Museums were in the news this week with the rumour mill in overdrive that Maria Balshaw is tipped to succeed Nicholas Serota as director of the Tate. They may be big shoes to fill, but she has a great track record in her work at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and it’s fantastic to hear that a woman might be taking over one of national institutions. Meanwhile, Tristam Hunt, is to leave politics and take over at the V&A, which will, no doubt, have put some curators noses out of joint…
Can the situation in Iraq and Syria get any worse? Not only have ISIL extremists spread fear and terror amongst the population of those countries and elsewhere, they are now destroying culture and heritage which belongs to the world. In February they released videos of ancient statues being smashed in the museum at Mosul, and later bulldozed Nimrud, the ancient Assyrian capital. Since overrunning Palmyra in May they have started to systematically destroy that beautiful and impressive city. The murder of Khaled al-Asaad was unbelievable. This renowned scholar of antiquities was interrogated for a month – probably tortured – but refused to tell them where valuable artefacts had been hidden and was brutally killed in retaliation. He was a brave and honourable man. How many of us would be prepared to give our lives in such circumstances? And the irony is that ISIL claims that such sites are idolatrous yet it does not destroy everything for it is happy to sell looted artefacts to fund its murderous activities.
The South Downs National Park Authority has given planning permission to the Weald & Downland Museum’s ambitious Gateway Project. It will be the biggest development in the museum’s 40-year history which aims to maintain the site’s future viability and will transform the way in which visitors experience the museum. There will be two new clusters of buildings: one providing a ticket hall and shop, leading through to new interpretation galleries, and the other will house new catering facilities and a community learning space to use as a classroom and for meetings. Two of the historic buildings will be dismantled and moved to new sites, providing opportunities for trainees and volunteers to be involved with conservation work and learn heritage related skills. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.
My thoughts, views and musings about what's happening in the world of archives and records management, information and heritage