Another Welcome

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Hello! I’m Emily Smith and I have recently started working at Salisbury Museum as the Creative Wiltshire Exhibition Assistant. I work one day a week and my job is to organise an exhibition which celebrates creativity in Wiltshire and which will run from January to May 2019.

This is not my first time at the museum as I previously worked as a gallery steward for the Cecil Beaton, J M W Turner and Terry Pratchett exhibitions. I have also been a collections and an admin volunteer.

I have grown up around Salisbury and have just moved to the city so this is a great opportunity for me to learn more about local artists. I am hoping this role will give me valuable experience of how to design and organise an exhibition which is what I would like to do after I finish my PhD.

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From the Collection

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From a museum catalogue photograph

This is one of an occasional series inspired by the work of the ladies (and they are all ladies!) from The Arts Society (previously known as NADFAS) who work every week in our costume store and who have the most amazing love for and knowledge of every aspect of our costume collection.

To go into the costume store when they are working is to enter another world…

It is certainly a foreign language that is spoken in there. Some of you will recognise these words but they must be on that list of words which are falling out of use*

What about:’calash’ (a woman’s silk bonnet), ‘guipure’ (heavy lace), ‘lawn’ (plain weave cotton or linen), ‘cambric’ (fine but dense cloth), ‘nainsook’ (fine, soft cloth), ‘madapollam’ (plain weave cotton, originally from a particular part of India), ‘lappet’ (a decorative flap on a garment)….? All of these words appear in descriptions of items in the collection.

Of course, one reason that the collection inspires such excitement is the possible history of the items. The jacket above is thought to be from the 1760s. Cream linen. That boy, if he survived for any length of time, may have read about Cook’s expeditions to New Zealand and Australia (his jacket suggests a family that would have had a tutor for its sons). He would have been aware of the early industrial revolution, unrest in the American colonies, campaigned against, or for, slavery. He might have worried about what was happening in France, perhaps involved in the battles with that close neighbour, including Trafalgar. In his forties he might have appeared in the first census of 1801, and subsequent censuses until his death. If he lived in Salisbury or around about he would have been aware of the Swing riots (agricultural unrest), and in his old age raised an eyebrow at the Tolpuddle Martyrs. A treat as a very old man might have been a train ride in 1847 from the new Milford station to Southampton….

And we think we live in interesting times!

*Have fun with this by going on-line and googling “Words that have fallen out of use”. All sorts of authorities keep lists of these.

Call for Sarum St Michael Students

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From the college website: students and friends c 1970

During the summer, Lin Mills was in contact with the museum. She is helping to arrange honorary degrees for past students of the College of Sarum St Michael which was, as many Volunteers know, based in what are now the museum buildings. She asked if her email address could be passed to any former students so that they could contact her and register an interest.  Lin was a student from 1969 – 1972       mills3@blueyonder.co.uk  

Planning is in the hands of  Winchester University and is at a very early stage. Former students are being directed to the college website which will be updated as soon as there are more details.

In the meantime if Volunteers have any contact with S. St. M. students, or are, indeed, ex-students themselves, please be aware of the plan. It is hoped the ceremony will be late next year or early 2020 in Salisbury Cathedral.

Winchester University are making most of the arrangements and it will be their decision.

 

Early Morning Gravel Works

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In the gloom of the early morning today, a few hardy souls gathered with wheelbarrows, rakes and spades in the forecourt of the museum.

Their task – to spread several tonnes of fresh gravel onto the forecourt! Thank you Volunteers Malcolm Burrows, Jane Hanbidge, Simon Overton, Keith and Chris Rodger, Derek Ellis, Chris Tunnard and David White, and staff members Bridget, Katy, Wil, Megan, Hannah, Val.

Please admire the new, luxurious, deep pile when you next come in…..

Collections in Focus Lecture: A Salisbury Miscellany in Images

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Volunteer Event

Wednesday 10 October 10.30 – noon

An old friend to these pages – Volunteer Alan Clarke –  will be using some of our archive photographs to tell us stories of old Salisbury. No need to book. Tea, coffee and cake included.

Here is a reminder of some of the gems he has offered us in recent times:

 

Welcome Wil…

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My name is Wil Partridge, and having done my time as the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Devon & Somerset I have recently taken over from Richard Henry as the FLO for Wiltshire, based at the Salisbury Museum.

In my previous role I learnt many things – but mainly became very familiar with the M5 motorway, as you might imagine.

Archaeology has been my passion ever since I helped carry a dead German Shepherd out to the freezer on my work experience at a vet’s, and I have been exceedingly lucky to have stumbled into a role which lets me indulge this hobby horse; it being my job to identify and record archaeological artefacts found by members of the public. I grew up in Bristol, where I stayed to study for my Undergraduate Degree in Archaeology, focusing on the Early Medieval period, and have since spent much of my free time studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. Richard’s fantastic team of volunteers was the envy of all FLOs, and I am very much looking forward to working with them for the foreseeable future!

And Welcome Megan!

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I am the new Wessex Museums Collections Manager which involves working with Poole, Dorset County and Wiltshire museums whilst being based at Salisbury Museum!

I studied History and Museum Studies at university whilst also volunteering and interning for the National Trust for Scotland and various museums. My background is mainly in collections but I have also worked in conservation, and heritage management. This led me to moving to Salisbury a couple of years ago to work for English Heritage and manage the site up at Old Sarum. This role made me very interested in the history of Salisbury so I’m delighted to be amongst the collections at Salisbury Museum!

My role at Salisbury Museum will involve helping to organise the new store (at the Old Sarum Industrial Park), sorting out loans for exhibitions, and managing the many collections projects – amongst many other things. Please do pop along to my office (down from the Computer room) if you ever need any assistance with the collections, or just for a chat about your projects. I have enjoyed learning about several of the projects so far and would like to hear about all of them so that I can help out whenever needed!

Carnac

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Did you visit Brittany this summer? If so, you may well have gone to see the Carnac stones.

Carnac itself is a small town close to the sea in southern Brittany with its own elegant beach on Quiberon Bay. Striding across the nearby countryside, and unmissable, are the Carnac stones described on Wikipedia as “…a dense collection of megalithic sites around the village of Carnac…alignments, dolmen (stone tombs), tumuli (earth mounds with burials) and single menhirs (standing stones)…” There are also cromlechs (circles). If you love Stonehenge, you will love Carnac.

There are about 3 000 stones, and they pre-date Stonehenge, but there must be a connection. What that connection is, is just one more mystery. Carnac may have been started as early as 4 500 BC and was added to for probably over a thousand years. It is at the end of that period when Stonehenge was begun.

Myths and legends surround the Carnac stones, as they do Stonehenge, and the stories are similar. The Carnac stones were thought to be associated with the Solstices, the Druids, and Arthur and Merlin are drawn in too. The most popular story is that one of the early Popes (or, according to some versions, Merlin himself) was being chased by pagan soldiers. Coming to the sea, the pursued man turned to face the enemy and transformed them into stone.

 

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“..an enriching local institution..” Reflections by Jack Doveton

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My name is Jack Doveton, I am 16 years old and I am starting Sixth Form at Bishop Wordsworth’s School this September. Having finished taking my GCSEs in the middle of last June, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. And in order to put this time to the best use, voluntary work at the Salisbury Museum seemed like a brilliant thing to do. After all, I am studying history at Sixth Form and possibly at university so the museum seemed like a particularly fitting place.

I have lived in Salisbury for most of my life so far, and so I had already been to the museum a few times in the past: in Year 7 for example I visited with my art class from school one afternoon to sketch artefacts.  Aside from spending a small period of time as a school librarian, this was to be my very first work experience, so naturally I was excited yet slightly apprehensive before starting.

My placement, albeit short, entailed voluntary work at two of the museum’s key summer events: the Festival of Archaeology and the Discovery Days. So, after a brief visit and a string of emails, I found myself in the midst of the hustle and bustle which was the festival. As I put a bright orange lanyard around my neck, I realised that for the first time, I had responsibility. When the visitors were in doubt about something, they might turn to me, and so I had to act accordingly. Though in spite of being new to voluntary work, both afternoons of the festival turned out to be fantastic. I was very fortunate to be placed helping out with the running of the Lecture Hall, working with a friendly team of volunteers and even being able to watch the fascinating lectures. They’ve given me an unexpected, but nonetheless welcome, understanding of archaeological processes in the context of projects – from the restoration of the Mary Rose to Phil Harding’s excavation at the museum which have illustrated to myself (along with many others) just how interesting a subject it is. However, it wasn’t long until I was walking home on Sunday from the festival, and it felt as though the event had flown by. Soon after I went off on holiday, but when I arrived home it was time to go back for the Discovery Days.

In all, I was only able to help on the last two of the Discovery Days, but these events were, again, a new and enriching experience for me. As a young child, I had participated in many activity days like this, but this was my first experience helping to run such an event. On my first week, the theme was vegetable printing in a style resembling the work of Henry Lamb – but when over 30 children turned up that afternoon, mess was inevitably going to be produced. Despite that, I was once again placed with a friendly group of fellow volunteers and the event was fun to help with. The output of artwork was vast: vegetables of all shapes and sizes (and sometimes hands and feet) were used to make prints in all manners of styles.

In the following week, we were making collage portraits. That week, the emphasis seemed to be more upon quality than quantity, and although the turnout was slightly smaller, the children who were present rose to the challenge and used the watercolours, graphite, paper, pens and pencils to produce masterpieces.

I produced some Henry Lamb-inspired portraits of my own, which I was rather proud of, despite myself being somewhat so terrible at art, particularly drawing faces!

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Yet again, I immensely enjoyed helping at an event. This recent work experience has certainly broadened my horizons and I hope to continue to volunteer at the museum: an enriching local institution for everyone.

Thank you Jack…