply.

Life in the 1320s!
Plus visit our temporary exhibition Food For All Seasons to meet our infamous peasant Alice Gerbod and find out what life was like in the 1320s!

All events are free unless otherwise stated.

Drop in to Wakefield Museum between 5.00pm & 7.30pm.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some fabulous drawings!

Last week we received a lovely package in the post...

In early June a group of pupils from Silcoates School visited Sandal Castle as part of their school project work.  Pupils were taken around the castle site by one of the Museums' Learning  Officers and told the history of the site along with information about the castle's surviving features.

Pupils asked thoughtful questions to further their understanding and worked on site collating evidence for their project work.

Along with this lovely letter, were some pupils' drawings, and they were all so fantastic, we had to share a few!

What a lovely letter to receive!

What we can remember about our trip to Sandal Castle:
A pupil's drawing of Sandal Castle done back at school - all the features are there!

This picture shows an aerial view of Sandal Castle, showing impressive visualisation skills!

We love this image of a knight at the Battle of Wakefield!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Castleford's new museum!

Castleford’s eagerly awaited new library and museum, is well underway.

The museum team is working hard on the internal fit out design for the third floor museum space.
Displays will include:

  • The importance of Bronze Age Castleford
  • A unique and fascinating Iron Age burial chariot
  • Objects from Roman Castleford (or Lagentium as it was known then), including a leather sandal, a milestone and an ear pick!
  • How mining has shaped the community
  • A stunning display of Castleford made glass and ceramics
  • Plus rugby, marbles and not forgetting Henry Moore.

There will also be 4 very special community cases, offering the opportunity to the people of Castleford to make their own museum displays.

This plan shows the basic layout of the new museum space. The display cases on the left hand side will consist of roman stonework pieces.

This plan shows the central display island that will feature a large screen showing historic film from the area.
As we get closer to the scheduled opening in autumn this year watch this space for more behind the scenes updates…

Monday, July 8, 2013

Extraordinary Ordinary

Extraordinary Ordinary – pit village life by Jack Hulme
Two very different visions of manliness!
A stunning new exhibition at Pontefract Museum celebrates the touching and captivating photographs by Jack Hulme.

Jack Hulme’s photographs of the pit village of Fryston, on the outskirts of Castleford, are a fascinating, unique and revealing record of a mining community in the mid twentieth century.  He was born in the village but, after an injury, was unable to work as a miner.

When his wife bought him a Leica camera he became the village photographer, and it is for his black and white images that he is now remembered. The enduring value of his images is that he captured the ordinary – domestic chores, playing in the street, the daily grind.

From the attitude of his subjects towards him, you can see he was part of the life he was documenting. From the National Strike to the Miners’ Strike he witnessed the passing of the industrial age in Yorkshire.

Can you imagine doing this now?

Fanny Morgan and her sister

Before Health and Safety went mad!

Before computer games took over!

Some of what he photographed is the same today but there are big differences. Change is sometimes most obvious to people who haven’t lived through it. Therefore the Museum asked students at Pontefract New College for their reactions to the images in this exhibition.

Photography is an incredibly popular subject at New College. The A-level students experience both the traditional dark room photography Jack Hulme would have recognised as well as modern digital manipulation. They have researched some of these photographs and written their own personal responses. These captions next to the originals give new perspectives on this powerful record.

Pontefract Museum, Salter Row, Pontefract, WF8 1BA, 01977 722740

Opening Times: Mon – Fri 10.00am – 4.30pm, Sat 10.30am – 4.30pm

Free Admission

Friday, July 5, 2013

The mould triumphed!

On Wednesday this week Wakefield Museum had a fascinating talk from Ivan Day, food historian.  Ivan informed and entertained visitors on a talk entitled The Triumph of the Mould as part of the You Are What You Ate project funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Original moulds from Ivan's personal collection were shown to the audience along with explanations as to how they were used and what food types would have been moulded within.

One highlight of the evening was the display of specially made deserts all of which were spectacular not only in design but in behaviour!

From jelly to cheese and biscuit to flummery and even ice cream moulds - the array and style of food preparation in the past leaves has left just a shadow of influence on modern foods.

It is a cameo brooch? No, it's a jelly/flummery!  Made in an original 18th century mould

Another 18th century flummery

The wobble on this steeple flummery was astounding!  How could a footman presenting this to table keep a straight face?
Beautifully handcarved sugar walnut moulds - put the 2 halves together and hide inside some sweets or a motto!

Amazingly detailed moulds from Ivan's collection

Monday, July 1, 2013

Working with other local museums

Our staff have met up with some other museums in Wakefield to help out, share ideas and develop projects.

Curator John Whitaker and Local Studies Librarian Claire Pickering made a trip down to The Hepworth Wakefield to help them find out more about a mill building they are opening as a new exhibition space this summer.  The ground floor of the building on Wakefield waterfront which will be transformed into a gallery has a long history.
By looking through historic maps in the Local Studies Library we learned that the building (or at least versions of it) has been in use for at least 200 years. In the in the 1820s it is listed as Tootal's warehouse. Tootal was a corn factor (someone who traded in corn rather than produced it) so it probably stored corn. It became part of the Victorian Rutland Mills complex and was used in textile manufacture and was occupied by Patons and Baldwins from the 1920s. Textile firm Caddies Wainwrights took it over in the 1970s and it was part of the Arts Mill in the 1990s before becoming part of a major Waterfront Redevelopment scheme from 1997.  The Local Studies library has a wealth of information about Wakefield's buildings and businesses.

Local Studies Librarian Claire Pickering explores trade directories with Hepworth's Head of Communications and Marketing Hollie Latham
Cara Sutherland, the new curator at the Museum of Mental Health came to see us last week too. The museum, formally known as the Stephan Beaumont Museum  is currently being redeveloped and reorganised . The museum uses objects from Wakefield's West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, also known as Stanley Royd Hospital to explore our changing attitudes and treatments of mental illness. The collections, which include a padded cell, are very important and many objects were salvaged from the site before it was demolished and converted into apartments. Cara is very keen to get to grips the fantastic collections they have and get the museum refurbished and reopened.

Cara Sutherland next to Wakefield Museum's improving lives case which displays a sampler made by a patient at the asylum and a whistle used by one of its nurses.