Showing posts from November, 2006

An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists - Antikythera Mechanism

The Journal Nature has reported a new study on the Antikythera Mechanism found in a Roman Wreck over 100 years ago. It is a mechanical device to compute the movements of the moon, and is now thought to be the most advanced scientific instrument until 1000 years later. What else may the ancient Greeks have invented which we have no record of? for more see or An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists - New York Times : "The mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for seasons of planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers reported. An ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon’s elliptical orbit around Earth." An interesting point that was raised on a Radio 4 programme about the subject was that the word 'Antropos' from which we get Antropology, and whi

Happiness - Well Being and Value

One of my students is doing a very interesting project based on understanding 'Value' - contrasting monetary value with real 'value' Here is a quotation from Salon IFA from the Society of Antiquaries with some relevance to the value debate: Heritage Assets: Can Accounting Do Better? Considerable debate is taking place on bulletin boards and discussion forums over the issue of accounting standards for heritage ‘assets’. Salon’s editor argued that there is a presumption against realising the value of museum assets (as the outcry at the sale of a Lowry painting by Bury Council in Greater Manchester illustrates), so their true balance sheet value is zero, in which case they do not need to appear in the accounts at all and thus there is no need for an accounting standard. Fellow Kate Clark countered by saying that the accounting standard needs to include better reporting of the costs of holding assets and of providing the services that flow from the asset in terms

'Heritage Counts' published by English Heritage

English Heritage published its annual audit of the historic environment on 15 November, reports SALON 153 - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter 27 November 2006. ‘Communities and Heritage’ is the theme for the report. Salon IFA reports: 'Research commissioned for the report revealed the ‘magnificent legacy’ of historic buildings now threatened with neglect, demolition, privatisation or redevelopment ─ town halls, fire stations, county court buildings, libraries, schools and public baths ─ unless imaginative new uses could be found to keep them in community use. ‘Public needs have changed dramatically,’ said our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, launching the report, adding that a flood of public buildings would fall out of use in the next fifteen years: ‘These buildings have an important value locally that goes far beyond their original uses,’ he said. ‘They endow a sense of distinctiveness on a place as well as helping to shape

The New 10 Ages of Prehistory

SALON 153 - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter 27 November 2006 reports that Antiquity has made an attempt to replace the old three-age system, originally invented for the Danish National Museum collections in the nineteenth century. Antiquity's Editor - the Sutton Hoo excavator, Martin Carver proposes 'integrated world prehistory' back to 26,000 BC. Salon IFA reports that 'he new scheme is suggested by a key paper on radiocarbon dating published in Antiquity by Christopher Bronk Ramsey of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, and colleagues from the universities of Sheffield, Reading, Belfast and Leiden.' Here are Antiquity’s ten periods 1. Before 24,000 BC: hunter-gatherers in the Sahara; use of beads for ornament in Australia; horse and rhino images on the Margot Cave, France 2. Twenty-fourth to thirteenth millennia BC: earliest pottery in east Asia; male and female hand stencils in ca

The Art Fund - Policy and Campaigns

According to the Art Fund Britain is falling behind in 'race to buy works of art' because our Galleries do not have enough of money for new acquisitions. The Art Fund - Policy and Campaigns The Tate spent £4.8m National Gallery £6,3m and the British Museum only £700,000. much less than our international competitors.

Creative Journals

I have just read 'How to make a Journal of Your Life' by D. Price. 10 Speed Press, California. Its a slight book but does help encourage the use of creative journals - I'm interested because we encourage our students to do learning logs and I have been very impressed by how they can help reflection.

Fund-Raising Course for the Creative Industries

I attended a fund raising course at City University, which took place over 3 afternoons over 3 weeks. It was free (funded by Europe), designed for the Creative Industries. It is running again in January over 3 Friday afternoons - a very good intro and a good refresher for those of have yet to earn their Lottery Millions!

Re: CRB checks for Museums

The subject of Child Protection Policies came up at a Fund Raising training event I have been on at City University. It seems Lambeth expects organisations dealing with children to have them, and a representative from the 'Big Lottery Fund'  also suggested she would expect anyone applying for Awards for All for a children's project would expect an organisation to have a Child Protection Policy.   However, we also discussed projects where school children engage with senior citizens and no one would suggest all the old folk should be CRB'd before being allowed to talk to kids.   So, I would hope the Museum community can be sensible about it.  From our point of view - unless I hear that CRB's are de rigour for all staff and volunteers in Museums -  I think we are going to write a Child Protection Policy - probably as outlined in my previous post, and so establish policies that staff and volunteers never put themselves in a situation where they are alone with

Strategic Framework Analysis

One of the student project groups at CPfNE at Central Saint Martin's referred to Strategic Frame Analysis. This is, surprisingly a trade marked system but which essential proposes analyzing the 'frames' within which the public think/operate/perceive, once these frames have been identified and analysed then the analylist can work out how to change the frame. At example, might be Al Quaidi, their frame is one of Jihad, and heroic self-sacrifice, with a belief that Islam has been oppressed by the West, and that those not of the Umma are unclean and therefore not that important if slaughtered. Having understood this frame we can then work out how best to influence it - maybe we would think that of the aspects of the frame the lack of care for the welfare of the unclean might be the way to influence them for the benefit of mankind. Maybe we might concentrate on the 'frame' based around the idea of the brotherhood of the 'people of the book' - Moslems, Christia

SketchUp - Tutorials

Nick at Central St Martin's mentioned that he has installed Sketchup, a free 3D graphics programme, and Google Earth on all the Macs. He told me Sketchup is available on PC and Mac. So I had a look at it - and ran a couple video tutorials - very simply, and looks quite good if you want a free 3D sketching programme. SketchUp - Tutorials

Review of policies for Old Operating Theatre Museum

Today I reviewed the Museum's progress by looking at the Business Plan for 2006/7 and reviewed our aims document and the acquisitions policy . We have done surprisingly well - achieving many of our objectives already despite the fact that we had to close the museum ofr 6 months earlier in the year, and prepare an alternative home. We need to make progress on the following: 1.Increase frequency of staff meetings 2.We need to develop fund-raising skills 3.Improve health and safety skills and monitoring 4.Achieve greater recognition that the Museum is unique and of international importance 5.Develop relevance to modern health agendas 6.Regularly survey our visitors 7.Progress development plan and improve facilities and access 8.Review arrangements with CHR and reporting to Trustees

First-century Roman shipwreck stuffed with Amphorae found in Turkey

Archaeologists have found a large wreck near the Coast full of Fish Sauce Amphorae - the article includes image of the stored amphorae of which there were 1,500. This is the largest wreck found on the Mediterranean Coast. Spanish researchers delighted with first-century Roman shipwreck - Turkish Daily News Nov 15, 2006 Thanks to Becky Wallover for the the information. Keyword = archaeology

The Old Operating Theatre Museum RSS Feed improved

I have used the free Cut n' Paste JavaScript RSS Feed to make it easy to use the Old Operating Theatre Museum's RSS feed. If you paste the code in rss feed instructions.htm into your web site, our feed will automatically appear! To see an example click here:

Listed Building Review - Abolition of Grade 2*?

Apparently English Heritage are proposing to change the listing system. It is rumoured that Grade 2* is to be abolished and it is thought all grade 2* will be pushed up to Grade 1, but this is not certain. This will probably be a good thing for the Old Operating Theatre Museum, which is currently in a Grade 2* building but, because of its uniqueness should be Grade 1. The following is a link to a document on revision of listing although making no reference to abolition of Grade 2*

18th Century Childcare and William Cadogan

History Today (Dec 2006) had an interesting article on childcare in the 18th Century. Link to it here William Cadogan wrote 'An Essay upon Nursing and the Management of Children' in 1748. It was in advance of Rousseau's modern theories. He suggested babies should be breast fed from birth preferably by the mother and he denied that this might damage the shape of the breast. He believed that children should not be feed on demand and should be fed simple food, dressed in light clothing and played with in a robust way with lots of tumbles and tossing. He was against swaddling and believed the baby's arms should be left free. He was in favour of a scientific approach and therefore decried traditional female approaches to childbirth. Otherwise his ideas were modern and progressive. keyword= medical history

Fundraising for Creative Practice

On Fridays I have been attending a fund-raising course for the creative industries run by City University and given by Anne Engel. The highlight of the afternoon was a talk from a group called Campbell Works - they are based in Hackney, London and run a series of interesting projects from their Gallery. Their work was very participatory and imaginative. They illustrated the advice we had been given that grant projects can be helped by creating useful partnerships. For example, one of their projects was for local children which used an old car engine for art projects and collaborated with local mechanics. Campbell Works art gallery It was interesting to hear that they had set up as a Community Interest Company - a new form of Ltd Company set up for organisations that are working in the public interest but not quite charities. Other tips were to divide projects up into segments and try and get grants for individuals parts of the project. They suggested dividing overheads betwee

New Arsenal FC Museum Opens At The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have launched their new Museum in the new Emirates Stadium, Islington, London. New Arsenal FC Museum Opens At The Emirates Stadium - 24 Hour Museum - official guide to UK museums, galleries, exhibitions and heritage

British Archaeological Awards

British Archaeology Awards have been announced. British Archaeological Awards : Britarch web site"

The Museum of London - new funding arrangements

the government has transferred its interest in the Museum of London to the GLA - personally I suggested they revert to the former method when the funding was divided between government, GLC and the City, My fear is that the GLA will cut expenditure in due course. Department for Culture Media and Sport - Culture secretary Tessa Jowell announces plans for the future sponsorship of the Museum of London

London for free

Free self-guided London Walks London for free

Free London Walks for your iPod or MP3 Player

Found an interesting site that offers free walks around London for your ipod or MP£ player. Free London Walks for your iPod or MP3 Player

Aluna: World's First Tidal Powered Moon Clock

This is a great scheme to create a vast installation on the Thames - a tidal powered lunar clock. Visit the site and give them your support. Aluna: World's First Tidal Powered Moon Clock

London Museums and the Olympics

The MLA Partnership has published a prospectus for the contribution of museums, libraries and archives to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Setting the Pace� I suggested to the London Museums Group committee meeting that we should set up systems to help Museums extend the number of languages they interpret the collections with. Secondly, museums should get in contact with local communities and set up what might be called 'language hubs' for welcoming people from appropriate parts of the world

Keats and the history of Cycling

I cycled to Keats House Museum in Hampstead, London today for a meeting and spoke to one of the staff who was kind enough to alert me to Keats' reference to a Velocepede. He wrote 3 March 1819: 'The nothing of the day is a machine called the Velocepede - it is a wheel-carriage to ride cock horse upon, sitting astride and pushing it along with the toes, a rudder wheel in hand. They will go seven miles an hour, a handsome gelding will come to eight guineas, however they will soon be cheaper, unless the army takes to them' The note reports that it was invented by Count Drax in Baden, introduced to Britain by a tradesman in Long Acre, 1819 and 'put down' by the Magistrates of Police because of the crowded state of the metropolis.