Hertford Museum Orrery

September 10th, 2014

Over the year’s the objects on display at Hertford Museum have to keep changing but we’re often asked about objects that are now in our stores. One of the things we’re asked about most frequently is our orrery which was on display in the museum for nearly 70 years!

The orrery on display in the 1960s

The orrery on display in the 1960s

The orrery –a mechanical model of the solar system – was made by Jeremiah Cleeve of Welwyn in around 1810. It was given to us by the Science Museum in 1933 and has been an important part of our collection ever since. However it now needs urgent conservation work. The globe is rapidly losing varnish and the paper surface at real risk of permanent damage. The mechanism of the orrery is also in desperate need of cleaning so that it can one again be operated.

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We are hoping to have the orrery on display as part of our Rise of the Machines exhibition later this year and we’d like to have it in full working order but to do that we need to raise £2050. We’ve already had a donation from the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust but we’ve got a long way to go to raise the full total and so we’re asking our visitors and supporters for help!

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If you’d like more information about the significance of the orrery, our plans for it’s display and storage long term and also the work that needs doing you can download a pdf here or get in touch with us.

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Don’t forget if you want a chance to see some of the other objects in our collection that aren’t on display at the moment then you can come and see behind the scenes at our Store on Saturday as part of this year’s Open Heritage Weekend. See our website for full details!

Patrons Evening and remembering Martin Andrews

September 3rd, 2014

Last Saturday saw our annual Patrons Evening when we have a chance to thank the wonderfully generous members of the Hertford Museum Patrons scheme and also celebrate the work that the museum has done over the last year.

Hertford Museum staff and Patrons enjoying a drink in the Knot Garden.

Hertford Museum staff and Patrons enjoying a drink in the Knot Garden.

We always enjoy seeing our supporters and this year was especially important to us because we have been able to make some wonderful changes to the museum garden because of money given to us by the Friends of Hertford Museum and a bequest from Martin Andrews.

The new cupboards and bay tree in our garden.

The new cupboards and bay tree in our garden.

Martin died in 2012 and on Saturday his brother Giles Andrews planted a bay tree in the museum garden in his memory. Martin and Giles, and their cousins David, are all great grandsons of one of our Founders, R.T. Andrews, and we are very grateful to have them as friends and supporters.

David Lloyd, Giles Andrews and curator Sara Taylor.

David Lloyd, Giles Andrews and curator Sara Taylor.

Martin Andrews

Martin Andrews

Commemorating World War One & Contemporary Collecting

August 6th, 2014

It was wonderful to see so many people at the Hertford War Memorial on Monday evening. The service to commemorate the start of World War One included readings from one of Julian Grenfell’s poems, hymns and the Last Post as well as a chance for all present to leave bouquets and sprigs of rosemary on the memorial.

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Below are some of the photographs we have of the event- we’re always interested in seeing the photographs you take, especially of big civic events like Monday evening.

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As our 1970s project has shown this year museum’s are interested in collecting contemporary objects and photographs as well as those from times out of living memory so if you have any images you think we’d be interested in please get in touch!

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Speaking of the 1970s our activities have been very popular this week and tomorrow is your last chance to try out our Spirograph (if you can get it away from the museum staff!)

World War One Commemorations : 4th August 1914 – 2014

July 30th, 2014

This Monday, 4th August 2014, marks the centenary of the start of World War One and there are events taking place across the country to commemorate the anniversary. Here in Hertford there is going to be a special ecumenical service at the War Memorial in Parliment Square.

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The service will begin at 8pm but Hertford Museum will be open from 6 – 8 pm that evening to allow anyone attending the service a chance to come and look at our Regimental & World War One collections. We will also be running a simple craft activity for any families planning to attend the service that evening (or who are just out in town). We hope to see lots of you there!

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We’re now in the first week of our Summer Holiday activities of course and we’ve seen some amazing warrior themed collages being made as well as some epic tiddlywink battles using the targets that are our second craft activity this week. You’ve still got one day to drop in for our Spears & Sparring activities- next week we’re moving on to some 1970s themed activities including the return of a very popular 70s toy!

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It’s also a Stay & Play Saturday this weekend so there will be toys, books & a free craft activity available if you’re in town.

Ready, Aim, Fire! Summer Fun at Hertford Museum

July 23rd, 2014

This Saturday, 26th July we’re launching our summer activities with Ready, Aim, Fire!, a full day of FREE activities!

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There will be storytelling, a craft activity and History Man David Cadle is bringing some replica weapons for visitors to see! Activities are taking place from 10.30 am – 3.30 pm (although the museum is open until 5.00 pm as usual) and you’ll be able to pick up a flyer with exact timings of everything on the day. If you want to make some plans ahead of time though then take a look at this handy timetable!

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When? What? Where?
10.30 am – 3.30 pm Craft activity First Floor Gallery
10.30 am – 12.00 pm Meet the History Man and handle replicas The Andrews Room
11.00 – 11.30 am Story telling with Olivia Art of Arms gallery
12.00 – 12.30 pm Story telling with Olivia Art of Arms gallery
1.00 – 3.30 pm Meet the History Man and handle replicas The Andrews Room
1.30 – 2.00 pm Story telling with Olivia Art of Arms gallery
2.30 – 3.00 pm Story telling with Olivia Art of Arms gallery

Plus don’t forget to take a look at our Art of Arms exhibition and have a go at designing your own sword- we’re displaying some of the best we’ve been given in the gallery! You can also explore the main galleries and garden; use the Discovery Station and gallery trails to help you!

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Of course Saturday is just the start of five weeks of fabulous summer fun here at Hertford Museum so pick up (or download) a leaflet today!

A busy week…

July 16th, 2014

It might be almost the end of term for a lot of you but things aren’t slowing down here at the museum! We’ve had a busy week of exhibitions and conservation and videos and some exciting plans for the future!

Firstly our plans for the summer holidays are all coming together so make sure you pick up a copy of our summer leaflet from the museum or download it from our website

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Our new Art of Arms exhibition is proving popular with visitors and don’t forget there are some videos with additional information on our YouTube channel (including a film from 1955 about how to make a sword!)

That isn’t the only exhibition we’ve been working on though- World of Wallace is on tour as of today! We just packed it all safely into a van for its visit to The Oxfordshire Museum. We’ll try and share some pictures of the hornbill in his new temporary home when they’ve got everything set up!

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We’re also starting to look at which objects we’re going to include in our Autumn exhibition which is going to be all about machines- some scientific, some industrial and at least one old favourite that some of you who have been coming to the museum for a long time might remember!

If you’ve visited our stores in the past you’ll have seen the fabulous roman corn dryer that’s kept there. To keep it safe and looking its best it needs to be check regularly by a conservator and that took place last week so it will be all ready for our Stores Open Day in September (watch out for more details coming soon!)

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And speaking of watching out- we’re hoping to make a few changes in the garden (not to our beautiful knot!) so it you’re visiting us over the summer you might get a chance to see what we’re up to.

Seventy years since the Millbridge bomb

July 2nd, 2014

Seventy years ago, on the 2nd July 1944, a doodlebug fell on Millbridge in the centre of Hertford.

Millbridge after the flying bomb as seen from the weir.

Millbridge after the flying bomb as seen from the weir.

Joan Allum, aged 16 at the time, remembers being at her grandfather’s house the night the bomb fell.

That particular night we were sleeping in the back bedroom and the chest of drawers had one of those mirrors on it – a swivel one. Well, we heard the doodlebug coming. My mum said to me: Quick! Get under the bed! She went out one side and I went out the other and under the bed, and just as we went that mirror swung right round. And that wasn’t as near as our house. That was just across the river. So as soon as it had gone, she said: I’d better go back home and see what’s happened up there. And she went up. When she come back, she said: It’s full of soot. The soot had all come down the chimneys. I don’t think we had any broken windows, ‘cos our windows were fairly small. But afterwards we had a great big crack come right down the side of our house. But we were lucky really. It would have shook us up if we’d been there. I suppose we’ve seen worse things now but then – it was bad enough at the time. It was all clearing up.

Mill Bridge after the flying bomb.

One of the shops that was badly damaged in the bombing was a leather goods shop and a popular story after the war was that the morning after every woman who lived or worked on Folly Island came to work with a new handbag fished out of the river!

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Don’t forget that our new exhibition The Art of Arms opens this weekend. From hand axes to samurai swords, this exhibition will showcase our extensive weaponry collections from around the world so don’t miss out!

World of Wallace on tour!

June 25th, 2014

It might seem like it’s been a long time since our World of Wallace exhibition closed but behind the scenes our Wallace project has continued as we prepare for its national tour!

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The exhibition has currently been booked by six museums across the country- you can check out which ones on our World of Wallace tour page- and the first one is The Oxfordshire Museum who will be hosting the exhibition from the 19th July.

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To get all of the birds, beasts, shells and insects ready to go on the road last week John & Tony from Constantine (who are experts in packing and transporting museum objects) came to crate up all the collections ready to go on the road and as it’s the first time we’ve sent out such a big exhibition we thought you might like to see some pictures from the crating process!

Constantine came and measured all the objects that are going on tour and built these special cases.

Constantine came and measured all the objects that are going on tour and built these special cases.

Each case is designed for one or more specific objects- this one was for our Kiwi and bird domes.

Each case is designed for one or more specific objects- this one was for our Kiwi and bird domes.

The domes were carefully wrapped and then packed into their crates.

The domes were carefully wrapped and then packed into their crates.

Here are John & Tony placing our Black Swan into its crate.

Here are John & Tony placing our Black Swan into its crate.

Can you guess which animal from the exhibition is wrapped and ready to go in this case?

Can you guess which animal from the exhibition is wrapped and ready to go in this case?

Some of the smaller objects went in specially made boxes- our flying fish is ready to go!

Some of the smaller objects went in specially made boxes- our flying fish is ready to go!

The crates and boxes are all safely marked as FULL and ready to go to Oxfordshire and beyond!

The crates and boxes are all safely marked as FULL and ready to go to Oxfordshire and beyond!

Sound and Vision- Saving the Seventies

June 18th, 2014

On Saturday evening Hertford Corn Exchange was rocking to the sound of Ziggy Stardust as our 1970s extravaganza Sound and Vision finally arrived!

Absolute Bowie wows the crowd at the Corn Exchange!

Absolute Bowie wows the crowd at the Corn Exchange!

If you weren’t there on Saturday then you can get a flavour of what happened by taking a look at our playlist of videos!

Our wonderful staff and volunteers were there all day shaking collection buckets, selling raffle tickets and helping share our 1970s collections with everyone who dropped by.

Do you remember any of these 1970s classics?

Do you remember any of these 1970s classics?

Visitors were also able to see the wonderful artworks that Hertford Regional College students had created inspired by the 1970s.

Franklin, Emma and Charlie with artwork by Hertford Regional College students

Franklin, Emma and Charlie with artwork by Hertford Regional College students

Best of all the event has inspired some of you to donate 1970s object to the museum collection! Don’t forget museum’s collect contemporary objects as well as antiques just check out the Collections pages of our website for more information!

On the Move- How did YOU get to the museum today?

May 28th, 2014

One of the walls in our On the Move exhibition has been taken over by a flood of post-it notes!

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We asked our visitors to tell us how they travel to the museum and the answers range from the specific…

I used my childminders car and all 5 of us fitted in.

I used my childminders car and all 5 of us fitted in.

… to the more imaginative…

On the back of a big dog!

On the back of a big dog!

… and it wasn’t just children who’ve been using their imaginations!

We flew on our broomsticks- St Clements Mothers Union

We flew on our broomsticks- St Clements Mothers Union

We’ve put together a facebook album with some of our other favourite notes so take a look and see if you can spot your own.

Don’t forget that On the Move is open for another month so there’s still tome to come and tell us how YOU’D like to travel to the museum!