Hardy, Wessex and the Poetry of War by Phillip Mallett

Phillip MallettOn Thursday 29th October at the Dorset County Museum Phillip Mallett of St Andrews University is giving a talk entitled ‘Hardy, Wessex and the Poetry of War’. Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

Boer War‘Few persons are more martial than I,’ wrote Thomas Hardy, ‘or like better to write of war in prose & rhyme.’

The war in South Africa, 1899-1902, divided British opinion more deeply than any previous war had done; it began with defeats, and ended with concentration camps and a scorched earth policy. This talk traces Hardy’s response to the war, to military values, and to the impact of war on enlisted men and civilians.

This FREE talk is open to all. To cover costs, a small donation of £3.00 is encouraged. The talk will take place in the Museum’s Victorian Gallery.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Dorchester and the Great War

Leaving the Somme Trenches 1st or 6th Dorsets

Leaving the Somme Trenches 1st or 6th Dorsets © The Keep Military Museum 2014

Visitors to the Corn Exchange on Friday 8th August 2014 can step back in time to experience what life was like in Dorchester during the Great War.

This year marks the centenary of the beginning of World War One in which over 4,500 Dorset soldiers lost their lives.

The free event has been organised by a consortium of partners including Dorchester Town Council, Dorset Youth Association, Dorset County Museum, The Keep Military Museum, a local historian and Dorchester Rotary Club. Any money raised will go to The Rifles “Care for Casualties” appeal.

The Mayor will open the event at 10:00am and at 10:30am Dorset Youth Association will launch the ‘Walking in their Shoes’ First World War Interactive History trail funded by a grant of £28,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

1st Battalion Dorsets manning Trench 38 Hill 60 - Ypres Spring 1915.

1st Battalion Dorsets manning Trench 38 Hill 60 – Ypres Spring 1915. Soldier making a makeshift periscope to view German Trench © The Keep Military Museum 2014

There will be talks by local historian Brian Bates and Curator at the Keep Military Museum, Chris Copson.

“It is important to commemorate the sacrifice and the achievement of British soldiers in the war.”

“It was a war of ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.”

“If what we are doing gives people a more accurate idea of what the war was like, that’s very important,” says Chris.

Visitors will even be able to dress up in Tommy Uniform, listen to a performance of World War One songs and try some rationed WW1 stew and cake. Bring any WW1 memorabilia to be identified by an expert and share your WW1 family history stories at the listening post. Children can take part in a trench art workshop and have a go at geocaching along the ‘Walking in their Shoes’ trail. The Durnovaria Silver Band will round up the day with a performance at 3:00pm before doors close at 7:00pm.

For further information please contact Steve Newman on 01305 266861 or email s.newman@dorchester-tc.gov.uk.

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Summer Offer links two Dorchester Museums

The KeepSave money on joint visits to both Dorset County Museum and The Keep Military Museum during summer 2014.

Dorchester’s two traditional Museums are combining their forces in a special money-off deal for visitors to the county town.

From Saturday 24th May until Saturday 30th August 2014, a visit to either Dorset County Museum or The Keep Military Museum will automatically give visitors £1.50 off the adult price for the other museum.

This offer is a brand new initiative in an ongoing series of joint activities between the two museums which will also include a new range of learning opportunities for schools and other interested groups.

“We have wanted to run a joint entry deal for a while now, and this summer seemed the perfect time to do it.” said Jon Murden of Dorset County Museum. “Visitors will simply retain their first till receipt or voucher to receive a money-off deal in the second museum they visit – both visits will have to be made between 24 May and 30 August to qualify.”

Chris Copson, Curator of The Keep Military Museum said, “We want people to feel that they can justify visiting more than just one of the museums in Dorchester. If this offer results in more people finding out about the military and general history of Dorchester and the surrounding areas we will be very happy.”

Dorset County Museum’s Rachel Cole explains how both museums are also linking together with a World War I theme in the summer. “We are running an important exhibition, A Dorset Woman at War, from 31st May and The Keep will be opening a brand new Trench display in a few weeks. As our museums are just a few minutes’ walk apart, we want to encourage visitors to visit and benefit from not just one, but both of these important experiences.”

With visitors anticipated to be particularly interested in attractions with a First World War theme this summer, both Museums feel that this is the perfect time for such a collaboration.

Kate Adie to talk about the legacy of women in World War One at the Dorset County Museum

Kate Adie © Ken Lennox

Kate Adie © Ken Lennox

Museum staff are looking forward to an exciting event on 8th November when former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie will give a talk at Dorset County Museum.

Kate Adie will speak on the subject of Dorset and the Home Front, World War I. The talk will be based on her new book about women in the First World War with specific reference to Dorset women such as Mabel Stobart.  Afterwards she will sign copies of her new book, Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One.

Fighting on the Home Front The Legacy of Women in World War One Kate AdieThis event forms part of the forthcoming centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War.  Next summer the Museum’s main exhibition is based upon the wartime experiences of a Dorset woman, Mabel Stobart.  Mrs Mabel St Clair Stobart, founder of the Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps (1912) and the Women’s National Service League (1914) was a supporter of women’s suffrage before the First World War. When the war broke out, she set up a field hospital in Belgium, risking capture by the advancing German forces. Subsequently, with a commissioned rank of major, she served on the Balkan Front where she commanded the Serbian Relief Fund’s Front Line Field Hospital. During the retreat of the Serbian Army in 1915, she and her team of female doctors and nurses accompanied them, providing continual medical support and relief.

“We are delighted to have Kate Adie coming to speak at the Museum,” said Museum Director Jon Murden. “Such a highly respected news correspondent will draw a good audience, and give us an opportunity to welcome people who might not normally come to events in Dorchester. We know she will be hugely popular and her talk will introduce the subject of next year’s summer exhibition, Mabel Stobart, a truly inspirational Dorset woman.“

The talk is free of charge but a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.  As the event is likely to be very popular, seats will be allocated on a strictly first come first served basis. Everyone is welcome to stay behind afterwards if they wish to buy a signed copy of Kate Adie’s new book. Doors open at 7.00 pm and the talk will commence at 7.30pm.  For further information please see www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or telephone 01305 262735.

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