Museum news – January 2022

The latest on acquisitions, exhibitions, and key decisions.

‘Missing jigsaw piece’ Viking brooches from the Isle of Man go on display

Two Viking brooches discovered on the Isle of Man have gone on permanent display at the Manx Museum in Douglas. Dating to the first half of the 10th century and made from bronze with silver wire decoration, the oval artefacts were found by metal-detectorists in 2018, alongside a glass bead and buckle (below).

IMAGE: National Manx Heritage
IMAGE: National Manx Heritage

They have since been conserved by Manx National Heritage (MNH) and York Archaeological Trust (YAT), and have been hailed as a ‘missing jigsaw piece’ in our understanding of the island’s Viking Age. Although brooches like these were commonly worn by women elsewhere in the Viking world, they were previously unknown on Man, leading to suggestions that only male Scandinavian settlers had made their way to the island in the early Viking Age. Such artefacts are typically associated with graves, though none was found in the small-scale excavation commissioned by MNH and carried out by YAT at the time of discovery.

Next steps for HMS Victory

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has announced the next steps planned for conserving HMS Victory, as the museum marked the 100th anniversary of Nelson’s flagship entering dry dock no.2 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 12 January 1922. The vessel opened as a museum ship six years later.

To secure the Victory’s future for the next half century, rotting planking in the hull will be replaced with new oak, repairs will be made to the ship’s structural framework, and the vessel will be completely re-rigged, in a process lasting 10-15 years and costing £35 million.

This year will also see an upgraded Aircraft Carrier Experience launch in the summer at the National Museum’s Fleet Air Arm museum in Yeovilton, while the Horrible Histories: Pirates exhibition will transfer to the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool at Easter.

2022 banner exhibition opens

IMAGE: courtesy of People’s History Museum.

The annual banner exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester launched in January, showcasing banners representing key moments of protest and exploring their role in contemporary culture. Examples on display reflect broad campaigns, such as a European Nuclear Disarmament banner from the 1980s, as well as very local creations like the Withington Against the Poll Tax banner that was carried to represent people from the Manchester suburb at a 70,000-strong demonstration in Trafalgar Square in 1990. Other exhibits reflect themes ranging from the origins of trade unions to the fight for women’s suffrage, and the uniting of causes is represented by a Lesbians and Gays support the Miners banner of 1985. There is also a rather more recent banner on display (above), created in a PHM-led project by artist Seleena Laverne Daye in 2021, to give voice to migrants.