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Showing posts from September, 2007

the religious houses of london and middlesex

I discovered some interesting new 'facts' while reading about St Thomas Hospital in 'the Religious houses of London and Middlesex' (Ed Caroline M Barron and Matthew Davies). Firstly, the Hospital in 1535 had 3 laysisters, while originally the Sisters were professed and of the Augustinian order. At the same time the Master was accused of closing the Free School which the Hospital used to run with a £4 allocation. After a scandal in 1323 Bishop Asser involving the 'brethren and sisters' ordered that they should all follow the rule of St Augustine (the implication being that they did not subscribe to this rule before) and that the Master should eat with the Brethen In 1357 the hospital presented a petition to the Pope, asking for an indulgence of 2 years for fund raising. In the petition they claimed that the Hospital was founded by St Thomas Becket himself in Southwark. In 1299 Isaac the Jew gave a house to the Hospital (interesting because the Jews were

Saving the Penan: Community In The Rainforest

I watch Bruce Parry's Tribe yesterday about the Penan - it was very moving about how their nomadic lifestyle is being ruined by the loggers. On Wade Davies web site is the following message from the Penan Not long ago, we were happy. Things were good. Our fish were clean. Our food was pure. Our way of life staying in the forest was good. As things are now, we are in difficulty. The land is being destroyed. Many open places. These plants are our medicines. If we ask for medicines from the government, they give us Panadol. It is already spoiled. The more we take, the sicker we become. This is what we don't like. We are content to stay on this land, to make our shelters in this forest. This is a good life. But if all these trees are gone, there is no longer a way for us to stay here. Trees that are cut down were once the shelter of hornbill, the home of gibbons, the home of langur, the home of every single kind of animal that lives up high. Where is

Hominids out of Africa Early

Excavations in Georgia have found early evidence of hominids outside of africa. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Georgia clues to human origins

Honorary Lecturer at UCL

I am now an Honorary Lecturer at UCL, on the Museum Studies Course.

London Paranormal Society visit the Old Operating Theatre Museum

The London Paranormal Society visited the Museum at the weekend - looking at their web site it looks a bit like a leisure tourism club! London Paranormal Society

London's lost centuries shrink

The finding of a late Roman burial at St Martins in the Fields nearby Saxon remains of around 500, has been said to have reduced the 'lost centuries' of the Post Roman period where we know very little about what happened in London. The gap is now 90 years from St Martin's so-called 'Last Roman' to the Saxon remains. The gap was previously 200 years from the end of the Roman period to the beginning of the Lundenwic sequence. Before the 1980's the gap was 410AD to the late 9th Century in the City. The findings also disturb the current models of the London Dark Age, currently, there is nothing to link Londinium with Lundenwic, except a common name - now the gap is diminished and reminds archaeologists that the data is not yet strong enough to be sure what was happening in this period - it may be that London continued throughout and there is no Dark Age break. For information on St Martins discoveries look at: BBC NEWS | UK | Bridging London's lost centuri

The Constructivist Museum

Constructivism in the Museum - simple explanation in the Gem publication . Not sure I entirely agree as he divides museum displays up into 4 types of which one type is the Constructivist Museum, while, to me, it seems, that Museums, lend themselves to constructivism even when planned on a very traditional basis - the user can take what they want, they can make up their own routes, and meanings even if there is a very heavy party line in the museum didatic panels. Learning in the Museum - Google Book Search

An Imperial Posession - Britain in the Roman Empire

An Imperial Possession is one in the series of Penguin's History of Britain Series David Mattingly makes an attempt to draw a line under past studies of Roman history which he feels are too influenced by admiration for the Romans and which stem from a British sense of colonial fellowship, and from generations of scholars educated in Classics. It is an easy case to make - although most writers of Roman History and Archaeology had cast off the shackles of imperialism many years ago. But the paradigm shift comes not simply from a change from modern day revulsion of Colonialism but also from real evidence a huge number of excavations under PPG 16 guidelines which revealed that the Roman Villas (easily found) were actually a small minority of Roman period housing and that most people continued to live in what might be termed an iron age life style. Romanisation was therefore an elite practice. Mattingly discusses this new view point in the guise of a discussion of Identity - a very

Mummified Inca maiden wows crowds

Amazing photo of Inca mummy - but it has been controverial putting the mummy on display. for more see: BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Mummified Inca maiden wows crowds : "Mummified Inca maiden wows crowds" Salon IFA ( Salon 173: 8 October 2007) reports 'A team of scientists at the University of Bradford, including our Fellow Dr Timothy Taylor and led by Dr Andrew Wilson, have been studying hair samples from four children preserved in the ice of the Andes, aiming to build up a picture of how the children were prepared for sacrifice over a period of months prior to being exposed on the summits of the mountains that form the border between modern Argentina and Chile. ‘By examining hair samples from these unfortunate children, a chilling story has started to emerge of how the children were “fattened up” for sacrifice,’ says Dr Wilson, a Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology Fellow. By analysing stable isotopes found in the hair samples, Dr Wilson and colleagues were able

Farming Origins from Pig DNA

The first pigs in Europe were domesticated from middle eastern stock - this new revelation from DNA evidence appears to support the idea that new farming methods were introduced to Europe as a package presumably by immigrants from the middle east. Subsequently, the idea of pig domestication lead to the Europeans domesticting their own wild boars, which became the pig of choice and european pigs spread all over europe and back into the middle east. For more see below, BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Pig DNA reveals farming history archaeology

Inspiring Learning for All

I attended a training seminar on Inspiring Learning for all at the National Army Museum. ILFA is a methodology or a toolkit for placing learning at the heart of a museum operation and for running educational projects. It consists of a review of the Museum's project using a 'Diagonal Slice team' which means a project team taken across the hierachy - director, curator, education office, museum assistant, volunteer, front of house, maybe a Friend of Two. And then extablishing the project using generic learning outcomes from which SMART specific intended learning outcomes are produced, followed by evaluation. Inspiring Learning for All

Helmand Exhibition at the National Army Museum :

The exhibition is perhaps one of the most relevant exhibitions a Museum can hope to hold. It aims to give an a-political soldiers view of a modern soldiers life, although it can't help but be supportive of the soldiers, and by defining the job they are there to do in business mission statement speak, avoids any difficult political and particularly ethical issues. It does certainly achieve its aim of showing something of what life in Helmand is like. Exhibition design is good - using the materials used by the army - the multimedia is simple using undisguised lap tops and DVD players. Quite effective and a little humbling. London National Army Museum : Helmand

Amazing Grace: John Newton at St Mary Wolnoth

I watched 'Amazing Grace' last night and following it up was interested to find that John Newton the author of the hymn Amazing Grace and played by Albert Finney in the film was rector of St Mary Wolnoth - the Hawksmoor Church near Bank, City of London. William Wilberforce was influenced by John Newton who was a reformed Slaver Captain and one of the main sources of what happened aboard slavers. Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound) That sav’d a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears reliev’d; How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believ’d! Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promis’d good to me, His word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures. Yes, when this flesh and heart shall

'No words can express the secret agony of my soul'

No words can express the secret agony of my soul as I sunk into this companionship; compared these henceforth everyday associates with those of my happier childhood - not to say with Steerforth, Traddles, and the rest of those boys; and felt my hopes of growing up to be a learned and distinguished man, crushed in my bosom. The deep remembrance of the sense I had, of being utterly without hope now; of the shame I felt in my position; of the misery it was to my young heart to believe that day by day what I had learned, and thought, and delighted in, and raised my fancy and my emulation up by, would pass away from me, little by little, never to be brought back any more; cannot be written. As often as Mick Walker went away in the course of that forenoon, I mingled my tears with the water in which I was washing the bottles; and sobbed as if there were a flaw in my own breast, and it were in danger of bursting. David Copperfield echoing Dickens feeling when he began work in a blacking facto

Wikiseum

Just came across this paper which is one of those things which I have been planning to implement for a year or two. I have been wondering about using wikipedia as linked to our museum web site - not sure how it would work but an interesting idea. I have also been experimenting with including wiki's in my normal web site and have just found out how to do this. But now I have a name for it Wikiseum Archives & Museum Informatics: Museums and the Web 2005: Papers: Hoffmann and Herczeg, Attraction by Interaction: Wiki Webs As A Way To Increase The Attractiveness Of Museums Web Sites : "Wikiseum"

UCL Digitisation and Museums

I am preparing for the Digitisation and Museums Course I am giving at UCL in January. Reading the course handbook, and following the links. For course click here. It is interesting to see that the Course Director, Suzanne Keene has been exploring del.icio.us while I have been using Furl. Del.icio.us def. more trendy - I like the idea of a tag cloud. See: Digital Collections: museums and the information age Furl maybe more academic as it actually keeps a copy of the web page as saved not as it now is. But Furl seems to me to be getting slow - but what an investment I have in it - would be a piece of work to transfer away now. Keyword ICT

Jasper Jacobs - exhibition design

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Reading an article in Museum Practice winter 2005 I find that one of my favourite Museum designers is Jasper Jacobs - he was responsible for the old Medieval Gallery at the Museum of London and the hall in the Imperial War Museum, both object rich but aethetically pleasing exhibitions.

Britania Prima

Current Archaeology ran an article on Britannia Prima by Roger White. White seeks to show that the Late Roman Province of Britannia Prima survived best the decline for the Roman Empire. Britannia Prima consisted of the West Country, Wales with Gloucester and with a capital at Cirenceser. It was this province that held the Saxon advance back at the Battle of Mount Badon. By the end of the 6th Century the Province broke up into individual kingdoms which allowed the Saxon advance to continue again. But White suggests the pause meant that elements of the Roman civilisation were able to survive to inform the development of the West country and Wales - namely Latin and Christianity.

Stonehenge Trilithons and Durrington Wells Contemporary

SALON - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter Salon 171: 3 September 2007 reports on Mike Parker Pearson's article in Antiquity Volume 81 No. 3 13 September 2007 'Collaborative projects are very much the order of the day, and, according to the latest volume of Antiquity, the team assembled by our Fellow Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield to investigate the landscape around Stonehenge is ‘probably the strongest archaeological team ever assembled’. True or not, it is an appropriate boast given that one of the many competing theories seeking to explain Stonehenge says that it is about the expenditure of resources – like hip-hop artists burning money and travelling everywhere with an expensive entourage, it is a display that says ‘I have an excess of resources’. In this case, Mike’s mighty entourage consist of nineteen co-authors (nearly all of them Fellows), who are partners in the enterprise to re-examine the monument and its context –