Local Hero- Charlie Shepherd reminisces about winning Commonwealth super-featherweight title on home soil #CNMyStory
Local sporting legend Charlie Shepherd visited the Pages from History exhibition for the first time last week, and as well as being interviewed for the press, took time to talk to our staff about his photo in the exhibition.
‘It is very emotional to see this photo in the exhibition’ he told us. ‘My trainer Jackie, who is on the right passed away recently. He was a top guy- I think I was his Golden Boy really! I was his only World Champion.’
Ever the Carlisle man, Charlie told us that he counts competing at the Sands Centre to home crowds as one of the best moments of his career.
‘The tickets sold out within 22 minutes. It was an amazing experience to be on home turf. I’d competed in the Royal Albert Hall only the week before, but I was definitely more nervous be out in front of a Carlisle crowd.’
Charlie Shepherd knocked out his opponent Trust Ndlovu in the sixth round of the 1999 Commonwealth games super-featherweight boxing final. The Sands Centre stadium with a 12,000 seat capacity was sold out.
And what was it like to see himself in a museum exhibit?
‘It is nice to be recognised!’ he jokes. ‘And I can’t wait to show my kids when I bring them to see the exhibition.’
Charlie Shepherd’s commonwealth photographic print, together with other high quality photographic works in the exhibition is available for sale. Please enquire at the museum for more information.
Do you have stories to share? Send us your stories on Facebook or Twitter #CNMyStory #CN200 or post them in the exhibition.
Our new ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ display in the Victorian Entrance of the museum has been designed to give everyone a glimpse of how varied Tullie House’s collections are. And to show you the types of material you can expect to find in the museum if you want to come in and take a closer look.
We’ve been inspired by ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’, one of the first types of museums that date back to the fourteenth century. These cabinets started as display cases in private homes where well-travelled people could display all the weird and wonderful objects they had collected and show them (or show off?!) to their guests. The concept developed over the next three hundred years and expanded from a display case to creating whole rooms of objects that had the effect of inspiring wonder and stimulating creative thought.
A number of contemporary historians have gone a little further in their interpretation of these ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’. These cabinets were created during the Renaissance, a time when scholars wanted to understand how mankind fit within the grand scheme of nature and the divine. It is argued that these collections of objects were a physical manifestation of this scholarly endeavour, formed around a belief that all things were linked by visible or invisible similarities. Some people who created their own cabinet believed that by recognising the similarities between objects, they would be brought to an understanding of how the world functioned, and what mankind’s place was in it.
Both ideas are plausible: showing off, something more intellectual or indeed somewhere in between. Whatever we believe, many have argued that from these cabinets the modern museum was born out of this seemingly basic human impulse to collect and be curious about the world around us.
In our ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’(as you can see from the image above) the curatorial team have selected items from the collections around the theme of ‘Winter’. These quite different objects have been placed together within the case creating some intriguing contrasts that is certainly in keeping with the concepts of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Below are two objects that you can see up close in the case.
This is new project for Tullie House and one that we hope to develop further, so we’d like your thoughts about what you’ve seen and how you think it can develop. Over the next few weeks we will Tweet regularly highlighting individual objects from the case, all object images will be on Pinterest and we will post another Blog featuring more in-depth information about individual objects and report on feedback we’ve received.
We’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say so Tweet or leave your comment below.
Tullie House’s current exhibition Pages from History explores news stories from across Cumbria and the world from the last 200 years – but the biggest story has always been the strength and character of the Cumbrian people – this has been proved this last couple of weeks and countless times across the centuries. In this blog post we explore the stories of three iconic Cumbrians shared by visitors to Pages from History.
Have you ever been in the local paper? Most people have a story to share, and we’re asking people to contribute theirs, in celebration of the iconic local stories featured in The Cumberland News over the last 200 years.
Featured in this first blog entry are three uplifting, tenacious and pioneering stories sent to us from Nicki Butterworth, K. Harkness and Paula Jennings.
Nicki is an inspirational woman, who on finding out that her cancer had spread, wrote a bucket list of experiences she did not want to miss out on. Nicki’s story was followed by The Cumberland News and the News and Star. Many local people donated to make the things on her list possible.
In this bizarre award winning photograph by Stuart Walker, we see Nicki and her husband in the aftermath of an enormous food fight which took place in her back garden.
In March 2015, the News and Star reported that Nicki was investigating a new treatment plan with good results. Nicki visited the exhibition to see her picture and was able to shed a little light on a frequently asked question!
“A question about my picture that always gets asked is ‘what did it taste like when you licked your husband!’ Awful! Beans, mayo, custard, chocolate and angel delight are not a good mix! xx”
Paula’s stories remind us of the important role of local newspapers. They are there to document, celebrate and commemorate some of the biggest events in our lives
“My Mum was in the paper when she got married in 1964. She was on the front page.”
Almost forty years later The Cumberland News would remember Paula’s intrepid grandmother
“My grandmother Mary Little made the news when she died in 2002, as she was the first ever female bookmaker in the North West. In 1967 she took over my Grandad Willie Little’s business when he sadly passed away.”
Our third story features a wonderful local character Ben Ion, whose portrait is featured in the Pages from History exhibition. Ben worked at the Thomas Muir Carlisle coal yard in Crown Street from 1902, and other than during WW1, never missed a day of work until he reached the age of 80 in 1968.
One of our visitors worked with Ben, or as we find out, Andy, and shares some of his memories with us.
“He was always known as Andy. His eyesight was very poor and his wife always brought him to work, then fetched his bait at 10am and 3pm, and also his dinner at noon. He lived in St Nicholas St.
During bad weather he would tie an old sack round his waist and also over his shoulders to protect himself. He never missed a day’s work for as long as I knew him.”
Do you have stories to share? Send us your stories on Facebook or Twitter #CNMyStory #CN200 or post them in the exhibition.
Find out more about some of our wonderful local personalities in our current exhibition Pages from History: Celebrating 200 years of the Cumberland News open until 31 January 2016.
After many registrations were received to be the Summer Exhibitions Placement volunteer, we were delighted that Vanessa decided to join us. Here are her reflections on her completed placement.
In August I moved back to Carlisle after recently graduating with a degree in History of Art. Keen to get some hands-on experience within a museum/art gallery environment, I applied for the Summer Placement internship advertised on the Tullie House website. Meeting with Amy, the Exhibitions Programming Manager, I was happy to learn that the placement was very flexible; it could fit around my other commitments and could even be suited to my own particular interests (being the art and costume departments in particular.) The placement began a few weeks later and took place over two days- one would be focused on costume research with the exhibitions team, and the other day would be spent carrying out the costume audit alongside a team of volunteers.
The costume research was mostly computer-based and enabled me to utilise the skills I gained during my degree in a practical way. It involved studying the phases and major developments in fashion over the past two hundred years, and then cross-referencing these with the items in the museum’s costume collection in order to create a shortlist of clothes, shoes and accessories that best demonstrated these developments for an upcoming exhibition.
I was able to work independently and continuously on the same project so I was able to really get stuck-in, meeting regularly with Amy and the exhibitions team to ensure that I was on the right track.
The costume audit, on the other hand, has exposed me to an entirely new set of skills that are invaluable to my CV, from handling museum items to creating new records on the internal database, not to mention getting to paw through wonderful items of clothing that at times date all the way back to the eighteenth century!
Sophie assessing the 1920s shoes
We are currently going through the costume store box by box, inspecting the contents, ensuring they are recorded properly and are packaged so that they will be preserved for years to come. This is an ongoing project and one that I have continued to be a part of, as each week I build upon my costume knowledge and gain experience in a range of everyday tasks involved working behind the scenes in an art gallery and museum.
I would certainly recommend the Summer Placement to anyone else that has graduated and is looking to gain practical experience within the arts sector, especially as Amy and her team were so accommodating in fitting me in, and there is so much scope for what you can get involved in depending on your interests.
You did an amazing job and you’re an asset to the team. Thank you for all your hard work! Claire
We are heading into the final weekend of our Anselm Kiefer exhibition, which has brought works one of the greatest European contemporary artist to Carlisle, thanks to the ARTIST ROOMS on tour programme, supported by The Artist Rooms Foundation, Tate and National Galleries Scotland. As we prepare for the end of our exhibition one of our Museum Assistants, Andy, has been reflecting on his experience welcoming visitors to the exhibition.
So it’s almost auf Wiedersehen Herr Kiefer; you’ve been a real experience.
This modern German art-monster has really got under people’s skin. Because of the initially black – literally and figuratively – nature of many of the works in the show it’s been interesting how so many visitors, completely unfamiliar with Anselm Kiefer, have felt the magic of the man.
They came in initially a bit bemused sometimes, wondering what they’d paid their £3 for – especially on first sight of the mighty Palette. But so many left, some after an hour or more on their feet walking from Norns to Hortus, from Oedipus to Aurora, from Untitled to Ohne Titel, with a quite obvious sense of enlightenment and even quiet excitement. Look at the visitors book: it’s busy, enthusiastic and very positive indeed. Oh, except for….
Yes, oh yes, some were puzzled, a few were just dismissive, a very tiny minority were filled with scorn. Notable among these one visitor who complained about Kiefer and all “the others” – Emin, Hirst and so on – being charlatans and cynical exploiters. But she really got her money’s-worth from the ensuing hot debate around the gallery about the nature of good art. There is of course no obligation to like an exhibition.
The BBC broadcast an “Imagine” film about Kiefer last year, and because of that many visitors have arrived clued up but at that point maybe not quite fans. Even if they hadn’t been fully prepared for exactly what they would be looking at and the amount of thinking Kiefer would be encouraging, they were at least steeled for something rather different and challenging. They’d done their homework and reaped the benefit.
And then there’s the Kiefer devotees, switched on and pre-tuned-in to the Fates in the starry heavens above broadcasting to their inner palettes: the ones who saw him at the Baltic five years ago; the ones who saw him at the Royal Academy last winter. The RA held a huge retrospective, but some of those who came to the Tullie’s Kiefer, have been adamant that our show was more of a revelation: two works finished for us, a good spread of his engrossing and disturbing manipulated photo collages, two characteristically huge canvasses and that strangely enchanting collection of golden human organs laid out on a so subtly-finished table cloth of lead.
That final work brought home to many that had it not been for the efforts of retired art dealer and collector Anthony d’Offay in whose home it was once displayed, The Artist Rooms Foundation, might not exist. Because of ARTIST ROOMS Kiefer came to Carlisle, McCullin went to Shetland, Warhol to Peterborough and Koons to Norwich. And it’s continuing: check out the busy calendar at https://www.nationalgalleries.org/collection/on-now-coming-soon-23445/ . But at the moment the Tullie exhibition looks like your last chance to see Kiefer in the UK this year…so it’s Tullie before Monday or Paris in December.
Thank you to Andy for his reflections on the exhibition, to make your own mind up about Anselm Kiefer you’ll have to be quick. The exhibition closes on Sunday 7 June at 5pm.
Following out Natural Science special our curators have been racking their brains to answer more of your great questions on our #askthecurators board in What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice exhibition.
First up, Tim our Curator of Archaeology is tackling Caitlin’s question How do you make pottery, can you do a fun day where you make pottery?
“Pottery is made of clay which is a sticky type of soil which is often found near rivers and lakes. This is collected and all the bits of twig as well as stones are removed. It is then thumped to make a block that has no air bubbles in it. It is now ready to use. The block is then shaped into the kind of pot that you want, such as a bowl or a jug. This is allowed to dry out and then it is ready to be fired. The pot is placed, with others that have been made into a type of oven called a kiln (although it is possible to use a bonfire, a kiln is more efficient). The kiln is then heated up slowly to over 1000 degrees centigrade. This causes chemical changes in the clay, making it hard and water resistant. The kiln is then allowed to cool and the pottery is removed. It can be used as it is or be decorated with a glaze. Glazes are chemical coatings that stick to the surface of the clay and give a shiny surface that is waterproof as well as being decorative. The pots are heated in the kiln again to make these chemical changes happen. Finally when they are cool, they are ready to be sold and used. Pottery is very long-lasting as pieces have been found in Cumbria that are over 3000 years old, and the basic process has always been the same. Pottery is very fragile and easily broken so it is usually the pieces rather than the complete pots that survive.”
In terms of pottery fun days, we have run sessions on making pottery before—coming up we have a drop-in session to make clay tiles as part of our Eye for Colour opening weekend on Saturday 27 June, from 1pm until 4pm.
On a similar note another visitor asked Can you do a fun day for over 12 year olds? Thanks for you very much for your question. We have family fun days at the start of family exhibitions and at Christmas with activities for all the family. We also have a two Tullie Time Travellers club, one on Wednesdays from 4pm – 5.30pm, and another once a month on a Saturday from 1pm-3pm, especially for 10-14 year olds and our Yak Yak Youth Group for 14-19 year olds meet once a month on a Saturday.
Tim, our Curator of Archaeology and Edwin, our Curator of Social History have been thinking about some really tricky questions from Charlotte and Caitlin, first Charlotte asked What is your favourite thing here and why?
My favourite thing at Tullie isn’t a ’thing’ as such, it is probably the sense of place captured in the museum. This is hard to define but it involves the coming and going of exhibitions, the familiar and less familiar objects, our diverse museum disciplines, the interaction of visitors and the past and present staff who make it all come together. I am proud to be a Curator here and part of the museum’s very own history.
I like the selection of coins that are on display. I think it is a great example of someone coming up with a really good idea – standardised pieces of metal that can be exchanged for ‘stuff’. I love the way the basic idea has not changed for over 2000 years. It is also fascinating to see how the idea has been used in different ways – design, metal used, size, way the coins are made – at different times. Also some of the designs are good examples of miniature works of art.
Caitlin set our curators a very tricky question, asking Why do people go to Tullie House?
There is no one answer to this question. I go to museums when I am on holiday for many reasons and I think that some of them are the same as why people come here. I go to see things I have read about in books or seen on the internet as well as to see new things. Often the buildings themselves are interesting. With some museums, it is a case of nostalgia when you see something that you used to own (or your parents used to own) and it brings back memories.
People come to the museum for a variety of reasons. Some may come with their family on a day out. Others make specific visits to see a particular object or examine collections and historic themes in more detail. Tullie House also provides many people with a place to meet friends. I come here with my young children and they are already seeing that the museum offers something completely different and enjoying trying to understand what a ‘museum’ is all about. I think people come here to discover and can find inspiration amongst the buildings collections and associated history.
Perhaps though we should turn this question on its head and get the Curators to ask you? Why do you visit Tullie House or other museums?
Thank you again to all of our visitors for your questions, there is still plenty of time to visit What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice at Tullie House and leave your own question for our curators, and there’ll be another blog shortly with more answers to your questions.
Our new exhibition What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice is now open. It is your chance to explore some of the objects normally kept in our stores and your opportunity to have your questions answered by some of our curators.
We got some great questions in the first week of the exhibition, which have been posed to our curators, check out the answers below.
Good question Emily! The animals and fish are preserved for study and display by a process called taxidermy. When an animal is brought to the museum the first thing we do is freeze them in a giant freezer. It kills a lot of the insects and pests that live on wild animals, like fleas – freezing the animals also keeps them intact until we are ready to get them stuffed.
Once all the bugs have been killed, a taxidermist takes the skin of the animal and dries it. In the early days of taxidermy they would use chemicals such as arsenic to preserve the skin, but now we know that to be poisonous and dry the skins instead.
When the skin is dried it is applied over a model of the animal – the model is often made from a cast of the animal, or its skeleton and padded out with wood wool (very thin pieces of wood).
This method will preserve an animal so that they can be studied or shown in museums like Tullie House to help people learn about the animals in the world around us.
Well Aimee, much like the answer to Emily’s question, the fish has been stuffed to preserve it using taxidermy, however most taxidermists will say that fish are more difficult than other animals like birds or mammals, because their skin is much thinner and loses its colour very quickly.
Like with other animals they will be stuffed, but sometimes with a much softer stuffing, like foam. The taxidermists will then repaint the skin so that it matches the look of the fish when it was alive.
Melanie our Curator of Fine and Decorative Art tells us that the dress was worn by a Carlisle lady called Mrs Agnes Glaister. Unfortunately we do not know much more about Agnes, other than that she wore this dress to go to dinner dances in Carlisle in the 1950s, and clearly she had an eye for fashion!
When we collect items of costume today we try to collect as much information as possible about the person who would have worn it.
That’s another great question Anna, why would we show a toilet in a museum? Edwin our Curator of Social History answers:
“We collected the toilet because of where it came from. It is from the Old Garlands Hospital, a mental health hospital in Carlisle. It is a good object to begin a conversation on the history of mental health treatment in the area. The toilet is also highly decorative and was used by a patient in a private ward. This shows that wealthy patients received a different experience within hospital in comparison to the other classes.”
Good question! The bike in question is actually a penny farthing, it does have two wheels, but one is very small so its easy to see why you might think it is a unicycle. Edwin answers again
“There used to be step attached at the rear frame of the bicycle, however the one in our collection is missing this component part.”
This video shows how to get onto and ride the penny farthing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Ocy0SPgcM
Thank you for all your questions so far – you can ask your own question to the curators by visiting What’s in Store: The Curator’s Choice or tweeting us @TullieHouse using #askthecurators.
We’ll be back next week with more answers!
This Easter we have welcomed a new exhibition into our Special Exhibition Gallery. HOOT (Happy Owls on Tour) is home to 60 felt owl wall hangings, designed and made by 60 units of Brownies in Cumbria North as part of the celebrations in 2014 for the Big Brownie Birthday. You’ll have to be quick to catch them though, they’re only here for a flying visit before heading off to their next perch on the 19th of April.
The Brownies celebrated 100 years of Brownies and created the Owls with the help of Girlguiding Cumbria North’s Assistant County Commissioner and local artist, Karen MacDougall. The Owls were first seen together at Muncaster when over 3,000 Brownies celebrated with the biggest ever birthday party!
The Brownies were given a brief and created a number of designs for their hanging. Some units voted for their favourite design, other units chose a little bit from each – different ways of showing democracy and how Guiding helps girls to make decisions.
Karen MacDougall is an artist who works with communities, she took the girl’s sketches and worked out how these could be made in felt and made up felting packs for each unit.
Karen led all the felt making sessions, step by step, teaching and encouraging as girls, leaders and helpers from different units came together in halls throughout Cumbria North. The Trefoil Guild helped stitch on badges and tabs to the felts so that they can be exhibited in professional galleries and museums.
Leaders learned something new and felt confident to be able to do more with their units. Everyone was amazed at the process and the results. The Owl hangings will become souvenirs and part of their unit’s history for the next 100 years.
Karen tells us how to make felt,
“To make felt you need soap (alkali), water (warm), fibres and friction (we rubbed for ages) in a controlled way. Bubblewrap was used (and reused until it fell apart) to give us extra fingers to shorten the rubbing time and the hanging was finished by rolling in bamboo mats and then rinsed, squeezed and then dried flat.”
On Sunday 12 April we will be holding a fun and informal craft session to make a free owl themed souvenir of your visit to see HOOT between 1pm – 4pm. You can also find out more about Brownies, Rainbows, Guides, Senior Section and Adult Volunteering opportunities in your area of Cumbria.
7 March to 23 March 2015
A brand new collaborative piece of work by two of Cumbria’s emerging artists is on now in THe Shed.
Steve Crook and Jenn Mattinson’s project uses photographs, sound effects and recorded interviews to create some fascinating insights into some of Cumbria’s residents. For example, who knew that horse physiotherapy was practiced? Now’s your time to find out! Jenn as guest blogger tells us about their work:
Capturing Cumbria’s Voice Social History in the making
We have been working on a project that explores the relationship between portrait photography, people’s stories and sound.
The lives of four folk from Cumbria was our focus. From a variety of social and economic backgrounds, Gordon, Ross, Dawn and Bob shared their passions, experiences, memories and personality through their willingness to be photographed and interviewed. The result is a demonstration of how seemingly ordinary people living within our region are contributing to its unique social history.
The four selected profiles, that appear as a slideshow of images and sound, have been designed to capture interest from a wide ranging audience. The people behind the profiles are very genuine, honest individuals at different points in their lives, expressing a real passion for their chosen subjects. Themes include transport enthusiasm, aspirations to become a champion boxer, horse physiotherapy and a love of music.
Steve and I have married together a collection of artistic mediums – portrait photography, oral history, spoken word, poetry and sound effects – and hope that the result will reflect the ways in which different art forms can work together and complement each other to provide a slightly more unconventional way of showcasing and displaying artistic work. This is our first artistic collaboration.
Here’s a little more about each artist:
Steve Crook’s photography belongs to a genre that combines portraiture and social documentation, inspired by the likes of Daniel Meadows, Tony Ray-Jones, Chris Killip and Larry Fink. A great deal of his work is presented in the form of photostories or collections. Recent projects include ‘Rare Breed’, a study of the members of Springfield Homing Club and ‘Jubilee, the way we were’, a series of portraits taken on the day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Steve is currently working with descendants of World War One soldiers to create a photographic link between those who fought and those they fought for.
Jenn Mattinson is a freelance Creative Practitioner, specialising in oral history, sound and media, theatre and reminiscence. She is passionate about working creatively in local communities, with young people, adults, the older generation and in an intergenerational context. Jenn is currently working with Morecambe Bay Partnership to facilitate and deliver a four year oral history project centred on the inshore fishing communities across Morecambe Bay. She is also leading a series of creative arts sessions for older people in West Cumbria and for people living with dementia at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.
See it in the Work in Progress area of THe Shed until the 23rd.