Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jos Smith exhibition ending soon!

Not long left to see our first ever temporary exhibition which has the title Witches and Witchlore: illustrations by Jos A Smith.  It has proven very popular with visitors but sadly, it will have to be taken down next week (on Monday January 4th to be precise).  There are four days left to see this exhibition (if you haven't seen it yet) and only four days left to see it again if you loved it when you visited!

A reminder of how fantastic these paintings are...


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Old Museum signs now on display in Museum library

During a recent tidy up in the Museum store, we discovered an old sign that seemed to deserve display.  It dates back to the early days of the Museum where it can be seen in the photograph below.

There wasn't really an appropriate place for it in the Museum itself but we have found a spot for it in the library upstairs along with some other old Museum signs.

Two photos of the same picture.  Top photo: as it was originally used in the window display and bottom photo: as it is displayed today in the library.

The library houses over 7000 items including books, journals, DVDs and CDs relating to magic, folklore, witchcraft and the occult.  It can be visited throughout the year by prior appointment.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Outside the wise woman's cottage

Over winter, the Museum team often have a bit of a tidy-up and move around.  This helps us keep the displays fresh and gives repeat visitors something new to see when they visit.  This year, we've moved some of the objects relating to sacred sites to the upstairs gallery and this has made space for the redisplaying of the cunning folk display outside the Wise Woman's cottage.  This includes a section on Joan Wytte.

Poetry CD can now be bought from Museum shop and online shop

Poems of Witchcraft and Magic is now available to buy from the Museum shop and the online shop for £10.

From the online shop description:
A new addition to the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic CD collection, this selection of poems with music has been produced by Circle of Spears Productions, with all profits donated to the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic

Track List
1.  I Saw Three Witches - Walter de la Mare
2.  The Witch Bride - William Allingham
3.  A Midsummer Night's Dream extracts - William Shakespeare
4.  Tam O'Shanter - Robert Burns
5.  La Belle Dame Sans Merci - John Keats
6.  The Witch's Child - Edith Matilda Thomas
7.  The Witch's Daughter - John Greenleaf Whittier
8.  Macbeth Extract - William Shakespeare
9.  Meg Merrilies - John Keats

10. The Witch - Walter de la Mare

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fire at former home of Crowley

The Museum houses a number of items relating to Aleister Crowley including a wand which was once his (see photograph above) so we read with interest about a fire at his former home recently.

Vivienne Shanley seasonal witch pictures on display

The Museum owns a series of four paintings by local artist Vivienne Shanley.  They are called Imbolc Witch, Beltane Witch, Lammas Witch and Samhain Witch.  For many years, they were on display in the Museum, available for sale as cards in the Museum shop and they also feature on the Museum's two chanting CDs.  They are now back on display near the exit to the Museum and near the Wheel of the Year to which they have such a strong connection.  They are also in the room which has the chanting CDs playing on a loop so they are in a fitting spot!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Black Pullet inspired talismans in pride of place

The Museum has an amazing collection of talismans based designs found in the Black Pullet grimoire.  They were created by Mrs A Dodsworth from Paignton in Devon.  They have recently been moved to the groundfloor of the Museum where we hope visitors will be able to better appreciate them.  In the photograph below, you can see the Black Pullet display on the left with herbs and healing on the right and the Christian Magic display at the end.

The Power of the Witch documentary features Museum founder

The Museum was recently told about this documentary which includes a section with Cecil Williamson, the founder of the Museum.  It also contains sections with Doreen Valiente, Alex and Maxine Sanders, Keith Thomas, Theo Brown and William Paynter (amongst others).

The section featuring the Museum is from around 30 minutes into the programme.  It is worth sticking with it to the end for the part which says "Quite simply you've sold your soul!" and then a shot of the Museum interior back then.

The youtube description: An extremely rare documentary about Witchcraft aired once in the UK in 1971. Featuring contributions from Eleanor Bone, Cecil Williamson, Alex & Maxine Sanders, Doreen Valiente et al. Very much of its time and with some very rare footage, also includes reference to the famously unsolved murder of Charles Walton on Meon Hill.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Museum is open every day until January 3rd

A green Yuletide gift giver statue purchased recently for the Museum from a local "junk" shop.

The Museum is open this week every day from 12-5pm (last entry at 4.30pm).  We will close at 5pm on Sunday January 3rd and not re-open again until March 25th.  This will be the last opportunity to see our current exhibition Witches and Witchlore by Jos A Smith as we will be packing this up and installing our next exhibition in January.

Read about The Winter Mare - Mysteries of the Mari Lwyd

The Museum has been visited by Mari for the past two years on All Hallow's Eve.  Mari will be here again this year on October 29th.  Read more here...

Mythology Magazine Article about Yule

Just came across an interesting article about Yule written by Mark Norman, Friend of the Museum.

Richel Collection

Simon Costin, the Director of the Museum writes of the redisplayed Richel Collection:
"Wunderkammer, or cabinets of curiosities, first appeared in mid-sixteenth century Europe as repositories for exotic, wondrous and awe inspiring objects. The Richel Collection at the museum is all of those things and due to the fact that we know so little about the objects or why they were created, the re-display makes a nod to those early precursors to modern museums and also to the way that Bob Richel himself displayed the objects, grouped closely together within a cupboard over a series of shelves. You will have to come to the museum when we re-open over Christmas and New Year to see our very own Cabinet of Wonder."

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Join a project to help remember the victims of persecution

Kerrian Godwin recently told the Museum about this commemorative project.  It might be something our readers/visitors want to support and participate in.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Friends of the Museum pop up Museum guides available

If you are a Friend of the Museum and you weren't able to attend the AGM in November, we have a few copies of the guidebook that was created to link in with the pop Museum run by the Friends organisation this year.  If you contact the Museum, we can send you one in the post.

Tom, the Museum dog, likes it quite a lot...

He particularly likes this page for some reason!

Redisplaying of the Richel collection begins

Yesterday, the Director of the Museum, Simon Costin, began work redisplaying the Richel Collection in its new cabinet in the upstairs gallery.  Here are some glimpses of him at work.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Poor old Ted

During the Museum's photography volunteering project, some of our recent acquisitions have been photographed.  One particularly interesting donation can be seen here.  They were donated by Judith Noble and came with the following text:

"These three poppets were found by caretakers over the weekend of 6th-7th June 2015 on a fire escape at the Arts University Bournemouth.  There was no indication as to who had made them or why, but a pentagram had been scratched onto the wall next to where they were left.  It is unlikely they were made by students as term time had finished some time previously and the students had left for the summer.

The people who found the poppets (which they referred to as "Voodoo Dolls") were very disturbed by them, as were the people who occupied the office next to the fire escape; they needed reassurance that the dolls were not intended to be images of them.  One person even suggested that the police should be called.

It is unlikely that we will ever find out more about the origin of these poppets, but they (and the reaction they evoked) are a very interesting demonstration of continuing belief in the power of image magic, and, at the very least, the continuing hold witchcraft has over the popular imagination."

The Museum is now closed until December 19th

A quick reminder about our winter openings times:
Closed in December until Christmas holidays
Open every day from December 19th until January 3rd (inclusive) where Opening hours each day will be 12-5pm (last entry 4.30pm).
Closed Christmas Day
Closed from 4th January 2016 until March 24th 2016.

Re-opening Friday March 25th and remaining open every day until October 31st 2016.

Sometimes other websites don't update very regularly, it is always best to check the Museum website for up-to-date details.

Read a blog about Joan Wytte

This blog is based on a recent talk by Helen Cornish about Joan Wytte.