Leeds Museum News

 
    • Museum secures Arts Council England NPO funding

    • 29 June 2017

    We are delighted to announce that we have secured new national funding of over £880,000 for 2018-22, by securing a place as a new Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

    The museum is one of the organisations that has secured revenue funding from Arts Council England for the very first time in the 2018-22 NPO funding round.

    Of 1,160 applicants from across the arts sector, the museum is one of 831 successful applicants, and one of 183 applicants who join the National Portfolio for the very first time.

    The funding will be used to create new staff posts which will put the museum’s unique collections online, reach out to increase the involvement of diverse audiences and schoolchildren in the museum, support volunteering at the museum, and fundraise for the museum’s refurbishment plans. Thackray Medical Museum will receive over £220,000 per year for the next four years to enable this work to happen.

    Download the full press release

    • New Exhibition: Thackray Uncovered

    • 15 March 2017



    We have been working with three artists to create a brand new exhibition which sees museum objects not usually on public display, uncovered and reimagined. Thread artist Hayley Mills-Styles, visual artist Louise K Wilson and digital story teller Gemma Nash, have taken inspiration from the intriguing and wonderful objects housed within the museum stores to create brand new pieces of art.

    Building on the success of the 2015-2016 Arts&Heritage funded project, View to the Past, Thackray Uncovered seeks to open up objects in storage and explore new ways of understanding the museum collection through the collaboration of art and science. The exhibition showcases three very different pieces of work, all inspired by very different museum objects.

    Catherine Robins, Assistant Curator said: “Working with Gemma, Louise and Hayley has been a really exciting opportunity to explore areas of the collection that the public don’t normally get to see and it’s been a great opportunity for me to think about the collections in a different way too”.

    In conjunction with the exhibition, each artist will lead a public workshop, giving visitors the chance to try for themselves some of the techniques used in the artworks. Workshops cost just £5 and are suitable for ages 12 upwards. The first session will take place on 16th March with Hayley Mills-Styles, followed by Gemma Nash on 20th April and Louise K Wilson on15th June.

    The exhibition opened to the public on 13th March and runs until 30th June.
     

    • New Exhibition for 2017

    • 10 January 2017
    Thackray Uncovered, a new exhibition for 2017 opens to the public on 13th March.

    Thackray Uncovered is a new exhibition which will see objects from our collections uncovered and reimaginied. We are working with four fantastic artists who will create new installations to explore and complement the museum's medical collections.  By exploring our museum stores and taking inspiration from the weird and wonderful objects housed within, the artists will create new pieces of art to be displayed in the galleries.

    You can find out more about each artist here:

    Susan Carr

    Hayley Mills -Styles

    Gemma Nash

    Louise K Wilson

    The exhibition opens on 13th March and runs until 30th June. Access is included in normal admission prices.
    • View to the Past opens to the Public

    • 19 September 2016

    Irene Brown: View to the Past launched on Thursday 15th September


    There was lots of fun trying the augmented reality postcards (available in the shop!)

    and using the virtual reality viewfinders.




    Irene Brown: View to the Past is here until February 2018 - we recommend you see it!

    • Museum staff take leading role in virtual reality installation

    • 10 August 2016

    Artist Irene Brown is working with museum staff and volunteers to create a set of virtual reality viewers as part of a new exhibition which opens on 12th September.

    Visitors will be able to look through the viewers to see impressions of what the museum building looked like in the past, when it served as a workhouse and a hospital.  Museum staff and volunteers will appear in some of the scenes dressed in historic costumes, portraying characters from the museum’s past.

    Artist Irene Brown, who has spent months researching the history of the building, said: “I’ve used open source technology to allow visitors to see the spaces where they’re standing, but as they might have appeared during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
    It will reveal hidden ghosts from the past such as nurses who worked in the hospital and inmates who lived in the workhouse.

    The commission is part of the Meeting Point project, managed by Hexham-based Arts&Heritage, which has paired artists with nine museums in the North East and Yorkshire, to create new pieces of work inspired by the museums and their collections.

    Download Press Release
    • New Contemporary Artwork opening September 2016

    • 5 August 2016
    We are working with artist, Irene Brown, to create a new artwork inspired by the museum. The artwork opens 12th September and will tell the long lost story of the building's history as a workhouse.

    As part of the year-long Meeting Point project, led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage, contemporary art installations will be created for four museums in the North East and five museums in Yorkshire during 2016.
     
    Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, who will create a piece of work in response to the venue.

    More information on the project can be found here
    • New exhibition from London's Wellcome Collection

    • 6 April 2016
    Our new temporary exhibition from Wellcome Collection  is now on display and will be here until the end of 2016.

    We are delighted that we are one of a few chosen science venues to display the Wellcome Image Award winners of 2016. The exhibition provides a fascinating view into the work of scientists, artists, clinical photographers and illustrators working in science today.

    This year’s award-winning images include pathways of nerve fibres in the brain, delicate golden scales on a Madagascan sunset moth, and a digitally reconstructed skeleton showing atheroma, the ‘furring up’ of arteries that supply blood to the brain, in someone who has had a stroke.

    Wiring the human brain - Alfred Anwander, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences






    • HRH The Princess Royal visits the Museum

    • 11 February 2016

    On the morning of Monday 8th February, the Museum officially welcomed Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, visiting the museum building just over a century on from her Great Grandfather King George V’s visit to the site as the East Leeds Military War Hospital.


    Escorted by CEO Joanne Bartholomew and Curator, Lauren Ryall-Stockton, The Princess Royal explored the Museum’s exhibitions and royal collections before unveiling a commemorative plaque in front of invited guests and signing the visitor book (now on display in the museum entrance hall).


    The Royal visit marked 100 years since the visit by King George V, when he met troops that were stationed in the War Hospital after they had returned from the front.


    As a parting gift, The Princess Royal was presented with photographs of King George V’s visit to the site in 1915. 

    Speaking after the visit, Joanne Bartholomew said “We are very honoured to have welcomed HRH The Princess Royal. She was very approachable and sincerely interested in the history of the building and particularly in the Museum’s collections”

    • Brilliant Brains in Association with Leeds Teaching Hospitals

    • 30 October 2015

    This October we worked with Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust to investiagte the mysteries of the brain.

    In a series of unique workshops, Neurosurgeons from St James's Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary dissected a pig brain to demonstrate the key anatomical features of the brain and explain their function and role in disease processes.  Visitors were also able to get involved in fun activities including making a chocolate brain.

    Thank you to all the LTHT Staff who shared their amazing knowledge. Our next dissection workshops will be in February Half Term 2016 when we dissect hearts.


     

    • Who's Most Magnificent?

    • 14 July 2015

    Vote for us to be named Yorkshire's Most Magnificent Attraction and be entered into a prize draw to win a family break at one of Yorkshire's best 4 star hotel's.

    Vote for us here


     

    • Museum wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

    • 27 March 2015


    We are delighted to announce that the Museum has received a first-round pass for funding of £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for our Healthy Future project.

    The Healthy Future project aims to attract visitors from all walks of life to the museum by providing brand new exhibitions, updated visitor facilities, and making essential repairs and environmental improvements to the building. We have been awarded development funding of £154,600 to help us progress our plans to apply for a full grant within the next two years.

    The press release can be viewed here
     
    • Museums and Heritage Awards

    • 5 March 2015

    We are pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted in the Educational Initiative category for the prestigious Museums and Heritage Awards.

    The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 29 April.

    Wish us luck.
    • Sandford Award for Heritage Education

    • 23 July 2014
    We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded another Sandford Award for Heritage Education


    The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles. The award is testament to the hard work of all the staff involved in education at the museum.

    Here are some of the judges comments:

    The Thackray Medical Museum is justly renowned as a special place, telling a story few other museums can match. Its size gives it a great intimacy and intensity of experience. The educational offer here has been well thought out and provides much for both primary and secondary schools across history and science. The staff are forward thinking and looking to improve on an already excellent offer. The museum has a rightful feeling of pride about what it does but also a desire to do more and do better. The Thackray has a well earned reputation as a must-see museum. Having seen it, the visitor is unlikely to be disappointed and will want to come back for more.
    • Johnson Beharry VC opens new WWI Exhibition

    • 17 July 2014
    Recovery? From Flanders to Afghanistan was officially launched by Dr Johnson Beharry VC on 16 July 2014.

    Dr Johnson Beharry VC


    Johnson gave an inspiring speech to invited guests, explaining how his heroic actions in Iraq led to him to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005, in recognition of his extraordinary courage.

    Special guests at the event were Afghanistan veterans James Simpson, Jake Bartlett and Lenny Szrama who helped to create, and also feature in, the exhibition.

    James Simpson and Jake Bartlett



    Lenny Szrama and Dr Johnson Beharry VC

    View a short film of the launch here


    The exhibition is now open to the public and will remain open until 2018.
    • Please vote for us!

    • 11 July 2014

    Voting for Yorkshire's Most Magnificent Attraction is now underway.

    Voting is easy, so if you enjoyed your visit with us, then we would love it if you could help us to win by voting for us here
    • Museum gets out and about for summer!

    • 8 July 2014
    If you are out and about this summer then you may well see us at one of the Summer Festivals that are happening around Yorkshire.

    Come and see us at:

    The Great Yorkshire Show 8, 9, and 10 July

    Kirkstall Festival 12 July

    Bramley Carnival 20 July



    Festivals offer a great opportunity to chat to museum staff and find out the latest news on our exhibitions, events and activities. 
    • New WWI exhibition opens soon!

    • 8 July 2014
    Our new exhibition to mark the centenary of WWI opens on 14 July.

    Recovery? From Flanders to Afghanistan explores how medical advances have helped war veterans to recover from conflict. The exhibition compares treatments during and after the Great War with those used in more modern conflicts.

    The exhibition will be officially launched, on July 16, by Dr Johnson Beharry VC who, in 2005, became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross in more than 30 years. The exhibition has been created with the help of two Afghanistan veterans from Leeds, James Simpson and Jake Bartlett. They both lost limbs in explosions in Helmand Province in 2009 and benefited from modern medical treatments including pioneering surgery. The exhibition highlights the long-term developments that followed the First World War conflict such as improvements in technology and rehabilitation, as well as looking at approaches to the treatment of shell shock. Visitors will be able to reflect on how far military medicine has come in 100 years.

    To accompany the exhibition, a Heritage Trail will be launched in September exploring the museum building as a war hospital during the First World War. The trail will look at the local area and how the war affected East Leeds, as well as the soldiers who would have been treated in the war hospital.

    The exhibition has been funded by the Arts Council England and Thackray Medical Research Trust.

    Soldiers in Afghanistan

    WWI Rehabilitation Unit

    James Simpson and Jake Bartlett
    • Mat Fraser's performance wins Observer Ethical Award

    • 24 June 2014



    We are very pleased that Mat Fraser's new project 'Cabinet of Curiosities (How Disability Was Kept in a Box)' has won the Observer Ethical Award for Art and Culture. Mat brought Cabinet of Curiosities to the Thackray for a sell-out show, and it was a wonderful, thought provoking representation of disability history. Very well done to Mat and the team at the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester!
    • Cabinet of Curiosities

    • 23 May 2014
    On 5 June the museum will be hosting Cabinet of Curiosities: How disability was kept in a box with acclaimed actor and perfomance artist Mat Fraser.


    Mat performed the show to sellout audiences in London and this is the first time the show will be performed in a museum outside of London.

    The project has grown from more than a decade of work by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) at the University of Leicester, and is aimed at addressing the silence in museums on disability by stimulating and shaping new approaches to the representation of disabled people and disability history, arts and culture. In this iteration, it is looking at new ways of presenting disability in medical museums, as they hold some of the most significant collections relating to physical and mental differences but, in the past, have sometimes displayed them in ways that sit uncomfortably with contemporary, rights-based understandings of disability.

    The performance, which will be BSL interpreted and audio described, will be preceded by a drinks reception and followed by a post-show discussion. Booking is essential. Tickets and access information are available here.

    Further information about the show and an interview with Mat can be found here

    • Museum attends Northern History Forum

    • 2 April 2014

    The museum will be attending the Northern History Forum at Leeds Trinity University today. The forum will be looking at the new history curriculum that comes into effect in September 2014. 

    The event will give teachers the chance to talk to museum staff about our education programme and the new WWI project that we will be launching in September. 

    • Planning underway for new WWI gallery

    • 2 April 2014

    Our WWI gallery Recovery? From Flanders to Afghanistan will be opening on 14 July. 

    The exhibition is part of the national commemoration of the centenary of the start of WWI. The gallery will look at the complex relationship between medicine and conflict and how the technologies of war drive medical advancements. 

    Developed with the help of veterans and servicemen and women, the exhibition looks at limb loss, hearing loss and shell shock from the First World War to modern day conflicts.

    A WWI prosthetic leg

    Afghanistan

    • Skeleton Science Exhibition

    • 15 February 2014

    NEW FAMILY EXHIBITION - now open

    Our brand new interactive family exhibition opened on 15 February and runs until the end of 2014.

    The exhibition is on loan from Durham University and looks at the work of bioarchaeologists and how we can learn about the past by examining skeletal remains. The exhibition features a real ancient skeleton and visitors are able to spot some diseases of the past. 

     

    • Young Roots - Health For All Project

    • 17 December 2013
    Over the last 5 months the education team at the museum has been working with a group of young people from the Leeds based youth-group, The Cupboard.

    The Cupboard works with vulnerable young people aged 13-19 from disadvantaged communities in South Leeds. The aim is to enable young people to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives.

    The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by Health For All, a community health development organisation which works in partnership with local government, health services and local people to engage with and improve disadvantaged communities.
    As part of the project, the teenagers have been visiting the museum and investigating  how teenage health issues such as working conditions and sexual health have changed throughout the ages. They then plan to create informative displays on their chosen topic and the project will culminate in a mini-exhibition which will be launched here at the museum in Spring 2014.

    You can find out more about this exciting new project by reading the teenagers online blog here
    • Carols for Christmas

    • 16 December 2013
    Today we enjoyed carols in our entrance hall courtesy of St James's Chapel Choir. A big thank you to them for taking the time to come and sing for us. 



    • Child Friendly Leeds

    • 13 December 2013
    A Young Reporter visited the Museum during Half Term as part of Child Friendly Leeds run by Leeds City Council. Click here to find out what they thought of their visit. 
    • A Night of Frights

    • 5 November 2013
    On Friday 1 November the Museum was overtaken by the Living Dead during Fright at the Medical Museum.  As the lights went out in the galleries the Zombies emerged to terrorise those brave enough to venture in. 



    After shocks in the galleries, the evening ended with live music from the The Blind Dead McJones Band, who played some classic Halloween tracks.


    A big thank you to everyone involved in making the night such a success.
    • Bradford Science Festival

    • 1 November 2013
    On Saturday 19 October the Museum attended the Bradford Science Festival where we held Wound Make-up workshops. We had a very enjoyable and busy day and gave lots of children (and adults) an array of realistic looking gashes and bruises!



    Click here to see a feature in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.
    • Fresher's Week

    • 19 September 2013
    It's that time of year when Leeds welcomes new students to study in the city.

    On 26 September we will be attending the Leeds University Fresher's Fair. Look out for us and find out about volunteering opportunities and our upcoming events.


    • How will the new Curriculum affect school visits?

    • 19 September 2013
    The new National Curriculum for England has been published and there are varying views on how this may affect school visits to museums.

    Liz Egan, Acting Learning and Outreach Manager, spoke to the Museum Journal with her thoughts. 

    Read the article here.
    • Animal Magic

    • 16 September 2013
    September is Animal Magic Month and we have been visited by some very special 4-legged friends. 

    Each Saturday we are welcoming either a PAT (Pets As Therapy) Dog, Hearing Dog or Guide Dog. 

    On Saturday 14 September we said hello to Bluey who is a PAT Dog. Bluey visits people in care homes or hospices and is hoping to go into schools as well in the future. 


    For more information on upcoming events see our Whats On pages
    • Chapel Allerton Arts Festival

    • 16 September 2013
    On Saturday 31 August we attended the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival where we ran our own Potions Shop! 

    The theme of the festival was magic and visitors were able to mix their own magical potions using all the ingredients you would find in your kitchen cupboards. 



    • Vote for us!

    • 26 July 2013
    Are we magnificent? We think so!

    The competition to be voted Yorkshire's Most Magnificent Attraction has opened.



    Please vote for us here



    • Staff Away Day

    • 23 July 2013
    On 15 July the Museum staff had an unusual away day at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm in Leeds. 

    Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is a registered charity and was established in 1980 to provide services to inner city communities. From the Farm’s humble beginnings operating from two old caravans, it has grown into a 24 acre site. It’s not only a working farm with a wide variety of animals, but also a major centre for community and environmental work.

    Museum staff were able to take part in farm tasks such as collecting eggs and feeding the pigs and goats


    before helping to clear weeds and water the plants in the therapeutic garden used by adults with learning difficulties.


    The farm is open to the public daily from 10am-4pm. For more information visit their website
    • Museum attends Kirkstall Festival

    • 13 July 2013

    On Saturday 13 July the museum attended Kirkstall Festival.

    Visitors to the stall had the chance to enter our competition to win a family ticket, learn magic tricks and find out all about our activities for the year. 



    The museum attends festivals throughout the year so check back to see where we will be next!



    • Museum shortlisted for award

    • 4 July 2013
    We are very pleased to announce that the Museum has been shortlisted for Small Visitor Attraction of the year in the White Rose Awards. 

    Winners will be announced on 11 November. 

    Fingers crossed! 

    http://www.whiteroseawards.com/2013/



    • Come and see us at the Great Northern Leisure and Adventure Show

    • 12 June 2013
    On 15 and 16 June the museum will be exhibiting at the Great Northern Leisure and Adventure Show at Pontefract Racecourse. 

    The event runs from 10am-4pm on both days and is the ideal place to find out ideas of where to go over the summer. Parking is FREE and entrance is just £4 and children under 10 go free. 

    The event is an opportunity to come and talk to us about the museum and what we do. Find out about our upcoming events and take part in our competition to win a family ticket. 
    • Museum attends Leeds Loves Food Festival

    • 12 June 2013
    On Friday 7 June we attended the Handmade in Yorkshire Market as part of the annual Leeds Loves Food Festival.  

    The event attracted hundreds of people eager to taste handmade delicacies from around Leeds and Yorkshire. In conjunction with our Learning Cafe, Camuco, we served scones with jam and cream and handmade Thai fishcakes. There was also the chance for visitors to enter a competiton to win a family ticket aswell as finding out about our future events.

    Cafe Camuco is based on site and is open daily to both museum and non-museum visitors. 
    • Matthew Lewis visits new Magic exhibitions

    • 10 May 2013


    Matthew Lewis, best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, left visitors at the Museum spellbound over Bank Holiday weekend. Matthew toured the Museum’s new Magic of Medicine exhibition and looked at the links between the history of magic and medicine, and how medical notions and magical potions still complement each other in modern-day practice.
     
    Matthew said "It was great being taken round the Thackray Museum's Magic of Medicine exhibition. It's one of my favourite museums and I was amazed by the children I met and how fascinated they were by the element of magic in medicine and healthcare. Thanks again to everybody at the Museum for organising such an excellent day."  

    Matthew began his career at the tender age of 5 with several TV roles, but a speculative trip to open auditions in his hometown six years later saw him secure the much-loved role of Neville Longbottom in the most successful film series of all time, Harry Potter. Upon conclusion of the Harry Potter film series, Matthew has been inundated with offers for film, TV and stage. 
     
    The Museum’s year-long magic project explores the timeless association between bedpans and broomsticks, helping to dispel fears that the story of medicine is just gory or scary. In addition to the Magic and Medicine exhibition, the museum is hosting Harry Potter’s World, a travelling display from the National Library of Medicine in the USA. Visitors will learn how historic medical resources from the history of medicine have been woven into the magic of J.K Rowling’s much loved Harry Potter series.
     
    Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology and natural philosophy. This display, using material from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world and its roots in Renaissance magic, science and medicine.
     
    More information about the display can be found at the National Library of Medicine’s website www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/harrypottersworld/exhibition.html
     
    Both the Magic of Medicine exhibition and Harry Potter’s World run until the end of the year.
     
     
    • Launch of new Magic Gallery

    • 28 March 2013
    Today's VIP launch of our new temporary exhibition was a great success. 

    The gallery opens to the public on Good Friday and runs until the end of the year.

    Specifically designed to appeal to a family audience, children and adults alike will be fascinated by the timeless link between magic and medicine and its enduring relevance today. This exciting exhibition will also explore magic and medicine in popular culture, films and literature, and performance magic as therapy in current medical practice.
    • Museum attends Group Tourism and Events Showcase

    • 5 February 2013

    The museum attended the third annual Group Tourism and Events Showcase at The National Coal Mining Museum for England on 2 Feb 2013.

    We met lots of different group organisers and we also held a mystery object competition. Our object was very hard to guess but it was a plaster spreader (more details below). As no one guessed the answer we drew a winner at random from everyone who entered. Thank you to everyone who took part and we hope to see you at the museum in the future.

    The mystery item was:

    A plaster spreader, also known as a plaster iron. In Victorian times, plasters weren’t the small, elastic plasters we put on cuts today, but larger medical applications. They were made up of medicines mixed together with wax or resin and used externally to relieve pain. In order to apply the medicine, the mixture had to be spread thinly onto leather or greaseproof paper which could be put onto the skin. The plaster spreader was used to apply and flatten the medicine mix onto the leather, making a nice even coating.

    Once the mixture dried, it could be placed next to the body with the medicine mixture touching the skin. The heat of the body would gently melt the mixture and the medicine would soak through the skin, hopefully providing relief for the pain.