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The Crusader 1 of 3 by Karl Hardy

Friday 13th October 2017


Outreach and Community Participation are two things I am passionate about. Bringing visitors to our venues, and taking what our venues have to offer into communities across the region. TWAM is fortunate to have nine very unique venues, covering a diverse range of subjects and an impressive collection. Activities such as collage making are inspired by TWAM’s venues and their collections.


I had a meeting in late May with Assistant Outreach Officer for Live Well, Sophie Mitchell. I then became a volunteer for the Live Well project.

I started volunteering for the  Live Well programme on Mondays in June at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery for the L. S. Lowry exhibition.

Then, Segedunum played host the following month with its own temporary exhibition, Hadrian’s Cavalry, (coincidentally in the gallery occupied by the Roman Empire: Power and People exhibition when I started way back in August 2015 , but more on that in next month’s exhibition-themed blog).

The temporary exhibition at the next venue, Discovery Museum, All the Fun of the Fair, had been visited (and in some cases frequented) by some in the group and so instead of the session focusing on the fabulous temporary summer exhibition we took a tour behind the scenes in the textiles store where an interesting talk was given about the impressive collection. It was personally interesting to see the changing fashions over the decades, particularly in women’s fashion. With the session over, All the Fun of the Fair was soon visited by the group for much fun to commence again.

At SSMAG and Segedunum, Sophie talked about the venue and a temporary exhibition at the venue and the first sessions at each venue included tea and coffee with a selection of delicious biscuits.

The most recent session was at the Great North Museum. The Live Well group visited the GNM: Hancock Library. The group enjoyed their morning, as did I, of course! It was a very informative and interesting session. Keeper of Library, Ian Bower, talked about the Great North Museum’s 2009 formation, Natural History Society of Northumbria, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (SANT) and Newcastle University’s Cowen Library and the merging of the three libraries into the 2009 extension. Ian talked about how Newcastle University leases the Museum building on a 100 year lease from the Natural History Society of Northumbria and how Tyne & Wear Museums came to manage it on behalf of the NHSN and Newcastle University.

The group were then invited to look at the impressive collection, spanning natural history, archaeology, ecology and much more, and we learned about Benwell’s Roman connections at Condercum. The group had a look behind the scenes in the Controlled Access store, where books are stored in controlled conditions: temperature and humidity, to protect them from any further deterioration of their condition, not exactly perfect due to poor storage conditions previously. These books covered European history of various topics. Later, we learned about Thomas Bewick from Cherryburn, and looked at some of his artwork. Then the group were able to look at some books which Ian had pre selected, showing pictured of animals, plants and areas of Newcastle upon Tyne, such as Barras Bridge where GNM now stands.

The final venue of 2017 is the Hatton Gallery next month. Next year we intend to visit other cultural venues outside of TWAM, such as St Nicholas Cathedral, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art alongside our Newcastle and Gateshead art galleries, Laing and Shipley in addition to Stephenson Railway Museum which had to be postponed this year.

I haven’t been able to provide images for this blog as safeguarding and image permissions are very important to the Outreach Team who will never take an image of its groups and use it without the completion of permission documents.


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