Showing posts with label RAMM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RAMM. Show all posts

Saturday, 13 September 2014

'Cabinets of Wonder': Royal Albert Memorial Museum

'Cabinets of Wonder'

Perhaps you were wondering,
"where did this museum thing begin?"
If so, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, RAMM, in Exeter
has answers for you. 

Around 500 years ago,
'rulers and nobles', wanting to 'possess the wonders of the world',
collected unusual and exotic objects,
creating 'Cabinets of Wonder'.

A couple of centuries on, collectors began to be more systematic,
focussing on types of objects.
Their collections were often donated to public museums,
to contribute to scientific knowledge,
as objects for earnest learning.
Museums were serious business,
promoting proper learning and self improvement.

These collectors brought us...


...and more butterflies
very specifically from Bishopsteignton, Devon,
displayed in drawers.


and flint tools.
I've shown you these before, in a previous post, here,
about things 'lost'
in the vicinity of Exeter.

Some collections appear slightly less thematic,
a bit random
and need more than a glass cabinet or drawer in which to display them.
Such as this Italian harpsichord and Kilimanjaro Giraffe.

Nowadays, collecting is not the preserve of rulers and nobles.
The RAMM invites you to become a collector.
Anyone can start a collection,
don't be put off by Giraffes and harpsichords.

Head to the beach.

Get out and about in the countryside.

Have a dig around in your garden.

 One day your collection
might be the beginnings of a museum.

 And when you have opened that museum,
you can invite visitors to say what they think.

 They'll be interested and amazed.

And tell you what they like about your collection.

And you might find out that you've made a space for people to connect,
and spend time together,
making museums more than serious learning and self improvement.

It's amazing what inspires people to start collecting.
Some things you just have to keep, and add to,
creating your own 'Cabinets of Wonder'.

Antlers found in Scotland,
sheep's ribs found on Dartmoor,
teeny tiny shells scooped up in your hands from a beach in Brittany,
coloured shards of sandblasted glass picked up on the beach in Teignmouth,
a gecko's skull,
bottle tops, all 357 of them,
stones from the beach, that always look better wet,
and a current seasonal occupation, conkers,
all litter the shelves of our house.

Get collecting,
and perhaps take your 'nana' to see what others have collected,
to the RAMM in Exeter.
A brilliant place to spend time,
both with objects and grandparents.

Details on the RAMM website, here.

Monday, 19 May 2014



Bones from seventeen hippos were found in 1965 when the Honiton bypass was being built.
The perks of building roads!
They're fossilised now.
Lost between 70,000-130,000 years ago.

Found in gravel pits near Axminster.
Multipurpose tools for cutting, chopping, digging and butchering.
Lost between 230,000 and 290,000 years ago.

Found dotted around many parts of Devon, lost around 6,000 years ago.
We saw a film of a man making one. Flint shaping flint.
It inspired some making back at home. They're sharp enough to cut up an apple.

Found in Trichay Street and by the Acorn Roundabout, Exeter.
Lost around 800 years ago.

It is now too late to claim this lost-property.
Their owners are long deceased, but in finding these objects, we have the opportunity to learn more about our ancestors and life in Devon, 800 years ago and throughout prehistory.

Hippo bones, hand-axes and arrowheads, all evidence of life in prehistoric Devon.
What was life like in prehistoric Devon?
Here's a mock-up. Whilst your kids spent their time lying on the grass, your sheep warmed themselves by the fire.

Another 'FOUND' poster needed...
Found in a prehistoric dwelling.
Answers to the name of 'De Li'.
Lost around half an hour ago.
No child in the immediate area seems to lay claim to her.

This dwelling may actually be more representative of life in Roman Devon.
But that's what happens in museums, you get the chance to compare life in different times.
You get the chance to dress up as a Roman
and give a talk on 'your pots' from the thirteenth century.

This is particularly true of the 'Making History' gallery in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
The gallery takes you from prehistoric Devon right through to contemporary Devon and Exeter.

We saw some fabulous film footage of seaside holidays in the 1950s & 60s.
I was won over by the double-deckchairs. I want one!

Visit the Royal Albert Memorial Museum open Tuesdays to Sundays each week.
We did try and go on a Monday! Do check the website here before you go.

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