The Remnants of an Army Returns to the Somerset Military Museum

The Remnants of an Army by Lady Elizbeth Butler returned to the Somerset Military Museum this September. The painting belongs to the Tate Gallery and was recalled to Tate Britain in 2015 where it featured in Artist and Empire, a major exhibition of art associated with the British Empire from the 16th century to the present day. The exhibition, including the painting, later travelled to the National Gallery of Singapore.

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Elizabeth Butler (1846-1933) achieved fame for her realistic depictions of war and its consequences. The Remnants of an Army is one of her best-known works.

The painting shows the moment in 1842 when Dr William Brydon arrived outside the fortress town of Jellalabad during the 1st Afghan War. He brought the terrible news that 17,000 British soldiers and camp followers had been massacred. They had been making their way back from Kabul to India. But they were attacked along the route despite a promise of safe passage from Akbar Khan, the Afghan tribal leader.  Dr Brydon was one of very few survivors.

Soldiers of the 13th Light Infantry, the regiment which would later become the Somerset Light Infantry were then besieged in the fortress town of Jellalabad. After five months they broke out and defeated the Afghans in one of the most famous military operations of the Victorian age.

Find Out More

Join Curator of Military History Sam Astill for a Talk and Tea exploring the painting at The Museum of Somerset at 2.30 pm on 10 November (£5.)

Dino Day Sunday 22nd October

Dino Day 2017[4] Join us for some Dino fun on Sunday 22nd October.  This has become one of our favourite events, with lots of fun for all dino lovers.

You can enjoy crafts and activities, dress up and even disco dance with a dinosaur!

The whole museum will be open with a chance to meet our expert and enjoy our cuddly dino trail.

The museum is open from 10am until 5pm, and the cost which includes all the activities is £3 per person (age 3+) or £10 for a family.  There is no need to book – just turn up.

 

Summer of Fun Activities for Saturday 2nd September

Join us on Saturday 2nd September for our last day of summer holiday pick and mix activities.

Rhyme Around the World  Multi-sensory exhibition £2pp or £2.20 incl gift Aid (2+)

Trails  – all day Choose from different trails  £1

Pirate dressing up – all day – free

 

10.00-12.00   Romans – make a mosaic, tell the time in Roman numerals £1

12.30-1.30  Coin Striking – learn how to strike a Celtic Coin  £1

2.00-4.00 Ice Age – make a hairy mammoth, make a cave lion puppet  £1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover Taunton Town Tours

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind buildings you pass every day? If so, The Museum of Somerset’s latest town tour might provide some answers.

‘Discover Taunton’ is a guided walking tour exploring the often-surprising history of Somerset’s county town.

Touching on religion, education, science, technology, health and leisure, the tour reveals a thread of experimentation, rebellion and non-conformity which, some might say, is still the character of the West Country. Along the way, you will meet the inventor who inspired Mary Shelly’s vision of Frankenstein, the middle-aged spinster who led Taunton’s own Pilgrim Fathers to seek freedom in the New World and the sixteen-year-old who was thought to be too old to be a teacher. You will also discover how, for much of the last 500 years, the town was a hotbed of religious radicalism!

‘Discover Taunton’ tours are led by volunteers from The Museum of Somerset who also researched the tour’s content with the support of archivists from the South West Heritage Trust. This is the fourth year that the tours have run, each year with a different theme, and over that time they have become more and more popular.

Susie Simmons, Visitor Services Manager at The Museum of Somerset, said “the new tour follows on from last year’s very successful ‘Hidden Taunton’ tours in revealing some of Taunton’s lesser-known stories. This year’s tour really demonstrates the adventurous, pioneering spirit of Somerset people through the years.”

The ‘Discover Taunton’ tour departs from The Museum of Somerset every Saturday at 11.00 am and Wednesday at 2.00 pm from now until the end of September. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and finishes at Taunton Visitor Centre.

The tours cost £3.50 per person. Advance booking is highly recommended. You can reserve your place by phoning 01823 255088.

Family fun hydrographic event on Thursday 1st June

 

Want to learn how to navigate the oceans? Join the fun and learn about hydrography and why it is so important.

 The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office would like to invite you to join them to try out a range of maritime activities in celebration of World Hydrography Day. You can meet their expert mariners, plot your own voyage on a chart or get involved in using navigation software.

 Open to all, this event at The Museum of Somerset is free to attend and suitable for all ages.

 

Stonehenge: Old Stones, New Ideas. Talk in aid of the Friends of the Museum postponed to Wednesday 3rd May 2017 at 7.30pm

Stonehenge jpeg

Unfortunately this talk has had to be re-scheduled.  We will ring everyone who has bought tickets to see if they can make the new date.  Refunds will be given for those not able to make Wednesday 3rd May.

Join us to find out more from one of England’s best known archaeologists as he shares his passion and knowledge about Stonehenge.Tickets are available from the museum on 01823 255088 or http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/themuseumofsomerset

A Fragile Beauty: Art on the Blackdown Hills 1909 to 1925

An exhibition of works by the Camden Town Group

Opens Saturday 25 March

An exhibition of works by the Camden Town Group opens at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton on Saturday 25 March. ‘A Fragile Beauty: Art on the Blackdown Hills 1909 to 1925’ captures the beauty of this Somerset and Devon borderland in a period when the First World War was changing English society forever.

The Camden Town Group initially painted contemporary urban life, but later they were drawn to the countryside, especially the Blackdown Hills. Read more

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Spencer Gore’s ‘Applehayes’ on kind loan from the Ulster Museum

Exon Domesday

Discovering William the Conqueror’s Somerset

A unique document from the age of William the Conqueror is now on display at The Museum of Somerset in Taunton throughout February and March.

Known as ‘Exon Domesday’, the document was created in 1086 as part of a vast survey of England ordered by its Norman conqueror, William I. It has been preserved for many centuries in Exeter Cathedral Library and is named after the Latin word for Exeter (Exonia).

The most famous book in English history

The document is the most detailed surviving draft of Domesday Book, perhaps the most famous book in English history, and covers the five western counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, although not all of it has survived.

Its 532 parchment pages give a remarkable picture of the landscape and people of the South West at the time the Normans were taking control and include much information that Domesday Book leaves out, including unique accounts of the levying of the geld, the principal royal tax.

With grateful thanks

“We are deeply grateful to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral for allowing us to display Somerset sections from Exon Domesday,’ Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said. “It is an extraordinary document and a unique survival. Without it we would know far less about South West England in those turbulent years of conquest and change.”

Uncovering the document’s secrets

In 2011 Exon Domesday was removed from its nineteenth-century binding so that digital photography and detailed study could begin. Since then a major research project by a team from King’s College London and the University of Oxford, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has been uncovering the document’s secrets. One strange and unexplained discovery was the mark of a medieval spearhead imprinted across two of the Somerset pages.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 4 February to Saturday 1 April.

Admission is free.

Associated events

Two talks at the Museum of Somerset by members of the project team will explain Exon Domesday and the research project while the document is on display.

On Thursday 9 March at 7.30 pm Dr Frank Thorn, the foremost living editor and translator of Domesday Book, will speak about Exon Domesday in the Great Hall at the museum (tickets £8.50). Booking available via TicketSource.

On Friday 10 March at 2.30 pm Dr Chris Lewis of King’s College London will speak about how William the Conqueror’s great land tax of 1086 was collected in Somerset. Part of the Talk and Tea series (tickets £5).

Tickets can be booked on 01823 255088.

2017 Wild Art Calendars

On sale now at The Museum of Somerset these calendars will make great Christmas presents!

Wild Art

This stunning calendar features images of the natural world taken from the Neal brother’s Wild Art exhibition currently on at the museum. Each photograph features animal shapes and faces hidden in the landscape and invites viewers to offer their own interpretations.

Produced by Andrew Neal

Cost: £12

Size: A3 (fold out to A2)

The calendar is available to buy from the Museum of Somerset, Castle Green, Taunton, TA1 4AA