Bear Days in Buxton

Bear detail

Celebrating the years that something has been standing stuffed but still growling in a museum may seem a bit odd, but “The Buxton Bear” has been a feature of the Museum since its arrival 30 years ago. When the Museum redesigned its Wonders of the Peak galleries in 2017 there was much debate about “whether the bear should go”.

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not a local bear

After all, this is not a local bear (probably a North American Black Bear, maybe a Brown). It isn’t an established part of the Collection – it was brought in to give the museum a bear in a cave as an example of the excitements of life in the Peak District a few thousand years ago (although at the time our bears were probably larger and didn’t growl in trans-Atlantic accents). The Bear, however, is well known, well loved (by some), well loathed (by others) and well dreaded by adults who were growled at when they were (presumably) much younger. The Museum just wouldn’t be the same without The Bear rumbling away in a corner.

So, The Bear stayed.

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Bear badges

And this year marks 30 years of growling away in a corner of the Gallery. Over the summer, the Museum staff have been encouraging the Bear into new looks. We have seen a Boating Bear, a Wimbledon Bear, a Holiday bear, a Pride Bear.

 

The Museum’s regular event artists (including myself), have also been joining in with assorted Bearday activities. There have been bear masks, bear finger puppets, drawing big bears, making cards of small bears, bear heads. On Sunday just gone, we had a Teddy Bear’s Picnic out on the Slopes in front of the Town Hall. Here, between sandwiches and running around, we made bear badges and bear bunting. There were

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Bear Bunting

crowns for teddy bears (and cuddly zebras and pigs). There were Bearday Cards (sorry, Bear, they all went home with the children who made them!) and a general sense of ursine cheerfulness

 

So if you are in Buxton, please do drop into the Museum and say hallo to our Bear. She (or he? Not quite sure) is definitely one of the family.

 

 

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the Bear stole a diamond*

 and thanks to all all our Bear event participants and to Richard Johnson for the original bear line drawings we used for the badges!

*the bear stole a honey diamond from the snail who owned and guarded it….

Dragons, coins and silken purses

What would you hide?

next events for Hoards?

A heap, a hoard, a treasure, a treat…a glitter of staters across a cave floor, the gleam of a brooch in darkness, a dream wrapped and bound and hidden in hope. What makes a hoard so special – and so very personal?

The Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain is still shining its way through the Museum galleries and our next set of events is coming up fast. Why not drop in and join us? all events are free and where materials are involved, they will be provided. Children of 7 years and less need to bring an adult with them but otherwise events are open to everyone

the plant that eats the robbers….

Sunday 26 May, 12 noon–3.30pm
Giants, dragons and terrible traps
How would you protect your hoard? Would there be a monster rumbling in a corner? Would there be a dragon resting on the pile of your gold? Or would you design some terrible trap, a maze of crushing rocks and flying spikes and trapdoors to flip a robber into a bottomless pit….
Cartoonist Martin Olsson will help you draw your treasure and how you would keep it hidden!

Allow 45 minutes.

Venue: Buxton Museum

Thursday 30 May, 10am–12noon
Make and take: curious coins
Counting your pennies…..what coins will fill your hoard? Have a look at the coins in the exhibiton: there are horses and hands, gods and heroes, numbers, names and things we cannot decipher. Would you be the face on your lost gold? Would you hoard some unicorn pennies or open-hand thruppenies, or wren farthings…..
Design your own coins with local artist Sarah Males.
Allow 45 minutes.

Venue: Buxton Museum

Sunday 2 June, 12noon–3.30pm
Silk purses and sow’s ears

“What would hold your hoard? Do you want a beautiful patterned purse, all beads and embroidery? Or would you like a painted pouch pulled tight with a drawstring to hold your hoarded coins safe? Or maybe you are a sow’s ear person, a folded twist of old leather, tough as boots and bristling with a the last of a pig’s hair
Make your own treasure bag with the Creeping Toad team, a special something to keep your coins in.

Allow 45 minutes.

Venue: Buxton Museum

These events overlap with our wonderful half.fish festival. You don’ t know about our mermaid excitements? Go here for a sense of the tide that is running!

Photo by Rob Young

 

 

A mermaid tide is running…..

a Mermaid tide is running

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the events list – come on in for a paddle!

In the Water, detail

A swirl, a splash, the flap of a broad tail on the water or the silence where someone has vanished….we don’t see much of merfolk unless they want to be seen

A handsome pony stands on the bank of a highland stream, gleaming black and friendly, climb on my back, I like the company, I am safe, an easy gallop over the moors…Kelpies are notoriously tricksy shapechanging water folk

Kelpie, detail

 

Buxton Museum Mermaid

Rather wizened now, older than any of her visitors, her strange and marvellous features not quite as strange and marvellous as they once were but the Museum mermaid still has the power to fascinate and people come and stare. It doesn’t cost a penny any more to come and admire and the Boyd-Dawkins Room at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is very different from the sideshow, freakshow tents where she started her career in show business, but the Museum Mermaid still draws her visitors…..

Water People enchant us: with their beauty or their power or their seductiveness or their danger or their grace and generosity – or with all of those at the same time. here in Buxton we are blessed with local stories of mermaids and water people (Blake Mere, Kinder Downfall, Redesmere) and with our own Arnemecta, the Goddess of the Waters

In celebration of the Museum mermaid, of the water people tales of the Peaks, of the water people stories from across our islands and of the spirit of water in general, we are organising a small festival.

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30th May – 1 st June

All events are free – for some of them booking is needed as spaces are limited

For all events, children 7 years old and less need to bring a grown-up with them (in case we have some hungry water creatures to feed)

The Land and the Sea, detail

THURSDAY 30TH MAY

1. Mermaids and monsters

Make a mermaid, a sea serpent, a fluttering sea horse or some wild and wonderful creatures no one has ever met before. Quick puppets of shimmering, sliding sea creatures with Gordon from Creeping Toad

Venue: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery* (venue details at foot of post)

Times: 2 – 4pm

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in – allow 30 minutes for the activity

FRIDAY 31ST MAY
2. Hand-made mermaids

Inspired by ‘The Buxton Mermaid’, recreate your own idea of this mythical creature, using a variety of art materials, then place her in your very own sea. A drop-in workshop with Artist and Educator Anna Spratt.

Venue: Green Man Gallery*

Times: 10.30 – 11.30am

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in

3. Interview with a Mermaid

Anita Jasso is a ‘professional’ mermaid, with a breath-hold of 5 minutes, who can free-dive to 40m. You may have seen her on the ITV drama, Butterfly. With mermaid clubs springing up all over the country, there has never been a better time to discuss this cultural phenomenon.

Venue: Green Man Gallery
Times: 12 noon – 1pm

No booking needed just arrive and listen with a smile

4. Mermaid CSI

How was she made? Where did the bits come from? Why did they make her? Solving the mystery of the mermaid! Listen to Conservator Anita Hollinshead reveal her research, after studying ‘The Buxton Mermaid’ for her MA in the Conservation of Historic Objects at the University of Lincoln.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 1.30 – 2.30pm

No booking needed just arrive and listen with a smile or maybe your best detective notebook….

5. Mermaid: the Movie

Former BAFTA Screenplay Judge, Rob Young, will give a one-hour crash course in how to write a movie. It’s Film School in an hour! A warm, witty and welcoming workshop in the craft of storytelling. Free, but booking essential.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 3 – 4pm

Places limited: booking through eventbrite

6. D E E P

The world premiere of a short story by award-winning writer Rob Young, inspired by The Buxton Mermaid and the ‘haunted’ pool at Blake Mere. D E E P tells the story of Jan, a Buxton boy who discovers that there’s something strange in the water. A darkly-comic urban fairy-tail for Young Adults (older adults welcome too). Performed by Buxton actress, Sarah Day.

Venue: Green Man Gallery

Times: 6 – 7pm

Places limited: booking through eventbrite

SATURDAY 1st JUNE

7. A Mermaid Museum

A Mermaid Museum: alternative mermaids, fierce mermaids, shark spirits and exhibitions: help us remember the origins of the Museum Mermaid by making our own Mermaid Museum

Venue: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery* (venue details at foot of post)

Times: 2 – 4pm

Materials provided

No booking needed just drop by and join in – allow 30 minutes for the activity

* Venues

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Terrace Rd

Buxton

SK17 6DA

01629 533540

Green Man Gallery

Hardwick Square South

Buxton

SK17 6PY

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is 125 this year and to mark that anniversary, the BM125 project will bring together experienced with new and emerging artists with 12 months of artistic initiatives

Whale rider, detail

Illustrations on this blog are extracts from bigger pictures by some of our Water people artists!

  • In the Water and The Land and the Sea are by Ruth Evans
    Sea dancer is by Jo Thilwind – visit her work at Dreamspaceart on Facebook
    Kelpie is by Gordon MacLellan from Creeping Toad
    Feral Mermaid, photograph by Rob Young
    Whale Rider is by Maria Strutz

Maps, dragons and tiger-leopards

A golden dragon sits on a crumpled map

First Hoards events

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

golden eggs

We never really know what’s going to happen on an event. We can be fairly sure of the materials we will use and the general direction of activity but it is hard, when planning for dragons, to anticipate Dandelion Cats

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Dandelion Cats

We have started plotting the stories of the hoards we are buolding through the events programme now

 

There were maps to take you to a hidden hoard if you are clever enough to decipher the clues and brave enough to risk the dangers…

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Under the sea?

In a pyramid?

Near the swings in the park?

On the other side of the moon?

Surrounded by trees and fiercely guarded by a cat!

Where will you hide your treasure? 

And how will you know how to find it?

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On Thursday, there were dragons hatching from golden eggs to guard golden hoards….or maybe not. Hence the Dandelion Cats who guard golden flowers for bumblebees. There were several very laid back foxes who could sort of, maybe, OK now and then, guard, well, something. Someone had said, you know, Someone asked them to…well, someone offered to pay…but what are pennies to a fox who is counting rabbits?

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What hoard would a Viking guard?*

And there is an ongoing question: what do you value?

What is the precious thing that you would keep safe for centuries?

Would it be golden wonders?

Or a pottery ball full of coins?

Or seeds for a future flowering?

Friendship?

 

And there was Molly, the Tiger Leopard, guarding her wonderful little Leopard Cub, the rarest cub in all the world. And there was Bessie the Bear with her Unicorns who were very interested in that same cub…..

Tiger leopard

 

The next Hoards events are as follows. All these events are at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and all events are free and unless it says otherwise, you can just turn up and join in. With talks please arrive for the scheduled start. For other events allow 30 minutes at least for the activity.

 

1. Dave the Moneyer, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April, 12 – 3.30pm. Come and watch how money used to be made….

 

More details, here: https://buxtonmuseumandartgallery.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/a-glitter-of-coins-event/

Or here: https://www.facebook.com/events/830578163972722/

Dave’s own company, Grunal Moneta, can be visited, here.

 

2. Talk: Hoards and hordes – the Viking conquest and settlement of the East Midlands,

Tuesday 30 April, 11am–12noon Join British Museum curator Gareth Williams to find out how archaeological discoveries combine with historical evidence and place-names to shape our understanding of the Viking presence in Derbyshire and surrounds.

 

More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2214633065510425/

 

3. Managing your own Hoard

Thursday 2 May, 12noon–4pm

Get information on handling household finances and managing debt from the money advisors at Citizens Advice Derbyshire District.

 

4. Treasure Chests 

Sunday 5 May, 12 noon–3.30pm

Make and take a treasure chest for the hoard you haven’t got yet…or that you might be hiding under the bed. In a sock. With a dragon. Allow 45 minutes.

More information:

Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2153931458047298/

 

Or here; http://creepingtoad.blogspot.com/2019/03/from-maps-to-dragons-events-at-buxton.html

 

Or call Buxton Museum and Art Gallery on 01629 533540

 

Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain

A British Museum and Salisbury Museum Partnership Exhibition

This exhibition runs from Saturday 13th April to Sunday 16th June, 2019 in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

 

* Vikings: we had a Viking today with a very big, very fluffy beard who sailed away in an eggshell boat – probably following a treasure map drawn by a fox…. 

And many thanks to our friends from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust who joined us on Sunday on such a lovely day we had hardly any visitors!

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A Season for Treasures

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collected treasure stones

Family events for the Hoards exhibition

As the Hoards exhibition unrolls its treasures in the Museum, we are unfolding our own series of Hoarding events to accompany it

Using a set of questions to shape our plans, events respond to the challenges

 

Where would you hide your hoard? (Tricky Treasure Maps, 18th April)

What would guard your hoard? (Here be Dragons 25th April, Giants, Dragons and Terrible Traps, 26th May)

What treasures would your Hoard hold? (A Golden Day 21st April, Curious Coins 30th May)

What will hold your Hoard? (Treasure Chests 5th May, Silk Purses and Sow’s Ears 15th May, 2nd June; Pottery Piggies 9th June)

 

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll get entries on all of these on this blog (a couple are already linked in the list above)

Meanwhile, keep an eye on these pages and on the Creeping Toad blog and facebook page for details

thumbnail1. TRICKY TREASURE MAPS

Date: Thursday 18th April

Time: 10am – 12 noon

Place: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

 

Where would you hide your hoard?

What clues would you offer to the lost treasures of Grin Low, the buried wonders of Pavilion Gardens, or the Terrible Treasures of Skellybob Wood?

 

10 paces, 2 paces. 

A hop, a skip and a jump. 

Head north and east 

Or west and south. 

Turn around and sing….under  the bridge and over the river, 

Behind the rock, 

Behind the rocks,

Behind the last hope of any help…..

 

Join artist Sarah Males for a morning of wild invention: draw your own treasure map. Add as many wonderful things and terrible obstacles as can fit on a crumpled sheet of paper

 

No ideas? No problem! Just take a wander through the Wonders of the Peaks gallery, or even better, loiter in the Hoards exhibition…

  • Materials provided
  • Free
  • No booking needed: just drop by and join in
  • Last entry 11.30
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collected treasure stones

2. A GOLDEN DAY

Date: Sunday 21st April

Time: 12 – 3.30

Place: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

What will we find in your hoard?

An afternoon starting your own hoard: make your own treasure. There will be the broken shells of golden eggs hatching golden fish perhaps, or beautiful birds. Maybe your own golden brooch or badge.

A curling golden dragon armlet,

A shining golden ring,

Who knows what treasures

A spring afternoon may bring?

 

Collect a golden stone to share some golden moments among the High Peak Rocks.

Meet the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and find out more about Nature’s own gold-keepers and hoard-makers

  • Materials provided
  • Free
  • No booking needed: just drop by and join in
  • Last entry 3.00

Gryphon 5 copy 33. HERE BE DRAGONS

Date: Thursday 25th April

Time: 10am – 12 noon

Place: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

What will guard your hoard?

Or whose hoard are you setting out to steal? Will you slide a golden coin from under the fiery belly and watchful gaze of Smaug the Dragon? Will the Wyrm of Wormhill find its treasure plundered? Or will l there be a dragon under your bed who will wrap herself up in dressing gowns and gold and keep your treasure quite, quite safe?

Then, we should remember that Gryphons are the Hereditary Guardians of Treasure so maybe you would like an eagle-headed, lion-bodied, wide-winged friend nesting in the shrub at the bottom of your garden. Or maybe we just need a fluffy kitten to distract people…..

On this morning, we’ll be making dragons….just little ones but as friendly or as ferocious as you like

  • Materials provided
  • Free
  • No booking needed: just drop by and join in
  • Last entry 11.30

 

These are Creeping Toad events for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Hoards Event Programme

Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain

A British Museum and Salisbury Museum Partnership Exhibition

This exhibition runs from Saturday 13th April to Sunday 16th June, 2019 in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Bumblebee close up
some treasures grow and enrich everyone