Treasured: Imagining Events

One of the best parts of working in Learning and Access is coming up with programs to accompany exhibitions. We aim to provide a range of events that cater to all age groups and compliment what the exhibition curators have worked hard to create. ‘Treasured’ focuses on treasures in the University’s collections that have not been or are rarely displayed, making programing even more exciting as we can be inspired by objects usually hidden from public view.

Embroidered gloves given to Henry Wardlaw by Charles II, c.1600
Embroidered gloves given to Henry Wardlaw by Charles I, c.1600

Sometimes certain objects jump out at you that would be particularly good for a workshop. Our gauntlet gloves are a great example. Given by Charles I to Sir Henry Wardlaw, a descendant of one of our founders Bishop Wardlaw, the embroidery on these gloves is outstanding.  As roughly 400 year old textiles, their extremely fragile nature prevents them being displayed very often so picking them out for an event makes even more sense. They also stimulate a number of talking points: patronage at court, early modern textiles, iconography and so on. In this instance we are celebrating the craftsmanship of the embroidery and bringing in a highly skilled embroidery specialist, Jan Marshall, to pass on her knowledge to adults. This also highlights the opportunity programming presents of promoting different activities and hopefully encouraging people to get involved with a new skill or interest.

Similarly the Delft Tiles from our Heritage Collection sprang out as fantastic objects to include. As examples of the iconic Delftware they open up discussion of the designs and techniques of this style of pottery. As well as their interesting history they are also beautifully decorated and well worth closer examination. Additionally, they provide the excuse to decorate ceramics, hopefully inspiring an interest in pottery for younger generations.

Tiles from a fire surround at University Hall
Tiles from a fire surround at University Hall

Visually stimulating objects are also good items to choose for events. In this case, a collection of butterflies caught my eye. The different varieties demonstrating various shapes and colours are perfect for workshops for any age group and particularly fun for providing the chance to look at collecting.

Victorian display of butterflies from the Bell Pettigrew Museum.
Victorian display of butterflies from the Bell Pettigrew Museum.

As this exhibition focuses on the University’s hidden treasures we wanted to include the chance to see some of the treasures that cannot be moved from their locations. For example, our geoscience collection is still used in teaching and therefore lives in the Irvine Building, for students’ eyes only. A walking tour will bring visitors ‘behind the scenes’ to venues like this and uncover more of the University’s hidden gems!The collections also inspired the University’s teaching staff and we are very lucky to have first rate scholars keen to engage with the collections.  Annette Carruthers, Senior Lecturer in Art History, is particularly taken with the embroidered objects chosen for this exhibition and she will be sharing her knowledge with the public at a talk entitled ‘Stitch! Stitch! Stitch!’.

I hope you enjoy participating in this events program as much as I enjoyed planning it and see you at the Gateway Galleries to discover what hidden treasures are lurking!

For a full list of our events please see:

For any enquires and bookings please contact call 01334 461663/ 461660

Naomi Muir, Curatorial Trainee (Learning and Access) 2012-13


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