Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wakefield Museums wish you a very merry Christmas

To wish all of our lovely blog followers a Happy Christmas we’d like to take you on a whistle-stop tour of our Christmas related collections.

We have picked some of the more interesting and unusual items!!! 

Surely no Christmas tree is complete without a rabbit-child bauble. 

A festive pork pie poster.

Stuck for what to get Uncle Bob? How about a Christmas Biro?

And for your best friend ....

Kids...ask your parents

Father Christmas (and the Easter bunny????)

Cock-a-doodle Christmas

 The height of 1889 Christmas fashion

Greetings sincere

And now for the cats...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Castleford Forum Museum proves a hit with visitors

Castleford Forum Museum opened on Monday 9 December. Just over a week later we reflect on visitor's thoughts so far.

Visitors have been flocking to see the new museum and library at Castleford.  Some of the comments from visitors have included:

"Love the new building - really lovely"

"An excellent addition to Castleford, Thank You"

"Very interesting facts and displays."

"The kids enjoyed the museum"

"Really interesting, a lot of information in a small space.  Well thought out and displayed"

"The town really needed a facility like this.  Well done all the team who fought to make it reality."

"Worth every penny.  What the town has wanted for years.  Well done classy Cas."

"The museum is awesome to what it was.  As a Cas lass i love it."

"I really like your roman section, because it's my topic at school"

Front of House staff who work at Castleford Forum Museum have been enjoying hearing memories from visitors that have been inspired by the museum displays.  Many of the subjects explored in the displays are within living memory,  and the people of Castleford are full of wonderful tales of characters and experiences relating to what they see. 

"He used to live down our road" - about Gilligan's roundabout

"Arthur Atkinson was a legend, but was known to us kids as Uncle Arthur. He ended up working in the cinema"

We have also been given lots of pointers about objects on display, especially the pottery and glass pieces. Visitors have also been suggesting what we should add to the displays:

"Would like to see the history of Castleford Theatre, Bill & Ben and other famous residents"

Groups and individuals are invited to explore subjects they are interested in by getting involved with the curating of the community cases.  If you have any ideas about further displays please contact us 

A lovely moment came when a women recognised herself on one of the photos talking about the history of Queen's Mill.

"Oooh That's me!"

She then brought her friends back to see her on the Allinson's Lorry:

If you have not yet visited the new Castleford Forum Museum, do pop along and if you have already visited and liked what you saw then tell a friend to go!

Castleford Forum Library and Museum, Carlton Street, Castleford, WF10 1BB

Telephone - Museum: 01977 722084

Free Entry

Opening times

Monday - 9.30am to 5.30pm

Tuesday - 9.30 to 5.30

Wednesday closed

Thursday  -  9.30am to 7.00pm

Friday  - 9.30am to 5.30pm

Saturday - 9.30am to 4.00pm

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wakefield Museum has gone potty about Christmas!

The latest display to adorn the foyer of Wakefield Museum has been created with a seasonal theme.
A stunning selection of over 25 medieval pots have been displayed in a festive shape…

Here is the display being created (can you tell what it is yet?)

A selection of medieval pots from the museum collections

The first pots go in
It's taking shape

Just adding the finishing touches...

Ta da!

The theme of medieval pots was decided upon to support our new travelling pod display that is currently touring around Wakefield Libraries.  The travelling pod has been funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of the ‘You Are What You Ate’ project.  This project has produced three temporary exhibitions which have explored the theme of healthy eating in very different ways. The pod will spread the healthy eating message further as it is based on the three exhibitions.  You can see the pod at Airedale Library and Learning Centre until Monday 14 January, it will then be moving to South Elmsall library.

The travelling pod and the display at Wakefield Museum is part of the You Are What You Ate project, funded by the Wellcome Trust and in partnership with Wakefield Council, the University of Leeds and the University of Bradford. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

World War 1 Diary

At the beginning of 1918 George Kellett,  a soldier born in Wakefield, received a Christmas parcel which contained a Christmas cake, parkin, a few apples and a diary. George then recorded his year as a World War 1 soldier. His family donated his diary to Wakefield Museums.
The diary details George’s life as a soldier - letters from home, pay arrangements, games of draughts, getting ready for draft, working on a rifle range, digging trenches.

From January 2014 we will be tweeting George’s Diary entries.  Over the year this will build up a picture of what his experience was.  Follow the tweets at @WW1_Diary on Twitter.  We will also post a monthly digest of the diary entries on this blog.

George Kellett
We don’t know a great deal about George Kellett.  We have recently been in contact with his great niece and nephew, who have very kindly provided us with some photographs of George and his family.  We will be using these photos alongside the diary entries.  Over the next 12 months we hope to find out more about George and will be working with Wakefield Libraries Local Studies to this end.   

We do know that George was born in 1894, and at the time of the 1911 census he was living at 4 Bowman Street, Sandal. He apprenticed in 1909 as a joiner and married after he returned from war. 

George Kellett's wife

The diary has been transcribed by museum staff (a big thank you to Kathryn Groom), and has sometimes proved difficult to read!  Especially place names in France.  We are working to find out more information about places and details George mentions.

We hope that this project will provide an idea of what daily life was like for a First World War soldier. From the details about pay to how George spent his spare time, and from family news to the tasks of a soldier, this story will be a fascinating glimpse into the First World War.
There will be a further programme of activity to commemorate 100 years since the First World War, including an exhibition at Pontefract Museum. Follow this link for more info on The Great War Inspires

Follow George Kellett’s diary entries at @WW1_Diary on Twitter

Monday, December 9, 2013

Castleford Forum Library and Museum Opens today!

We are very pleased to announce that the new library and museum in Castleford Forum opens at 2pm today!
  • Henry Moore's early life.
  • Displays of archaeology from Bronze Age to Roman, including the amazing Iron Age Chariot.
  • Mining, Castleford glass and pottery - and the extraordinary images of the every-day by Jack Hulme.
  • Plus four community-curated displays:
    • Rugby, Victorian women's occupations, milling and beauty.
To celebrate the opening, we have a range of activities and events planned for the New Year.  
Explore the new library and museum - and get involved!

Alternate Thursdays
13 & 27 February, 13 & 27 March
Meet the Curator
10am to 12 noon
Bring in your objects for advice on their care and research, or to find out more about what is on display.

Friday 14 February
Meet the Henry Moore Curator
10am to 12 noon
A chance to meet the curator of the Henry Moore displays and discover more about the artist.

Saturday 15 February
Painted Pots
9.45 to 11am or 11.30 to 1pm - for families with children aged 7+
2 to 4pm - for adults and children aged 15+
Come and see the Castleford-made Art-Deco pottery, and work with an artist to decorate your own to be fired and collected later.
Booking essential as places are limited - call 01924 302700 or email.

Monday 17 February
Tribal Trinkets
11am to 2pm
Suitable for families with children aged 4-12
Castleford Museum has some jewellery worn by people of the Iron Age Brigantes tribe. At the drop-in craft session, you can make your own amazing Iron Age-style jewels to take home.

Thursday 20 February
From Mercury to Jupiter
11am to 2pm
Suitable for families with children aged 4-12
There were many gods and goddesses worshipped by the Romans. Come and see an original stone sculpture to one of these gods and create your own god or goddess. Please wear clothes you do not mind getting a bit messy!

Saturday 29 March
Roman Day!
10am- 3pm
The Romans are coming!  Comeand meet the Romans and find out how they lived in Castleford with fun activities for all the family.


For these and more FREE events, pop into the new Castleford Forum Library and Museum, and pick up a leaflet.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Family Fun!

This week saw the last Crafty Crocs of 2013.

Our theme was trees and wood. We looked in Wakefield Museum to find objects created out of wood.

Back in the Learning Zone our Crafty Crocs created some tree window decorations with tissue paper lights, a reindeer hat and to top our tree, our very own drinking straw star woven with wool.

Reindeer hat!

Christmas star!

Making a Christmas Tree

A finished tree!

These free sessions are run for 2-5 year olds at Wakefield Museum - creative fun inspired by the museum collections!

The next session takes place on Tuesday 7th January - booking is essential as places are limited.  Call 01924 302700 or email.

We have also started taking bookings for our February half-term workshops:

Tribal Trinkets
Monday 17 February 2014
Castleford Forum Museum
Ages 4-12 years
Make your own amazing Iron Age-style jewels to take home.
Drop-in activity. No need to book.

Sculpture Culture
Tuesday 18 February 2014
Wakefield Museum & Learning Zone
11am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-3pm
Ages 6-12 years
This is your chance to make your own stupendous sculpture using inspiration from our sculptures 
Booking essential.

Wednesday 19 February 2014
Pontefract Museum
Ages 4-12 years
Did you know Florence Nightingale almost married a man from Pontefract? Learn about the famous nurse and make a Florence Nightingale lamp to take home. 
Drop-in activity. No need to book.

Wattle and Daub
Wednesday 19 February 2014
Pontefract Castle
10.30am-12pm or 1pm-2.30pm
Ages 5-12 years
Have a go at making a wattle and daub panel using traditional materials. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy! 
Booking essential.

From Mercury to Jupiter
Thursday 20 February 2014
Castleford Forum Museum
Ages 4-12 years
Come and see an original Roman sculpture, then create your own god or goddess.
Drop-in activity. No need to book.

Dippy Candles
Friday 21 February 2014
Sandal Castle
10.30am-12pm or 1pm-2.30pm
Ages 6-12 years
Come and dip your own candle.
Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy!
Booking essential.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Friday 21 February 2014
Wakefield Museum & Learning Zone
10.30am-11.30am or 1.30pm-2.30pm
Ages 2-5 years
Come and look at hair in a whole new way.
Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy!
Booking essential.

For further information or to book your free place (numbers are limited)

Please contact us on: 01924 302700 or email