#askthecurators More Questions Answered

A few weeks into our new special exhibition ‘What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice’, we have had some more questions from our brilliant and inquisitive visitors.

Edwin, our Curator of Social History and Melanie, our Curator of Fine and Decorative Art have got some answers to your questions.

Amanda and Luke visited the exhibition and left this lovely comment “We liked the Lowry pictures and my son started to sing the matchstick cats and dogs song, a song they sing at Caldew Lea School” so we asked Melanie if this song was written about LS Lowry. She replied:

“Yes, the song ‘Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs’ was written in 1977 by Brian and Michael, in memory of LS Lowry who had died the year before. The title refers to Lowry’s signature style of painting figures, which can be seen in both the Lowry works on display in ‘What’s in Store’.”

Group shot

Sophie, age 9, asked “Where do you get all the stuff?” That’s a really good question Sophie, Tullie House’s collection of ‘stuff’ now adds up to over quarter of a million objects, but how did we get them?

The collection here at Tullie House began in 1893. Objects are often given to us by members of the public, but we have to make sure these donations fit into our collecting policy as we don’t have the space to collect everything! Other items, particularly those in the Fine and Decorative Art collection come to us as bequests, which means someone has left them to us in their will when they have passed away. The museum also has some loans which we might need to fill a gap in our collections for an exhibition, these come from other museums and private collections.


48 haaf netThere is some information in the exhibition about where some of the objects on display came from, for example, this medieval jug was found in the gardens here at Tullie House – whilst a proud fisherman donated this haaf net to help us to protect and tell the story of a traditional method of fishing.

toiletOur Edwardian toilet from Garlands Hospital continues to provoke curiosity, with one visitor asking “Where did all the other lovely toilets go? I would love one!”

The toilet is part of Edwin’s collection, so he replied “Most Victorian and Edwardian toilets were disposed of and replaced with modern toilets. Some have ended up on the antique market, but there are others in museums, which allows them to be seen by many people.”

One visitor wondered “Have you got any more memories or bits and pieces for Her Majesty’s Theatre?” which was a theatre, cinema and gig venue on Lowther Street in Carlisle, which closed in 1979 and was demolished in 1980 to make way for a car park.

Edwin looks after collections relating to the recent history of Carlisle and replied “the museum has very little of HM Theatre but would be interested if any one had any further material they could donate. For the time being I would recommend a book by Mary-Scott Parker, that charts the history of the theatre from 1874-1979.

Jessy asked “How do you become a curator?” Good question Jessy, Edwin answered this one:

“Normally you would go to University and get a degree in the subject you are interested in curating, so for Social History you might study History. You can also study courses in Museum Studies at many Universities now too. To get hands on practical experience working in a museum volunteering and work experience placements can help and open doors to becoming a curator.”

Thank you all very much for some more great questions! If you’re visiting Tullie House over the bank holiday or half term be sure to take a look at What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice and take the opportunity to #askthecurators. You can also ask us a question via twitter. Tweet us @TullieHouse using #askthecurators


Posted on May 23, 2015, in Collections, Exhibitions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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