Monthly Archives: January 2015

The results of The Great Art Quest are in THe Shed

Another week and another brand new exhibition for you.  This time round, a series of collaborative art works made by school pupils from across north Cumbria. I was blown away by the quality and variety of the work when I first saw them all installed so I encourage you to come and see what I’m talking about.  To give a little more background to this fascinating  project, the co-ordinator Anna has written this week’s blog for us:

Our latest exhibition in THe Shed opened – Great Art Quest! In September 2014, Tullie House was selected as one of four organisations to take part in The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Art’s national ‘Great Art Quest’ programme.  Great Art Quest aims to get children inspired by their local gallery and for our project we worked with 88 Year 5 & 6 pupils from five local primary schools: Alston Primary School, Kirkby Thore Primary School, Morland Area C of E Primary School, Nenthead Primary School, Newtown Community Primary School.

The schools explored the Fine Art collection in Old Tullie House, from paintings and printed textiles to sculpture and metalwork. The visit was facilitated by local artist Karen MacDougall and storyteller Ian Douglas. Working over a number of sessions at school, Karen helped the children produce large scale art works inspired by three common themes that they drew from their visit to Tullie House: landscape, people and stories.  The pieces include a sculpture of Dixon’s Chimney made out of wooden printing blocks, a two metre long woven hanging and a life-sized wire model of a lady covered in a carpet of flowers! Ian worked with the children on physical and verbal responses to the work, including riddles, short stories and recordings of the ‘thoughts’ of elements of the landscapes. He has also worked with the children to create short performances that explore some of the themes of their pieces.

Installation was remarkably stress free, mainly due to the expertise of Cathy and Eloise! Here are a few photos from the installation, with Cathy mid-staple, Cathy mid staple

Karen constructing Dixon’s Chimney Karen dixons chimney

and one of the finished pieces – a mobile made from metal foil featuring answers to riddles created by pupils from Alston & Nenthead!


The exhibition will be on display until Saturday 14th Feburary, we hope to see you there.


Georgie Clough and more stars of the future?

Earlier this week, Georgie Clough opened her first Tullie House exhibition in THe Shed to great interest.  The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith pupil has already received great acclaim nationally.  Georgie and her exhibition is described by our colleague and Young People Co-ordinator Catherine:

‘Georgie won a national competition which resulted in her art work featuring in an exhibition at the National Gallery and an appearance on The One Show. She is a very talented young artist, and I hope that you all get a chance to take a look at her pictures.

We had a lovely celebration event this evening [Monday 19 January the pictures are included below], attended by Mike Zeller from Radio Cumbria who will run a piece about THe Shed at about 8.55 tomorrow morning. The exhibition has also had two nice write-ups in the Cumberland News and Carlisle Living if you get a chance to see them.’

Georgie Clough exhibition opening

Georgie Clough exhibition opening

If you are a young artist in Cumbria, and would like to share your artwork with us too, please contact Catherine through

As this work was installed it meant that the Video Shed was wheeled into store again for a few weeks.  Thank you everyone who made a video, we had over 60 in total.  I’m currently revewing them, and all that we can show, we will show on the television screen in THe Shed.  So come and see the who made it!


Families Made Festive Exhibitions of Themselves

If we cast our minds back to the sparkly events of last month, Geoff our guest blogger, tells us how the festive spirit was alive and well at Tullie House.  Great job everyone! Over to you Geoff…


Christmas has come and gone and some of us may well breathe a huge sigh of relief. To me, it all seems a long time ago however Making a ‘Festive Exhibition of Yourself only came down last Monday.

As my earlier post elaborated, the idea of the exhibition was to encourage families to share their Christmas stories with each other based upon putting together a small display of their own Christmas objects. This was done primarily through three workshops. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around to see any of these delivered myself, however, on returning to work last week, I was really happy to see that the families had gone to town with their displays.
Several ingenious methods for displaying objects were developed by the families after a crash course in exhibition design from our trusty staff of Cathy and Sally for our toddlers and Eloise, Laura and Andrea for the school holiday workshops.
First to kick off was our toddler session. The toddlers families, the Richardsons, Branchs and Edgars, brought along a small selection of objects based upon memories of their youngsters growing up. Christmas stockings, Christmas decorations and photographs were produced, some of which were from the toddler’s first Christmases. Short simple, but effective labels were paired with each of these beautiful objects.
The Barratt family
Next up was the first of our two school holiday workshops, booked by the Barrett family. Mr. Barrett had a plan up his sleeve. He booked the workshop as an early Christmas present for his family, who were naturally rather suprised when they arrived for their session. After a short period of coming to terms with what was being asked of them, the Barretts dreamed up an amazing display using the objects Mr. Barrett had secretly assembled beforehand. These included a range of board games, advent calendars, decorations and a tree branch. Their theme was based upon their journey through a typical Christmas Day in their household. Careful thought was given to what and when events took place during the day and created their display accordingly, producing time based labels to elaborate on the story they were attempting to convey.
The final workshop, just after Christmas, was enjoyed by the Waite family. They, similarly to the toddler families, decided to base their display case upon memories from their children over the years. As with the toddlers, objects included family photographs, stockings but additionally jewellery, a Santa hat and some craft accompaniments to complete the ‘Waite’s Crafty Christmas’. Once again, some beautifully simple and elegant stories were told on the object labels.
The Waite family
To polish off the exhibition, I can’t forget the contribution of the families who didn’t attend a workshop, but did visit the exhibition to create some beautiful works of art on our display wall. This asked families to produce art based upon what Christmas meant to them. A creative and diverse range of work was produced and filled the wall by the time the exhibition drew to a close.
So it only leaves me to offer a sincere and well deserved thank you to all the families that contributed to the exhibition. I sincerely hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
Geoffrey McCarthy
Family Learning Officer
Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

Hello tulliehouseblog – this is what you’ve missed!

THe Shed logo white300dpi

Welcome the THe Shed blog a weekly rummage behind-the-scenes of Tullie’s experimental project space.  We’ve got our own dedicated blog page here, so do take a look to find out what we’re all about and read the last few months posts.

Tullie Time Travellers: Come Tek A Deek

Today was the first Tullie Time Travellers of the New Year, we started the session by taking a last look around our War Games exhibition, which closes tomorrow, and then we headed up to THe Shed, to look at the new ‘Come Tek a Deek’ exhibition.


TTTs in Come Tek a DeekCome Tek a Deek

THe Shed is the gallery up on our Border Galleries, and ‘Come Tek a Deek’ has been put together by our Community Engagement Officer and 5 Carlisle based sports clubs, Northbank FC, Carlisle Rifle Club, Border Wheelers Cycling Club, Carlisle Cricket Club and Carlisle United.

We explored the exhibition, learning about the stories behind the objects on display, like how a Northbank player once held the world record for the longest headed goal scored and that George V visited Carlisle Cricket Club at Edenside in 1917.

Trophy Cabinet

We also took a good look at the Trophy Cabinet which holds some of the trophies our clubs and their members have won, some of them dating back to 1880!

Before we left THe Shed we took the opportunity to record our thoughts about the question of ‘What object do you think represents Carlisle in 2015?’ in the video shed, being the Time Travellers we had to do this together obviously!

How many TTTs can you fit in a shed

After our visit to THe Shed we headed back to the Community Room and came up with some of our own games to start filling up our new trophy the ‘Tullie Shield’.

The games included:

Bowling (won by Burt, with an amazing 50 points after scoring 3 strikes out of 3!)

TTT bowling

Cup and Ball (won by Leon, after we stopped counting once he reached 25 catches in a row!)

cup and ball

… and Throw the Bean Bag at Jill (won by Charlotte, when a well placed rebound hit my arm for 50 points!)

Lily takes her shot

Lots of fun was had all round, and hopefully we can come up with a few more challenges to fill up the ‘Tullie Shield’. Don’t forget the next TTTs is on Saturday 7th February!

The Tullie Shield

Tullie Time Travellers is our group for 7-13 year olds, we meet once a month – for more information please contact

Meet The Staff – Ed Rutherford – Curator of Social History

How long have you been working at Tullie House?

I have been working at Tullie for 7 years and 11 months.

Talk us through your average working day.

There is no average working day in my role as a Curator. I am consistently working on a diverse number of projects including managing, researching and developing a collection of 16,000 objects and 9,000 images, planning content and producing interpretation for temporary and permanent displays, delivering presentations and assisting the public with historic enquiries.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is undertaking the historic research of collections and producing the interpretation that will bring these objects to life. I enjoy creating subsets of objects that will form the basis of an exhibition and then establishing a display project that integrates social history collections with the other disciplines of the museum. Using a range of different techniques to engage the public with history including sound and moving film are all part of this creative and rewarding process.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Every exhibition project presents new challenges. It might involve solving a practical problem during a display installation or considering the ethical questions around interpretation of a controversial subject. In my role as a project manager I work with my colleagues to overcome these hurdles and move forward. Historical enquiries can also present challenges as they vary enormously in scope.

Do you have a favourite spot in Tullie House?

My favourite spot has to be the museums stores. This is where I can work with the collections and prepare engagement projects with the public. I do love the Victorian Clock Tower on Castle Street which I walk under every day on my way to work.

What is your best Tullie House memory or experience?

I have many fond memories of Tullie House. Curating Carlisle Life in 2007 was a brilliant experience as a museum professional. Developing and Curating Reivers in 2011was long term ambition that I turned into reality. Other highlights have included holding the oldest surviving FA Cup in 2010 and handling Charles Edward Stuarts Diamond ring in 2012. Georgian Carlisle was a pleasure to curate and received a wonderful reception from the Carlisle public. Receiving my AMA from the Museums Association and being selected in Carlisle Living’s top 100 influential people was also a good autumn in 2013.

Outside of Tullie House, what is your favourite thing to do/favourite place in Cumbria?

I enjoy spending time with my family and going on day trips around North Cumbria/Scottish Borders and Northumberland. Carlisle has much to offer and has superb parks, interesting architecture and a real sense of place.

Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing a career in a museum?

A career in museums is very rewarding and is all about public service. If you are passionate about history, nature or art and want to work in a museum – get some voluntary experience. There are also several courses in Museum/Gallery Studies and heritage management that are worth considering.

Describe Tullie House in five words.

Informative, Collections, Inspirational, People, Community

Needing inspiration for a sportier New Year you?

Happy New Year!  There has been no slowing down over the festive period and it’s all change again in THe Shed with a sports exhibition taking shape as I type…

Come Tek a Deek is now open. 

Below is the blog from Claire, Come Tek a Deek’s Co-ordinator, who reveals some fascinating facts about our local sports clubs and has infomation about how you can come and meet the people behind the exhibition.  Over to Claire.

Come Tek a Deek evolved out of us wishing to reach into the Sporting Community. We have many different sports clubs and groups in Carlisle who have long histories and their own collections of objects and memorabilia. THe Shed is all about involving the wider community in the museum so we put a call out to sports clubs across the city to get involved in creating an exhibition that celebrates the history of sport in the county. 

We attracted a wide range of interests, from football clubs to a rifle club, each with their own objects and stories to share. Did you know that members of the Border City Wheelers used to cycle as far as Preston, compete in competitions and then cycle back? Or that the Northbank Football club has a member who holds the world record for the longest header? Are you in the picture? Come tek a deek at our local clubs, their stories and history and share your sporting memories too! We have folders around the gallery with photos from the clubs along with pictures on the wall, so take a look and see if you are in the picture!  

As project coordinator I have learnt something new about each of the clubs and the sport they are involved with. I was surprised to learn that to race as a cyclist you needed a licence for example. I had not realised that this is an important part of being able to race legally on the road. Club member Andy told me this was not an issue when the club first started but as the roads became busier with traffic that it became important for the safety of other road users and the cyclists.

Did you know that the museum has an arms licence but for our historic and decommissioned weapons? For this show we had to talk to the police and ensure we were covered legally and that we had any arms displayed securely locked in special cases! 

If you wish to find out more…
Join us here for a Gallery Conversation at 1pm on Tuesday 13 January – meet some of the club members, talk to them about their sport and find out more about the people involved in the exhibition.

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