Monday, 29 August 2011

Last few days of the super urban fox

Straw  sculptures are usually found in  harvest festivals. This one was inspired by the sculptures created at Snugbury's Farm in Cheshire, where the community come together every year to make a giant straw structure which stands through the summer.
 As part of their 60th anniversary The Southbank Centre invited Pirate Technics to 'transplant' this countryside tradition to London this year. The whole project took over 5 months to complete, see different stages here. The choice couldn't have been more iconic of a contemporary urban debate.

'Pet or pest debates' apart, this is a hugely cute fox. On display at the Southbank Centre until 4th Sept. Don't miss it, it is in every way, unmissable!

See a video of the fox's installation here

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Huis te Merwede - House at Merwede

I don’t know what it is that makes people travel hundreds of miles to see heritage sites in other countries while avoiding visiting their own local heritage sites. I have to say though that I’m guilty of the same offense. The ruins of a 600 year old manor house (Huis te Merwede – House at Merwede) are situated not too far away from my home in the Netherlands, and yet I’ve only visited the place twice.

In my defence, the first time I visited the ruin was about ten years ago during a long and hot summer. It took me a while to find it, as there were no signs to point me in the right direction and it was situated at the end of a dead-end road, between the trees. When I finally found it I discovered that the place was sorely neglected. There was waste lying everywhere, the walls were covered in graffiti, and the place smelled like pee. I didn’t even bother to take pictures, but just turned around and left.

Then when I went to visit the Netherlands a while ago I heard that a restoration plan of the site had been approved and that conservation work on the ruins had taken place since. The presentation of the site was also said to have been improved. Of course I was curious and set out to revisit the place to see how it had been altered for the best. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!

An information board had been placed on the site explaining the history of the building, as well as showing some of the archaeological finds that had been dug up during the 1940s. I especially liked the reconstruction that was created to show both what the building had originally looked like and what part of the remains are still standing.

Unfortunately no information was given about the restoration work that had taken place, which is a pity, as I’m sure this wall has an interesting story to tell… How many restoration phases can you distinguish?

I did, however, manage to locate the website of the company that's responsible for the renovation work. The site is in Dutch, and can be found here: You might not be able to read it, but at the bottom of the site a lovely 3-D reconstruction movie can be found of what the building originally looked like.
One quote furthermore really stood out in the article on the website. It roughly translates to "At the reopening we received, the in my eyes best compliment, one of the city councillors said that it looked as if no work had been done on the building".

A picture of the building as it is currently situated, with a tough knight posing on the foreground!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Disaster preparedness (earthquake in Washington DC)

If you think your collections are safe because they are not housed in a seismic active area, THINK AGAIN!

Or perhaps look at what has happened in Washington DC during the 23rd Aug earthquake. Fortunately, damage to collections seems to have been very low, but I feel for all the colleagues working in those areas.

Follow the Smithsonian updates on damage to their collections here

Photo by James DiLoreto shows damage to the Bat Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Monday, 8 August 2011

"The curse of the moth"

The Independent has an insteresting article on what they call "the curse of the moth" on its Sunday edition.

They start it by saying that moths are back but this time "we don't have the balls to stop them", refering to the fact that moth balls were banned by the EU in 2008, due to their toxicity.

The article is very interesting as it shows the nuisance moths can be but I really was not at all aware they had been away!!

"Reports of infestations have risen sharply in the past six months. Some have attributed this to the demise of the traditional mothball, others to global warming. But, it seems, the real problem is us and our over-heated bedrooms full of more clothes than ever before, not all of which are as clean as they could be"
See more here

Sunday, 7 August 2011

HERITAGE 2012 3rd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development

19th-22nd June 2012, in Porto, Portugal

Heritage 2012 aims at establishing a state of the art event regarding the relationships between forms and kinds of heritage and the framework of sustainable development concepts.

See details here:

Symposium 2011 - Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation: Research and Applications

17th to 21st October 2011

Symposium2011 is being hosted by the Canadian Conservation Institute in partnership with Library and Archives Canada. 


Colloquium: The Life of Things - The Preservation of Ethnographic Objects and their Stories

November 11th and 12th 2011, Stuttgart, Germany

What are objects able to tell us? - About their makers and users, collectors, researchers and conservators, who have all left their marks. What do these tell us about people? In co-operation with the Linden-Museum and the German Conservators' Association (VdR) the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart will deal with these questions, considering especially the contribution of conservators to the "life of things".

Please visit the website for further information:

Workshop on conservation of feathers

Wednesday-Friday 9-11 November 2011

The Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service is organising a  workshop on the conservation 
of feathers, to be hosted at the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service conservation studios, Norwich, UK.  

The workshop will be led by Allyson Rae who has extensive experience in the conservation of artefacts incorporating feathers.

Contact Helen Rush: helen.rush[at] to register your interest and for a draft 

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