ANIMAL Hauntings will take over Scarborough Art Gallery from May 18 to September 22, led by a tunny fish.
The exhibition combines film and objects from the Scarborough Museums Trust collection to ask what, in times of environmental uncertainty, we can learn from the ghosts of animals past in order to create more solid future relationships with the natural world.
Among those objects will be a tunny fish that was a favourite exhibit for many in a former life when the gallery’s neighbour, Woodend, was a natural history museum, together with examples of taxidermy, such as a pair of the now-extinct passenger pigeon, and equipment used by the “climmers” that once abseiled down Yorkshire’s East Coast cliffs in search of seabird eggs.
Tunny fishing and climming are the subject of two films from the Yorkshire Film Archive that form part of the exhibition, alongside moving images by artist Fiona Tan and exhibition curator and artist Martha Cattell.
Martha says: “The exhibition is inspired by Woodend’s past as a natural history museum, and by the book Arts Of Living On a Damaged Planet: Ghosts And Monsters Of The Anthropocene, an anthology of work by 20 eminent writers.
“Humans have long been fascinated with and reliant on non-human animals for food, transport, clothing and as pets. We are haunted by past connections to animals and many of the objects within the collection reflect this.
“With more than 35,500 species threatened with extinction, this exhibition uses objects and moving image to highlight the entangled relationships between animals and humans, and offers ways of looking with animals, and not just at them.”
Scarborough Museums Trust will run a series of events inspired by the exhibition, to be announced on its website and social media channels in the coming weeks.
Animal Hauntings will run alongside two more exhibitions at Scarborough Art Gallery over the same dates: Scarborough: Our Seaside TownandLaughton’s Legacies.
The venue has been awarded VisitEngland ‘s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying adherence to government and public health guidance on Covid-19. All three exhibitions are on the ground floor and are fully wheelchair-accessible.
Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery is by annual pass, whose £3 cost gives unlimited entry to both the gallery and the Rotunda Museum for a year.
Opening hours at Scarborough Art Gallery are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays, plus Bank Holidays.
SCARBOROUGH Museums Trust is among 13 museums and heritage organisations chosen to join a nationwide scheme to inspire museums to address matters such as climate change.
The No Going Back Peer Learning Programme is run by the Happy Museum Project, an Arts Council England-funded programme that looks at how the museum sector can respond to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future.
The programme aims to inspire museums and their communities to shape new stories and actions to address the climate and ecological emergency.
Christine Rostron, learning manager at Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “We are delighted to be given the chance to work with museum colleagues across the UK to help us think about how museums can work with local communities and respond positively to creating a sustainable future.
“We recognise that we operate in one of the most important coastal regions in Europe and are lucky enough to have extremely important geological and natural history collections.
“We are especially keen to use these objects to tell stories about the environment and support children to learn to love their natural surroundings and to be advocates for positive environmental change.
“In 2019, in partnership with Invisible Dust, we delivered Future Fossils, a learning project with a local primary school that demonstrated humans’ impact on our environment and supported children to become activists and advocates for our local environment.
“One Year 4 participant said: ‘It gave me confidence that by working together we can change the world. It’s not just for Scarborough, it’s something all young people around the world should do’.
“The Happy Museum Project will help us to build on and continue this type of work with our community.”
Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust, says: “As a museum service working on the Yorkshire coast, we are committed to playing our part in protecting and raising awareness of the environment.
“We are also the custodians of a collection of significant environmental and scientific interest and we feel duty bound to make the collection fully available for vital research, and to help the trust itself move to a position where we embrace and declare a climate emergency.”
The 13 museums selected to take part range from the Cornwall Museums Partnership to Oriel y Parc National Park Visitor Centre and Landscape Gallery, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Participating too are Leeds Museums and Galleries, Saltaire World Heritage Education Association, Wakefield Museums and Castles and Yorkshire’s Maritime City project from Hull Culture and Leisure.
UNIQUE vintage photographs depicting Woodend, in its days as the private Scarborough summer home of the Sitwell literary family, have been donated to Scarborough Museums Trust by a descendant, journalist William Sitwell.
William is the grandson of writer Sacheverell Sitwell, who, together with brother Osbert and sister Edith, spent many summers at the house in The Crescent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The most famous of the three siblings, William’s great-aunt Edith, was born at Woodend in 1887. William writes for The Daily Telegraph, among other publications, and is a judge on BBC1’s MasterChef.
When clearing out family belongings, he came across photos that show Woodend, now a creative industries centre, in its heyday as a family home, with a spacious entrance hall, busy living rooms and a palm-filled glasshouse.
William Sitwell says: “I’ve visited Scarborough on many occasions and have always relished a trip to Woodend, now a creative hub run by a collection of talented people my ancestors would be proud of.
“But it’s always strange walking around a museum and wondering what it must have been like as a home, with the presence of my eccentric forebears. When I came across these old photographs, the settings looked familiar and then I realised they were of Woodend, fully furnished and looking very Victorian.
“I knew at once that they should be sent to Andrew Clay [chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust], who would cherish them and share them with visitors. They bring a wonderful insight to a lost era.”
Clay says: “The vintage photographs of Woodend are delightful. We have often wondered what these rooms looked like when the Sitwell family lived here and now we have a tantalising glimpse of Woodend in that era.
“It is fascinating to see the beautiful furnishings that once adorned these spaces. They conjure up a long-lost age of elegance and remind us today how sophisticated life on The Crescent really was. We are very grateful to William Sitwell for making this gift and we look forward to keeping in touch.”
Scarborough Museums Trust’s venues – Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and the Woodend Gallery – are closed during Lockdown 3, but the trust hopes to be able to put the photographs on public display as soon as possible.
SPOOKY goings-on for Halloween and climate-conscious art are on offer from Scarborough Museums Trust for half-term.
The Spooky Museum Weekend runs amok from Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1 at the Rotunda Museum, when visitors are invited to explore the museum in Halloween fancy dress from 10am to 4pm each day.
The spooky weekend is suitable for families, who can follow the trail and make and take a deer or wolf mask inspired by the trust’s Star Carr headdress.
Booking is essential, either by calling 01723 353665 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to book a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery.
The Spooky Star Carr Trail can be enjoyed every day during half-term except Monday. Families are invited to join the wolf tribe and look for the wolves hidden in the Rotunda. “Crack the puzzle and enter our prize draw,” says the trust.
The half-term events include two that form part of this year’s Big Draw, Britain’s annual festival of drawing. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Big Green Draw Festival #ClimateOfChange focuses on the relationship between people and our living environments and ecosystems, highlighting how we live today and the ways we do and do not harmonise with nature.
The Big Green Draw: Plant, Grow, Draw! at Scarborough Art Gallery on Monday, October 26, from 10am to 4pm, invites you to be inspired by the trust’s seed collection to create your own drawings. “Have a go at decorating a plant pot and sow a seed to take home and grow,” says the trust.
Again suitable for families, booking is essential for this activity on 01723 374753 or by emailing email@example.com for a 45-minute slot for a group of up to six people. Each allotted time slot allows exclusive use of the gallery for this relaxed event, fully accessible for disabled and non-disabled children.
On Saturday, October 24 and 31, you can tune into The Big Green Draw: Drawing with Nature on the trust’s YouTube Channel at 10am to take part in online drawing challenges inspired by the natural world. To join in this pre-recorded event, suitable for families, you will need drawing materials, scissors and glue.
The Big Green Scavenger Trail will take place every day during half-term, except Monday, at Scarborough Art Gallery and The Crescent. To hunt for wildlife on The Crescent in a special scavenger trail designed by artist Savannah Storm, families will need to pick up a copy from Scarborough Art Gallery.
Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer some socially-distanced events for our families, alongside some online challenges. Our Halloween and Big Draw activities are always so popular and we can’t wait to see families and children back in our venues for lots of creative fun!”
Staff at Scarborough Museums Trust have been trained in post-lockdown safety procedures, and the trust has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying the venues’ adherence to Government and public health guidance.
Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for adults costs £3 for an annual pass; for under-18s, entry is free. For all activities, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Both venues are open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm.
OUTDOOR theatre is taking to a park bench and a mill garden. Museums and galleries, and even car boots sales, are re-opening.
Spanish holidays may be off the Brexiteer Prime Minister’s list of To Do’s in August, but York is stretching its limbs, dusting off the cobwebs, and saying welcome back.
Maybe Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s Mayor, should test-drive his eyesight by paying a visit to “a part of the north that looks most like the south,” he says. Really, Andy?
As we all turn into masketeers, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these recommendations for days out and days in.
Outdoor theatre number one: Engine House Theatre’s Park Bench Theatre, Friends Garden, Rowntree Park, York, August 12 to September 5
HERE come Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed monologue, First Love, artistic director Matt Aston’s brand new play, Every Time A Bell Rings, and something for all the family inspired by a classic song, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, all staged on and around a park bench in a Covid-secure outdoor theatre season in York.
Each production will be presented in carefully laid out and spacious gardens, allowing audiences to keep socially distanced from each other. Chris Hannon will perform the Beckett piece; Lisa Howard, the play premiere; Aston’s co-creator, Cassie Vallance, the new children’s show.
Headphones or earphones will be required to hear the dialogue, sound effects and music in performances. All audience members will be given a receiver on entry; takeaway headphones cost £1 when booking a ticket online. Bring blankets or chairs.
Outdoor theatre number two: The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre, “Six Days of Work”, Stillington Mill, near York, August 2 to 7, 7pm
“WE’RE doing some Orpheus, some Eurydice, and one night of New Stuff We Haven’t Done Before,” say Alexander Flanagan-Wright and Phil Grainger, introducing their raft of At The Mill two-handers.
Performances will take place in Alex’s back garden at Stillington Mill to a maximum, socially distanced, audience of 30 per show.
The new work, on August 5, will be a reading of Alex’s This Story Is For You and a fresh set of songs by Clive (Phil’s name for his solo music, Clive being his middle name and his father’s name). Orpheus and Eurydice will be all Greek to you, but in a good way.
York galleries, museums and attractions leaving Lockdown hibernation
THE York Dungeon has re-opened already; York Art Gallery and Castle Museum will do so from Saturday.
Back on track next will be the National Railway Museum, in Leeman Road, going full steam ahead from August 4.
“To manage visitor numbers, we are introducing free, timed and guided routes around the museum to ensure you have a relaxed visit and can maintain social distancing,” says the NRM. To book, go to: railwaymuseum.org.uk/visit.
Museum re-opening of the week ahead outside York: Rotunda Museum, Scarborough, from August 8
SCARBOROUGH’S Rotunda Museum will re-open with a new booking system that gives small groups exclusive access.
Visiting slots will be every half hour across the day, allowing groups – or social bubbles – of up to six people at a time to explore the museum without having to follow prescriptive routes.
In the Ancient Seas Gallery, visitors will come face to face with prehistoric creatures that once roamed this coastline. In the Rotunda Gallery are displays of fossils, taxidermy, fine art and ceramics.
New exhibition of the week: Carolyn Coles, “Oh I Do Like To Be Besides The…”, Village Gallery, York, from August 4 to September 19
YORK seascape artist Carolyn Coles, once of The Press graphics department, should have been exhibiting at York Open Studios in April and the Staithes Festival of Art and Heritage in September. Enter Covid, exit Carolyn’s two big showcases of 2020.
Enter Simon Main at Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, who says: “We saw Carolyn’s work at her first York Open Studios show back in 2019 and were so taken with her seascapes – many inspired by and maybe giving a different perspective of the Yorkshire coastline – that we started talking about a show.
“So, we’re delighted we have finally made it and are really looking forward to hanging Carolyn’s beautiful work. And who doesn’t love Filey?”
Open-air film experience of the week: Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema, Knavesmire, York, Friday to Sunday
LATER than first trailed, Daisy Duke’s Drive-In Cinema will park up on Knavesmire for screenings of Grease, Rocketman, Toy Story, Mamma Mia!, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction, Shrek 2 and A Star Is Born.
Sunday’s closing film will be Joker. Tickets are selling fast so, no joke, prompt booking is recommended at dukescinema.epizy.com.
Interaction between staff and customers will be kept to a minimum, with cars parked two metres apart and those attending expected to remain within their vehicles for the duration of the screenings on LED screens with the sound transmitted to car radios.
Home entertainment of the week: Badapple Theatre’s The Daily Bread podcast
THE Daily Bread rises again as the latest free Podbean podcast from Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre.
Glaswegian actor, clown and raconteur Colin Moncrieff reprises his 2014 stage performance in artistic director Kate Bramley’s comedy about a master baker who is the talk of the tiny village of Bottledale, thanks to his sumptuous sponges and beautiful buns, this time giving a relaxed reading from home, accompanied by Jez Lowe’s songs.
Go to badappletheatreonyourdesktop.podbean.com to discover whether the baker’s cheery façade hides a dark secret.
And what about…
The rockumentary Rockfield: The Studio On The Farm on BBC iPlayer. New albums by Rufus Wainwright, Courtney Marie Andrews, Seasick Steve and The Psychedelic Furs, their first in 29 years. Emma Stothard’s new Whitby sculpture, Fishwife, Selling Cod, Mackerel and Crab, by the harbour swing bridge. A walk at Wheldrake Ings, followed by Sicilian flatbreads and piadini at the re-opened Caffé Valeria in Wheldrake. York Racecourse Saturday car boot sale, re-launching from August 8.
SCARBOROUGH’S Rotunda Museum re-opens next week with a new booking system that gives small groups exclusive access.
From August 8, the Grade II-listed circular building in Esplanade Gardens will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm.
Visiting slots will be every half hour across the day, allowing groups – or social bubbles – of up to six people at a time to explore the museum without having to follow prescriptive routes.
Dating from 1829, the Rotunda specialises in geology and local history and is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the world.
In the Ancient Seas Gallery, visitors will come face to face with prehistoric creatures that used to roam this coastline. In the Rotunda Gallery are displays of fossils, taxidermy, fine art and ceramics that tell the history of the museum. The shop will be open too.
Looking ahead, the Scarborough Museums Trust team is hard at work on a new display of Mesolithic objects from Star Carr, the important archaeological site in the Vale of Pickering, that will open in mid-September.
Gristhorpe Man, Britain’s best-preserved Early Bronze Age skeleton, is still in controlled storage after a leak in the roof threatened his safety and will be returned at a later date.
Staff have been trained in post-lockdown safety procedures and the Rotunda has been awarded VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying its adherence to government and public health guidance.
Andrew Clay, the trust’s chief executive, says: “We’re delighted that we now have all three of our beautiful venues open to the public once again [Scarborough Art Gallery, Woodend and the Rotunda] – we can’t wait to welcome people back into the Rotunda. As always, our top priority is the safety of both our visitors and our staff.”
Please note, the Rotunda Museum has a lift to all floors and is fully wheelchair-accessible throughout, including an accessible loo. Support dogs are welcome. Induction loops are available. The museum is breastfeeding-friendly and staff are trained to be Dementia Friends.
TWO of Scarborough Museums Trust’s three venues will re-open on Saturday.
Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend have been closed to the public since the Covid-19 lockdown started in late-March, as has the Rotunda Museum, whose re-opening will be delayed to “allow more time to work out how to do that safely”.
SMT chief executive Andrew Clay says: “Our dedicated staff have all been working very hard to ensure that venues are safe and in line with government guidelines on social distancing and cleanliness. The safety of all our staff and visitors is our top priority.”
Safety measures introduced for this weekend’s re-opening will be five-fold:
* Protective screens around the reception desks;
* Hand sanitiser on entry to the buildings and on the top floor of Scarborough Art Gallery;
* Disposable hand towels in the loos;
* PPE (gloves, masks and aprons) for staff when cleaning the venues, plus extra cleaning protocols;
* Staff monitoring at a safe distance to ensure that visitors are following the distancing guidelines.
Clay says: “The number of visitors within the two spaces will be monitored to ensure that there is enough room for them to move around in a safe and enjoyable manner. Clear wayfinding and arrows will direct them, and staff will be on hand to provide further support and information.
“The internal layout of our third venue, the historic Rotunda Museum, presents certain challenges with regard to social distancing, so we’re delaying opening that for the time being to allow us more time to work out how to do that safely.”
The exhibitions sent into abeyance under lockdown strictures have been extended. At Scarborough Art Gallery, visitors can see The Printmakers Council 1992-2019 and the William Smith map until September 6, alongside the permanent display of fine art from the Scarborough Borough Collection.
At Woodend, vintage travel and tourism posters will be on show in A Day At The Seaside until September 27.
Entry to Scarborough Art Gallery – usually £3, which buys an annual pass – will be free throughout July; admission to Woodend will remain free.
Opening hours will be unchanged: Scarborough Art Gallery, 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sundays; Woodend, 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays; 10am to 4pm, Saturdays and Sundays.
ADVENTUROUS youngsters can help to solve a new online mystery, Whispers From The Museum, set at Scarborough Art Gallery and Rotunda Museum, from May 12.
The gallery and distinctive circular museum are closed under the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, strange messages have been appearing inside, but who or what is making them and what are they trying to tell us?
For six weeks from next Tuesday, young people – and their grown-ups – can uncover stories about assorted Scarborough Museums Trust objects by completing online missions and challenges from their own home.
Created by Scarborough artist Kirsty Harris, Whispers From The Museum will feature a fictional young girl called George whose older brother, Sam, works at the gallery and museum.
“George can’t visit Sam: like everyone else, she’s staying home,” says Kirsty. “But Sam still sends her videos and photos of what he’s been up to. Recently some very strange things have been appearing overnight in the museum.
“To find out what’s been going on, participants are invited to take part in exciting weekly missions. They can open the missions on their screen or print them if they prefer.”
Each mission will include simple creative projects, such as art or writing, and when finished can be shared on social media. To access each new mission, those taking part will need to answer a simple question or solve a puzzle.
Kirsty says: “Objects and paintings are sitting quietly within the walls of the museum. With no visitors to look at them and think about why they’re so special, their meaning may begin to fade. But they’re still there, full of stories and meaning and purpose. They can reach out to us, asking us to keep their stories alive.
“In a few short weeks, the world we know has become unrecognisable in so many ways. Hundreds of thousands of children are facing months of staying at home, with little real-life contact with the outside world and the inspiration it brings. It’s a lonely prospect, and one that may leave many wondering about their place in the world.”
Scarborough Museums Trust’s learning manager, Christine Rostron, says: “We’re so pleased to be working with artist Kirsty Harris, who has created a brilliant story using our buildings and collections as inspiration.
“This adventure will help children to reach out to and connect with the world beyond their front doors, into a world full of amazing objects and stories that will be waiting for them to explore physically again in the hopefully not-too-distant future.
“To take part, families will need to be able to access the internet, so it’s probably best if an adult helps! Families will be encouraged to keep the things they make until the end of the project.”
Whispers From The Museum is aimed primarily at children aged seven to 11, although younger and older children will enjoy the challenges too. Free to take part in, the first mission launches on Tuesday, May 12 at scarboroughmuseumstrust.com.
Mystery adventure creator Kirsty Harris is an artist, designer and maker who specialises in installation and performative works. “I make immersive worlds and experiences in found environments, landscapes and theatres,” she says. “I make work for babies aged six months and all the ages that come after.”
Kirsty has led design-based community projects for The Old Vic, the National Theatre, the National Trust, the V&A, Kensington Palace and Manchester Jewish Museum.
She has collaborated with or been commissioned by Wildworks, Punchdrunk, The Young Vic, Coney, Likely Story Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, Southbank Centre, The Discover Centre, London Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre Wales and the National Trust.
Whispers From The Museum is the first of a series of new digital commissions from Scarborough Museums Trust as part of its response to the Coronavirus crisis. The trust has asked Lucy Carruthers, Estabrak, Wanja Kimani, Jane Poulton, Jade Montserrat and Feral Practice, as well as Kirsty Harris, to create digital artworks for release online across assorted social media platforms over the next four months.