Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wakefield Museum Welcomes The Cribs

An exhibition showcasing the rise to fame of successful Wakefield rock band, The Cribs, is opening on Wednesday 15 February.


At Wakefield One, the atrium cases will be displaying some of the band’s instruments and other items that chart the history of the popular band.



The displays will be unveiled at a public launch event on Tuesday 14 February, where The Cribs drummer, Ross Jarman, will be at Wakefield One to officially open the new exhibition. 


Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “As a music fan, I am delighted to welcome this new exhibition to Wakefield One.


“The Cribs have never lost touch with their Wakefield roots and this exhibition is celebrating the huge success that the local band has achieved. I’m sure the display will attract Cribs fans from across the country.”


At the end of the display, the band is donating some of the objects to a permanent collection at Wakefield Museum, including a mustang guitar, white bass and drum sticks.


Create Café will also be displaying The Cribs work by graphic designer, Nick Scott. The display will include various artwork and album covers from The Cribs legacy.


The Cribs have electrified the British music scene since 2002. They have produced six albums and played countless gigs, festivals and concerts around the world. The Cribs are the Jarman brothers; twins Ryan on guitar and Gary on bass and younger brother Ross on drums.


The band has collaborated with major names in the world of rock. Records have been produced by Edwyn Collins, Bernard Butler and legendary guitarist Johnny Marr joined the band for four years.


In 2012, The Cribs were honoured with the Spirit of Independence award at the Q Awards and the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the NME Awards.


The display will run from 15 February until July 2017. Entry to the exhibition is free.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Artist Commission - Wakefield Museum Learning Zone Display

Introduction

Wakefield Council Museum Service has been successful in securing funding from Arts Council England for a project to commission an artist or cultural organisation to create an open display in Wakefield Museum’s Learning Zone. This display will contain objects from the museums extensive handling collection and will be co-curated in partnership with people who have not visited Wakefield Museum before.


We are looking for an artist to use our handling collections as inspiration to create a beautifully engaging display that incorporates the potential for visitors to interact with the display. Combining artistic practice, be it sculpture or multi-media or painting, with museum objects to wow, thrill and surprise our visitors.   Take this opportunity to amaze us with ideas that allow people to engage with museum collections in a different way.


Wakefield Council’s museum handling collection

Wakefield Council holds over 110,000 historic objects, which tell the stories of the people, places, events and activities of the residents of and visitors to the Wakefield District, from prehistoric times to the present day.  Part of the collection (around 4000 objects) is designated as a ‘handling collection’.  This has objects as diverse as a lion’s skull, a Victorian mouse trap, wind-up toys, household equipment and roman oil lamps.


Co-curation

The successful project will work to co-curate the display with people who have not visited Wakefield Museum before, bearing in mind the diverse nature of the Wakefield District and those people who may face barriers accessing the museum. It will be the responsibility of the selected artists / organisation to identify, recruit and liaise with this group of people.


Learning Zone

The Learning Zone is situated in Wakefield Library, in Wakefield One.  It is used by the Museums learning team to deliver learning sessions to a wide range of audiences.  The display will be placed by the glass wall linking the Learning Zone to the library so needs to be viewable from both sides, acting as a partial screen, and accessed from within the Learning Zone.  We expect the installation to project into the room no more than about 0.5m. An image of the space can be provided upon request.

Display Area: Learning Zone Windows



Project timetable:  Display to open by the end of June 2017.

Project budget: up to £2500


This budget covers fee and delivery of the following: 
  • Object selection (in conjunction with museum staff)
  • The  formation and construction of a visually interesting display using the selected museum objects (to include display materials)
  • Recruitment of and sessions working with your selected group
  • Graphic interpretation explaining the installation (text writing, proof reading, image selection and sourcing, graphic design and production)
  • Text and image selection for marketing material (marketing material will be created by Wakefield Council)
  • Regular updates of progress
  • Installation of display, staff briefing.
Object selection, text content, graphic design and display techniques to be signed off by Wakefield Council museum team.


Please note that in the interest of conservation you cannot:
  • Dismantle objects without agreement
  • Use non-conservation grade adhesives and fixings 
How to apply:

If you are interested in submitting a proposal please provide the following information:
  • An outline of your idea, including what group of people you will be working with and how you will recruit them to the project.
  • A breakdown of budget (including a clear indication of your fee).
  • A delivery timeline, featuring key dates for object selection, text writing, graphic design, production and installation.
  • An explanation as to how you would ensure the safe and appropriate display of the museum objects.
Email to  by 5pm on Friday 17 February

If you require further information about the project please contact Maya Harrison, MayaHarrison@wakefield.gov.uk, 01924 305350.











Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lots of exciting events!

We are very excited to have a wide range of events and activities coming up across the museums.

Our next is a talk on the intriguing mystery that is the Tanshelf pottery collection, now on display at Pontefract Museum.  On Thursday 19 January, you will be able to hear about the project from someone directly involved - Janet McNaught.


Families are spoiled for choice over the half term, with something different to do every day! A selection of what is on offer is available in our handy Activity Planner. 
Click on the image below to open!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0mdv9Gr3eTkV1dVOVoxbnlWV2s/view?usp=sharing
Click on image to open the planner
 
Castleford is hosting it's popular Iron Age Day on Saturday 18 February, with fierce warrior face-painting, storytelling and crafts.
 
 
We are then really excited about a presentation and dinner being hosted in Create Café - next to the museum.  The ever-popular History Wardrobe will be performing one of their fabulous presentations - Jolly Hockey Sticks - about school days and school stories, followed by a tasty twist on a school dinner from Create.
It should be a fantastic evening!
 
 
 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jolly-hockey-sticks-wednesday-22nd-february-tickets-30612388478
 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jolly-hockey-sticks-wednesday-22nd-february-tickets-30612388478
 
 


- and that's all just for starters!

There's lots more listed in our What's On - from a butter and cheese making workshop for adults, to iPad animation sessions for families.  Do have a look at our What's On guide below - or pick one up from any of the museums.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0mdv9Gr3eTkdEFvOENjcDFRcjQ/view?usp=sharing
Click on image to open!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Experience in the Exhibits

Recently, we hosted three Primary Education students from Leeds Trinity University for a two-week placement.

Kaisha and Oliver are specialising in Key Stage 2 (later years) whilst Jenny is studying early years (to age 7). 

This blog post was written by them.



For many years both research and experience has shown teachers that there is huge value in taking children out of the classroom to learn in an alternative context. As trainee teachers we have been fortunate enough to witness this first hand during our time at Wakefield Museums.
Over the past two weeks we have shadowed Learning Officer, Louise Bragan as she delivers some of Wakefield Museums’ wide range of workshops, including 1940s housewife, Greek pottery and Charles Waterton. We have seen how these workshops support and enhance learning across a number of curriculum areas and in ways which are as inspirational as they are unexpected!

The 1940s housewife workshop is popular with Year 5 and 6 classes. It offers an alternative insight to learning about the Second World War by focussing on daily life for a lady and her children living in Ossett, a small local town. Children (and teaching students) are surprised by how little food was available under rationing, demonstrated in a very stark way by ‘Dorothy’, Louise’s character for the workshop (and her real life grandma!). It was fascinating to see how children responded to the effects of war when told from a local perspective, when much of what they had absorbed so far had been about dates and important figures.  After speaking to Dorothy children had the opportunity to look at real ration books, identity cards, gas masks and other papers and paraphernalia associated with life at that time. Oliver and Kaisha were inspired to create a series of handouts to accompany each item for teachers to use in future lessons.
World War 2 Ration book, identity card and Women's Voluntary Service scarf and hat (below) used in the workshop
 



In the Charles Waterton workshop children learn about the local eccentric who created the first nature reserve, rode a caiman and used pioneering taxidermy methods to create monstrosities with a political message.  As expected, this workshop directly relates to the history national curriculum, but Louise also provides a wonderful literacy link. Children follow in the footsteps of Charles by using a quill and ink to write with. It was fascinating as a student teacher to observe how children reacted to this task – speaking to their teachers it was clear that children who are usually reluctant writers embraced the alternative medium, some producing notably higher quality work with the quill that in pencil at school.
This workshop inspired Jenny to create a teachers' pack which will be used to support teachers and other accompanying adults to help children get the most out of a visit to the exhibit.
John Bull and the National Debt - one of Waterton's crazy creatures

Children get to handle a real crocodile skull as part of the workshop
 
The Greek Pottery workshop saw us take the learning into school. We were as amazed as the year 6 class that we were able to not only see, but also touch, pick up, smell and examine the 3000 year old jugs and urns that make up a small part of the Museum’s extensive handling collection. The sense of awe and wonder shown by  children who got to hold these and other objects during our visit, demonstrates the enormous value of museums and the use of objects, both as a way of connecting children with their past and sense of place and to learning across the curriculum.
We were fortunate enough to visit the museum stores as part of our placement – a huge warehouse filled with objects from the sublime to the ridiculous. I think we could all have lost many days to that fascinating place which was reminiscent of a scene from Indiana Jones! Objects formed an important part of our two weeks’ with Wakefield Museums: we were fortunate enough to receive training on how to use objects as a stimulus for learning and to see how this operated in practice. These skills will be invaluable to us as teachers in the future to help engage and inspire children across the curriculum.


Personal Reflections:
From a personal perspective history was always my favourite topic, so this alone already cemented my interest in this establishment. As formal as a museum might appear there was a great working environment with friendly staff (who offered to make coffee every 15 minutes with free parkin) and a relaxed atmosphere.

Working with children in an unfamiliar setting may appear daunting, but if the topic is something you are deeply engaged in, the time flies by. I’ve spent more time talking about a Kit-Kat wrapper to year 6s than I ever thought I would. Yes, that sounds incredibly tedious and boring but if history is your interest you’d be surprised! In short, if history or anything you know is at the museum that interests you, go for it, you might just learn that Kit-Kat wrappers were blue in the 1940s due to the shortage of milk and thus the colour change indicated that the traditional milk chocolate was temporally changed with dark chocolate. - Oliver

My experience of history at school was different to Oliver’s. I was bombarded with facts and figures, politicians, kings and queens and I found the whole subject boring and irrelevant. I love teaching younger children as the awe and wonder about the world which they have is wonderful and contagious. My time here at Wakefield Museums has taught me how I can bring history and a wide range of other subjects to life and make them meaningful to even young children by using objects and relating learning to their own experiences. I have spent two weeks in awe and wonder myself at all the amazing artefacts in the collection and how they can be used and I know that what I’ve learnt will make me a better teacher. - Jenny
Oliver and Jenny at the Museum Store - looking at a WWI diary with curator, John


Tear-jerking, awe-inspiring and truly inspirational…
No, this is not a review of the latest romantic comedy – it’s even better - it’s a review of my time at Wakefield Museum!

As a self-confessed history geek, the opportunity to handle artefacts spanning from Ancient Egypt to World War Two was something I couldn’t imagine passing up. On the very first day genuine tears were shed over a Victorian prison cell door because I was so fascinated by it and I imagine I probably cried more than any prisoner who ever had the misfortune to have been held behind it.

But that is the magic of museums for me, as through my time here I have loved being able to connect with a random miscellaneous object from the past and imagine the story behind each artefact. The handling collection contained a Victorian iron and a few wooden pegs, which could easily be overlooked or discarded by someone who was disinterested. Instead, the time we could spend with each artefact on this placement allowed my mind to wander and imagine who these items could have once belonged to.

Was it a young housekeeper or an ancient gran, fingers gnarled from a hard life? I’ll never know and that doesn’t really matter, it’s the element of not knowing in fact that makes it all the better because my wild thoughts will never be shut down or dismissed.
Through this time exploring I realised first-hand how powerful a journey of enquiry can be, and I feel I am now more keen than before to provide this opportunity to the children I will one day teach. The use of open-ended questioning and higher-order thinking is something we are frequently lectured about but it truly means nothing until you see it in practice, guiding the children towards forming their own opinions and interests regarding the past, its role in the present and how it can shape the future they will come to find themselves in - Kaisha

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sindy: the doll you loved to dress

Who had a Sindy doll as a child? Claire, who grew up in Wakefield in 1980s, has kindly donated her fabulous collection of Sindy dolls, clothes and accessories to us. We thought we’d share some of the collection with you.

Sindy was launched in September 1963 by Pedigree Toys Ltd. She first appeared in our lives in a 30 second TV advert that was shown in the London area. In 2013, Sindy celebrated 50 years with a new anniversary range.
Here are some of Claire’s Sindy dolls. They came to us lovingly wrapped in protective tissue paper and carefully labelled.

 


 
Sindy was advertised with the tag line, ‘the doll you’ll love to dress’. Her outfits were designed to reflect the latest trends. Claire had a varied wardrobe of clothes and accessories to choose from for her dolls. Amongst them are swimming costumes, dressing gowns, leg warmers, dungarees and a kilt. Claire even hand made her Sindy an umbrella to keep off the Wakefield rain!


 
Of course, Sindy needed somewhere to live. Our team had great fun building the Sindy Super Home, a 3 storey townhouse complete with roof terrace and external lift!

Claire lavishly furnished the Super Home with her collection of Sindy ‘Scenesetter’ products, a large range of miniature replicas of lifestyle items. Sindy slept in a luxurious four poster bed, and ate at a dining table laid with her own dinner service, silver cutlery and gold candelabras. And she could serve guests at her dinner parties from her very own hostess trolley!

 
 



 
Many of the Scenesetter items had additional fun features. The oven in the Action Kitchen Unit actually lit up and there were blenders that could be plugged in and operated.  Sindy’s Beauty Salon also had a working hairdryer and her swimming pool even had a Jacuzzi setting!

 
 

 



 
Some of our favourite items, though, are the ones that Claire made herself. This ingenious homemade TV set has a selection of channels to choose from and a guide. Programmes range from the News to Top Gear!

 
We loved looking through Claire’s collection and are very pleased to look after it. Did you recognise any of the dolls or accessories from your own childhood?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Calling all Comic Artists: Pontefract’s Secret Ballot Comic Commission

Wakefield Museums hold in our collection ballot boxes used in the first secret ballot in parliamentary elections.  Putting a cross to a name on a ballot paper is taken for granted today.  The Pontefract by-election in 1872 changed the democratic process and made elections safer and fairer.

Wakefield Council Museum Service has been successful in securing funding from The Speaker’s Art Fund to create a comic telling the story of Pontefract’s secret ballot.
We are looking for an artist to create 12 pages of art work.  The aims of the comic are:

-          To create engaging, humorous interpretation of Pontefract’s Secret ballot. 

-          Create a sense of pride amongst local communities about the role Pontefract has played in shaping modern democracy in Britain.

-          Engage young Pomfretians around the importance of democracy and the development of universal suffrage.

-          Promote the importance of Josephine Butler who, with the formation of her Ladies National Association in 1869, became the first publicly recognised feminist activist in Britain and came to Pontefract in 1872 to campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Act.

-          Highlight the importance of the first secret ballot in Parliamentary elections.

The script for the comic will be provided, as will other source material.
Artwork
 
The artwork contained in the 12 pages will be used in a variety of ways including:

-          To create four other pages that will give background information to characters and elements of the story. 

-          To form the basis of graphic interpretation in a new gallery display at Pontefract Museum.

-          As part of learning  materials

-          To create a printed version of the comic (which may be sold by Wakefield Museums).

These elements will be designed and led by Wakefield Museums.

Project budget: up to £3000

This budget covers fee and delivery of the following:

·         12 Pages of comic artwork (inked, lettered and coloured).

·         Rights for Wakefield Council to  use artwork however required (this may include, but is not limited to, gallery interpretation, learning resources, marketing material, online,  retail products)

·         Regular updates of progress to project manager.

All art work is to be signed off by project manager.

Project Timeline: Comic to be completed by

Friday 17 February 2017

How to apply:
If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the commission please provide the following information:

·         Rough sketch thumbnail of double page spread [see below for script & visual references]

·         Examples of previous work

·         Explanation of how you would approach ensuring that the artwork reflects the historical period authentically.

·         Details of two referees

Email to mayaharrison@wakefield.gov.uk  by 5pm on Thursday 8 December 2016. 
 
If you require further information about the project please contact Maya Harrison, mayaharrison@wakefield.gov.uk, 01924 305350.
 
 

Potwallopers and Plumpers Script:

The comic explores the first parliamentary by secret ballot in the summer of 1872 in Pontefract.
Background to the scene

The secret ballot election in Pontefract was a by-election to decide who was the Member of Parliament for Pontefract.
The two candidates in the election were Hugh Childers of the Liberal Party – the incumbent and Lord Pollington a Conservative challenger.

As the election was the first to use the secret ballot system and the high profile nature of the election was exploited by a women’s rights campaigner Josephine Butler and the Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts. This was the first women organised and led movement in modern British history.
The two pages released follow the efforts of Josephine Butler and her fellow campaigners to hold a meeting to raise awareness of their campaign. The current MP Hugh Childers has tried to stop the group having their own meeting in town by double booking rooms and then insisting that they only have a meeting which he chairs.

They manage to secure a hayloft just outside of town but Childers’ supporters intend to spoil it.
They have been helped by a Mr Stuart (there is no description of him and therefore artistic licence can be afforded).

Page 6:
Panel 1:

Int: Cross section view. Crowd of mainly women queuing into a hayloft and  climbing a ladder from a large room containing hay bales, cross section of floor and a women alighting ladder through a trap door into large loft room, pitched roof. It is dimly lit by oil lamps hung on walls. Behind the trapdoor is a crowd of mainly women. JB and her friend Mrs Wilson are at the end of the room.
Also visible outside but hidden from view of the crowd is a group of four men with aggressive postures and angry faces.

Caption: Outside Pontefract
JB Narration: We had been obliged to go all over town before we found anyone bold enough to grant us a place to meet.

Mr Stuart paid for a room on the outskirts of town; a hayloft with a rather unconventional entrance. However, the place was large enough to hold a good meeting, and it was soon filled.
JB: Welcome ladies….gentlemen…..

Panel two:

Close up of JB and Mrs Wilson. JB has tears in her eyes, Mrs Wilson is sniffling. There are wisps of smoke visible from the floor
JB: Mr Childers is AFRAID to meet us and answer our questions. This election is our chance raise this issue and turn his supporters against him

JB Narration: They were not tears of passion, : Little did we realise that Childers’ party had been at cruel work at our meeting
Panel three:

View of the crowd in front of JB, their eyes are streaming and some are sneezing
Crowd: at Choo….cough etc.

JB: perhaps we can now have a proper debate about this INHUMANE act….cough……cough
Somebody out of frame: Pepper?...there is pepper all over the floor

Panel 4: Aggressive men are now downstairs setting light to the hay bales, smoke is billowing up through the floor boards
Angry man: Smoke ‘em out

Crowd (through the floor): Smoke! Fire! Get out!
JB: everyone remain calm

Page7
Panel 1:

Head after head of men with countenances full of fury appearing through the trapdoor. Lead by men dressed as gentlemen, one pointing at JB
Gentleman: ?!!%$£$£

Panel 2:
Smash of a window by stones thrown from the outside….glass scatters over JB and Mrs Wilson

Panel 3:
Gentleman and JB face off

Gentleman: We’ve had enough of your talk (something along the lines of immoral and unladylike talk)
JB: You can tell Mr Childers that this kind of behaviour will not diminish our resolve

JB Narration: few of these men were Yorkshire people
Panel 4:

Policemen pop heads through trapdoor – they have a cynical smile
Policeman: evening all

JB: at last…constable please kindly remove these men from the premises….where are you going?
Panel 5:

Policemen leave
Policeman: we are only here for election matters so we will be on our way

Panel 6:
The mob move in and women start to flee down the ladder. Mr Stuart confronts them and get into a tussle

Mr Stuart: Get out of here!
JB: Come Mrs Wilson….it’s us they want the rest will be safe…

Panel 7:
JB and Mrs Wilson jump through the trapdoor

Tell Mr Childers this is far….FAR!... from over (as they are leaping)
 
Visual References:
Hugh Childers
 
 
 

Josephine Butler in 1876


Victorian Policeman in 1874



 
Victorian Gentlemen