Wednesday, 16 February 2011

News - Nottingham city museum opens up archaeological stores

Nottingham City Museums is offering a chance to go behind the scenes at its archaeological stores, offering a rare look at its prehistoric collection.
Manager Ann Inscker said: "Visitors will see material that hasn't seen the light of day for a long, long time."
The objects include flint tools from 50,000BC and an array of axes, hammers, spears, swords and pottery.
Most of the items in the collection were found in Nottinghamshire or the East Midlands.
Many have been found on the banks of the River Trent, through dredging in the 1960s and 70s.
"One of the former county archaeologists refers to it as the richest river in Europe for archaeology," said the collections manager. "The richness is here but it is behind the scenes."
The reason for this, Ms Inscker explained, is down to space and the national curriculum in schools, which starts with the Romans.
"[This has meant] we have a lot of material that doesn't have a front end," she said.
The archaeological collection began life at the Castle Museum in 1878. It has been built up over the last 130 years through donations.
It generally has less than one per cent of its 23,000 objects on display at any one time.
"People don't understand how much material we have," said Ms Inscker.
The objects are available for research and scientific analysis and Ms Inscker stresses the importance of keeping a local collection.
She said: "If everything is in London it will go into deep storage and it will take six months for an enquiry for you to actually get access to that material.
"By having it here it means that it is more accessible to the public.
"We want to learn and understand the local area from which this material comes," the collections manager added.
"If we left it all to people in London - they're not going to want to come up to the provinces and learn about archaeology here, not to the same extent and with the same passion we do.
"We need to make sure the facility stays here."
Behind the scenes tours of the prehistoric collections at Brewhouse Yard, Museum of Nottingham Life, will take place on 18 February, 6.30pm to 7.30pm, and 24 February 2011, at 10.30am and 2.00pm. Advance booking is advised, as places will be limited. Telephone: 0115 915 3620

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