Behind closed doors at Brighton Museum

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"Night at the Museum poster" by http://www.impawards.com/2006/night_at_the_museum.html. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Night at the Museum via Wikipedia

Night at the Museum poster

Brighton Museum is closed on Mondays so staff can get on with vital work and exhibits can be cleaned and repaired.

I defy anyone not to feel a frisson of excitement to be allowed to walk around a place like a museum when you know the general public are not allowed in.

Just like the kids film trilogy Night at the Museum starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams, I half imagine some of the exhibits will come alive and start talking.

There are people here getting on with their daily work such as cleaners, security staff, curators and all the regular office staff upstairs and in the Pavilion but at the moment, I’m the only one looking around the exhibits. Some of the galleries are dark, the café is closed and all the chairs are stacked on the tables, the shop is shut and the door through to the Dome café bar is closed.

Somehow it feels like all the exhibits have been displayed just for me.  I’ve taken some pictures for a new Pinterest board and there’s been no-one to frown at me.  I’ve gazed for quite a long time at the paintings which are along the stairs and entrances. When there are lots of people around, you can get swept along by the tide without really looking.

I’ve fallen in love with an exquisite tiny silver and white Wedgewood milk jug in the pottery display cabinet which I’d have snapped up if it had been in shop.  I’ve never spotted it before and would probably never have seen it if I hadn’t been on my own today.

I’ve tried once again to look a Mr Willett’s Popular Pottery but it remains a mystery to me.  I have resisted the temptation to touch any of the items, even though they are calling out to me.

I’m now sitting on a bench writing this in the lovely peace and quiet. It feels like the museum has kicked off its shoes, stretched back and is letting out a big deep breath of relaxation. Tomorrow the summer crowds with their rucksacks and loud voices will return but today is a well-earned day off for this glorious building and the big mix of things which live here.

Caroline Sutton, Blogger in Residence

 

“Night at the Museum poster” by http://www.impawards.com/2006/night_at_the_museum.html. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Night at the Museum via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Night_at_the_Museum_poster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Night_at_the_Museum_poster.jpg

Whitehawk Watercolour, Present Day

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Jane Hawkins, a Whitehawk allotment holder and Museum volunteer has produced a wonderful sketch of Whitehawk Camp in its present environment.

Whitehawk Camp by Jane Hawkins

Whitehawk Camp by Jane Hawkins

The next step is to sketch it during the early Neolithic, but this just raises lots of questions.

Was it part of a wider ritual landscape ?

How did you access the monument ?

What was the tree/scrub cover like ?

Were there small settlements nearby ?

What did early Neolithic houses look like ?

Definitely food for thought…

Andrew Maxted, Curator (Collections Projects)

 

 

 

Museum Tales 2: Birdsong and Sirens, A snapshot of a perfect summer day

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Creative Future run creative writing courses at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery for marginalised writers. Dr Claudia Gould, the group facilitator, encourages participants to use Museum objects to inspire their work. Funded by the Arts Council England, these groups will be running again in spring 2015. If you’re interested in attending please contact Creative Future (01273 234780) for further information.

Birdsong and Sirens, A snapshot of a perfect summer day by Moray Sanders

The Pavilion Gardens

The Pavilion Gardens are packed with people sprouting like multicoloured bushes undisciplined on scorched grass, or lying entwined like bindweed on rugs of oblivious bliss. A babble of sound rises from them to engulf the warm air. Birdsong ruffles the breeze and is ripped away by the severing scream of a siren. The café, celebrating seventy years of tea and rock cakes, is sprouting people in plastic chairs. They dip and sway and clip silver spoons and forks against pristine cups and plates. The sound of the siren is long gone and everything is as it should be in the Pavilion Gardens on a perfect summer day.

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