Exhibition Briefings with the Director, Adrian Green, for the Henry Lamb: Out of the Shadows Exhibition will take place on:
Tuesday 1 May at 10.30am and
Thursday 3 May at 2.30pm
in the Lecture Hall. No need to book.
Evie Gallagher, student placement at the museum 19-23 March 2018
I choose Salisbury Museum as my work experience choice this year. It has been extremely enjoyable and has made me become more enthusiastic to volunteer at a museum.
I am a Year 10 student and doing my History GCSE. At school we learn about international history; so coming to the museum has allowed me to learn about local history and I can now compare history from different areas.
I have enjoyed being at the museum as it has allowed me to see many different types of jobs which must be completed to allow Salisbury Museum to run. Throughout the week I tagged along with different volunteers and got to see what they do behind the scenes. On Monday I was cataloguing different ceramics in the King’s Room with volunteer Roy Wilde. On Tuesday I was with volunteers Mary and Roger who made boxes from a sheet of cardboard for artefacts and then I was with volunteers Jane and Jean in the attic doing social history cataloguing. Wednesday I was costume cataloguing all day, where I got to see different pieces of clothing that were worn historically. On Thursday morning I was cataloguing the Stonehenge Archive with volunteers Pat and Tessa where we went through many clay pipes; and in the afternoon I was with the Communications Officer Louise imputing visitor survey data into the iPads.
I thoroughly enjoyed the social history store cataloguing as we found a solid gold pocket watch and got to see some swords. During my week at the museum I was able to learn and develop key skills, such as: communication, working as a team, and building confidence. I would recommend anyone to volunteer at a museum as you are helping them, spending time wisely and learning a lot.
On Wednesday 25 April (10.30am – noon), Richard will be presenting our next Collections in Focus Lecture: Hoards from Wiltshire, prior to our forthcoming exhibition: Hoards: A Hidden History of Ancient Britain (13 October).
If you need any more information, please contact Bridget, otherwise, please just turn up on the day. Tea, coffee and cake included.
Richard Henry, Curator of the Terry Pratchett:HIsWorld exhibition, tells us…
Terry Pratchett: HisWorld ran from the 16 September 2017 to 14 January 2018 and we are thrilled that the exhibition has been shortlisted for the Temporary Exhibition of the Year Award. It is the first time the museum has been shortlisted for the Museum and Heritage awards and highlights just what a special exhibition HisWorld was. The museum was visited by 21,067 people who came from all over the world, one visitor quit her job in Melbourne to ensure that she could visit HisWorld and meet Paul Kidby. HisWorld was even considered the perfect location for a marriage proposal and it is still my favourite photograph from the exhibition.
To celebrate the shortlisting Rob Wilkins has generously loaned the chavant and bronze busts of Sir Terry sculpted by Paul Kidby. They are on display in the History of Salisbury Gallery.
The Museum and Heritage award winners will be announced on the 16th May in London.
Congratulations to Richard and to all concerned.
When I first heard, some months ago now, that Brian Graham was going to exhibit a set which integrated archaeology, music and art, I immediately thought of Stonehenge, as I recalled reading something not too long ago of a theory concerning the acoustic properties of Stonehenge.
Coincidentally, this cropped up in my Facebook ‘Memories’ feed last week (‘Memories’ is one of my favourite features of Facebook). It was a 2012 paper by a doctoral researcher at Rock Arts Acoustics USA, one Steven Waller, who specialises in the sound properties of ancient sites, – the science of archaeoacoustics.
To understand this, one needs to appreciate that sound propagates through a medium (solid, liquid or gas) by means of waves. As a Science teacher, I used to demonstrate the properties of waves by means of a ripple tank. If standing water is disturbed on one side of a barrier containing a small gap, the waves are seen to fan out on the other side. This effect can be seen in real life at Lulworth Cove in Dorset (Fig.1).
Fig 1. Diffraction of waves at Lulworth Cove
When the barrier contains two gaps, the waves fanning out from each interfere with one another, causing the wave heights to be amplified in some places, and cancel out at others, creating ‘interference patterns’. This same effect occurs with sound. Thus Stephen Waller experimented by asking blindfolded volunteers to walk into a field as two pipers played. He then mapped where the volunteers said they could hear reduced or even no sound – so called ‘dead spots’. The volunteers experienced quiet patches created by acoustic interference, leading to the ‘auditory illusion’ that massive objects stood between the listener and the instruments being played. Waller said that the volunteers “drew structures, archways and openings that are very similar to Stonehenge”. He speculated that the people who built Stonehenge may have become aware of this sound-cancelling effect during ceremonies involving musicians and would have thought it mystical – even magical, thus motivating them to build a stone circle whose design mimicked this acoustic illusion.
Interestingly, one of the legends concerning the ‘Merry Maidens’ neolithic stone circle, near St Buryan in Cornwall, says that some nineteen maidens, accompanied by two pipers, were dancing and making merry on a Sunday, and, as punishment for this sacrilege, they were all turned to stone – petrified in a perfect circle – with the two pipers standing by themselves a little way off. This legend is reflected in the local name for the stone circle, Dans maen, meaning ‘dancing stones’.
There are also two other stones associated with the Merry Maidens, ‘The Fiddler’ to the west and the ‘Blind Fiddler’ to the north.
Such petrification legends concerning dancers and pipers (or at least, musicians) are frequently associated with stone circles throughout Britain, another example being ‘The Pipers Stones’ or Athgreany Stone Circle in County Wicklow. The Merry Maidens stone circle was depicted several times in Salisbury Museum’s 2017 exhibition, ‘British Art: Ancient Landscapes’, for example, in Ithell Colquhoun’s painting ‘Landscapes with Antiques, Lamorna’ (1955) (Fig 2).
Fig 2. ‘Landscape with Antiques, Lamorna’, showing the Merry Maidens stone circle and ‘The Pipers’ (Ithell Colquhoun, 1955).
In view of this I find myself slightly disappointed that Brian Graham’s exhibition does not explicitly feature Stonehenge.
I shall return to the subject of waves in a future blog.