Saturday, February 28, 2009

In the Museum

I always enjoy visiting the Potteries Museums and Art Gallery up in the city centre. It is the most wonderful place. We often pop in there on a Saturday monring for a cup of coffee and a look at whatever their new exhibition is. This morning we were delighted to find not one but three exceptional exhibitions.

The first exhibition 'The Arrival' is a collection of works of contemporary urban art by graffiti artists like Banksy, Swoon, Elbowtoe and Candice Trip. These paintings, are, as you can imagine fairly raw, intense, thought provoking and certainly not for those easily offended.

The second exhibition, 'Hidden Talents', was organised by Brighter Futures and explores the creativity of people affected by mental health issues. Again this was a thought provoking exhibition and there were some exceptional pieces on display. Talents hidden no longer.

The third exhibition was the wonderful 'Making History: 300 years of Antiquaries in Britain'. This is a touring exhibition which explores and explains the way the study of national heritage grew during the 18th and 19th centuries and the way people collected and recorded both local and national history before the foundation of national museums and libraries. The exhibition also explains the start and progress of the 'Society of Antiquaries' founded in London in 1751. I was in 7th heaven as I wandered around the room taking in a 1610 copy of Camden's Britannia, the Roll Chronicle, a copy of the revised Magna Carta dated 1225, an enamelled reliquary designed to carry the bones of St Thomas a Becket, portraits of the Saxon King Athelstan, the Yorkist Kings Henry lV and Richard lll, and the Tudors Henry Vll and Henry Vlll. There was a lock of Edward lV's hair in a gold locket taken from his tomb at Windsor Castle and I stood for ages, transfixed by the Bosworth Cross, a late mediaeval bronze gilt processional cross found, in 1778, on Bosworth field, long after the battle of 22nd August 1485. It was displayed against a mirror so that you could see the decoration on the back - the sunburst symbol of the Yorkist badge. The exhibition was guest curated by Dr David Starkey who was due to give a talk in the afternoon in the lecture theatre at the museum.

I know that I will go back and take another look at this exhibition before it moves to Sunderland in June because there is so much of interest and one visit is just not enough.


  1. I would love to vist that museum.

    I last visited Stoke On Trent when they had the garden festival years ago,when my children were very young!!
    I wonder what happened to the area/land afterwards?

  2. I confess that I would pass on the first two exhibitions but the Making History one sounds absolutely fascinating - might try and get there before it moves on to Sunderland.

  3. Sal, it is a super museum, ceramics, costume, a spitfire to name just a few:) The Garden Festival Site is now called Festival Park and is home to shops,offices, waterworld and a dry ski slope also the canal passes through so there is Black Prince holidays and the Moat House Hotel - Josiah Wedgwood's former home. We went to the garden festival at Gateshead where the Metro Centre is now.

    rowan, it is well worth a vist and free to view, plenty of lovely things in the museum collections too, I think it goes to Lincoln after Sunderland:)

  4. Did you see the cow creamers and those lovely old drinking vessels that have a frog inside?

  5. valerie - not on Saturday as we just visited the exhibitions but I have seen them on other visits. My favourite parts of the museum are the local history, costume and ceramics galleries - Paul heads straight for the Spitfire and then the geology and natural history. Having worked in two museums that had huge collections of stuffed birds and animals - I try to avoid those:)