With the much-anticipated long Easter weekend just around the corner Hollie Bond brings you a comprehensive guide to historical events and exhibitions to enjoy across the UK. From St George’s Day celebrations to archaeology exhibitions and the history of the BIC pen, there’s sure to be something to whet any appetite.
Exhibition: Afghanistan, Crossroads of the Ancient World
Until 3 July 2011
Treasures from ancient Afghanistan that have survived the turbulent years of civil war and Taliban rule are now on display at the British Museum. Fascinating objects ranging from an AD 1st century gold crown to a gold bowl dating as far back as 2200–1900 BC reveal the history of a fragile but extraordinary country.
Exhibition: Inkspiration: The Story of BIC Cristal
Museum of Brands
Until 1 May 2011
This exhibition celebrates 60 years of the BIC Cristal ballpoint pen with a showcase of the history of the brand, including the recreation of masterpieces such as A Girl with a Pearl Earring using a single BIC Cristal pen.
Exhibition: Pop-up Archaeology at St Martin’s Courtyard
Museum of London
Until 13 May 2011
020 7410 2200
This exhibition reveals the history that once lay undiscovered for centuries beneath the heart of London. Saxon and post-medieval artefacts discovered on the site of the new shopping destination in Covent Garden will be on display and there will be an opportunity to meet the archaeologists involved.
Exhibition: Watteau: The Drawings
Royal Academy of Arts
Until 5 June 2011
020 7300 8000
The first major retrospective exhibition of Jean-Antoine Watteau’s drawings is now on show at The Royal Academy of Arts. Over 80 drawings on paper will be showcased in chronological order, charting the development of the French artist’s mastery.
South and South East
Exhibition: Cultural Revolution: State Graphics in China in the 1960s and 1970s
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Until 3 July 2011
Following its recent acquisition of Chinese graphic art, the Ashmolean Museum is showcasing an impressive collection of images created under the political control of Chairman Mao. Inspired by Soviet ‘socialist realism’ art, many of the images portray Mao and other revolutionary figures along with industrial and agricultural achievements. The exhibition includes posters, papercuts, woven silk images and small items such as matchboxes.
Event: What’s Cooking?
Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
22 April 2011
Join the cooks in the historic kitchens of Petworth House as they create tasty treats from the property’s past.
Exhibition: The Trench Experience
Tank Museum, Dorset
Discover the muddy misery of life in the trenches of the First World War. Follow the journey of a soldier from the recruiting office right through to the front line and learn why tanks were invented.
Event: Victorian Spring Clean
Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
Witness a Victorian maid in action as she goes about her chores serving the Fonnereau family of Christchurch Manor. Using real Victorian objects, the event gives a behind-the-scenes look at life below stairs in a rich Victorian household.
Heart of England
Exhibition: Peasants and Paupers: The Rural and Urban Poor, 1600–1900
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham
Until 26 June 2011
0121 414 7333
This print exhibition explores the changing depictions of the urban and rural poor, from crude 17th-century interpretations to the romantic vision of the 19th century. Artists featured include Constable, Millet and Hogarth.
Event: St George’s Day Tea and Tour
23 April 2011
0121 303 1966
To celebrate St George’s Day, Birmingham Museum is running a special ‘Heroes and Villains’, guided tour. The hour-long private tour, which culminates in a quintessentially English afternoon tea, considers the question: ‘What makes a hero?’
Event: Easter 1940s Weekend
Crich Tramway Village
24 April–25 April 2011
Be transported back to the 1940s at this wartime re-enactment weekend. Visitors will receive an I.D card and ration book on arrival and can witness trams and military vehicles being prepared for war. On the Saturday night enjoy a traditional 1940s tea dance, with a pie and pea supper.
Event: St George’s Day Weekend
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Alnwick Castle will be celebrating St George’s Day with a weekend of fun historical events for the whole family. Activities include making precious clay dragon eggs and watching the tale of George and his Dragon recounted during a medieval puppet show. Skilled medieval craftsmen will also be hard at work demonstrating what life was like during the period.
Event: Engels & Marx, The Frock-Coated Communists
People’s History Museum, Manchester
0161 838 9190
This walk discovers the radical lives of two of history’s best-known revolutionaries, Engels and Marx. Follow in the footsteps of Engels who lived in the city for a time and understand why 19th-century Manchester led him to unleash his revolutionary fervour.
Event: Horses in Action Stunt Show
Royal Armouries, Leeds
0113 220 1999
Gallop through history with this spectacular display from the stars of Robin Hood and War Horse, The Atkinson Action Horses. Discover the role of horses throughout history, from the thrilling scenes of the Roman amphitheatre to horseback archers and gun wielding cowboys to the drama of the battlefield.
Exhibition: Michel Huneault: Histoires Normales
Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Until 30 April 2011
Poignant everyday moments photographed during dramatic political events are on display this month at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Photographer Michel Huneault amassed the collection during his travels to conflict areas including Afghanistan, Ukraine and Cuba.
Exhibition: Fish and Ships
National Museum Cardiff
Until 30 April 2011
029 2039 7951
Celebrating 20 years since the discovery of ancient artefacts in the Severn Estuary, this exhibition showcases important items in British maritime history. Artefacts on show include 6,500-year-old pieces preserved in the waterlogged conditions of the estuary, as well as 13,000-year-old fishing implements from France.
Exhibition: Treasures: Alice in Wonderland display
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Until 2 May 2011
0131 623 3700
As part of its Treasures display this Easter, the National Library of Scotland delves into the weird and wonderful world of Lewis Carroll with a selection of early editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The pièce de résistance of the exhibition is a rare first issue, published in 1865. Also on display are original costumes from the Scottish Ballet’s production of Alice, which coincides with the exhibition.
Exhibition: Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer
The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
Until 5 June 2011
0131 556 5100
Quench your thirst for everything royal with this exhibition of photographs depicting the childhoods of two generations of royals. Adams' photographs broke the mould of royal portraiture and this exhibition showcases over 100 relaxed and natural photographs of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
Exhibition: Through the Eye of a Needle
Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh
Until 15 May 2011
Through the Eye of a Needle celebrates the history of the sewing needle and its contribution to daily life over the past 10,000 years. From ship’s sails and clothes to pictures and lace, this exhibition covers a comprehensive selection of items sewn for pleasure and profit.