NORFOLK Museums Service
Norwich Castle

Norfolk Museums Service - Latest News

Why are Birds Wonderful?
The Wonder of Birds Study Day

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Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Saturday 6th Sept, 10am to 5pm

A study day with writer and environmentalist Mark Cocker (author of ‘Birds & People’), leading a panel of expert speakers including Katrina van Grouw (author and illustrator of ‘The Unfeathered Bird’) and Mike Toms (author of Collins ‘New Naturalist Library: Owls’). Join us as we explore our artistic and scientific history with these wonderful creatures. Whether you consider yourself a bird novice or bird fanatic, this event is one not to be missed.

Ticket Price £30, Museums Pass £27; includes all refreshments and lunch (special dietary options available on request).
For details and to book tickets, telephone 01603 495897.

To download the full list of talks and speakers, click here.

Know Your Norfolk – Adult Workshops

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Suffolk has found its way into Norwich Castle’s ‘Know Your Norfolk’ workshops when the series resumes on 1 September. These popular workshops, which previously have told the story of Norfolk through objects and artefacts, opens with a talk about the influence of Lowestoft Porcelain.

To find out more click here.

Time and Time Museum wins Sandford Award for Heritage Education

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Staff at the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth have been awarded a prestigious Sandford Award for heritage education. This highly coveted national award is given annually to museums which are judged to offer very high standards in the provision of their learning events. Norwich Castle and Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse also hold Sandford Awards for their education programmes.

The museum received a visit from a Sandford Award judge in April who observed a school event and talked to staff about the learning activities at the museum. The judge was ‘very impressed’ with the quality and scope of the learning programmes being delivered at Time and Tide. In summing up the report the judge said that;

“The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth provides a wide range of learning resources to encourage children to explore the past, not only in the local area but also nationally. Ranging from pre-historic times to within living memory, the displays and artefacts, housed in an historic herring curing works, bring stories to life through imaginative interpretation.”

Norfolk Museums Development Foundation - call for Trustees

Norfolk Museums Development Foundation is a new charitable body that raises funds to support the activities of Norfolk Museums Service. The Foundation is seeking to appoint its first Board of Trustees and is inviting expressions of interest from people with a wide range of professional skills and experience.

If you would like the opportunity to become involved in the future development of one the country’s leading museum services we would like to hear from you.
We are looking for individuals from a range of backgrounds who have a strong interest in museums and heritage and possess professional and personal networks.

Click here for more information

To apply please send your CV with a covering letter to steve.miller@norfolk.gov.uk highlighting your interest in Norfolk Museums Service, your relevant experience and your motivation for joining either as a Member or a Trustee.

Closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 22 August 2014

For more information or for an informal discussion about the roles please contact: Steve Miller, Head of Norfolk Museums Service
steve.miller@norfolk.gov.uk
01603 493620.

The Wonder of Birds

Credit: Maggi Hambling, Heron in the shallows of the Thames, 2013 © The Artist

Norwich Castle 24 May to 14 September 2014

This inspiring new exhibition looks at the cultural impact of birds on our lives and how they have intrigued us since the earliest of times. On show are exhibits from the arts, natural history, archaeology, fashion and social history, including works by major artists and illustrators from Hans Holbein to Maggi Hambling. Read more

The Wonder of Birds

Look out for these extra exhibits!

When you come to see our fantastic exhibition 'The Wonder of Birds', don’t forget to look for two very special exhibits…

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At the entrance to the Castle itself, pointing the way to the exhibition, look up and you will see a spectacular steel weathervane in the form of a heron holding a fish, by internationally known, Suffolk-based artist, Maggi Hambling. Maggi loves birds, and has had a lifelong passion for herons! See if you can spot another of her herons in the exhibition itself!

Find out more about Maggi’s work

In the British Birds Gallery inside the Castle you will see a stunning installation made of gleaming black feathers. Housed in a case among the other taxidermy it provides an extraordinary contrast. Made by noted Norwich-born artist Kate MccGwire, FINE is an abstract sculpture, but full of personality, mysteriously coiled as though about to spring out through the glass.

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One of Kate MccGwire’s first ever artistic inspirations was the Birds Gallery at Norwich Castle, so she fulfils a life-long ambition by having work displayed here. She is a leading exponent of the use of feathers in contemporary art, but always re-uses and recycles her materials. Kate asks gamekeepers and pigeonkeepers for moulted feathers for her sculptures, which often use several thousand feathers apiece.

Find out more about Kate’s work

Explore our wonderful new collections website

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Our new collections website has just launched, with over 87,000 objects for you to explore! For the first time you can search the collections by theme, enjoy specially commissioned photography of some of our most spectacular objects and learn more about the intriguing stories behind key highlights in the collections - like this amazing Balschka glass octopus from our Natural History collection.

Supported by funding from Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, the website will continue to grow over the coming months so everyone can get the most out of our fantastic collections. Click on the 'Search our collections' button on any of our website pages and start your journey of discovery today!

Norwich Castle Open Art Show 2014

Inspired by Birds
On show until 31 August

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See a wonderful selection of works by artists living and working in East Anglia who have been inspired by birds. All work is for sale. Click here for more information.

New exhibition at Time & Tide Museum

29 March - 2 November 2014

Super Models: Some Assembly Required

Model of a Great Weston Railway Locomotive Copyright Bressingham Steam Museum
Super Models is an exhibition exploring the world of models and model making from a personal and professional perspective. You can see everything from model boats to natural history sculptures, and even follow our model men trail.


Alongside art works from museum and private collections, Super Models proudly presents characters from ‘One Million Years B.C’ and ‘Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’.


The Blaschka Models that appear in the exhibition are at the junction between science and art. They are delicate models of sea creatures. They have been specially restored for the exhibition and this will be the first time they are seen on display in Norfolk all together.


This exhibition brings together models of shapes, sizes and ages. Delight at the craftsmanship and the detail and explore the scale world of modelling.

Ancient House Museum prepare to launch Kids in Museums Takeover Day

On Saturday 24 May, Teenage History Club from Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life will swap their gadgets & games for historical objects and a visit from ‘History Keepers’ author Damien Dibben as they take part in the national launch for Kids in Museums Takeover Day.

Teenage History Club will be giving Damien Dibben, a Kids in Museums Trustee, a tour of their highlights and favourite objects in the Ancient House followed by a workshop to produce a trail aimed at young people visiting the museum. Kids in Museums will then circulate the groups’ top ten tips for creating a teenage trail to museums nationally.

In the afternoon visitors will have the opportunity to meet Damien Dibben and hear more about his ‘History Keepers’ series. Damien will be reading excerpts and signing copies of his books, which will be available from Teenage History Club in the museum shop.

Tickets for the afternoon activities are available from Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life.

What’s On, Summer at Norwich Castle

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The latest What's On leaflet is now available. Find out about all the events at the Norwich Museums for Summer 2014, including the Wonder of Birds exhibition at Norwich Castle. Click here>> to download a copy.

Beat the queues! Book your advance tickets for The Wonder of Birds

The Wonder of Birds
Norwich Castle
24 May - 14 September 2014

Tickets for our fantastic summer exhibition The Wonder of Birds are on sale now! Book in advance to bypass the queues and claim £1.50 off your copy of the beautiful publication which accompanies the show.

Click here to book or phone 01603 598626.

The exhibition (Saturday 24 May – Sunday 14 September 2014) will combine art and natural history to explore the cultural impact of birds on humanity.

Help us to Go Green

Click here to download a copy of the Spring newsletter

By signing up to email bulletins instead of mailed newsletters.

If you currently receive our regular newsletters through the post, but would like to receive email bulletins instead, you will not only get up to the minute information, but you will also be helping us to reduce the amount of print we produce, as we work towards a sustainable future.

• To download the Newsletter, click here>>

To sign up to email bulletins, click here>>.

• To cancel the paper newsletters, email museums@norfolk.gov.uk (please include your full name and address in your email).

Art Masterpiece from Norwich Castle visits local School for a Day

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A masterpiece from Norwich Castle by one of the country’s most eminent painters was put on show at Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft as part of a project to highlight some of the nation’s finest artworks.

Pupils were able to enjoy The Conjuror, painted in about 1847 by John Everett Millais, who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. The painting was accompanied by Giorgia Bottinelli (Curator of Art) and Colly Mudie (Learning Manager). The painting showed a magician performing in front of a fascinated audience.

The day was a great success with over 300 students and 40 staff viewing the masterpiece during the day. One girl commented that she had never seen a painting before. Both BBC and ITV covered the event on their local news programmes.

The event was part of the national Your Paintings: Masterpieces in Schools project which saw 27 schools throughout the country hosting famous works. The initiative was launched by BBC Learning and the Public Catalogue Foundation to help young people explore the nation’s rich and varied artistic heritage.

Shine a Light Project

This is an imageAlthough there are huge numbers of objects in the museums – there is never quite enough space for everything! Some objects are delicate and can’t be on display all the time and others are large, or don’t fit in with current exhibitions. All these objects are kept in store and a large number are kept at the Superstore in Gressenhall. The Shine a Light Project seeks to unlock the potential of our fabulous reserve collections, by making them accessible to all. See the Shine a Light Project blog for more info>>

Follow us on Facebook and Flickr

This is an imageIf you enjoy using social media sites, you can now share your comments and photos with us on Facebook and Flickr.

…I would say that Norfolk Museums Service is one of the best county museum services in the country and it’s doing a great service to the people and visitors of Norfolk.

I am absolutely thrilled. I could never in a thousand years imagine that I could be fortunate enough to find a fossil and have it identified.