Friday, 26 September 2014

Museum of the Broads: Holidaying

Back to the Museum of the Broads, Norfolk.

In a previous post, click here, I looked at crafts.
That was me making a connection with the Norfolk Broads,
having admitted that boats are not really 'my thing'.

But you can't blog about the Museum of the Broads
without mentioning boats and holidays.
Blakes Holiday Map 1960s

The rivers and lakes of the Norfolk Broads were formed thousands of years ago,
the result of digging up peat, when peat was used as fuel.

People have been coming to the Norfolk Broads for years, since 1800BC.
The visitors book is testament to this,
newcomers recorded on the museum's timeline.

First the Celts, Romans and then the Danes.

Then much later, the likes of us, the 'holiday visitor',
beginning their invasions around 160 years ago.

 Our invasion only lasted a week,
aboard a cruiser,
with all mod cons.

Gas hob, shower and toilet on board.

Toilets designed especially for boats,

with clear and considerate instructions for their use.

With the help of the museum phrase book,
we learnt a few words in the local language.

Not sure if it'll catch on.
Will my kids tell me I'm 'biggoty'?
Whilst I reply, 'that's a load of 'squit!'
Actually, I like the sound of that.

We checked out the local wildlife.

(On another day, we saw three huge Cranes at Horsey Mere.)

We felt a little sorry for this mole,

as 640 of his friends were used to make this mole skin coat.
 Blame Queen Alexandra,
who in the early twentieth century made wearing mole fur popular.
However, it provided jobs,
mole catchers were paid 3d a day plus the skins.

More appropriated wildlife.
Porcupine quills to make fishing floats.
We were intrigued as to where these porcupine quills came from
as they are not a native species, to either the Norfolk Broads or the UK.

As with every holiday, there are always the opportunities to collect mementos.

Like brochures,

boat flags.


and photos.

At this point, I have to give a huge shout out to the Museum of the Broads.
From what I saw, nearly every object in their collection, had been saved, collected, preserved, built, conserved, restored and donated by volunteers and local families.
Local history treasured and preserved.

Over 40 volunteers staff and maintain the museum.
As a volunteer, if you're really lucky, you get to pilot their steam launch, the Falcon,
which runs on the hour between 11am and 3pm on the River Ant.
Details on their website here.

This was a summer family holiday on the Norfolk Broads.
Imagine coming in winter and getting to use an 'ice yacht'?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

'Cabinets of Wonder': Royal Albert Memorial Museum

'Cabinets of Wonder'

Perhaps you were wondering,
"where did this museum thing begin?"
If so, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, RAMM, in Exeter
has answers for you. 

Around 500 years ago,
'rulers and nobles', wanting to 'possess the wonders of the world',
collected unusual and exotic objects,
creating 'Cabinets of Wonder'.

A couple of centuries on, collectors began to be more systematic,
focussing on types of objects.
Their collections were often donated to public museums,
to contribute to scientific knowledge,
as objects for earnest learning.
Museums were serious business,
promoting proper learning and self improvement.

These collectors brought us...


...and more butterflies
very specifically from Bishopsteignton, Devon,
displayed in drawers.


and flint tools.
I've shown you these before, in a previous post, here,
about things 'lost'
in the vicinity of Exeter.

Some collections appear slightly less thematic,
a bit random
and need more than a glass cabinet or drawer in which to display them.
Such as this Italian harpsichord and Kilimanjaro Giraffe.

Nowadays, collecting is not the preserve of rulers and nobles.
The RAMM invites you to become a collector.
Anyone can start a collection,
don't be put off by Giraffes and harpsichords.

Head to the beach.

Get out and about in the countryside.

Have a dig around in your garden.

 One day your collection
might be the beginnings of a museum.

 And when you have opened that museum,
you can invite visitors to say what they think.

 They'll be interested and amazed.

And tell you what they like about your collection.

And you might find out that you've made a space for people to connect,
and spend time together,
making museums more than serious learning and self improvement.

It's amazing what inspires people to start collecting.
Some things you just have to keep, and add to,
creating your own 'Cabinets of Wonder'.

Antlers found in Scotland,
sheep's ribs found on Dartmoor,
teeny tiny shells scooped up in your hands from a beach in Brittany,
coloured shards of sandblasted glass picked up on the beach in Teignmouth,
a gecko's skull,
bottle tops, all 357 of them,
stones from the beach, that always look better wet,
and a current seasonal occupation, conkers,
all litter the shelves of our house.

Get collecting,
and perhaps take your 'nana' to see what others have collected,
to the RAMM in Exeter.
A brilliant place to spend time,
both with objects and grandparents.

Details on the RAMM website, here.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Norfolk Broads, it's not all about boats.

We have just come back from an extended family holiday on the Norfolk Broads.
Here are some of my family, the ones who love sailing,
including the teenagers in their own tiny dinghy (on the right).
You sail, sleep & eat on those boats,
a bit like caravanning on water.

To ensure we had enough crew for three yatchs and a dinghy,
combined with my slightly irrational fear of sailing,
we hired a cruiser.
A beautiful vintage wooden 1950s cruiser.

I don't love sailing (too much leaning) but I do love museums.
So we had to,
we went,

 I really did try and get a thing for the boats.

As impressive as they are
they are just not my thing,
either in water or on dry land.

Boats might not be my thing
but I do love textiles and a bit of 'crafts'.
 And as I discovered there's a lot more to the Norfolk Broads.

Many traditional crafts.

Such as Rushwork

It is beautiful.
East Anglia's oldest recorded industry dating back to Anglo Saxon times.

This was all made by Dorothy Baker.

To help preserve the art of rushwork,
Dorothy Baker travelled around Norfolk in the late 1930s
demonstating how to work with rushes.
It requires working with 3ply or 9ply braids, using a sail makers needle.
Not for delicate hands. 

Dorothy Baker was obviously very proficient.
The Women's Institute awarded her an A grade,
95 out of 100,
in July 1938.

More crafts,
(of a sort)

Knots with names,
for different uses.

You could have a go for yourself.
As someone not impartial to working with yarn,
I did.

Knotting is a skill.

Up high in one of the old boat sheds,
I spotted these cross-stitch pictures.

I asked a volunteer about them.
"They're done by one of our old boys,
he's had both hips replaced."
said a volunteer who had just turned eighty the Saturday before.

The beautiful craftsmanship of an eighty-four year old.
Shame he can't join the Women's Institute,
he deserves a certificate for proficiency in 'Home Crafts'.

As for me,
I did manage a spot of sailing
in a very gentle wind,
then straight back to the crochet and rum.

Here's our cruiser, Judith 5
with a nephew,
moored at Horsey.

 And just prove I was really there...
That's me driving!

Stalham Staithe, Norfolk.
Details on their website.

I might not have taken to sailing
but the Broads have surely captured my heart.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...