Thursday, October 02, 2014

Even babies love the Museum!

We had a visit from a gorgeous little lad the other day.  He visited Boscastle to see his Auntie and Uncle and to celebrate his first Birthday.  He loved the Museum which he visited with his Mum, Dad and grandparents.  Here he is looking at the Open Sesame doors.

And here he is walking like a zombie in the Herbs and Healing section.  The Museum managers are very proud of their little nephew (but slightly worried about his zombie inclinations) and make no apologies for blatant nepotism!   

Museum hailed as one of the "must see" things in the UK

We have just received notification that we are considered one of the top museums worth travelling to the UK for.  To see the others click on this link:

Article which was researched in the Museum now published

Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies have published an article which was researched in the Museum Library by Shai Feraro (a PhD candidate in the School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University)  An annotated copy of The Wiccan journal which is in the Museum library is mentioned on page 51.  The article looks at the connections between British Wicca and Radical Feminism - an interesting read.  Subscription needed to read the article online.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lots going on at the Museum this weekend

There are lots of events happening at the Museum this weekend.  First of all, there will be the last candlelit evening of the year on Saturday night.  We are open from 8pm til midnight (no need to book)  We are also taking part in Boscastle Food Festival with sample tastings of Cornish foodstuffs and a stall in the Museum to try food made from foraged hedgerow goodies.  We are also offering £1 off entry to the Museum if visitors present a valid entry ticket for the Food Festival.  Lots of extra reasons to visit us (and Boscastle) this weekend!

You can now watch the Museum on Antiques Road Trip online

If you missed this programme when it was on TV yesterday afternoon then you can watch the it online.  There is a nice roam around North Cornwall (Wadebridge, Tintagel and then Boscastle)  If you want to see the Museum, that section begins at 19 minutes in and lasts around five minutes .

A really excellent piece with a good look around the Museum - brilliant work as always Joyce!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Museum of Witchcraft to be on Antiques Road Trip Tuesday 30th September at 4.30pm!

Don't miss it - see Joyce from the Museum on BBC1 tomorrow at 4.30pm.  After it has shown we will post the iplayer address in case you missed it.

Leaflets available to view online

Our new "I like" leaflets are proving very popular with visitors to the Museum.  People pick a subject that interests them and the leaflets guide them to objects in the Museum's collection that fit with that theme.  There isn't much information on each leaflet as the visitor can find the object and the text that goes with it in the Museum.  These leaflets can now be viewed online as well.

There are four leaflets:
I like nature
I like art
I like a good story
I like unusual things

Cecil Williamson book by Steve Patterson now available to buy from Museum Shop

We are really pleased to announce that you can now buy Cecil Williamson's Book of Witchcraft: A Grimoire of the Museum of Witchcraft by Steve Patterson from the Museum Shop in Boscastle but also from our online shop for £27.

This is the first book to do justice to the remarkable role played by Cecil Williamson, founder of the Museum of Witchcraft, in preserving our magical traditions. It consists of the text of his magical notebook, together with detailed notes and a biography of Cecil by Steve Patterson (whose long relationship with the Museum and profound understanding of British magic make him the ideal editor).

In his Introduction, Steve writes, “Cecil Williamson’s ‘Witchcraft’ Manuscript falls roughly into two halves; the first two sections being a collection of folklore, witchcraft, spells and charms. The final two sections are quite different, seeking to link the magic of Ancient Egypt with the witch traditions…. One could well imagine the first part as being his record of the traditions imparted to him by his informants over the museum counter, whilst the latter part was the result of his musings and observations whilst wandering around the British Museum.”

It is published by Troy Books to their usual high standard of book production, and illustrated with a wealth of black and white photographs of Cecil and the Museum in its various stages of development.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us for the Cornwall Today Awards

Thank-you so much to the people who took the time to vote for us as 'Best Museum' in the Cornwall Today Awards.  We really appreciated your support.  Sadly, we didn't win this time but there is always next year!  The winners were the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.  We had an interesting evening and received a certificate for being highly commended which is now hanging with pride in the Museum entrance.

Interesting article on witchcraft, misogyny and a British Museum exhibition

You can read an online article about witchcraft and misogyny which also looks at the British Museum exhibition 'Witches and Wicked Bodies' (previously on display in Scotland) here:

We have the exhibition catalogue from the Scottish exhibition in the Museum Library and it is well worth a read if you don't manage to get to the exhibition.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

October Course Every Thursday in October

Please could people booked onto the October course (every Thursday in October 2-4pm) please contact the Museum:
01840 250111

AAH & University of Wolverhampton poppet research project in full swing

Earlier this month, Dr Louise Fenton from the University of Wolverhampton began researching the origins of some of the poppets held in the Museum collection. Some of you may have heard Louise talk last year at the Wellington when she uncovered her findings on three of the poppets she looked at previously. The research is funded by the Association of Art Historians to foster collaborations between Museums and Universities and they were keen to support this particular project. Louise will be making several visits over the next year and hopefully will uncover more of the secrets held in the cabinets of curses!

Louise has already uncovered some fascinating information regarding the people, places and motives for cursing using some of the poppets in the museum collection.  This project will deepen public understanding of twentieth century folk magic, provide vital provenance for our collections, and inspire more projects and collaborative work with universities and researchers in the future.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Window Display

We have a new display in celebration of autumn and the harvest.  It features a wide variety of corn art created by Gillian Nott.  The pieces are truly beautiful and look fantastic on Marti Dean's stag's head.  This 'kern babby' has this poem near it.

Corn Dolly Poem (by Minnie Lambeth)
 "Tis but a thing of straw" They say,
Yet even straw can sturdy be
Plaited into doll like me.
And in the days of long ago
To help the seeds once more grow
I was an offering to the gods.
A very simple way indeed
Of asking them to intercede
That barn and granary o'erflow
At harvest time, with fruit and corn
To fill again Amalthea's horn.

If you are in the area, come and have a look!  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Video filmed in Museum Library now available to watch

A couple of weeks ago Steve Patterson was interviewed in the Museum library about his book on Cecil Williamson (the founder of the Museum of Witchcraft).  The video is now available to watch. Thanks to Troy Books for providing us with this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unique visit to Dartmoor

Last Saturday Joyce and Kerriann met up with a group of Swiss witches at the beautiful setting of the Nine Maidens stone circle at Belstone on Dartmoor. Leading the group were Wicca and Biba and their gorgeous German Shepherd Cheyenne of the Swiss Witchcraft Museum Hexenmuseum Schweiz.

It was the perfect location to talk about how traditional magic explores our relationship with the natural world, as we handed round examples of the wealth of magical objects derived from Nature – including a swallow’s feather, an ammonite, and a lovely hazelnut charm from the Museum.

It was fascinating to learn more about Swiss magical traditions, which cast new light on some of our objects. In Switzerland ammonites were associated with snakes, and were thought to give the power to speak the language of animals. A Swiss folktale tells how a girl was given three hazelnuts that granted her three wishes. And apparently if a church minister looked at his congregation through the cross-shaped hole on the end of his church key, he would be able to see which of them were witches!

Wicca has recently written an excellent book about amulets and talismans, and kindly donated a copy to the museum library (see photo above). Remarkably, it includes a section on the strange animal muzzle amulets that have been puzzling us ever since one was donated to the Museum in 2012. Now, thanks to Wicca, we know that it was worn as protection against impotence caused by witchcraft!  Photo of the amulet below.