Ancient lives to contemporary art – the varied world of Wiltshire’s Museums
With Summer struggling to make a reliable appearance, there’s plenty of things to do if you want a day out but the weather’s not up to scratch. Museums in Wiltshire have a fascinating array of collections and exhibitions just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a round-up of just a few of the temporary exhibitions you can see around the County at the moment.
If you’re near Salisbury it’s your last chance to see the Sophie Ryder exhibition at Salisbury Museum which ends on the 9th July. Sophie’s work represents a world of mystical creatures, animals and hybrid beings made in a variety of different materials, including wire, plaster and bronze.
The exhibition has a selection of sketches and working models for Sophie’s pieces and there is a reproduction of her workroom, giving visitors an insight into how she approaches making her creations. And if you visit before the 3rd July you will be able to see some of her larger, monumental sculptures around the Cathedral, with etchings and prints on display at Sarum College in the Cathedral Close.
If your tastes are a little less contemporary, the Museum is also playing host to ‘Writing for Eternity: Decoding Ancient Egypt’, a touring exhibition from the British Museum, until the 3rd September. It is a family friendly and interactive exploration of the development of writing in Ancient Egypt and what it is able to tell us about people’s lives thousands of years ago. You can even try writing in hieroglyphics for yourself!
For those who find themselves on the other side of the Plain, head to Trowbridge Museum for their latest exhibition ‘Reimagined: The Cycling Revolution around 1900’, on display until the 29th October. Enjoy a collection of vibrant, new paintings by Patrick Hallissey inspired by the Museum’s photographs of cycling from the turn of the 19th century - when men sported moustaches as wide as their handlebars and women wore corsets to cycle.
The artwork is complemented by a selection of images and objects from the Museum’s collection, which tell the story of how the bicycle influenced society, giving people a new freedom of movement that affected how they worked and played.
Last but definitely not least – if you like a bit of bling then head over to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes. The Museum is currently playing host to Wiltshire’s Story in 100 Objects, an exhibition of items that have been chosen to illustrate Wiltshire’s history from Stonehenge to the Moonrakers. Chosen from museums and historic collections across the County they reflect the varied nature of Wiltshire’s past.
Star of the show is the Lacock Cup, a stunning 15th century silver cup from the church of St Cyriac, Lacock. The cup was in use at Lacock for over 400 years and has a fascinating dual history, having been used both as a feasting cup and a holy chalice. Loaned to the British Museum in 1963, it was recently jointly acquired by the British Museum and Wiltshire Museum.
Also featuring are items that tell the story of prehistoric communities who built huge monuments in the landscape to advances in industry, agriculture and transport that have shaped life in the modern day. The exhibition can be seen until the 16th July.