Sensory Garden project: We need your help

We need your old blue & white china cups, plates, teapots and bowls for an exciting growing and planting project during Shrewsbury Food Festival in partnership with Lovelyland.

Lovelyland and Lindsey Kennedy will use your old crocks as part of a project to transform the courtyard outside stop. cafe at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery into a beautiful sensory garden.

Bring your unwanted china to our museum reception before Monday 11 June! Any donations for use in this project will be non-returnable.

An image of the blue and white china porcelain on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. This is part of one of the most important Caughley collections in the world.

Some of the Caughley collection on display

Shropshire Museums’ care for an internationally important collection of blue and white Caughley porcelain.

The Salopian China Manufactory was founded at Caughley, near Broseley in Shropshire by Thomas Turner around 1775. It was one of the most important factories of the late 18th century.

You can see a snapshot of this collection on display in our Shropshire Gallery.

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Katherine Plymley’s remarkable watercolours

Katherine Plymley was a painter of watercolours focusing mainly on insects. Katherine was 21 years old when her mother died in 1779 and herfather was already 63 years old. Katherine gave up any chance of marriage to look after him.

An image of a watercolour by Katherine Plymley. One of many watercolours by Plymley, this one features butterflies and caterpillars on the leaves of a plant.

Watercolour by Katherine Plymley

Unmarried and in her 40’s Katherine began studying and painting remarkable watercolours of insects.  Several prominent male entomologists of her time corresponded with her but it was not until her archive was placed on loan with Shropshire Museums and Archives in 1997 that the value of her research was fully appreciated.

Katherine Plymley’s memorial states that “They were women of superior minds which they had educated with great industry and devoted to the service of God. Of their fellow creatures, no persons, perhaps, of equal means, ever contributed more to the comfort of their nearer relatives, or the wants of an extended neighbourhood.”

 

 

#MuseumWeek #WomenMW

For the latest news and updates from Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Object in focus: Lady Hawyse de Powys seal matrix

Lady Hawyse de Powys (Lady Hawyse of Powis was born on 25 July 1291.  This seal matrix shows that she was a lady with a status of her own, able to write and sign documents, just like her husband but unlike most women of her day.

An image of a silver seal matrix belonging to Lady Hawyse de Powys dating back to the 14th century.

Seal Matrix of Lady Hawyse de Powys

She was known as Hawise Gadarn (the Hardy) as her immediate family died before she reached 18 years old.  In 1309, as an heiress but under age she became a ward of her uncles.  Because she was a woman, her four her uncles disputed her claim to inherit her father’s property, and sought to split the land between themselves and send her to live out rest of her life in a nunnery.

Hawise travelled to the Parliament of Shrewsbury and petitioned Edward II of England in person. She met with him twice, and on the second occasion he asked her to nominate someone to act on her behalf as the champion of her rights. She named John Charleton, whom she subsequently married. Together with Charleton and a company of English knights, she returned to Powys Castle and successfully defeated her uncles.

#MuseumWeek #WomenMW

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Laying the building blocks: Brick History exhibition breaks visitor records

The hugely popular Brick History exhibition has broken visitor figure records with 18,697 people visiting between 12 February and 15 April 2018 to be taken on a journey through 13.8 million years of history portrayed in Lego bricks.

With tiny recreations of Concorde and Titanic that would sit in your hand, to a 1.5m square castle bustling with activity in periods of both peace and war, Brick History proved to be popular among people of all ages.An image of a father and his son looking at the Lego model of Rochester Castle with intrigue in the Brick History exhibition which is open at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery until Sunday 15 April 2018.

Children and adults alike were wowed by the intricate Lego displays and enjoyed the opportunity to display their own creative skills in the Lego playzone.

Figures show that 70% of total visitors to Brick History were families and children which is fantastic news for the future of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Fay Bailey, Learning & Communications Manager at Shropshire Museums, said:

“We are working hard to position Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery as a family friendly place to visit so to have had such a large proportion of our visitors to Brick History fall within this demographic is absolutely wonderful.

An image of a toddler playing with Lego in the playzone at the Brick History exhibition that was at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery between 12 February and 15 April 2018.

Toddler playing with Lego in the Brick History playzone

“We are thrilled that Brick History has proven to be so popular and delighted that our visitors had such an enjoyable experience with us. Our playzone provided opportunities for people of all ages to explore their creativity. We were very impressed with the fantastic models and designs.”

As Brick History is de-installed, it is time to look forward to the next special exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery… Titanic: Honour & Glory which opens on Monday 2 July 2018.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the great things happening and the exciting exhibitions and events coming up!

Inspiration on Subscription: New opportunity to be inspired by Museum collection

Local individuals and groups are being offered a new opportunity to be inspired by objects from Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery by borrowing a box of inspiration.

‘Inspiration on Subscription’ is a new, fun way to experience the museum collection within your own home, work place or group.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, with funds from Arts Council England, have created four boxes containing sensory items inspired by items in the museum’s collection. Each box also contains information about the contents and optional activity suggestions.

Participants are invited to take inspiration from the contents of the boxes and enjoy various self-determined activities; this may include cooking a meal, undertaking an art activity, writing a poem, having a conversation or going on a walk.

The beautifully crafted boxes are available to any Shropshire based group or individual for a loan of up to four weeks. Participants can also access a digital version of the boxes.

There is no charge for the service.

‘Inspiration on Subscription’ is part of a series of projects aimed at welcoming new visitors to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and encouraging engagement with its fascinating, beautiful and surprising collection.

To borrow a box please contact Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on 01743 258881 or email museumeducation@shropshire.gov.uk.

There is also the option (for a fee) to hire an experienced facilitator, to run a session for you using your chosen box.

Please share your experience, photographs and/or comments using the hashtag #InspirationOnSubscription on our social media or via email to museumeducation@shropshire.gov.uk

Blog: EDU-tainment in Brick History by Katy Rink

If it is EDU-tainment you are after, look no further than the Brick History exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. This is the latest marvellous model show to arrive in town from the Warren Elsmore emporium – of Brick City fame – and features defining moments and discoveries on earth from the big bang right through to modern day.

Snapshots of history are presented in vibrant, multi-coloured 3D, arranged in themes such as Transport, War & Conflict, Exploration, Equality and the Arts – from intricately recreated scientific triumphs such as the double helix and smallpox vaccine (complete with little vials!), to terracotta warriors, Vesuvius, Concorde and the Titanic. Stars of the show are a 1.5m recreation of Rochester Castle – the real one dates back to 1088 with 12 ft thick walls. The Lego® ‘stonework’ is astonishing and the children loved spotting the different foods and animals in the outbuildings.An image of a father and his son looking at the Lego model of Rochester Castle with intrigue in the Brick History exhibition which is open at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery until Sunday 15 April 2018.

I loved the first silent movie theatre – the audience all in colour and the screen in black and white – with the intricate mechanics of its projection booth and the Hong Kong skyline, to mark the handover in 1997.

We also enjoyed hearing about some of the techniques involved from lead creative designer Guy Bagley, such as ‘bram sphere’ to create special plates for globes and ‘Studs Not on Top’ or (SNOT) for building models outwards, rather than upwards.

Guy had a hand in most of the models, as he says, he is ‘paid to play’ and has been designing Lego® models for more than 35 years, all over the world. All the models are made with unglued, standard Lego bricks, put together by human hand: “The only way you can tell if something looks right is by good old-fashioned human eye,” Guy said.

An image of Guy Bagley, of Warren Elsmore Ltd. addressing the first people to visit Brick History at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Guy Bagley introducing Brick History

Opening the exhibition, he explained: “We hope children will be enticed by the models and may notice something that might spark their curiosity and make them want to go away and find out more. They might say ‘look mum, why is that lady chained to the railings?’ and it will prompt further discussion.

“We have 13m years of history going right back to the dinosaurs and everything in between.”

The three winning models in the museum’s Brick History competition are also on display, including a spectacular design of The Flying Scotsman from Alfie Hembrow-Forrester (5-11 category) – spot the hidden Homer Simpson! – Super Mario gaming figures from Roger Lewis (17+) and Mount Vesuvius erupting in Pompeii from Cal Adlard (12-16).

Cal was at the opening with his famous dad – comic laureate Charlie Adlard (of the Walking Dead comics) – and mum Lynette. Cal said: “I wanted to capture how much of Pompeii has been preserved after the eruption and also the perspective, with the big volcano looming in the background.”

An image of two Brick History competition winners with Mary Mckenzie, Lezley Picton and Guy Bagley in the Brick History exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Build your own model competition winners with Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for leisure and culture, Mary Mckenzie, Shropshire Museums and Archives Manager and Guy Bagley of Warren Elsmore Ltd.

Guy Bagley added: “We loved the black figure climbing out of the lava. We call him charcoal man.”

Get your Brick History tickets online to avoid the queues. You will be delighted, diverted, engrossed, occasionally startled – and you might even learn a thing or two. The kids won’t let you miss the huge LEGO® play zone on Level 2. My 9-year-old managed to balance on top of a 7ft Lego tower he built himself. Maybe don’t try that.

Brick History will be at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery until 15 April 2018. Admission £10 a family ticket (two adults and up to three children aged 5-17), or £7 family ticket (one adult and up to three children aged 5.17), or £4.50 adult, £2 child.

The March/April edition of My Shrewsbury is available now.

Object in Focus: Electrotype Lunar Crater Model by Henry Blunt

Made in 1851, this electrotype is a copy of a plaster model of the Moon’s surface centred on the crater Eratosthenes. Framed in a wooden case it was made by the amateur astronomer, Henry Blunt.

An image of Henry Blunt's electrotype lunar crater model which is on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

Henry Blunt’s Electrotype Lunar Crater Model

Henry Blunt (1806-1853) was a Chemist and Druggist in the family business on Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury.  Charles Darwin and his brother Erasmus obtained chemicals and equipment from the Blunt family shop for experiments in their laboratory at The Mount.

As well as being an accomplished amateur astronomer, Blunt was a gifted artist and pioneering photographer.

The model is based on observations of the Moon made by Blunt with his reflecting telescope from his home at Shrewsbury. The main crater in the electrotype corresponds to a lunar feature 28 miles across (45 km). It was exhibited at the 1851 World Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park and the model is described in the exhibition catalogue.  It was later donated to the Science Museum by the Commissioners of the Great Exhibition where it is still on display today.

One of just a handful of surviving copies of the Crater Model is on display at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery having been kindly loaned to Shropshire Museums by one of Henry Blunt’s descendants.

 

Sketchbook Sunday – First Sunday of the month

Throughout 2018, we are offering reduced entry of £2 on the first Sunday of the month, also know as Sketchbook Sunday and the first one takes place on 4 February.

But how do you get entry for £2?

It’s simple, on the first Sunday of the month, bring your sketchbook with you when you visit us and show it to reception in the VIC!

What is Sketchbook Sunday?

Sketchbook Sunday is part of a wider project in collaboration with Shropshire Libraries Service.

Sketchbooks and journals are usually private; a place to make mistakes, work out ideas. We are very grateful to those who have already agreed to share their work in this form, with the county.

Sketchbook Sunday datesIn image of the Sketchbook Sunday poster. If you go to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery with a sketchbook on the first Sunday of the month, you will get reduced entry at £2.

4 March
1 April
6 May
3 June
1 July
5 August
2 September
7 October
4 November
2 December

For more information about the wider project, click here.

Useful information

– Those who present a sketchbook at the museum front desk on the 1st Sunday on the month gain a reduced entry price. £2 for adult and seniors, (no reduction in child tickets)

– Anyone who wishes to add to the communal sketchbooks dotted around the galleries are very welcome to. There’ll be a few art materials provided. Creatives are very welcome to work into their own sketchbooks; being inspired by the building, collection and other visitors

– The Hashtag for the those who wish to share their work produced during Sketchbook Sundays is #ShrewsSketchBookSundays

– Occasionally they’ll be loose optional themes to work to, the themes will be advertised within the communal sketchbooks and/or social media, and also to the sketchbook library e mailing list subscribers.

An Evening on Rural Women presented by Pentabus Theatre Company 

Come and hear different perspectives exploring the role of women in rural communities, from Land Girls to the contemporary WI. Featuring a panel of feminists, journalists, experts and writers on Rural Women at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery on 16 February, 7,30pm.

Chaired by local and national radio presenter Vicki Archer, the panel will discuss topics including the misconceptions around the roles that women have played in rural life and what it means to be rural women in the 21st century.An image of Vicki Archer in a radio studio smiling to the camera. She will be chairing An Evening with Rural Women at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 16 February 2018

Agnes Greatorex, The Women’s Land Army, 1919 famously said:“I think the First World War did change women. Because once we’d had a taste we wouldn’t go back to service, we were free.” 

The panel for the evening includes:

  • Joan Bomford –  Countryfile Farming Hero 2015 veteran farmer (Farming since the 1930s, still active at 85 on the farm, author of  Up With The Lark: My Life on the Land)
  • Kate Innes – Author and poet (trained in archaeology and museology, her books include ‘The Errant Hours’ set in Medieval Shropshire, and ‘Flocks of Words’ a collection of poetry about the rural mythic landscape)
  • Polly Gibb – Director of WiRE – Women in Rural Enterprise, awarded OBE for services to rural enterprise, and one HRH Prince Charles’ 10 Heroes of the Countryside
  • Sophie Motley – Pentabus Theatre Company’s Artistic Director (on behalf of playwright Matt Hartley, Here I Belong)
  • Celia Rawlings – Chairman of Shropshire Federation of Women’s Institutes
  • Amanda Jones – Founder of Shropshire Supports Refugees.

Each of the speakers will present for up to 10 minutes, followed by a group discussion and an opportunity for questions from the audience – we’d love to hear from as many of you as possible, including men!

The evening will also include Pentabus Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Sophie Motley discussing the inspiration behind Matt Hartley’s new play, Here I Belong which was commissioned by Pentabus Theatre Company and shall be re-touring nationally during Spring 2018 due to high demand.

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £7 concessions and can be purchased by following this link.

Journey through history in LEGO® at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

2018 is set to get off to a thrilling start at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery with the arrival of Lego: Brick History in February 2018.

Opening on Friday 9 February, Lego: Brick History takes you on a journey through pivotal moments in world history, modelled in Lego® bricks.

Experience historical moments and periods from Mozart to Martin Luther King, scientific discoveries from the Big Bang to DNA and recent history from mobile phones to the moon landings.

Here is a sneak preview of Lego: Brick History brought to life…

This exhibition has something for people of all ages. From tiny recreations of Concorde and Titanic that would sit in your hand, to a 1.5m square castle bustling with activity in periods of both piece and war, there is something for all to be amazed by and to admire.

Children and adults alike are sure to be inspired by this exhibition and eager to build their own LEGO® models.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:

“LEGO was a hugley popular exhibition when it visited in 2015 with over 14,000 people visiting the Museum during its’ five week stay, so it’s fantastic that it is returning.

“Brick History has something that people of all ages can enjoy. Young and old will have an affinity with LEGO bricks, whether it be those who enjoy building with them now, or those who have fond memories of building the most epic of models back in the day. I can’t wait for this incredibly exciting exhibition to open.”

Warren Ellsmore, creator of Brick History, said:

“We’re all very excited here to be coming back to Shrewsbury after the success of Brick City. Brick History is one of our brand new exhibitions and has proved to be hugely popular since it opened in Newcastle just last year. Trying to reflect the whole history of the world in LEGO bricks was a challenge, especially as we decided to focus on perhaps some of lesser known heroes and landmarks of the past – some of which are still very close to Shrewsbury!”

Bringing a sense of community into Lego: Brick History, this exhibition will feature the models created by our 3 ‘Build your own model’ competition winners!

LEGO: Brick History will be at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from 9 February – 15 April 2018.

To find out more about Warren Elsmore and his touring LEGO© bricks exhibitions, visit http://warrenelsmore.com/brickhistory/.