Exploring museums worldwide with #MuseumWeek 2016

#MuseumWeekDorset County Museum will join museums and galleries across the World on Twitter for #MuseumWeek, a project that will connect people to artwork, culture, history and science in new and interactive ways.

#MuseumWeek 2016 will take place from Monday 28th March – Sunday 30rd April 2016 and will give Twitter users direct and unparalleled access to some of the international leading museums and the people behind them in 140-characters bursts.

@DorsetMuseum

Follow us @DorsetMuseum

Dorset County Museum will join other UK organisations already signed up include the Science Museum (@sciencemuseum), the Natural History Museum (@NHM_London), the Victoria and Albert Museum (@V_and_A), the British Museum (@britishmuseum), and the Tate (@Tate).

Dorset County Museum will join other Museums across the world by including the hashtag #MuseumWeek in their Tweets for the week, meaning users can follow along on Twitter.

 

7 days, 7 themes, 7 hashtags!

In addition, every day there will be a different theme.

#MuseumWeek Secrets#secretsMW – Monday 28 March

Monday is dedicated to discovering your most well-kept secrets! Show a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your museum!

#peopleMW#peopleMW – Tuesday 29 March

Tuesday is dedicated to honor the people-well known or anonymous-who have helped make your museum. Feature your founders, other icons, and current staff members and talk about their expertise!

#architectureMW#architectureMW – Wednesday 30 March

Wednesday is about telling the story of your building(s), your garden(s), your neighborhood or other key locations for your institution. Introduce your museum from a different point of view!

#heritageMW#heritageMW – Thursday 31 March

On Thursday, focus on your tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Help your audience discover the variety of content your institution has on view, in storage or online!

#futureMW#futureMW – Friday 1 April

On friday, share your most innovative projects, your barriers to innovation, your research or your institutional goals, all of which can lead to a greater understanding of your future initiatives and developments!

#zoomMW#zoomMW – Saturday 2 April

Saturday zoom in on your content by sharing details and anecdotes that provide an interesting insight into your collection (e.g, images of hands or frames, anecdotes about the origins of a book …).

#loveMW#loveMW – Sunday 3 April

Sunday, time to share what you love about your place! Take advantage of this opportunity to promote your museum’s greatest attractions (artworks, displays, rooms …) and use Twitter as a helping tool for the visit.

@PliosaurKevan

Follow our #MuseumMascot @PliosaurKevan

A full list of participating UK organisations can be viewed here museumweek2016.org

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Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol 136 – 2015

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Volume 136 - 2015Remarkable archaeological finds, controversy over the latest film version of Far from the Madding Crowd and ‘the world’s biggest bite’ marine reptile exhibit are revealed in the new style annual just published by the Dorset County Museum.

Read about the pliosaur, the Museum’s latest marine reptile fossil exhibit, a fearsome creature which had the largest bite in the world. Experts discuss new film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Finds from the excavations at the Durotriges village excavations at Winterbourne Kingston and the major Roman villa excavation at Druce farm are detailed. Plus over twenty other major articles.

“We are really excited about the latest volume which looks great and has lots of fascinating articles,” says Dr Paul Lashmar, the journal’s editor. “These are scholarly papers but we pride ourselves that they are very readable so there is something in every edition to delight the casual reader or visitor to Dorset.”

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

The new volume features original line drawings on the cover that were used to illustrate the Cornhill Magazine serialisation of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874.

“With its classic yet unique British countryside and a long and enthralling history Dorset is a remarkable county. Home too many great writers and artists Dorset can also boast the best prehistoric landscape in Britain and the geological wonders of the Jurassic Coast. The annual, the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society 2015 celebrates everything that is fascinating and important about Dorset.in the last year,” says Dr Lashmar.

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

While Dorset inspires many books, papers and articles, only Proceedings publishes with regard to academic scholarship. From its home at the Dorset County Museum Proceedings has published for 136 years a remarkable annual collection of scholarly papers, monographs and reports from a wide range of disciplines in the furtherance of knowledge and understanding.

CONTENTS:

PAPERS

  • What Tess meant to Hardy, and why Keith Wilson
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) Directed By Thomas Vinterberg. A review Paul J. Niemeyer
  • How to get a head in Dorset County Museum: The tailless tale of Pliosaurus kevani Jenny Cripps
  • The environmental quality of the Sherford River (Dorset) assessed with macroinvertebrate data – Patrick D. Armitage, J.A.B. Bass & Adrianna Hawczak
  • Underwater light-trapping of mobile invertebrates in the Fleet lagoon, Dorset – Nina Wills, J. A. B. Bass & J. I. Jones
  • ‘Gone for a Burton’: Thomas Arthur Burton (1842-1936), musician & composer, and his family (from Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Cotswolds, Hampshire & Dorset) – Hugh S. Torrens
  • Mrs Alicia Moore, dedicatee of Henry Rowland Brown’s 1859 guidebook Beauties of Lyme Regis – Michael A. Taylor
  • A token found at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, apparently associated with Mary Anning (1799–1847), fossil collector – Michael A. Taylor & Richard Bull
  • The Dorset Hundreds from the early nineteenth century – J. W. Hart

ARCHAEOLOGY

  • Dorset Archaeology in 2014
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme 2014 – Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen
  • Preston: Bowleaze Cove Romano-British building – Iain Hewitt And Grace Jones
  • Observations at Church Street, Christchurch – Michael Heaton with a contribution from Professor Malcolm Thurlby
  • Interim Report: Druce Farm Roman villa, Puddletown – Lilian Ladle And Andrew Morgan
  • Excavation of a Romano-British well at Farnham – Martin Green, Mark Maltby & Rob Perrin
  • Mortlake and Grooved Ware pottery associated with worked stone in a pit at Lambert’s Hill, Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset – Richard Tabor, With A Contribution By Cheryl Green
  • The Old Manor, Stratton – Rosemary Maw
  • The Thompson’s clay canal – A clay-working enterprise near Lytchett Bay, Poole in the 1830s – Bryan Gambier, Alan Hawkins And Keith Jarvis
  • Witchampton chess pieces – Gill Vickery
  • The Durotriges Project, Phase Two: an interim statement Miles Russell, Paul Cheetham, Damian Evans,Karina Gerdau-Radonic, Ellen Hambleton, Iain Hewitt, Harry Manley, Nivien Speith and Martin Smith
  • The Development of Properties inside the southern defences of Roman Durnovaria: an excavation at Charles Street, Dorchester – Andrew B. Powell with Contributions From Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy, Rachael Seager Smith & J.M. Mills

Proceedings are available from the Museum Shop Price £20.00. However if you become a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society the price is £15.00. For more details about membership contact the the membership secretary on 01305 756829 or visit the website for more details www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

For further information and enquires about the Proceedings contact the editor Dr. Paul Lashmar on 01305 262735

170 years of Museum Life celebrated in 170 days…

#DorsetMuseum170This year, 2015 welcomes the 170th anniversary of the founding of Dorset County Museum.

It is 170 years ago when the concept of building a museum to house all of the treasures of Dorset’s rich history was conceived by a group of forward-thinking individuals. On the 15th October, 1845 it was a group, including the Dorset poet, William Barnes; the vicar of Fordington, Rev. Henry Moule and Rev. C. W. Bingham, which decided that in light of the development of the railways, and the subsequent discovery of specimens and artefacts within the disturbance, that it was ‘advisable to take immediate steps for the establishment of an Institution in this Town, containing a Museum and Library for the County of Dorset.’ It was at this moment, Dorset County Museum was born.

First Dorset County Museum Second Dorset County Museum Present Dorset County MuseumDorset-County-Museum_003
Judge Jeffreys Lodgings
1st home of the Museum,
1846 – 1851
No. 3 Trinity Street
2nd home of the Museum,
1851 – 1883
Dorset County Museum
1833 – Present

Originally, two rooms in what is now Judge Jeffreys restaurant were dedicated to the museum project. Quickly, this space became too small and the museum was subsequently moved to No. 3 Trinity Street. It was here that Thomas Hardy famously described the museum in his novel the Mayor of Casterbridge as:

‘It is an old house in a back street- I forget where- but you’ll find out- and there are crowds of interesting things- skeletons, teeth, old pots and pans, ancient boots and shoes, birds’ eggs- all charmingly instructive. You’ll be sure to stay till you get quite hungry.’

The museum remained in this ‘house in a back street’ until 1883 when the present building in High West Street was designed by architect Mr G. R. Crickmay. It wasn’t until several years later that the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club was founded in 1875 and co-operated closely with the museum. The two organisations officially amalgamated in 1928 under the name Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, becoming the new owners, and current owners to this day, of Dorset County Museum.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Dorset County Museum will be teasing its Twitter followers with 170 days’ worth of birthday related tweets. So make sure you follow @DorsetMuseum for the start of our special 170th birthday celebrations. There will be a celebratory #DorsetMuseum170 twitter campaign kicking off, 29th April, where Dorset County Museum’s twitter will be conducting an exclusive 170 days countdown to the Museum’s official birthday on 15th October.

For further information about the Museum, telephone 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Gabriella Crouch

Dorset County Museum selects Award-winning architects for new project

Dorset County MuseumDorset County Museum in Dorchester has selected architects Carmody Groarke to renovate and expand their Grade II listed building in Dorchester.

The project would result in the creation of new galleries for Art, Natural History and Costume and Textiles plus a brand new custom-built exhibition space. In addition, the work will create a world-class archival facility and develop a series of new buildings and spaces that will provide more public access to the vast collection.

Named the ‘Collections Discovery Centre’, the project will include new facilities for display, education, research and the proper storage of reserve collections.

Dorset County Museum holds collections numbering approximately 3.5 million objects including one of the most important fossil collections in the UK and the Thomas Hardy Archive. Carmody Groarke’s approach will acknowledge the different curatorial interpretations of the collections and the variety of environmental conditions they require.

Dorset County Museum Development Appeal

David Taylor (Top)
Jon Murden (centre), Peter Down (second from front), Paul Atterbury (front) launch the fundraising project at Dorset County Museum. Photograph by George Wickham / DCM © 2013

Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum said, “We see Carmody Groarke as a critical member of the team who will help turn our vision into reality. They have a track record of inspirational museum and heritage projects and helping smaller charitable organisations secure significant levels of funding to achieve their objectives.” For additional expertise, the Museum is also working with funding applications specialist Stephen Escritt of Counterculture.

The Team at Dorset county Museum are already fundraising in support of the project. Money has been received from private donors, individuals and some charitable trusts and the current Staircase Appeal is ongoing. Future plans include a ‘buy a brick’ campaign when the new building is given the go-ahead. For further information regarding the fundraising project, please contact David Taylor on 01305 262735.

Related Sources:

Thomas Hardy Lecture: The Isle of Portland: Housman and Hardy by Prof. Roger Ebbatson

The character of Pierston, trying to commit suicide by taking his boat into The Race off Portland Bill.

The character of Pierston, trying to commit suicide by taking his boat into The Race off Portland Bill.

The current series of Thomas Hardy events at Dorset County Museum continues with a talk about how local writers have responded to Portland Bill.

On Thursday 29th May, Professor Roger Ebbatson of Lancaster University gives a talk entitled, The Isle of Portland: Some Literary Echoes. Prof Ebbatson will talk about the strange and rugged landscape surrounding Portland Bill; specifically looking at how writers like Thomas Hardy and AE Housman portrayed it in their work.

While Housman focussed on the predicament of a young convict, Hardy explored the landscape and folklore of Portland in his books and poems. In The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved, Hardy describes how one of his characters tries to commit suicide by taking a small boat out from Portland Bill into The Race. Knowing the area’s notorious reputation for strong currents and lethal sandbanks, the man expects that he will soon be drowned. However, his wishes are foiled by the brave actions of island boatmen who rescue him just in time!

The talk is FREE but donations are encouraged to cover costs. The lecture starts at 7.30pm on Thursday 29th May and the doors are open from 7.00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thomas Hardy's Master: John Hicks, Architect by T. P. Conner

Thomas Hardy’s Master: John Hicks, Architect by T. P. Conner

This lecture will be preceded by a Book Launch: Thomas Hardy’s Master: John Hicks, Architect by T. P. Conner at 6.30pm.  The Victorian architect John Hicks has always been eclipsed by the literary fame of his infinitely most distinguished pupil Thomas Hardy. This study assesses Hicks in his own right and in so doing casts light on Hardy’s years of architectural training. Hardy’s Master is the first attempt to bring the abundant documentation available, including important local newspapers, to bear o the career of an architect who had a profound impact on many Dorset churches. It includes a comprehensive list of architectural projects, both religious and secular, of Hicks’ practice in the county.

T. P. Connor was Head of History and the History of Art at Eaton for nearly twenty years. He has written on early Palladian architecture, the Grand Tour and on a library in the English Civil War in many different journals, and took the chance of retirement to study architecture of his new surroundings.

 

Fordington St. George by H. J. Moule

Tympanum of Door at Fordington Church, Dorchester

Tympanum of Door at Fordington Church, Dorchester

From the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 5, 1844, an article written by the Henry. Joseph. Moule, M.A.  entitled ‘Fordington St. George’

As it is a short paper that has been asked for, and a paper not so much on the church, as on a -particular feature of the church of Fordington St. George, general remarks shall be as brief as may be.

The site of the church was well chosen. It stands on the highest spot in the village. Yet the site was oddly chosen too. The church was set down in a great Romano-British Cemetery. The growth of a graveyard round a church is, of course, universal almost, and natural. The erection of a newly founded church in an old graveyard is uncommon, I take it.

On approaching the church you pass three good, plain, massive, 17th century altar-like tombs; one of them bearing the well known solemn epitaph, beginning
“Remember that Death tarrieth not.” (Remember that Death tarryeth not, and that the Covenant of the grave is not showed unto thee. For I was as thou art, and thou shalt be as I am.)

The Tower is worth notice, not only as being a capital one in design, colour and position, but as having what, as far as I know, is a peculiarity of plan. Its north and south faces are each 1ft. 4in. narrower than those on the east and west. Of its six bells the third and fifth are mediaeval, Legends: –

“Sancta Katarina ora pro nobis;” and “In multis annis resones campan Johannis.”

These bells are said to be those, or some of those, referred to in the doggerel couplet still current in Wool and elsewhere:-

“Wool streams and Combe wells –
Fordington rogues stole Bindon bells.”

The cage is probably the original one.

Readers of the third edition of Hutchins may be led to think that my honoured father, the late Vicar, was answerable for the dreadful design of the north aisle. I take this opportunity of denying it. A then leading architect in the Diocese recommended the design, which doubtless is worse than any journeyman mason in the county could now be guilty of. On the other hand my father first reduced and then removed the western gallery, which he found actually so high that there were hat pegs on the crown of the tower arch. And he revealed to sight several curious bits in the Church.

Well, this North Aisle exists. The eighteenth century Chancel exists, in place of a glorious one with timber roof, and stalls, and roodloft. The Nave and Transept are ceiled. The interior is spoilt as a whole. Still it possesses several interesting detached features. I can but simply name the plain stone Elizabethan pulpit, the rood loft staircase, the curious little window high up in the Transept, and the piece of encaustic pavement in situ, but with the patterns quite gone. In my boyhood, by the way, these patterns were still so far remaining that I managed to make them out and depict them. Close to this pavement are laid down a number of tiles which were found under pews. Several of these tiles are of some interest. Not a few of them have the fylfot cross.

Besides the above bits there is an interesting remnant of a piscina and arch in the Transept, and two (perhaps three) Norman piers, one with a cap of apparently later date; and carrying singularly rude pointed arches.

I now come to the two really noteworthy features in St. George’s, both .at the South door, and both preserved from an older church, and enshrined by the 15th century builders in their own work, more suo. Indeed it may be noted that here they seem to have been so disposed to an even uncommon degree. This appears from their retaining the Norman piers, although fitting in very awkwardly.

The first of the said features is the Holy Water Stoup. Its font-like shape is remarkable, but by no means unique. There is a much later one, for instance, at Hastings. But, as far as my limited knowledge goes, the moveable, or moveable-looking arrangement of this one at St. George’s is peculiar. It was hidden behind a high pew and forgotten until uncovered by my father ‘some thirty-five years ago. The slight moulding and ornament on it are perhaps hardly enough to settle its date. But I take it to be Norman. Piscinae of that date, and with something of a family likeness exist, I believe, in several places; at Bosharn among others. But these, it seems, resemble short, fixed columns, with the cap hollowed; and are not, as this Stoup is, like a minute font.

It is claimed that St. George miraclous apperance lead crusaders into battle in the Holy Lands, is recorded in the stone tympanum over the south door of St. George's Church at Fordington near Dorchester. This still exists, and is often thought to be one of the earliest images to depict the saint.

It is claimed that St. George miraclous apperance lead crusaders into battle in the Holy Lands, is recorded in the stone tympanum over the south door of St. George’s Church at Fordington near Dorchester. This still exists, and is often thought to be one of the earliest images to depict the saint.

I must now pass on to the Tympanum, close to the Stoup, but outside of instead of within the South door. A Tympanum within the South door of Tarrant Eushton Church may be noticed in passing. It is like this one in date, and to a certain extent in shape, but quite different in subject, and also in construction, as far as I can judge from the rough cut in Hutchins.

I may as well at once express my belief, for what it is worth, that this Fordington Tympanum is undoubtedly Norman. I do not forget that at the meeting of the Archaeological Association in 1871, an opinion that it is much more recent was very decidedly expressed. It was said that the hardness of the stone accounts for the character of the carving. I doubt the fact, and deny the inference. As to the stone, there is a theory that it is of foreign, even of oriental origin. I can find no foundation for this idea. It is a more prevailing, and much more likely belief, that it is of Portesham Oölite. At the same time there is a tradition at Sutton Pointz that of stone from the now grass-grown quarries on Loddun, a hill there, all the “Wold arnshunt builduns to Darchester “ were constructed. “There,” said my informant, ”Portland line – he weren’t finished – not then.” But, whether from. Portesham or Loddun, I think I shall be borne out in believing that oölite from those places, as from Portland, is not when first quarried of by any means stubborn quality. But if it were as hard as basalt, what then? Would the iron hardness of the stone have made the post-Norman carver plainly, if rudely, portray the Norman nasal, the Norman hauberk, the Norman shield, the Norman prick-spur? For in truth this carving might be the petrifaction of some lost bit of the Bayeux Tapestry. Every feature, almost, in the Tympanum may be clearly traced in the tapestry. Almost, for from my remembrance of the latter, and examination of the imperfect set of the facsimiles thereof to which alone I have access here, I cannot satisfy myself that the strapping of the shield to the neck, so conspicuous in the Tympanum (lubke’s “Ecclesiastical Art,” p. 2420,  shown in the tapestry. The object below the horseman’s foot I have always thought to be the end of his sword hanging, of course, on the near side of the horse. I think so still; yet in the Tapestry I see a different object so hanging, and which may be a large dagger or a long end of the girth. This, whether dagger or girth, may be the thing of which the Norman carver here was thinking – just possibly.

As to the subject, I have no new theory to offer. Abroad – and the Anglo-Norman was in much harmony of thought with the Franco-Norman, with the Frenchman, and with the German – abroad, the Tympanum mostly displays some figure or symbol of Our Lord, as by the way we see on the Tarrant example. But here at Fordington it is not Our Lord who is figured or symbolized. His cross, indeed, is fully shown, but not Himself. Yet, the horseman, though not divine, is sainted. His aureole, however faint and rude, is plain enough. Now this is St. George’s Church. About two years before one of the dates assigned for its founding St. George was beheld (men said) charging the Paynim. I see no better likelihood than the old accepted one that this rider is St. George in the onslaught at Antioch. It may be objected that the enemy are in Norman harness. This is nothing. Everyone knows that variation of costume, &o., owing to either differing time or clime, was constantly ignored in mediaeval, nay, down to modern times. Many here must have seen the immortal coloured print of the Prodigal Son going away from home in a post chaise.

I have called this rudely carvel door-head a Tympanum. The books call it so. It is well. But I would in one word point out that it is a widely different feature from the normal Tympanum; and is uncommon – I had almost said unique. The regular Tympanum, of constant occurrence, especially abroad, is a massive lintel stone, fitting into the soffit of an arch above it. With the soffit it is, in truth, like half of a tambourine, τύμπαυου. This Tympanum here is not a stone – it is six stones. It is not a lintel – it is an arch, however rude.

I conclude by pointing out that there are faint traces of red paint on the stone, and recording that the whole was hidden in plaster and unknown until discovered by Clerk Brooks, whom I well remember.

 

 

Events: Undiscovered Caucasus: Art, Archaeology and Architecture in Georgia by Roger Peers

Views from the Caucasus Mountains - Roger Peers©2012

Views from the Caucasus Mountains

Imagine an undiscovered pocket of medieval Europe.  Not some over-sanitised over-run enclave tucked away in the Alps, but situated in far-off mountains somewhere to the east of Turkey!

A place where one can come across a stupendous Romanesque cathedral in the middle of nowhere; no running the gauntlet of car parks and tour coaches, gift shops and cafes, nothing more than sheep grazing in fields that run up to the walls.  A magnificently rich heritage of churches, monasteries and frescoes, of spectacular ruined castles perched on mountain crags and walled towns all set against the majestic backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains.

Caucasus Mountains - Roger Peers©2012

Caucasus Mountains

Georgia is all this and more.  Still largely undiscovered, few realise the astonishing wealth and diversity beyond the capital Tbilisi.  A marvellous cluster of many cultures, ancient history, extraordinary medieval dwelling towers, mountain top churches, unique cuisine and breathtaking high mountain villages only approachable by 4x4s.

Most of all, Georgia is its people, an ancient people with a sense of tradition, of honour, of value.  A people whose appreciation of beauty, poetry and song is legendary and whose warmth and spirit reach out to the visitor.  Together with its rich architecture and magnificent landscapes, Georgia is utterly beguiling.

Roger Peers’ illustrated lecture on the undiscovered Caucasus will take place at Dorset County Museum on Wednesday 20 March at 7.30pm.  The talk is free although a donation of £3 is encouraged, and all are welcome. Advance booking is not required.