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Museum Friends News

From the Spring 2018 newsletter

Chairman’s Report

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter.  I think we will all be pleased to see Spring arrive and hope that it will be the last we see of the Beast from the East.  Our November and December (the Christmas one) talks were excellent, thank you to Ruth Weinberg and Liz Woolley. Unfortunately, once again they were not very well attended.  Jackie Smith's talk in February on the Bridges in Abingdon did see an increase in numbers and it would be great if that carried forward. The March talk by Mark Davies suffered badly from the weather but hopefully members will try and make the AGM in April.  We try very hard to vary the content of these talks and it would be good to have a feedback from members.
You may already be aware that Matt Stevens has left the Museum staff to do something 'different' and we wish him well but with the hope he keeps the Museum on his priority list.  The Fish and Chip Supper and Quiz will now take place on October 13th so please make a note of the date in your diaries, fuller details will follow soon.

My good wishes to you all. 

Sue Stevens

Dates and venues for talks 2018/19

All will be held at 19:00 for 19:30 in St.Helen’s Church Centre.

The Autumn talks started in September with a most interesting and entertaining talk by James Mather on metal detecting and the Watlington Hoard.  The series continues with:

   

Sept. 6th

Sharon Williams - 'Wychwood Forest from Domesday to the present'

Nov. 1st

John Orchard - 'Abingdon in the Civil War'

Dec. 6th

Simon Wenham - 'Sculls, skiffs and steamers: the history of Salter's Steamers'

Feb. 7th 2019

Martin Buckland - 'The invisible brick: revealed in language and literature, film and fiction, music and murder, and much more'

Mar. 7th

Richard Dudding - 'Gentry, yeomen and land in 17th century Radley'

April 4th

AGM & Trevor Rowley – ‘The landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry'

 

Visit 2018

Sunday July 15th We will visit the historic village of Ewelme on the afternoon of Sunday July 15th.  Ewelme has the finest complex of early brick buildings in the country with its school, almshouses and church (with Chaucer family connections) all dating from the mid-15th century.  Teas will be available in the old school-house. 

Museum Report 26 Mar 2018

The last exhibition of 2017 celebrated the work of animator Geoff Dunbar, with a show of original drawings, film clips, animator's tools, introductions to his most famous works such as "Rupert and the Frog chorus" and "Ubu", and the history of animation.  A special screening of "The Cunning Little Vixen" with an introductory talk by Geoff complemented the exhibition.  Due to popular demand we extended it for a week after the Christmas break.

The first exhibition of 2018 was Myth, Mystery and Music, an exhibition of paintings and ceramics by local artists Caroline Ritson and Barbara Payne.  Their work reflects the landscape of the region, like the Ridgeway, and alludes to the myths surrounding it, particularly that of the mysterious Green Man. This myth was also explored in a talk by Tim Healey, and workshops for adults and children accompanied the exhibition.

The museum continued to offer its regular craft activities for children, which are always very popular.  We had our traditional Christmas craft session, and the next one is going to be Easter-themed: "Get cracking!"

School visits, always a staple of the museum's work, tailed off as the New Year started but are now picking up again.  We have also welcomed other groups such as one from the USA and very recently a party of Italian students and teachers.

Elin Bornemann

 

 

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

I expect that you will be aware that GDPR comes into force in May replacing the previous Data Protection Act.

All organisations holding personal data about anyone are required to tell those people what data they hold about them and what they use it for and large organisations have to ask permission to hold that data.  In the case of small organisations such as Abingdon Museum Friends it is deemed that existing members have already given their consent and that this is true so long as they remain members.  However, we still have to tell you what we hold and what we use it for.

For each member the most that we hold is their name, address, telephone number(s) and email address(es).  This data is used only to assist the society to support the museum and to keep members informed about the society’s and the museum’s activities.  We do not share this information with any outside organisation except Abingdon Museum so that it can keep members informed of activities at the museum.  In addition this information may be shared with other members but only for the same purposes.

When anyone ceases to be a member of the society this information is retained purely for historical and statistical purposes and will not be used for any other purpose.

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From the Treasurer

Subscriptions 2018/2019

Subscriptions are due from the 1st March 2018.  Please send them direct to the Treasurer.

The rates are – Single £10      Couple/Family £15

Please send your cheque together with the slip below to the Treasurer:

Peter Clare, 24 Wootton Road, Abingdon, OX14 1JD. 

Email: petersusan.clare@btinternet.com

(If you wish to pay by Standing Order in future please contact the Treasurer, preferably by email, for a Standing Order form).

On behalf of the Museum and the Friends many thanks for your continued support.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Abingdon Museum Friends

Membership Form 2018/2019

I enclose my/our subscription of £………………….. for 2018/19  

Name …………………………………….…… Address ………………..………………………………………

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Tel. …………………………..   E-mail …………………………………………………………………………..

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Booking Form

Sunday 15th July 2018, 2.30 pm.

Guided tour of historic Ewelme which has the finest complex of early brick building in the country with its school, alms-houses and church (with Chaucer family connections) all dating from the
mid-15th century.  Our guide will be a renowned local historian.

The school will be open for teas after the tour.  As car parking is limited, we have been asked to share cars whenever possible.

I/we would like to book……places for the tour of Ewelme.

I/we can offer a lift for……..people.

I/we would like a lift for….. people.

Name/s………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Tel. No:…………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………..

E-mail:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

There is no charge for this visit, but a donation to the church would be greatly appreciated.

There is a limit of 20 people on this tour, so please book as soon as possible.

The closing date for booking is June 25th.

Please return to: Gaby Lloyd, 11, Harcourt Way, Abingdon , OX14 1NU

Or by email to: gabylloyd@btinternet.com

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From the archives

Report on BAFM SE(W) Regional Conference from autumn 2015 newsletter

Abingdon Museum Friends hosted this Conference last year and I was very happy to attend the Conference this year when it was held in Reading Museum.  Having made quite a number of visits to Reading for shopping I had missed the opportunity to visit Reading Museum.  The building is a very grand Victorian affair but very beautiful in that unique Victorian way.  The conference was a delight, well organised, lots of information and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  It was very well attended, representatives from a very varied selection of museums within the SE(W) area.  Delegates had elected beforehand which of the talks they would attend and after the initial introductions and history of the building by the Museum manager we formed our groups.  My choice was Young Friends/Kids in Museums: to attract young people into Museums obviously was a challenge for all and even though the ideas were there, there was certain lack of ideas when it came to middle years teenagers and how to engage them in the Museum.  Starting youth panels or organising days in local Museums needs a lot co-operation with local schools.  Members of my group had had various degrees of success but it seemed these were just one-off situations.  I felt that it was very much down to the individual Museum to organise and although the ideas were there implementation would be difficult.  The workshop was interesting and gave food for thought.  The second session I chose was a tour of Reading’s Bayeux Tapestry which was excellent – Ben Bishop, Museum Gallery Assistant - gave a detailed and most enjoyable storyline of the tapestry. 

Much of the talk at the Conference was of ways of keeping Museums friendly, open places. Reading Museum Friends have a coffee morning once a month for their members for a general get together which is an idea that we could take up as the Mousehole is now run by the Museum.  I have promised myself I will return to Reading Museum because there was much more to see and I can recommend it as a place to visit, please do so if you can.

Sue Stevens


Three Visits organised in summer 2015

BMW, Cowley

Thirteen of us visited the BMW plant Cowley.  We had an excellent guided tour by John, who had worked at both the old Cowley works in the good old days and also at the ultra-modern, very efficient works.  Everything is calculated to the minute.  Tea and coffee breaks are exactly 14 minutes long.  Time is money and nothing must halt the production line.  A very interesting afternoon.          

Pam Martin

 

Print Room of the Department of Western Art

The friends who crowded into the Print Room of the Department of Western Art were treated to most informative and beautiful hour by the curator who displayed a representative selection of the illustrations stored there.  For those of us unable to go on this visit The Ashmolean’s website has most of the collection available online.

Peter Hallowell

 

Haseley Court Gardens

We were treated to rare treat when we were able to visit this beautiful garden which is not normally open to the public.  The owner, Mrs Fiona Heyward, gave us a short talk about its history: how, after years of neglect, it had been rescued in the 1950s by the famous American interior designer, the late Nancy Lancaster.  She then led us on a conducted tour of the garden enabling us to enjoy its many features including sunken garden with a giant topiary chess set, a walled garden with a mix of roses, perennials, biennials and annuals, a hornbeam tunnel, a potager, a scented white garden, a pink garden and a parterre all within a total area of eight acres.  I hope the photographs give some indication of just how splendid it is.

Peter Hallowell

 


Events and Talks archive

 

Concert with Wantage Male Voice Choir April 2013

For our last fund raising effort for the Museum Appeal, the Wantage Male Voice Choir came and gave a concert in the beautiful setting of St. Helen’s Church. With their conductor Cathie and accompanist Lorraine, 25 men sang a range of popular songs, old and new, from the musicals and by much-loved composers, taking full advantage of the great acoustics. There were several solos, some of which were sung, others recited, and the programme was varied in both mood and pace. For the “Song of the Jolly Roger”, formality was thrown to the winds as eye patches, pirate hats and even a parrot were produced. Drinks and good conversation peppered the interval in which the bar dispensed the drinks included in the price of the ticket and members of the Choir mingled with the audience to increase the intimacy of the occasion. There was a very good turnout and the audience enjoyed it all. It was a most successful event, raising just over £700; this will be doubled by the Lottery Fund. An enormous thank you to the Choir and to everyone who came and helped.


Fish and Chip Supper Quiz March 2013

This year’s Quiz took place yet again to a packed house. Lots of new faces in the crowd showed the event has taken off like a rocket and it was a sell-out before the tickets went on general sale. Despite the odd remark that some of the questions were hard (who can’t tell the difference between the feet of a camel and those of a giraffe?), and the Quizmaster getting an answer wrong through overwork (at least that’s her excuse!), there was a great atmosphere helped, no doubt, by many visits to the bar. The fish and chips arrived on time this year, although the designated collectors couldn’t find the van and were rushing round the area desperately trying to locate it, and were delicious. Many thanks to all those who contributed to the raffle, both with prizes and with ticket purchases, and to our anonymous donor who gave the prizes for everyone on the winning table. This year the losers each received a small Easter egg, but the battle was close fought and everyone did well. We raised over £300 and this will be matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Well worth the effort and a big “thank you” to the Friends’ Committee who worked so hard to make this a great evening.


Open Gardens June 2012

For the third time in 2 years, our Saturday Open Gardens event took place in dry weather, certainly almost miraculous this year. With 3 gardens to relax in and enjoy in East St. Helen Street, many people took advantage and came to admire the splendid array of colour and the luxurious lawns that the gardens offered. The roses, particularly, seemed to have flourished in the wet and cool conditions and their wonderful displays were remarked upon and photographed with great enthusiasm. St Ethelwold’s offered us the Garden Room to provide a place to have refreshments, and many visitors took their delicious cakes out into the fresh air and enjoyed the river views. The event made £550 which will be doubled by the Heritage Lottery Fund. So a worthwhile effort from the gardeners, who battled against all the odds to get their colourful havens looking so beautiful in time for the day. And who also sat at the door and explained to everyone how they manage the plantings. Susie Howard’s ability to keep her plants from being eaten by slugs was a cause of wonder, as she uses only organic and natural repellants. Take note – we do not need to use harsh methods to have a wonderful display. A huge thank you to everyone involved – Mr and Mrs Higham, Mr and Mrs Howard, St. Ethelwolds and all the volunteers who sat at the gates, donated cake, made tea and washed up the million cups and plates. See you next year?

There is a special message from Julie Mayhew-Archer, the Councillor who has represented the Museum for many years, She says Can I congratulate and thank everyone who helped with this very successful event, particularly the kind homeowners who opened their gardens. They were picture perfect. It raised almost as much money as last year and was much appreciated


Cheese and Wine Party May 2012

Choosing the first fine evening in the month, Fredericka Smith and John Elston hosted a wonderful cheese and wine party to help raise funds for Abingdon County Hall Museum. It was attended by almost 100 people, not just Museum Friends but personal friends and neighbours of the hosts and other interested parties. As the wine flowed freely and everyone tackled the huge range of cheeses on offer, so many that they needed two tables in two rooms to hold it all, the marvellous atmosphere encouraged everyone to donate most generously. This was greatly capitalised on by the extra help drafted in, in the form of the family offspring and their friends, especially for the raffle, which alone made several hundred pounds. The raffle prizes were enticing, with a brand-new vacuum cleaner, a glider flight, a photographic session, a handmade cot quilt and a beautiful oil painting of a heron (donated by Charlotte Elston) amongst the goodies. The event raised just under £1500, the single largest amount raised in one effort. Huge thanks are due to Fredericka and all her family – for opening their lovely house, for donating all the victuals, for attending so well to the parking arrangements, for moving much furniture and for ensuring that the weather was so good. And to everyone who donated so generously, some of whom couldn’t actually come in person. A very big vote of thanks is given to Miele Abingdon, Windrushers Gliding Club, Faulkener Photographers and to everyone who gave a prize towards the raffle. A triple gold star effort.

 

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