Showing posts from April, 2007

Access to the Old Operating Theatre at last?

Trainers June and David of JBC consulting suggested the Dutch have the technology to get the disabled up a spiral staircase. I looked the system up on the web and am arranging a visit from MHS to demo the technology to us. It is quite exciting that we might soon be able to offer disabled access but I can't quite believe it can be that simple! stairclimbers and mobility products - Mobility-MHS Update: Randolph arrived to look at the staircase and found it was no-go: He wrote: Hi Kevin, I came to look at your lovely old staircase today,....unfortunately due to the nature and the dimensions of the stairs it would not be possible to use the stairclimber on the spiral staircase. It was also the step from the staircase into the museum that caused me concern. Unfortunately I am sorry to have say that we are unable to help you with this situation. So it is back to the drawing board.

New Statue of Maggie Thatcher in Parliament

I took my Elderhostel group to Parliament and saw the new statue of Thatcher outside the Commons. This lobby has 4 large statues of Churchill and Lloyd George by the entrance to the Commons and opposite them are Attlee and Thatcher, the rest of the 20th Century leaders have busts only. The choice of the 4 seem fair enough I guess although I can't help feeling Macmillan also should have a large statue here, and maybe Asquith and Cambell-Bannerman? Thatcher's statue is a little strange and resembles her spitting image puppet just a little - something cartoonish, Beryl Cookish about it.

Mailing list - getting groups out of outlook express

We are moving the Old Operating Theatre museum mailing list to PhpList. big problem is how to get data out of outlook express. It is easy to get all addresses in the address book into PhpList but it is difficult or time consuming to get groups out of Outlook express. If you want to know how to do it this is how: 1. go into outlook express, address book, choose your group. Click on a member, Ctrl A t select all addresses in the group, Ctrl C to copy them. From Start menu choose run type in wab /new This creates a new address book click on address area Ctrl V to copy in the addresses. Now export the data from this address book into CSV format and you will now have a file of email addresses. Add the phplist attribute names to the top the email must be headed email not e-mail or anything else. Import to phplist

British Museum - Britain closed down and so is the Reading Room

The British prehistoric and Roman galleries still not opened - now put back until June. This absence of anything much that is British is a reminder that there has not been a decent gallery about what one might call the 'Age of Stonehenge' for at least 10 years. It really is a scandal. I went to Room 2 to the little and inadequate library which is all we are getting until the Reading Room is reopened to the public in 2009. What a Shame!

Museum of London - new exhibition on Great Fire

I took my elderhostel group to the Museum of London of Saturday wher e much of the modern part is now closed although a new exhibition on the Great Fire has opened - rather disconcertingly being between the Prehistoric and the Roman section. The design is very red and I guess it gives a good introduction to the fire - I thought it a little light on information though - in particular the aftermath of the fire is dealt with in one short panel and a flip book.

Phlogiston theory - and Joseph Wright of Derby

I gave a tour of the National Gallery to my Elderhostel group - we did the development of perspective in the Sainsbury Wing, then, Ovid's Metamorphosis and Titian, Holbein in England, and ended with a look at Science and Enlightenment painters. In front of Joseph Wright's Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump I mentioned the Phlogiston theory suggested that phlogiston was the name given to what we now know as Oxygen. One of my group mentioned that in fact Phlogiston was the the theory before oxygen, and we had a fascinating discussion of the works of Thomas Kuhn in the history of science and his idea of the paradigm shift. As an example, it was thought that we things burnt they gave out phlogiston (from the Ancient Greek phlogios : "fiery"), and went out when the phlogiston was used up - while we now know that this is wrong, when things burnt they used up oxygen in the air. The change from one theory to other illustrates Kuhn's paradigm shift. What I am not

Bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade - commemorative magazine : Directgov - Slavery Bicentenary

Free download of magazine to commemorate the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade - commemorative magazine : Directgov - Slavery Bicentenary

London City Guide city trails

I had a quick look at the Cityheritage part of the 24hourmuseum and the London City Trails in particular. Having done a lot of thinking about how best to publish Guided Walks - this is not the way. The Information on the trails is far too sketchy - directions do not seem good enough to follow without a lot of refering to maps and the details of the walk are just headlines. This is the Guildhall, then you walk to St Pauls - really little interesting information. London City Guide city trails But you will find some interesting routes to take - so not worthless - just they have not cracked the problem by any means. But as for much of the Museum Month - somewhat disappointing.

Few things more powerful than History

Mr Johnson, a 90 year old farm hand living in his grandfather's slave cabin said to Lonnie Bunch, president of the Chicago Historical Society that 'There are few things more powerful than a people who remember their history. Especially if a museum can help them remember not just what they want [to remember] but also what they want to forget' Quoted in Museum Practice (Spring 05)

Voice Mail and Fax Systems

For years I have been using Phone Tools Suite as my voice mail and fax handling system - but when transfering my CD's to a new system I lost the serial number and any number of attempts to contact BVRP could elicit a response. So I have spent quite a lot of time trying to find an alternative. Of the many I tried Ezvoice was the most elegant but it does not deal with Fax Terra voice was too complicated for me Communicate looked good but did not work on my system PhoneTools Classic worked well but only had one mailbook in the only version that would work on my system. So eventually I found FaxTalk - which works well, works straight away without any mucking about, is not that expensive, and has multiple mail boxes. FaxTalk Messenger Pro 7.0 Voice, Answering Machine, Fax software with Caller ID and Distinctive Ring keyword = ICT

Wandsworth Museum may be saved

The conservatives appear to be backing down on their plans to close Wandsworth Museum after the pressure they have been put under. The scheme involves setting up as a trust. For more information see the MLA, London web site NEWS Section

Walk It - a walk route planner for London

Just launch is this new walking route finder for central london - it helps you plan your walking routes. Walk It - A step in the right direction

Public Access and Blockbuster exhibitions

This is draft of letter to Museums Association Public Access and Blockbuster Exhibitions On my recent visit to Tate Modern I was delighted to see that visitors could see a fair number of Gilbert and George paintings without having to pay to see the private view. This is a policy which should be repeated at more of our major galleries – it provides a proper balance between the commitment to free museum visits and the commercial need to create income. It is a balance that has been in some danger of going wrong in recent times, with the large number of blockbusting shows going around. These have the effect of removing from free view major paintings and forcing the visitor to pay to see these painting. My last visit to the National Gallery, at the time of last year's Constable Exhibition, revealed a room denuded of many of its great paintings. At the same time half the Marriage a la Mode series were also missing, which destroyed the visitors enjoyment of the narrative o

Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

I have just heard that I passed my Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Art, Design and Communication at CLTAD , University of the Arts, London. This makes me, a qualified teacher of Higher Education at the grand old age of 53. I got 84% which is so annoying as it is 1 mark below a distinction - just a little bit more work..... I would recommend this course for any visiting lecturer who wants to improve their lecturing - it is also designed in a way that can easily be fitted into a busy working life. I wrote the following note for their newsletter: CLTAD – Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education As an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, the lecturer deals with teaching issues on an ad-hoc basis – face to face the Tutor discover their own techniques of teaching, and draw on previous experience to get by. By and large it works well enough, but when it comes to course committees, and developing courses structure the Associate Lecturer is c

History seminars at the Institute of Historical Research

Excellent series of lectures at the Institute of Historical Research. History seminars at the IHR

British library closes the Reading Room

Horrified to discover the Reading Room at the British Museum is to be closed for 2 years. It was wonderful to be able to sit and study in it. They have replaced it with Rm 2 which is too small. National museums thinking first of money. The Reading Room will be open for Blockbuster exhibitions which, I assume, will have an admissions fee.

London to Woking (or Guildford) by Waterway Cycle Ride

We cycled to Woking from London along the Thames in one day - I record this because I could not find any route on the Internet which described this. Sustrains web site was fairly useless and I could not find a cycle route planner of the form you get with the Trains, and cars, and buses. There was obviously a lot out there in print but nothing online. Also cycle shops had a pathetic lot of cycle guides. Clearly, a lot more needs to be done to help plan spontaneous cycle rides. So this is the cycle route. Take the Thames Route way from Central London via Southwark , South Bank, Battersea , Wandsworth , cross river at Putney , through Fulham , Hammersmith , Chiswick , cross river at Chiswick , cycle through Richmond, Teddington , to Hampton Court. Make sure you ignore the sign posts and cross the River to the other side from Hampton Court and continue through Walton to Weybridge . (We didn't and had a horrible ride on main roads through Sunbury ). At Weybridge , where the Ri

Gilbert and George at Tate Modern

The Tate Exhibition on Gilbert and George is excellent. What I particularly liked about it is that a good few of the paintings are in the public area and can be seen for free - this seems a really excellent compromise - some significant pieces of a blockbuster are freely on display while others are only visible if you pay. This is a principle that should be followed by all big blockbusters - particularly as they comprise of paintings that are often normally free. The other good thing about the exhibition is that is seems pretty comprehensive and you really do get a really good idea of how they developed into Gilbert and George - I also liked their no nonsense anti-bullshit in the arts manifesto. It did help you realise how they had created their own distinctive art style, it may be repetitive, a little bit shallow, obsessed with boys, p* ss , sh*t, sp * nk , E1 but having said all of that it is original and striking. So I thought more of them than I did before visiting, while at th

Keeping a Blog in the Museum and Heritage World - is it worth it?

I have been writing a blog since November 2005, and using a blog for organising links since 2004. My main aim was curiosity - as someone who has been involved with Information Technology since 1975 I wanted to explore its potential. I also attended a seminar which suggested it was a good way of marketing a business and was advised to try it out by my business mentor, Chris Walsh. Perhaps it is time to consider whether it is worth it or whether it is just monumental egotism! Firstly, I want to consider some of my experiences and then to make a list of what I think I should be doing to make more of a success of it. There are several possible answers to the question. The Blog as a Reflective Tool - from a personal point of view I have found it interesting to keep the blog. The act of blogging helps keep ideas in the mind and, to an extent, helps mentally process them. It helps remember what you did and where you did it. The Blog as a Place Marker - keeping the blog help

Old Operating Theatre Museum Friends Scheme

We are closer to launching our Museum Development appeal and we have been working on a Museum Friends set up and are about to mail out to people. We are trying to use PayPal to collect subscriptions - although it is hard to customise it exactly as you want. PayPal also makes the user feel you have to join it rather than just being a credit card using agency. But it is coming along. You can try out the donations button here .

Picasso: Histoire Naturelle - Museum of Childhood

On Saturday went to the BGM - the Museum of Childhood to see a really good exhibition of Picasso's animal illustrations for the Histoire Naturelle. Picasso: Histoire Naturelle - V&A Museum of Childhood They are sugar aquatints, with various drypoint and scraping techniques. What is great about them is how diverse they are - some are dense others are ethereal, some are realistic others are decorative. What is also nice is that there are not crowds of people pressing to see the images as there normally are for the big shows. The image here is based upon one of the Picasso aquatints (the originals are black and white). The BGM is however, still very noisy - the main attraction seems to be a sand pit. Afterwards went through the park to Sugar Loaf Lane and to the Camel a really nice art deco pub that must once have been an East End Boxing pub from the mug shots on the wall.