Thursday, August 29, 2013

Young Curators' Club - this Saturday

The second of our two drop-in sessions for the new Young Curators' Club takes place in the Learning Zone at Wakefield Museum this Saturday (31st August).

No need to book, just drop in between 10am and 12 to meet the Club Leader, pick up an information pack and have a go at making a fabulous butterfly feeder - inspired by our own Eco-warrior, Charles Waterton.

If you are aged between 8 and 13 with an interest in history - this is the place to be!

Click on image above to enlarge

If you can't make it on Saturday, email with your address for an application pack - or pop into the museum to pick one up!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sketches of Castleford

Castleford Forum Museum will be housed on the third floor of the redeveloped library building in Castleford.

There will also be a shared display space in the local studies area of the library on the second floor.  This will be developed to tell the story of Henry Moore’s early life.

Featuring in the display will be the Castleford Notebook by Albert Wainwright. Henry met and befriended Albert at Castleford Secondary School. They remained firm friends until Albert’s untimely death in 1943.

The notebook illustrates a colourful mixture of street scenes, factories and industry, plus drawings of classrooms at Castleford Grammar School, many places that Moore would have been familiar with when he was growing up in the town in the 1920s:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bug Hunt!

Bugs and other creepy crawlies are usually something to be avoided in museums - they can cause damage to collections - but last week, some intrepid adventurers explored the grounds and ruins of Sandal Castle to discover what creepy crawlie creatures are living there!

The explorers donned magnifying glasses and bug pots, before setting out to explore a variety of habitats.

Cadence looks very carefully, searching for tiny creatures!
We discovered a whole colony of crickets, some fantastic stripey caterpillars, lots of woodlice, slugs and snails, some beautiful butterflies - and even a fabulous frog!

The children were all fantastic at looking really closely for wildlife and being careful and kind with the creatures that they found, with many of them keen to explore the miniature habitats in their own gardens or parks. 

Creatures are examined before carefully returning them to the wild!

If you would like to explore the grounds of Sandal Castle yourself, admission is free and pedestrians can access the grounds all day. The car park is open 9.30am – 7.30pm in summer and till dusk in winter, and the Visitors' Centre is  open to the public Wednesday to Sunday 11am – 4:30pm. See here for more information.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Calling all Wakefield Men... We need your hair!

We are at the cutting edge of working on the next exhibition for Wakefield Museum.  Opening on 26 October, Men in the Mirror will explore men’s hair in all its glory!

The exhibition will explore the roots of the barber’s profession; untangle the history of shaving equipment; look at the changing face of men’s hair fashion; and of course will feature some of the most resplendent moustaches you have ever seen.
A fine example of the chevron style moustache.
BUT….we need your help.  In the museum collections we have piles of splendid pictures of Victorian facial hair, we have heaps of images of dapper gentlemen from the 1920s and 1930s….but we are low on hair from the 1950s onwards.

So we are asking for the Men of Wakefield to dig out their old photos and send us images of magnificent hair-dos and facial hair from the 1950s to the present day.

Have you ever sported  a mullet, did you emulate a famous rock star’s style; did your hair make a stand against ‘the man’ with a Mohican; did you let it hang long and loose in the summer of love; have you tried to hide balding with a comb over; has your hair been pink, gelled, permed, spiked, dread-locked, crimped, feathered,  ; have you modelled an afro, bowl cut, bob, quiff, bouffant, crew cut, undercut, corn rows, mop-top, pompadour, or have you always stuck to a short back and sides.

Don’t forget the facial hair… lurking in your loft is there a long hidden photo of a goatee; a marvellous muttonchop;  a pencil, handlebar, toothbrush, horseshoe or fu-manchu moustache; or our favourite, the big, the bushy, the beautiful, full beard.

If you have a photo you’d like to share with Wakefield Museum and see featured this hairy exhibition please: 
  • post a copy to Wakefield Museum, Wakefield One, Burton Street, Wakefield, WF1 2EB (please note that the museum will be unable to return photos posted to us- so if you are particularly attached to it please make a copy!).
  • bring a copy to Wakefield Museum reception desk

Please let us know your name, when the photo was taken, and anything you’d like to say about the hair featured!

This splendid neck beard dates from 1865 – 1885, taken in a photography studio in Wakefield.

This gentleman does right to pose with his hat off, who’d want to hide those marvellous hair tufts, they balance the chin curtain perfectly.

These stunning mutton chops are taken from a photograph album dating to 1889. 

The jaunty angle of the hat shows off those gorgeous waves beautifully, on this World War 2 soldier. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Castleford Forum Museum: Coal Mining Display

In the 1800s coal mining transformed Castleford into an industrial powerhouse.

A view of Fryston Colliery with allotments in front, taken by Jack Hulme
Castleford’s position on the South Yorkshire Coalfield with its excellent transport links made it ideal to supply mills and factories across Yorkshire. Coal powered Castleford glass works and potteries.

Castleford’s new museum, opening later this year will explore Castleford’s mining heritage. The mining display will follow mining from its early days, through to its boom.  Plus how Castleford has reinvented itself after the decline of the industry.

Mining case layout: A selection of objects that will feature in the mining display at Castleford Forum Museum

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Castleford Forum Museum: Bad poetry, hedgehogs and giants

Castleford’s new museum, due to open in Autumn 2013 will tell many stories about the area and its people.

One of the stories told will be about a medieval manuscript, written in 1327 by Thomas of Castleford. The Book of Brute or as it is more commonly known, the Castleford Chronicle, is one of only 7 chronicles written in English before 1600.

The manuscript, now kept in a library in Germany, tells the story of Britain from its discovery by a boat full of ship wrecked sisters (the Legend of Albina) to the imprisonment of Edward II.  With tales of giants and haircuts, hedgehogs and King Lear, love and being hit over the head with axes in between.
Detail of a miniature of Albina from a French or Netherlandish manuscript in the British Library
The chronicle, told in verse, would be unreadable to most of us; with its northern dialect Middle English, and not many people would read its 39437 lines! Those that have read it have also noted that Thomas of Castleford was a terrible poet.

The author’s longwinded, badly rhyming history of Britain can give all aspiring artists the hope that talent is not necessarily a vital ingredient of enduring legacy.
The Castleford Chronicle - kept in Germany - has no illustrations, but plenty of bad rhymes! Image courtesy of Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lots of fun in museums!

The summer holidays are upon us and at Wakefield Museum everyone has been getting creative! 

From flapper-inspired fascinators for all ages to fruit-based crafts for our younger visitors, there's been a lot to choose from!

We wanted to see how much juice an orange might hold . . . so we peeled and squeezed to find out!

Remember potato printing? We tried printing with apples, grapes, melon, lime...

“Brilliant again!  She loves coming to these sessions and can’t wait to come again.”
“This has been great for her, she wouldn’t normally even touch fruit!”
“Nice and friendly group with activity to keep everyone entertained”

The holidays have barely begun!  There's lots more to do!

Local Heroes
Some weird and wonderful people have come from Wakefield. At this workshop, you can find out all about some of these amazing and curious people – and you can also make some fabulous crafts to take home.
Ages 6-12 years old
11am-12.30 and 1.30-3pm
Wakefield Museum Learning Zone

Booking essential as places are limited on 01924 302700 or email.
Thursday 8 August

Why not drop into Pontefract Museum on Wednesday 21 August for Pontefract Of The Past?  No need to book!
Pontefract Of The Past
Pontefract is an amazing place with an amazing history – it even played a part in one of Henry VIII’s wives getting her head chopped off! You can learn about some surprising Pontefract stories at this drop-in workshop, as you make some brilliant crafts to take home.
Ages 3-12 years old
Pontefract Museum
No need to book for this session!
Wednesday 21 August

Or if you have any budding thespians in the family, why not book onto Fantastical Theatricals?

Fantastical Theatricals
Almost a thousand years ago, Wakefield was really famous for its plays – and ever since then, there have always been plays and theatres in Wakefield. We will learn about some of those plays here – and you can make some dramatic props to take home!
Ages 6-12 years old
11am-12.30 and 1.30-3pm
Wakefield museum Learning Zone
Booking essential as places are limited on 01924 302700 or email.

Wednesday 28 August

Please email if you would like to be added to our mailing list.
For these, and lots of other great events over the summer, have a look at Experience Wakefield.