Holiday fun at Bath Museums

Holiday fun at Bath Museums

Spending your holiday at home this summer or wanting something to keep you busy and on your toes? Why not get involved with events at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s museums?

From 19 July to 30 August the Council is hosting a number of craft and activity sessions which the whole family can enjoy. Learn about Roman coins at the Roman Baths as part of the Beau Street Hoard activity programme (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund); create designs at the Fashion Museum, or let the children channel their inspiration into art at the Victoria Art Gallery.

With all these events happening, there’s something for everyone this summer, and better yet, they’re right on your doorstep!

The first handful from the hoard which is now known to contain 22,000 coins!

The first handful from the hoard which is now known to contain 22,000 coins!

Roman Baths
Standard and Deliver
Monday 28 July, 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm
Investigate Roman coins to find out about army standards. Make a standard to lead your family this summer.

A head of the game
Monday 4 August: 10.00 am – 1.00 pm & 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
What did a Roman’s hairstyle say about them? Find out and make a wiggy wonder. Family drop-in.

Victoria Art Gallery
Life on the ocean wave
Friday 25 July; 10.30 am – 12 noon
Enjoy our boat pictures and build up a boat collage using recycled materials. For 6 to 11 year olds.

Beside the Seaside

The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Wednesday 30 July, 10.30am –11am
Make seaside scenes using rubbings and textures to get you in the summer holiday mood. For 3 to 5 year olds. Squash and biscuits included.

Dragonheart
Friday 1 August 10.30am – 12 noon
Explore our special exhibition and invent a mythical creature and print your design. For 6 to 11 year olds.

Animals went in two by two
Wednesday 6 August: 10.30 am – 11 am
Search for special animals with magnifying glasses and explore Noah’s ark. Make animal pictures using pastels and paint. For 3 to 5 year olds. Squash and biscuits included.

Pop up Pilu
Friday 8 August: 10.30 am – 12 noon
Find out about the most popular dog in the galley and make pop ups. For 6-11 year olds.fashion museum

Fashion Museum
Draw and paint it
Tuesday 29 July, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Explore the designs and motifs in our GEORGIANS exhibition and use watercolours to design an outfit.
Booked craft session for 11 to 16 year olds – bookings in advance at the Fashion Museum reception £5.00 per child.

Get started with crazy wool
Wednesday 30 July, 10.00am – 12 noon
Try this special technique to make an individual brooch. For 11 to 16 year olds. £5 each.

Colour it
Tuesday 5 August: 10.30am – 12 noon & 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Investigate the jewel colours in our Georgians exhibition and use them in a design of your own. Family drop-in.

Get started with rag rugs
Wednesday 6 August: 10.00am – 12 noon
Try this technique and make a rag rug. Craft session for 11 to 16 year olds. £5 each.

Normal admission prices apply to all Roman Baths and Fashion Museum family drop-in events, but are free to resident Discovery Card holders. Special craft sessions at the Fashion Museum for 11-16 year olds are £5 per participant. Please book at the Fashion Museum reception.
All Victoria Art Gallery events cost £4 per participant and must be booked in advance on 01225 477244. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Residents can apply for a Discovery Card by taking along two forms of ID to the following Council buildings: the Roman Baths; Riverside in Keynsham; The Hollies in Midsomer Norton and also the Discovery Card point in the One Stop Shop on Manvers Street, Bath.

For more details of heritage events including listings, the online leaflet and website links for the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery, visit http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents or pick up a leaflet in your local library.

Health and the roman baths.

Health and the roman baths.

Nice to receive a Tweet from @DrJennersHouse which is helping look after publicity for  Dr Jenner’s House and Garden – formerly The Edward Jenner Museum – at The Chantry in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.

Dr Jenner's House - The Chantry

Dr Jenner’s House – The Chantry

Edward Jenner was the 18th century local doctor who pioneered the smallpox vaccine – the world’s first vaccination - which led to the science of immunology.

It’s a little out of the Virtual Museum of Bath’s patch but they have an event coming up which is certainly connected with a big chunk of our history!

They’ve  asked me to promote a talk by Dr Roger White – entitled ‘Mens sana in corpore sano – an exploration of Roman baths, bathing and medicine’ coming up at the Museum’s Old Cyder House Conference Centre on Monday, July 14th at 7.30.

He’ll be looking at Roman understandings of health and cleanliness, and how you could usually find a doctor in the bathhouse.

Dr White is the Academic Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and a specialist in Wroxeter Roman City.

For more information you are asked to ring 01453/810631 or email info@edwardjenner.co.uk. You can also read more about the talk and the Edward Jenner Museum on www.jennermuseum.com

 

 

 

Half-term family fun @ city museums

Half-term family fun @ city museums

roman baths
Children are being given an opportunity to get creative at a range of half-term holiday activities organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s museums.

From Monday 26 to Friday 30 May in Bath, the Council-run attractions are hosting a number of craft sessions for the whole family to enjoy. They include everything from creating your own imperial crown at the Roman Baths to a Flowers & Bugs session at the Victoria Art Gallery.

The events include:

Glorious Rome
Family drop-in activity, Roman Baths
Monday 26 – Friday 30 May
10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm
Get to know about Roman Emperors from Roman coins and make an imperial crown.

Special Silhouettes
Family drop-in activity, Fashion Museum
Tuesday May 27
10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm
Explore the Georgians exhibition and create special silhouettes using card.

Flowers and bugs
Victoria Art Gallery
For 3 – 5 year-olds.
Thursday May 29
10.30am-12noon & 2pm-3pm
Find creepy crawlies in the gallery; make flowers and butterflies. Squash and biscuits included.

Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

Window on the World
Victoria Art Gallery
Friday May 30
For 6 to 11-year-olds.
10.30am-12noon & 1.30pm-3pm
Create a view through a window using mixed media, exploring the gallery’s paintings for ideas.

Admission to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s family drop-in events at the Roman Baths and Fashion Museum are free to local residents on production of a Discovery Card. Normal entry prices apply to everyone else.

The events at the Victoria Art Gallery cost £4 per child and must be booked in advance on 01225 477233. All children must be accompanied by an adult for all events.

Residents of Bath and North East Somerset can apply for a Discovery Card by taking along two forms of ID to the following Council buildings: the Roman Baths; Riverside in Keynsham; The Hollies in Midsomer Norton and the One Stop Shop on Manvers Street in Bath.

For more details of heritage events including listings, the online leaflet and website links for the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery, visit http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents or pick up a leaflet in your local library.

Royal opening for new temple walkway.

Royal opening for new temple walkway.

Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex have visited the Roman Baths to re-open the newly-renovated Temple Precinct on Monday May 12, as part of a tour of Bath, which also included a visit to Bath Abbey.

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of wessex visit the Roman Baths. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of Wessex visit the Roman Baths. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528 Click on images to enlarge.

They saw how the uncovering of the Roman Temple Precinct has increased space for visitors and revealed more of the ancient monument.

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of wessex visit the Roman Baths. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of Wessex visit the Roman Baths and view the head of Minerva. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The display of the gilt bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva has been completely re-designed and a tactile model put in place for the benefit of visitors who may be partially-sighted.

The Earl of Wessex was last at the Abbey for his investiture as Chancellor of the University of Bath.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has made major improvements to the Roman Baths, including opening up a new, previously hidden, area and improving access for visitors.

The new suspended walkway across the temple precinct.

The new suspended walkway across the temple precinct.

A new suspended walkway has also been put in place above the Temple Precinct, giving visitors an aerial view of the ancient monument below. Full wheelchair access will follow in the autumn when two new lifts are installed.

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of wessex visit the Roman Baths. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and Sophie Countess of Wessex try a glass of natural spring water. May 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

There’s also a new lighting scheme at the Roman Baths, which uses 80% less energy than previously but is also better quality.

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Head of Heritage Services, Stephen Bird, said: “We’re delighted that the Earl and Countess of Wessex came to Bath to officially re-open the Temple Precinct.

“These improvements to the Roman Baths will make the experience much better for our visitors. The imaginative lighting scheme also supports the Council’s drive to reduce energy bills and energy consumption.”

Countess and Earl looking at the Norman foundations

Countess and Earl looking at the Norman foundations. Photo  © Deborah Coleman

At Bath Abbey, official photographer Deborah Coleman followed the Royal couple around the church during which they stopped to peer through a glass-topped trench to view the Norman foundations below the present building.

The Royal couple with the Rector of Bath Abbey.

The Royal couple with the Rector of Bath Abbey. Photo © Deborah Coleman

They were also told of plans to stabilise the Abbey floor and use thermal water to heat it afterwards – supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund application which is due to be ruled upon in a couple of weeks.

Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are delighted that the Earl and Countess of Wessex were able to include the Abbey in their visit to Bath. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to give the royal couple a glimpse of what we do here at the Abbey.

They met and spoke with several members of staff, some of our congregation and our youngest choir, the Melody Makers, who gave an impromptu concert. They also learnt about our work with the homeless through the Genesis Trust, our recent floor repair and heating trial and our future plans for the Footprint project.

Half-term family fun at city museums

Half-term family fun at city museums

Children are being given an opportunity to get creative at a range of half-term holiday activities organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s museums.

From Monday 26 to Friday 30 May in Bath, the Council-run attractions are hosting a number of craft sessions for the whole family to enjoy. They include everything from creating your own imperial crown at the Roman Baths to a Flowers & Bugs session at the Victoria Art Gallery.

The Great Bath

The Great Bath

The events include:

Glorious Rome
Family drop-in activity, Roman Baths
Monday 26 – Friday 30 May
10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm
Get to know about Roman Emperors from Roman coins and make an imperial crown.

Special Silhouettes
Family drop-in activity, Fashion Museum
Tuesday May 27
10.30am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm
Explore the Georgians exhibition and create special silhouettes using card.

Flowers and bugs
Victoria Art Gallery
For 3 – 5 year-olds.
Thursday May 29
10.30am-12noon & 2pm-3pm
Find creepy crawlies in the gallery; make flowers and butterflies. Squash and biscuits included.

Window on the World
Victoria Art Gallery
Friday May 30
For 6 to 11-year-olds.
10.30am-12noon & 1.30pm-3pm

The Rotunda at the top of the staircase.

The Rotunda at the top of the staircase in the Victoria Gallery..

Create a view through a window using mixed media, exploring the gallery’s paintings for ideas.

Admission to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s family drop-in events at the Roman Baths and Fashion Museum are free to local residents on production of a Discovery Card. Normal entry prices apply to everyone else.

The events at the Victoria Art Gallery cost £4 per child and must be booked in advance on 01225 477233. All children must be accompanied by an adult for all events.

Residents of Bath and North East Somerset can apply for a Discovery Card by taking along two forms of ID to the following Council buildings: the Roman Baths; Riverside in Keynsham; The Hollies in Midsomer Norton and the One Stop Shop on Manvers Street in Bath.

For more details of heritage events including listings, the online leaflet and website links for the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents or pick up a leaflet in your local library.

Keynsham’s Roman history on display

Keynsham’s Roman history on display

Roman mosaic panels from the Durley Hill Roman villa will go on display in Bath & North East Somerset Council’s new Keynsham development when it opens later this year. You can see how they are being cleaned and conserved by expert conservators from Cliveden Conservation in preparation for that display at a free event on Saturday 10 May.

Roman mosaics

Roman mosaics

On this open day – held at the Pixash Lane Archaeology Store – you can see conservation work in action and get up close to the marvellous mosaics discovered when the cemetery was extended in the 1920s.

An illustration featuring Europa and the bull!

An illustration featuring Europa and the bull!

You can talk to the conservators working on the project and curatorial staff from the Roman Baths will be on hand to talk about the style and significance of the mosaics and about other recent archaeological discoveries in the Keynsham area.

At the same time you will be able to explore other archaeological finds from Keynsham including decorative stonework from the Medieval Abbey, as well as finds and some unusual graffiti rescued from the Combe Down Stone Mines before they were filled in during the stabilisation works.

Another Abbey relic.

Another Abbey relic.

Young people can also have fun looking for objects on our trail through the archaeological store and designing their own Medieval floor tiles

Cllr Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet member for Sustainable Development, said: “Whilst the public has witnessed Bath & North East Somerset Council’s ongoing Keynsham town centre development, work has also been going on behind the scenes to prepare the Durley Hill villa mosaics for display. This gives local people a great opportunity to see some of that work in progress, ask questions about local archaeology and meet some of the people involved in the project.”

The Archaeology Store is next to the recycling centre on Pixash Lane and will be open to the public from 11am to 3pm.

A book at Bath time

A book at Bath time

A rare opportunity to meet a bestselling author and enjoy a torch lit evening of music from across the ages is on offer at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Heritage attractions as part of Museums at Night celebrations this May.

Author Lindsey Davis

Author Lindsey Davis

Historical novelist Lindsey Davis is best known for “The Course of Honour”, the true story of the Emperor Vespasian and his mistress Caenis, and for her twenty volume mystery series featuring Roman detective, Falco.

The award-winning author will talk about her writing career and exploring the Rome of the Emperors at a special event held in The Pump Room on Friday 16 May (from 7pm to 8pm). She will also be signing copies of her new book –“Enemies at Home”.enemies at home cover image

Limited tickets are available through Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 at £10 for Discovery Card holders and £15 for everyone else (ticket includes a glass of wine or soft drink and admission to a special music event straight after at the Roman Baths).

Resident Discovery Card holders are welcome to just relax for free with the Roman Baths’ musical tour through history – featuring early music on an ancient lyre, and sophisticated swing music of the 1930s and 1940s – on Friday 16 May, from 8pm to 10pm (last entry 9pm).

The enchanting music performances take place around the magnificent setting of the 2,000-year-old Roman Baths – illuminated by the light of flickering torches. Enjoy music played on a replica ancient lyre at the Temple Pediment by Michael Levy, one of the leading early musicians in the country, who said: “I look forward to performing once more, at the most awesomely evocative venue for live lyre music I could ever hope to perform at!”

The Roman Baths at night.

The Roman Baths at night.

In addition local group “The Lambeth Swing” will perform 30s and 40s era swing music by the side of the Great Bath during the evening. There will also be a bar serving drinks alongside the Great Bath.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “With its steaming waters and Roman artefacts, the Roman Baths is a truly magical place to visit at nightfall. Bath & North East Somerset Council is pleased to offer this wonderful experience for people to enjoy and learn more about this magnificent piece of history.

“So take the opportunity to explore the Roman Baths in different ways and enjoy music from ancient Rome right at the heart of the archaeological site. Also sit back by the Great Bath with a drink and listen to swing music from a local group who always create a great atmosphere.”

The Council-run Victoria Art Gallery will be getting the evening going with swing performances by Bath musicians against a backdrop of fabulous paintings by local artists. This free event runs from 6pm to 8pm on Friday 16 May.

As part of Museums at Night 2014, hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites across the country will unlock their doors for special evening events from Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 May. For more details of the events taking place locally, visit http://www.museumsatnight.org.uk.

Tip Top Roman Baths!

Tip Top Roman Baths!

The Roman Baths, managed by Bath & North East Somerset Council, has been rated by its visitors as one of the UK’s best tourism attractions for the third year in a row.

Patricia Dunlop (left) and Ellen Matthews (right) of the Roman Baths, receiving the award from Brian Stack, Managing Director of CIE Tours International.

Patricia Dunlop (left) and Ellen Matthews (right) of the Roman Baths, receiving the award from Brian Stack, Managing Director of CIE Tours International.

Customers of CIE Tours International, which runs quality coach tours from its base in Dublin, have again voted to award the Roman Baths one of the company’s coveted UK Merit Awards of Excellence for the quality of visitor experience.

The Roman Baths was one of only seven visitor attractions in England to win the prestigious award – alongside Windsor Castle and The Tower of London.

Every year, CIE Tours asks its thousands of clients to mark the hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions and events that they experience on their tours – which cover the whole of Ireland and the UK, as well as further afield. Only the small number of those which receive an overall mark of 90% or more are awarded a UK Merit Award of Excellence in the CIE Awards – known in Ireland as the “Tourism Oscars”.

The Great Roman Bath

The Great Roman Bath

The Award of Excellence reflects the Council’s commitment to keeping the Roman Baths a favourite among visitors by making improvements such as innovative interpretation; helping people to imagine life in Roman Bath, conservation that improves the look of the monument and protects it for future generations, and a wide range of access measures including new lifts and inclusive interpretation.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “The Roman Baths has been voted an excellent day out by visitors travelling with CIE Tours for the third year in a row. Only a small number of visitor attractions in the British Isles achieve this rare Award of Excellence each year so we’re delighted to have won it three times now and I’m immensely proud of the Roman Baths team.

Cllr Ben Stevens Lib-Dem Widcombe Cabinet member for Sustainable Development.

Cllr Ben Stevens
Lib-Dem Widcombe
Cabinet member for Sustainable Development.

“We value this award highly as it reflects the views of a huge number of our overseas visitors. It shows that Bath & North East Somerset Council’s on-going investment in the Roman Baths is continuing to improve the experience and give our visitors a truly excellent day out.”

The UK Merit Award of Excellence was presented to the Roman Baths at an awards ceremony held in Glasgow on Wednesday 2 April.

CIE Tours brought 11,000 visitors to the UK in 2013 and is anticipating an increase of 35% in visitors this year. The Company is working with 259 tourism partners in the UK, 79 of which are hotels and 180 are visitor attractions.

Commenting on the Company’s growth in the UK, Brian Stack, Managing Director of CIE Tours International, said: “Our Merit Awards recognise that our continued growth is due to the efforts of thousands of people up and down the country – such as the Roman Baths team – who are focused on providing excellent service.”

For more information about Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Roman Baths visit www.romanbaths.co.uk or call 01225 477774.

Boom year for Baths

Boom year for Baths

The Great Roman Bath which is fed with water from the Sacred King's spring.

The Great Roman Bath which is fed with water from the Sacred King’s spring.

Four thousand short of a million people visited the Roman Baths in 2013 – making it a record year for the city’s premier attraction.

A figure of 996,169 is a big bounce back after a six per cent drop the year before when tourist numbers were affected by the London Olympics.

In figures given to the Economic and Community Development Policy  Development and Scrutiny Panel (they must come up with shorter, sensible names for these gatherings!) councillors heard the same success wasn’t being felt at other cultural attractions.

The Fashion Museum – at 98,591 – was down from 118,943 in 2012 when National Trust members were admitted free on an experimental basis – this stopped last year. However in 2013 the number of paying visitors rose to 85,133 from 69,948 in 2012, and income rose from £398,000 in 2012 to £508,000 in 2013.

Fashion doll’s mantua, yellow and silver woven brocaded silk, 1760s Woman’s court mantua, green-brown woven brocaded silk, possibly worn by Elizabeth Linley at the court of George III, 1760s

Fashion doll’s mantua, yellow and silver woven brocaded silk, 1760s
Woman’s court mantua, green-brown woven brocaded silk, possibly worn by Elizabeth Linley at the court of George III, 1760s

The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The introduction of charges for temporary exhibitions hit the Victoria Gallery with numbers down to 94,169 from 103,275 in 2012.

However members were told that  Heritage Services’ business strategy, approved by the Council, has involved on- going investment in the Roman Baths.

This, together with an aggressive pricing policy, has successfully grown visitor numbers, visitor satisfaction levels and income.

More modest investment in the Fashion Museum, including a series of ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions, has arrested and reversed the decline in visitors there.

Pump Room ‘trio’

Pump Room ‘trio’

The Pump Room is currently under cover!

The Pump Room is currently under cover!

Anyone passing through the centre of Bath cannot fail to notice how the historic Pump Room and Roman Baths complex has disappeared behind a web of scaffolding.

Turns out – there are three different tasks underway – it’s not only essential repair and conservation work but putting in place a whole new walkway experience for people who take a tour of the Roman Bath’s from April onwards this year.

The Virtual Museum has been talking to Stephen Bird – who is the Head of Heritage Services for B&NES.

It’s an interview done in a crowded street and between gusty showers!

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