ARTeology: inspiration and interpretation

on Friday, 18 January 2019.

ARTeologists Julie Smith and Mervyn Grist tell stories within a story about how artists respond to archives as an often neglected source material for inspiration and contemporary interpretation.
Julie and Mervyn will give an informal talk and performance on ARTeology projects to date which follow a pattern of enquiry and reflection common to both artistic creation and academic research.
This talk, on 7th February 2019 at 6.30pm compliments the ARTeology exhibition at Town Hall Arts and you can book your free ticket by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Box Office - 01225 774306.

Creative Wiltshire: A Celebration of Art

on Friday, 18 January 2019.

Creative Wiltshire: A brand new exhibition showcasing some of the best creative talent from our county

The New Year will see Salisbury Museum opening a unique and exciting exhibition of collected, recently gifted or purchased art by Wiltshire artists. Creative Wiltshire: A Celebration of Art in Wiltshire will open on 19 January 2019.

The exhibition is the culmination of a five year Creative Wiltshire project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to collect and celebrate the work of the county’s creative people. Featuring paintings, prints, ceramics, textiles and glass, the exhibition will give the viewer a ravishing insight into the work of the talented makers of this region.

Some of the artworks on show, have only very recently been acquired by Salisbury Museum, so this will be a unique opportunity to view paintings by Rex Whistler and Wilfred de Glehn; bronze sculpture by Jonathan Wylder; and etched glass by Sir Laurence Whistler.

The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, who have also been involved in the project, will be loaning many beautiful artworks to showcase the talents of artists like Joe Tilson, and ceramicists like Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie and Patricia Volk.

Adrian Green, Director of Salisbury Museum says, ‘Museums are built around collections, but it can often be difficult to purchase new objects in the current funding climate. This HLF funded project has enabled Salisbury Museum and other museums across Wiltshire to reverse that trend, particularly focusing on what has been made in or linked to creative people from the county. The result is that we have acquired many significant objects that we otherwise wouldn’t have secured’.

This promises to be an eclectic, visually stunning celebration of art in Wiltshire. The exhibition runs until 4 May 2019.

New Reading Group: The Memory Box

on Monday, 10 December 2018.

Do you enjoy history and listening to stories? Join us for a brand new reading group: The Memory Box. Our group is meeting on the first and third Monday afternoon of every month, beginning 7th January 2019, 2-3.30pm.

We'll meet and listen to an extract from one of the amazing collection of books in our Local Studies Library. We will take time to share memories and thoughts, and also have a chat over refreshments! If you would enjoy some friendly company in a relaxed environment, this is for you. All welcome!

Free entry, parking right outside and refreshments, supported by Hob Nob Press.

Read - Reminisce - Enjoy

Download the Memory Box Reading Group Leaflet

Culture therapy anyone?

on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. Posted in Archaeology

Having an understanding about the past can improve mental wellbeing and create a sense of identity. Getting out into the landscape and exploring heritage sites can be a great way to bring people together, but fortified with information even individually or in smaller groups can create admiration and wonderment towards the places in which you live. 

There is growing recognition about the value of archaeology and heritage to the wellbeing of people.  The Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service plays an essential part in safeguarding our heritage through ensuring archaeology, which is to be destroyed through development, gets properly excavated and recorded and through managing the Historic Environment Record (HER). This information forms the basis for academic research such as the recent synthesis of The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain. The HER also provides a free service to the general public who are interested to know more about their local area. It can be accessed online and reports are available to view by appointment at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

The Archaeology Service also shares information about exciting new discoveries via presentations to the public but we also lead various walks to some of our most outstanding heritage sites.  This last year we led walks in the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, to Iron Age hillforts and to visit our registered battlefield at Roundway Down.

Simply put, a bit of culture therapy that can make you feel better!

A walk near Warminster led by the Archaeology Service in October this year, with Middle Hill in distance (top) and Scratchbury hillfort in the distance (above).


Wiltshire Local Studies for National Libraries Week

on Tuesday, 13 November 2018.

I jumped at the fantastic opportunity to showcase local history during Libraries Week at the beginning of October this year!

The week was centred around local history displays at many of the county’s public libraries with larger libraries making the most of the reproduction Goad Town Plans provided by the History Centre alongside copies of photographs from our Historic Photograph and Print Collection which really brought back memories and brought the maps to life.

Devizes Library

A small selection of local history material was also made available to purchase at some libraries which drew interest and sales.

There was a positive response to our call for comments and memories from local people which proved popular in many libraries – some of which are still ongoing!

Chippenham Library

The maps caused a lot of chatter amongst library customers, many enjoying recalling old shops and haunts. Caroline, LS Champion for Westbury noted; “Many people have been fascinated to see old photos of the streets in which they live. The display is bringing back memories for our older customers.”

Local studies has an amazing power to excite, energise and share; for individuals in communities to discover commonalities and make connections which enrich and aid their health and wellbeing.

Amesbury Library

It’s been a pleasure to for me and my colleagues at the History Centre to work with Wiltshire Libraries staff as one team to deliver local history to the heart of communities – one of the many, many reasons why our libraries are so special!

Salisbury Library

A big thank you to the Local Studies Champions who created some fantastic displays. It was great to see that everyone had put their own individual mark on their work; a unique display for each community. Also for their enthusiasm and support - we couldn’t reach so far without you!

Your Local Studies Champions are:

Amesbury Library - Diane Ratcliffe
Bradford Library – Belinda Webley
Calne Library - Jackie Notman
Chippenham Library – Sue Tuersley
Corsham Library – Wendy Barker
Devizes Library - Hilary Hampton
Malmesbury Library –Chris White
Marlborough Library – Carol Moylan
Royal Wootton Bassett Library – Sue Widnall
Salisbury Library – Rosie Epton-Peter
Trowbridge Library – Jenny DeLang
Warminster Library – Ann Knight
Westbury Library – Caroline Brock
Wilton Library – Shirlie Williams

Julie Davis
County Local Studies Librarian

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