Monday, 20 February 2012

Devizes MP, Claire Perry, pledges to supports Museum

Devizes MP Claire Perry wrote in Thursday's Gazette ...

'Last Thursday I had the great treat of visiting the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes, which contains the best bronze age collection of artefacts in the country ... but receives public funding that is a fraction of that enjoyed by museums in London.

The museum has expansion plans that will strengthen its links with the World Heritage Sites at Stonehenge and Avebury (one of the most atmospheric places int he world) but needs to attract more funding and visitors. I have pledged to do all I can to help this gem of an institution.'

Life in Roman Britain

A Young WANHS activity on Saturday 10 March - take part in a drill led by Lucius the Legionary and receive a diploma and learn about life for Roman Soldiers in Britain and make a mosaic to take home.

Young WANHS is a Saturday morning club for 7-14 year olds interested in archaeology, local and natural history. The Club is held every month, usually on the second Saturday, from 10.15am to 12.15pm. Please arrive a little before this so that we have time to book you in.

Cost is £4 and places are limited, so pre-booking is essential - contact us on 01380 727369 (Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm) or contact us via our website

(1) To reserve a place payment must be made at time of booking, or 48 hours before the session.
(2) An activity may be cancelled at short notice if insufficient bookings are received. Any payments will be refunded.

While the Museum sleeps!

John Girvan's Night at the Museum - an evening of mysterious, strange, weird and wonderful objects and stories! 9.30pm until after midnight. Friday 2 March

Using his own objects, and highlighting some held at the Museum, John will lead a guided tour of the building, whilst also telling mysterious, strange or just weird stories about objects he has accumulated over the years. Learn more about the history of the Museum buildings and possibly visit behind the scenes.

John is a blacksmith at the Canal Forge, Devizes and is known as a local historian and creator of the popular Devizes Ghost Walk. He hosts a variety of local guided walks and illustrated talks including the Devizes Heritage Walk. He is also the author of a number of local books, most recently Deeper Under Devizes, and has made a number of television appearances. Visit for more details.

Pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited to 20. This event is also only for adults as the content is too scary for children.

As this is a late event (start 9.30pm until after midnight) and light levels around the building will be lower than normal, please bring a torch and wear non-slip shoes. For your own safety, please let us know if you have any mobility, health or eyesight problems that we should take into account during the event. If it’s cold we would also recommend you bring a warm jumper or coat! Please note: although some of the stories may be strange and scary, this is not a ghost hunt or an investigation into paranormal activity despite the late hour!

Tickets cost just £10 and booking is essential as numbers are restricted. Contact the Bookings Secretary on 01380 727369 (10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday) or book on-line using via our website - but hurry, only a few places remaining. Refreshments will be available and all proceeds donated to Wiltshire Heritage Museum.

Please note, we reserve the right to automatically cancel bookings 14 days before the event if payment has not been received.

Romans Lecture by Sam Moorhead

Saturday 25 February, 2.30pm at the Museum.

Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum will present The Romans Who Shaped Britain. Tickets cost just £6 (£3.50 for WANHS members) and a few are still available.

Based on his recent book of the same name (with David Stuttard, Thames & Hudson, 2012), this lecture will look at the lives of the generals, governors and emperors – and those they sought to rule – occupying this western outcrop of Rome’s empire. The rich cast of characters includes men and women both noble and venal, courageous and craven. Some of them, such as Caesar and Boudica, may be familiar, other such as Carausius, Magnentius or Valentinus less so. Their lives and actions are set against the backdrop of an evolving landscape, in which Iron Age shrines were being replaced by marble temples, industrial-scale factories and granaries were springing up across the countryside and a triumphal arch towered into the Kent sky to mark Rome’s domination.

Sam was voted Archaeologist of the Year in 2011 by readers of Current Archaeology, and is Honorary Secretary of the Roman Society and a Trustee of the Association for Roman Archaeology. He has published extensively on Roman coins and is co-author, with David Stuttard, of AD 410: The Year that Shook Rome (2010) and 31 BC, Antony, Cleopatra and The Year That Shook Egypt (forthcoming). He is also a long-standing member of WANHS.

Booking is recommended. Contact our Bookings Secretary on 01380 727369 (10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday) or book on-line via our website.

Please note, we reserve the right to automatically cancel bookings 14 days before the lecture if payment has not been received.

Saturday afternoon lectures start at 2.30pm and last approx. one hour.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Friday 10 Feb - Museum open

The Museum will be open today, but services may be restricted. We will let you know as soon as we can if today's seminar is not going ahead by a blog on the website.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Lunchtime Talk - Awakening the the Blade

A practical approach to the Study of Medieval Sword-Play (a real-life demonstration) by Dr Rob Jones, The Roman Baths Museum, Bath. Wednesday 8 February, start 1.10pm.

Dr Jones is also the author of Bloodied Banners: Martial Display on the Medeival Battlefield (Boydell and Brewer, 2010).

Lunchtime Talks start at 1.10pm and last approx. 45 minutes. Bring your lunch and we will provide tea/coffee.

Tickets cost £4 (£3 WANHS members) and pre-booking is not necessary.

How to survive a Nuclear War

Saturday 11 February - a Young WANHS activity.

The 1950’s saw the start of the Cold War between the West (UK, US and Europe) and the East (Russia and the Communist countries). The threat of all-out nuclear war was always there, and this activity will look at the preparations made so that people could survive a nuclear war. See the ‘Protect and Survive’ film that told you what to do in your home, visit a real nuclear bunker in Devizes and try on some special radiological protection gear.

The Young WANHS clubis open to 8 to 14 year olds interested in archaeology, local and natural history. The club meets on the second Saturday of every month from 10.15am to 12.15pm. It's free to join and each session costs just £4 per child.

To book a place contact the Museum - 01380 727369 or

With Bob Clarke and David Dawson