It just so happens that National Sporting Heritage Day falls on Monday 30 September, so we thought our object of the month should reflect this. Therefore, we have chosen this Team GB tracksuit worn by archer, Alison Williamson, at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Along with items related to Wenlock Olympian Games we have a several items donated by sports men and women with a connection to the county.
Our object of the month is one of several outfits and items donated to Shropshire Museums by Alison Williamson, who competed in archery for Great Britain at six consecutive Olympic Games, from 1992 to 2012. Williamson’s highest Olympic achievement was winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Games in Athens.
For her services to archery she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours.
This tracksuit, given to Williamson for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, is made up of an Adidas jacket and trousers in the Team GB colours of red, white and blue. A great example of 1990s style, with large bright blocks of colour making it stand out from just any tracksuit is the inclusion of the British flags and Team GB branding. The tracksuit is made from the light weight and durable materials of polyester and nylon.
Williamson is a member the Long Mynd Archers, which is a club based in Church Stretton. There are several historic archery clubs in the county and you might be surprised to know that a great deal of the archers were women. The Archers of the Teme club was in fact founded by Lady Curtis of Caynham Court near Ludlow, in 1857.
Mini MammothsMini Mammoths runs every Friday from 10 – 11.30am during term time. Due to popularity, we recommend booking your place in advance. You can do this by calling 01743 258881 / 258888 or email [email protected]. For more information about Mini Mammoths, click here.
Volunteering with usVolunteers play an invaluable role in enabling us to deliver our workshops, events, education programmes and much more. If you are interested in volunteering with us and joining our wonderful team, click here for more information or you can call (01743) 258885 or email [email protected]. #volunteersweek
Butterfly DrawerIt’s Butterfly Education and Awareness Day in June, so our Object of the Month is this drawer of butterflies from a cabinet of specimens collected by John Norton. Many of the butterflies in this drawer are around 60 years old. They were collected by John Norton, who was Curator of Ludlow Museum 1959 – 1989. John was well known in the county as an inspirational Natural Historian and Geologist who did a great deal to interpret and promote the Museum Collections. In this drawer, John has added small species distribution maps and paintings to illustrate the butterflies and caterpillars, all to increase understanding of these wonderful creatures and the collection. The cabinet from which this drawer was taken is similar to butterfly cabinets that would have been found in the homes of many middle-class families during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Victorians believed that the study of natural history contributed to good mental health. Consequently, during the 19th century, the collection of things like birds, shells, wildflowers and butterflies became very popular hobbies. As you can imagine, many people capturing and killing plants and animals for their collections had a significant impact on nature and sadly, several species have gone extinct due to this over collecting. However, the popularity of collecting plants and animals during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries played an important role in building natural history collections. Many local museums, including those in Shropshire, evolved from private collections and the societies that emerged around the hobby of collecting. These collections and learned groups were also important in the emergence of professional biological disciplines. Butterfly collections such as our Object of the Month can be used as a teaching tool and as the basis for research. Not only can the butterflies be inspected, and changes in species noted through time, but where there is collection location information, variations in population distribution can also be studied. Unfortunately, none of this can help us conserve and protect the butterflies we have around today. Luckily, the taste for collecting butterflies has virtually disappeared in the UK. Instead, butterfly enthusiasts are now being encouraged to collect information and digital images of the creatures to help scientists and conservators keep track of these important pollinators. There are many wonderful natural history specimens waiting to be discovered in our Shropshire Gallery and even more available for research at Shropshire Museums’ Collections Centre in Ludlow. Object of the Month is on display in the Visitor Information Centre and features on our social media feeds: @shrewsmuseum @shrewsburymuseum @shrewsburymuseum
“Shrewsbury and Shropshire has a huge amount of creative talent and I’m thrilled that Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, having partnered with the new Comic Festival, are able to display some of this work. “Charlie Adlard’s work is internationally famous so it’s fantastic that we are able to display some of his original artwork in what will be exciting and interactive visitor experience. I can’t wait to see it!”Charlie Adlard, said:
“I’m incredibly proud to have this exhibition in my home town. And, not only is it here in Shrewsbury, but it’ll be the best exhibition of my works staged anywhere. It’s going to be a truly immersive experience.”SM&AG will be working with education sector partners including Nottingham Trent University. The aim is to give opportunities to students on theatre design courses to work with SM&AG on the build of the exhibition. For more information about Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, click here. Shrewsbury Comic Festival Shrewsbury Comic Festival will take place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June 2019. SM&AG will be running a host of special events, workshops, talks and book signings over the course of the Comic Festival. The Comic Festival will take place at a number of venues across Shrewsbury and will celebrate the work of Charlie Adlard and many other famous comic artists who call the town home. Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is owned and operated by Shropshire Council. Further Information About Charlie Adlard Charlie began his work in the UK on the 2000 AD series including Judge Dredd and Armitage. He also worked on White Death with the local Robbie Morrison. In the United States, he is best known for his work on The X-Files, Marvel and DC comics and The Walking Dead. He has been the penciller on The Walking Dead since 2004 and was the UK Comics Laureate from February 2017 – February 2019.
It’s Zombie Awareness Month and our ‘Drawn of the Dead’ exhibition is on the horizon. This exciting exhibition features some of the original artwork produced by Shropshire’s Charlie Adlard for the hugely popular ‘The Walking Dead’. So it seemed appropriate to us that our object of the month for May be this pest controlling crossbow [H.06225].This is an English, bullet shooting, crossbow dating from the early nineteenth century. It would have been used for hunting small animals like rooks. Earlier styles of crossbows fired stones and clay pellets, but bullet shooting bows like this one were designed to be more accurate and damaging, using half ounce balls of lead as their ammunition. To load the weapon the string must be pulled back and secured on the hook shaped catch. This crossbow has a built in bending lever to make this process easier. This leaver is attached by a hinge to the box lock, where the catch and the trigger button are positioned. Also on the box lock is a sight with five sighting holes. It is engraved with pretty leaf scrolls. At the front end is the less pretty but equally practical, ‘U’ shaped foresight. Select your weapon wisely… Unlike guns, crossbows are quiet when fired. This means you can take a shot without scaring off your prey or alerting others to your presence. This made them popular with poachers in Tudor England. It’s also why they may just be the perfect weapon for use in a zombie uprising. If a dawn of the dead situation were to occur in Shropshire, there are several weapons on display around Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery which could be utilised alongside this crossbow. However, an even better place to find yourself would be Shropshire Museums Collection Centre in Ludlow, where an array of historic weapons are stored, and ideal for the fight against the undead. For those that like to be prepared and in the know, a full catalogue of the Arms and Armour in Shropshire Museums collection is available for purchase. This wonderful and detailed catalogue was produced in memory of photographer, and former volunteer for Ludlow Museum, Jeremy Hall. Object of the Month is on display in the Visitor Information Centre and features on our social media feeds: @shrewsmuseum @shrewsburymuseum @shrewsburymuseum
Shrewsbury Museum & Art GalleryJoin us for Bear themed sessions and events and visit our current special exhibition, Bears! Paddington 2 will be screened on Wednesday 17 April on the balcony in the Museum. Join storyteller Sally Tonge for Bear, Sing and Share on Tuesday 16 and 23 April at 11am for some Easter holiday magic. For more information about Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, click here and you can see the full list of events here.
Shrewsbury CastleShrewsbury Castle will be open throughout the Easter holidays including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. During Easter, children will be able to take part in the hugely popular teddy bear hunt encouraging them to delve into the collections and note where they find the bears and what is around them. Usually opened only once a year, Laura’s Tower will be open on Easter Sunday giving visitors a rare opportunity to enter and explore, free of charge. For more information about Shrewsbury Castle, click here.
Acton Scott Historic Working FarmActon Scott Historic Working Farm will be running family and child friendly Easter demonstrations throughout the school holidays. Join the team for grooming the shire horses, chick holding, bottle feeding the lambs and a guided tour of the Victorian farm yard every day during the holidays. Easter events at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm will be running from Sunday 14 to Wednesday 24 April. For more information about the events, click here. All three of these attractions are open during the Easter bank holiday weekend. Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury Castle and Acton Scott Historic Working Farm are owned and operated by Shropshire Council.
“We’re delighted to have welcomed so many visitors over the last five years. We’re celebrating five years of SM&AG with a packed programme of workshops, films, exhibitions and events for 2019 which showcase Shropshire’s talented artists and makers.”SM&AG lets you experience the stories that make Shropshire unique as you explore millions of years of history through over 1,000 remarkable objects and encourages children to delve deeper by taking part in the Maximo Mouse Trail. Did you know that the Museum’s resident café, stop.cafe have baked (on site) nearly 100,000 slices of delicious cake. If you put those slices end-to-end, to make a cake trail, it would stretch for nearly one kilometre? Bears! This exhibition invites you to come face-to-face with your favourite bears in this new exhibition created by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books. On your journey through the exhibition, you will meet iconic bears like Winnie the Pooh and Paddington bear as well as many of the bears who feature in popular contemporary children’s literature. You can hunt for bears in the bear forest and enjoy original manuscripts and illustrations from Phillip Pullman, Michael Rosen, Martin Waddell, Julia Donaldson and many more. This exhibition is open at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery until Sunday 28 April, 2019 and is perfect for the whole family. Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is owned and operated by Shropshire Council.
Woolly Mammoth Jaw BoneIt’s British Science Week this month, so our object for March is this amazing Woolly Mammoth Jaw Bone. (G.15001) This jaw bone is part of an almost complete adult woolly mammoth skeleton which was found, together with bones from several juvenile mammoths, in a spoil heap at the Condover Quarry near Shrewsbury in 1986. The skeleton is the most complete and best-preserved woolly mammoth in Britain, and its discovery is even more important because of its surprisingly young age. Carbon dating puts this woolly mammoth in Shropshire just 12,700 years ago. Which is a time when it had previously been assumed woolly mammoths had gone extinct in western Europe. Using a variety of techniques scientists were able to not only work out when this mammoth died but likely how and at what age. The mammoths are thought to have died after getting stuck in a shallow, body of water filled with sediment, known as a kettle hole. Things like pollen and invertebrates were used by scientists to determine the landscape and climate in which the mammoths were living before their death. They found it was most likely a dry treeless landscape with a temperate climate not much cooler than we have today. The kettle hole was comparatively rich in vegetation, which might be why the mammoths were drawn to it. Little did they know it would mean their demise. This jaw bone is very useful for aging the woolly mammoth because it contains teeth. Woolly mammoth had four teeth. One on each side of their jaw, top and bottom. Over their life time they would get six sets of these, increasing in size as the got older. Unlike ours, mammoth teeth are replaced from the back of the jaw. Moving forward to replace the old one. This specimen of lower jaw contains two teeth. One near the front which is worn smooth through use and one behind coming through to replace it. The plates that make up the teeth can be seen, creating a stripy pattern on the front worn tooth. Based on the size of the teeth, it is inferred that these are the second and third set of teeth for the woolly mammoth. Using the ages elephants get their different sets of teeth for reference, it was reasoned that this mammoth was likely around 28 years old. The woolly mammoth bones were only in the ground for a dozen or so thousand years, meaning they didn’t have time to fully fossilise. As such, in order to preserve them for the future, they must be stored in an environment in which temperature and humidity are controlled. Several the woolly mammoth bones are on permanent display with us at SM&AG in a specially made display case. The rest are normally held in the store at the Museum’s secure climate-controlled Collections Centre in Ludlow. Several bones are also currently on display in the gallery space at Ludlow Library as part of the Evolving Shropshire exhibition, which is coming to a close at the end of this month. Object of the Month is on display in the Visitor Information Centre and features on our social media feeds: @shrewsmuseum @shrewsburymuseum @shrewsburymuseum
Love TokenOur object of the month for February is this Love Token. Which is fitting for the time of year when we are thinking about romance and celebrating Valentine’s Day. From the 16th Century onwards, young men have been known to give tokens to young ladies as a sign of their love. If the young lady kept the token it meant she felt the same way. If she didn’t return the feels she would discard the token. Love tokens were usually made from a single coin, which was physically bent by the young man into an S shape. The surface of the coin was often smoothed down to remove features like the monarch’s head. Additionally, initials or love symbols such as hearts were sometimes engraved onto the token. All of which can make it very difficult to identify the exact coin from which they are made. Most love tokens are made from silver sixpences, but some made from gold and copper coins have also been found. Our object of the month is particularly special, because it is made from three coins which have been folded together into what appears to be a heart shape. There are no other examples quite like this known, but it is reasonably assumed to be a love token. It is also officially a piece of treasure (Treasure Act, 1996). The coins are well worn and perhaps also clipped, making it hard to date them exactly. The size of the coins and the letters ‘LIZA’ visible on the surface suggest that they are silver sixpences from the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). It is likely that the coins were being used as currency well into the 17th Century, before being fitted together in this way. This special love token was found by a metal detectorist in North West Shropshire in 2008 and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme for recording (see record). After being declare treasure, it was acquired by Shropshire Museum Service in 2011. There are many other wonderful pieces of treasure on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, and across the county. To learn more, check out the Shropshire Treasure Trail. Object of the Month is on display in the Visitors Information Centre and features on our social media feeds: @shrewsmuseum @shrewsburymuseum @shrewsburymuseum