Saturday, 31 October 2009

Family Day - Sunday 1 Nov

A day of activities for all the family to find out what it was like to live in Wiltshire during World War Two.

There will be activities for all ages throughout the day. Visitors can have a go at 1940’s handicrafts, make a peg doll or peg soldier, make a toy aeroplane or make and decorate a gas mask box.

Re-enactors will be in the galleries to talk to visitors. John Girvan will play the character of an ARP Warden and other re-enactors the roles of land girls, a war time policeman and a spiv.

There will also be a fun hands-on rationing activity and a mock Anderson shelter for children to go in on the day. Both of these will help them to gain an understanding of what it must have been like to be a child living at this time.

With this topic being on the History National Curriculum for KS2, the family day will be a valuable resource for children who are learning about this at school this year, as well as being a fun day out for the whole family.

Entry to the museum event will be £2 per adult and free for children. All activities are included.

The day will run from 11am - 4pm and no booking is necessary.

The Family Day precedes the opening of our new exhibition – On the Home Front: Wiltshire in World War II which opens on Sunday 8 November.

Cost: £2 adults, children FREE.

Archaeology Field Group Newsletters now online

The Archaeology Field Group have now put their latest newsletters online. The one-page newsletters give a brief update on the latest research that they are carrying out.

Online so far are:-
1 Seeking Roman Calne
2 Godwin's Meadow
3 St Mary's Church, Calne

You will also see information about current projects appearing on the AFG webpage.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Web 2.0 training event at the Museum!

Web 2.0 and the Social Web are terms which are now being used widely.
But what do these terms mean? And what, if anything, can Web 2.0 and the
Social Web offer to museums, libraries and archives, especially small
organisations with limited budgets and technical expertise?

This one day workshop entitled 'The Social Web - An introduction to Web
2.0' will be held on Monday, November 16th, 2009 from 10 - 4 at the
Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes, Wiltshire and will attempt to answer
the above questions. It is free to attend but places are limited.

One of the case studies will be Wiltshire Heritage Museum - looking at the use that we are making of Web2.0 services.

The booking form is available online.

This Event has been organised in conjunction with South Western
Federation of Museums and Art Galleries.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Draft AFG page now online

The Archaeology Field Group are working on a page that will give information about theprojects they are working on, and will encourage people to get involved in what they are doing. The work in progress can be seen on the website.

Christmas cards now for sale online!

Our Christmas cards can now be purchased online from our shop!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Appeal has aleady raised over £3000!

The appeal launched last week to support the work of the Museum has already reached over £3,000. This figure was announced by Treasurer Wendy Lansdown at the Society AGM on Saturday, to a packed meeting of 150 members. If you would like to help us, you can read more about the appeal and donate online.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Designs

English Heritage have submitted their plans for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre to Wiltshire Council, and a number of articles show images of the proposals. They include The Architects Journal and Building Design.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

AHRC video about Bluestonehenge

AHRC has just put a video about Mike Parker-Pearson's work at Bluestonehenge online.

Tickets are still available for his talk at the Museum on Saturday evening at 7pm. Details and booking information available from our website.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Evening talk about Stonehenge by Mike Parker-Pearson added - 10 October. Book online!

An evening lecture by Mike Parker-Pearson about recent results from the Stonehenge Riverside Project at 7 pm Saturday 10 October. Book your ticket online! The afternoon talk to Society Members is now fully booked, and we have added this extra talk at the Museum. You can book your ticket online.

New Stonehenge discoveries - hear more at the Society AGM next week

The Daily Mail has this morning published information about the latest remarkable discoveries at Stonehenge. Mike Parker-Pearson will be speaking to Society Members about his latest work at the Society AGM next weekend. We have only a very few seats left, so Members must contact us to reserve their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

UPDATE the AGM is now fully booked, but an evening lecture has now been arranged. You can find out more and book online.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Goodbye Queen Victoria ...

Queen Victoria has now left us! Sculptor Geoffrey Stephenson has now completed the new head for Queen Victoria, and her headless body has now left the museum for her new home at the almshouses on Victoria Road.

Eeles Family Pottery Exhibition now open!

The Eeles Family Pottery exhibition is now open. Come and see the fantastic pieces produced by the Dorset-based family of potters. The pottery of stoneware, porcelain and Raku is made using simple ingredients from around the south west, including Dorset ball clay, Devon china clay and basalt from Somerset. Inspiration for the shapes and patterns of the pottery are drawn largely from nature with colours and glazes continually being developed as the family carry out many tests and experiments. The pottery is fired in wood fired kilns which have to reach a temperature of 1260oC. This requires a team of six to stoke the kiln continuously for 36 hours after which it takes four days for the kilns to cool. By contrast Raku, derived from a Japanese method of pottery, is fast fired and only requires a temperature of 1050oC! The pottery is taken out of the kiln at peak temperature and subjected to flaming and smoking to encapsulate the vibrant colours and lustres of this type of work.

Lisa Webb, Curator says ‘we are delighted to have the Eeles Family Pottery back at the Museum. beautifully decorated and inspired by nature, the pieces are a stunning display of locally made ceramics’.

The exhibition runs at the Museum daily from 3 to 30 October 2009. Usual admission charges apply.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

150 year old Wiltshire library goes digital - thanks to Google

150 year old Wiltshire library goes digital - thanks to Google

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum library has just gone online with a full digital library created in just 5 months using the controversial Google Books service.

The Library has been collecting books about the history, environment and archaeology of Wiltshire for over 150 years, and has many rare and important books in its collection of over 8000 volumes. Until now, the idea of getting the library online has been only a dream for librarian Dr Lorna Haycock. Without Google, it would have cost tens of thousands of pounds, buying a computer system, exhaustive data entry and only a few of the books could have been scanned electronically.

Museum Director, David Dawson explained that the controversial Google Books service has a 'My Library' facility, where you can simply click on a book that you have found on Google Books, and then add it to your own digital library. Work began in May this year to catalogue the entire library, using Google Books, and over 5,000 books have now been recorded. Many of them have already been digitised, and the full text of many can be searched online. He commented “as far as we know, we are the first library in the world to have created a digital library using the Google Books service. As an independent charity, we simply couldn't afford to get our library online until Google Books gave us this fantastic opportunity to enable people to carry out their research online.”

The digital library has now been launched through the museum website – Everyone can now browse and search the library online – finding books that contain detailed information about where they live, or about the history of their family. Director David Dawson explains “people can then visit our library to read the real books, discovering the wealth of material that we have in our fantastic library”.

More information about the library at

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum digital library is at

Archaeologist Phil Harding, best known for his appearances on Channel 4's Time Team, talks about what makes the Museum Library so important to him on a YouTube video