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Museum of British Folklore - discuss

Gillian B 30 May 09 - 05:21 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 May 09 - 05:46 AM
Newport Boy 30 May 09 - 05:57 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 May 09 - 06:29 AM
DMcG 30 May 09 - 07:10 AM
Terry McDonald 30 May 09 - 07:33 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 May 09 - 08:40 AM
Jim Carroll 30 May 09 - 08:43 AM
Terry McDonald 30 May 09 - 08:57 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 May 09 - 10:12 AM
VirginiaTam 30 May 09 - 10:32 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 30 May 09 - 11:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 May 09 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Keith Leech 30 May 09 - 11:22 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 30 May 09 - 11:26 AM
VirginiaTam 30 May 09 - 12:02 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 30 May 09 - 12:19 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 May 09 - 03:45 PM
Folkiedave 30 May 09 - 07:24 PM
RTim 30 May 09 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore 30 May 09 - 08:11 PM
Spleen Cringe 30 May 09 - 08:38 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 May 09 - 03:58 AM
Gillian B 31 May 09 - 05:20 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 May 09 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 31 May 09 - 05:45 AM
VirginiaTam 31 May 09 - 06:41 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 May 09 - 06:43 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 May 09 - 06:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 May 09 - 06:50 AM
VirginiaTam 31 May 09 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 31 May 09 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 31 May 09 - 05:07 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 May 09 - 05:18 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 31 May 09 - 05:20 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 31 May 09 - 05:22 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 31 May 09 - 05:26 PM
Richard Bridge 31 May 09 - 05:37 PM
Les in Chorlton 31 May 09 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 01 Jun 09 - 04:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Jun 09 - 05:11 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Jun 09 - 08:17 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 01 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 01 Jun 09 - 08:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Jun 09 - 10:23 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 01 Jun 09 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 01 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM
Jack Blandiver 02 Jun 09 - 08:03 AM
Museum of British Folklore 02 Jun 09 - 12:15 PM
bubblyrat 02 Jun 09 - 03:04 PM
Cats 02 Jun 09 - 03:12 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 02 Jun 09 - 03:13 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 02 Jun 09 - 03:17 PM
Ruth Archer 02 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM
Jack Blandiver 02 Jun 09 - 04:07 PM
Ruth Archer 02 Jun 09 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Museum of British Folklore 02 Jun 09 - 06:21 PM
Jack Blandiver 03 Jun 09 - 08:17 AM
Phil Edwards 03 Jun 09 - 08:39 AM
Jack Blandiver 03 Jun 09 - 09:06 AM
Gervase 03 Jun 09 - 11:49 AM
Jack Blandiver 21 Jun 09 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,jock 21 Jun 09 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Mike of Hessle 26 Aug 09 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 27 Aug 09 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 06 Oct 09 - 10:10 AM
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Subject: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Gillian B
Date: 30 May 09 - 05:21 AM

Given that it appears this project is happening and in the process of evolving, what might we like to see within it's walls? It has been suggested that the internet serves the role that the museum would have. It has also been suggested that if one google's various folk subjects, information can be found there which would come without 'agenda's and objectives', which is clearly nonsense. Youtube provides film footage yes, but often of poor quality and with little description. I for one would welcome a well constructed centre which serves as an exhibition space, library and education resource. There is a marvellous Folk Museum in Basel which I visited several years ago which was absolutely fascinating and gave great insight into the local customs and traditions. Firstly I suggest we look at what the function of such a place should be and then how it could best carry out that function. So to get the ball rolling.....function?
To engage people with their heritage?
To give people a greater understanding of their native seasonal customs?
To give insight into and a greater depth of understanding into our vernacular arts and crafts?
To give people the opportunity to engage directly with real objects?


(And Simon, if you are still out there and haven't been put off by the way you've been treated, please feel free to feed in. We shall try to keep the bullies from your door!)


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 30 May 09 - 05:46 AM

I thought it might be worthwhile for the purposes of this thread to also see what the Museum says about itself.

Cut & Paste from MoBF webite:

AIMS & OBJECTIVES:

1
To draw greater public attention to the rich and continuing tradition of folklore as a vital
component in the social fabric and cultural identity of the British Isles.

2
To actively encourage the study of traditional customs and seasonal events as they presently
exist in the British Isles. This will focus on the way indigenous folk traditions are revived, altered
or adapted in a contemporary context.

3
To promote the production of educational materials; i.e. video films through an interactive
website based on contemporary fieldwork and to actively encourage screenings in schools,
historical societies, libraries, museums and international folk festivals and folklore exhibitions.

4
To ensure that materials bequested and collected are conserved for the future following
established museum guidelines.

5
To augment, continually update and improve the existing collections held by the
Museum of British Folklore.

6
To encourage gifts and bequests of suitable artifacts.

7
To encourage visitors to the museum and make the materials and artifacts available to
researchers, students etc, as well as loans to other institutions.

8
To accurately portray the history and rich tradition of folk practice throughout the ages.

9
To create employment.

10
To be responsible custodians of the Museum of British Folklore collection and archive.

11
To generate sufficient income in order to support the above objectives.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Newport Boy
Date: 30 May 09 - 05:57 AM

I hadn't come across this before. It looks interesting, and I'm sure it will develop into a good resource. I would add to Gillian's list of functions - To provide collections for reference.

On the basis of what I've read on the website, I have two reservations.

The information at present is overwhelmingly English - the only reference I caught to the celtic nations was a couple of Irish web addresses. If it is to be British folklore the scope needs to be a lot wider.

The project is evidently one man's passion - none the worse for that, but it is therefore quite small scale. It may well expand rapidly, but there's no indication of the hoped-for scale of the project. To adequately represent the range of British Folklore would require major resources and it's not clear where these might come from.

As an example, have a look at the St Fagans National History Museum pages. The Museum is on a 100-acre site. This is the scale of the main Welsh collection - multiply by maybe 10 for Britain?

Anyway, I wish Simon well and I will try and catch the caravan when it come this way.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 30 May 09 - 06:29 AM

In which case, I'd personally prefer a Museum of English Folklore over a 'Britsh' one. Otherwise the scope might well be overwhelmingly great and the areas purported to be represented, receive lesser treatment. But then I happen to be English, so I might well say that..


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: DMcG
Date: 30 May 09 - 07:10 AM

One of the problems in this sort of work is setting boundaries. If you don't set them, the museum will simply be a hodge-podge without any real focus and your scarce resources will be spread very thinly; on the other hand the chances of getting funding from any official body is likely to be better if the boundaries are quite wide. As an example of the difficulties of setting boundaries, think of the Notting Hill Carnival. It would certainly not have shown up in C#'s day so in that sense is not an "indigenous folk tradition" to London. On the other hand it is arguably indigenous to a sector of the people of London and is certainly a very well established event now for a much wider section of the population. So while I would personally include it, you can see how deciding what to include and exclude is fraught with difficuly.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 30 May 09 - 07:33 AM

The problem with the English v British (and Irish) argument is that 80% of the population of these islands is English.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:40 AM

Look out, trouble will soon appear here abouts

L in C


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:43 AM

Great as an idea - but in the present economic climate.......
Would prefer to see set-up that housed all the traditional arts.
Re English only idea - have found from my involvement with archives that it is extremely unwise to separate English from rest of these islands, or even the rest of the world - not least because of the international nature of folk cultures.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:57 AM

Can't disagree with that, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 May 09 - 10:12 AM

I bet some one will


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 May 09 - 10:32 AM

I would like to see side by side parallels and comparisons of English, Irish, Scots and Welsh arts. Including timelines and histories of how all traditional arts, moved and changed over time. I get such a thrill when I think I am hearing a song for the first time and suddenly realise this line, or that chorus or that theme is in another song. I want to know which came first, how the songs evolved, who took them up and why.

As an American (living in the UK) of some Scots/Irish ancestry and hailing from the Appalachia, I would love to see how same traditions were carried over, altered and brought back to the British Isles. But that is asking too much. Or is it?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 30 May 09 - 11:19 AM

Build it and they will come doesn't work anymore.

"To engage people with their heritage?
To give people a greater understanding of their native seasonal customs"

Ppeople will only do these things if they want to, most are content to simply have a decent life, a roof over their heads, food in their mouths, and their summer hols by the sea.
the re are a number of regional museums dealing with the local history and heritage, one of them is the
Black Country Living Museum


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 May 09 - 11:19 AM

Sounds good to me if more than a bit difficult

L in C


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Keith Leech
Date: 30 May 09 - 11:22 AM

I was windering just how far the net would be cast. What about annual Chrisitan customs for example?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 30 May 09 - 11:26 AM

"I was windering just how far the net would be cast. What about annual Chrisitan customs for example?"

exactly...where does it start and where does it stop?

In trying to please everyone, the project could end up pleasing no one at all.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 May 09 - 12:02 PM

Rifleman - fair point re people just want a decent life, etc. But now (in the economic downturn) may be just the time for local attractions like the Black Country Living Museum to make the most impact.

People may be taking more advantage of what's on offer close to home, because they can't or don't want to spend on extended trips. Well we can hope.

Also spot on about danger of losing the focus because there is too much covered. Very tricky to get the spec right. I suppose Christian and pagan might be covered only seasonally, as done in National Trust like places.

But then what about other religions. Have there been Jews in the British Isles since middle ages? What of Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox? What about immigrants from far and middle east etc. coming in more than a century ago?   What about the ancient Roman religious beliefs. It all becomes a big wobbly mess.

No I think it best to leave religion of all sorts (even pagan) out. No treatment of it whatever. But then how do you cover folkloric arts that relate specifically to belief system as some do to pagan.

Damn! I just argued myself into a deep hole..

Uh.... a little help, please.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 30 May 09 - 12:19 PM

Thread Drift alert:

Which folk customs and lore within the UK, tie into formal organised religious dogma & observation? I imagine the syncretic integration of err peasant agricultural rites and formal religious ones as one example, would potentially be impossible to untease??

One of my favourite recently learned songs, is the Lyke Wake Dirge. What I love about this is the local Yorkshire imagery describing Christian horrors of the afterlife and dangers of damnation, in terms that the local folk would all readily recognise. The Whinny Moor that one comes too upon leaving the physical, is an afterlife land filled with spikey plants. If you've been good to the poor and clothed them, then those same 'hosen and shoon' will be waiting for you on arrival. Meaning you'll be protected on the walk to the Bridge of Dread. I love the vivid imagination of the people translating abstract Christian dogma into images and language that are very much immediate and their own.

I'm not a folklorist, so I don;t have a clue, but this kind of thing must occur simply all the time in folk custom? Err, or so I'd assume...


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 May 09 - 03:45 PM

Looks like a really interesting project, even to a healthily sceptical creature such as I, who takes the Ronald Hutton-ish view that more folkloric stuff has fairly prosaic roots (can I plug "Stations of the Sun" again? Great book!). We certainly need a museum of this sort and Simon appears to be going about things with a great deal of style, panache and enthusiasm. Good man.

The only thing that worries me about this project is that it appears from the website that it is attempting to get up and running entirely as a private concern without any help from any state bodies (unless that is being explored in parallel but not mentioned on the website). Apart from the fact that this is an area that should get state funding because it is about an often overlooked and misunderstood part of the heritage of these islands, would state or lottery funding not help to make the project more secure? Or is it about preserving the freedom that comes with total independence from state interference? A side issue, I guess, but an interesting one.

What I hope will happen is that some of the more outlandish fictions about our folklore won't be compounded... that there will be a healthy dose of salt alongside the more arcane and mysterious stuff... That might just be my bias, though.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 May 09 - 07:24 PM

I don't think it is a side issue - but in fact is central.

I think the concept happens to be on the mad side of barking myself, but it is a personal opinion and good luck to the guy.

Most regional museums have folklore and folklife collections and there are many experts around. I am not sure Simon counts amongst them. Not a problem by the way - but it might be an idea to find out what exists and see how that might be helped.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: RTim
Date: 30 May 09 - 07:34 PM

Hey - Whatever they do is great! Anything that moves us forward and increases the exposure of Traditional Music is great in my book. What are you going to do to help them?

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,The Museum of British Folklore
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:11 PM

Well it's been great to come in from work to find a thread has been started on behalf of the museum project. (Thanks Gillian)
Given the amount of questions this may take some time. As I'm sure we all know, this subject is vast and complex so please excuse the brevity of explanation given here.

Firstly, I would like to explain why I chose to use the word Museum. During all the months of research and development last year, I must have gone through dozens of variations as to the title for the project. British Folklore - Study/Resource Centre, Institute, Foundation, etc etc. Some thought the word museum, conjured up visions of dusty exhibits, while others thought a Study or Resource Centre didn't show a level of seriousness and was too one dimensional given the amount of potential the project had. And so it went on. Finally the classic definition of the word seemed the most appropriate, given how I envisioned the project to eventually be - "a permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible (folk) heritage of humanity and its environment, for the purposes of education, study, and enjoyment ..."

I have always seen the primary focus of the museum as being it's collection of artefacts, photographs, films, oral histories, manuscripts and assorted ephemera, being drawn from the study of the events themselves as they exist and have existed. (more about what these 'events' will be later). This would form the main body of the archive which would be made available to the public for study and research. The way in which these things would be displayed was exciting to me as it would be to anyone who has visited a well designed museum and been given another insight into material which they had perhaps overlooked before. Bear in mind that the bulk of visitors to the space may not have come into contact with much of the material displayed. The secondary focus would be the way in which I hope to engage the actual makers involved in various forms of folk art, from straw makers, well dressers, barge painters and then contemporary artists making work which deal with folkloric themes.

The project will most certainly deal with the Folk Culture of the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh. Given the amounts of similarities and cross overs between certain customs this made sense. (And for all I know the museum may end up in Wales or Scotland for instance). Yes the scale is vast and this brings us to the question that was raised of boundaries. I see this project being something that will grow and mature in time. The National Media Museum in Bradford began as one man's collection. It was deeply personal and as a collection flawed in terms of the range of things represented but over the years it grew in content and scale. No museum will ever be able to present a perfectly formed collection, covering every facet of British Folk Culture. Initially, of course there will be yawning gaps and the selection of items and information displayed will inevitably be intensely personal. As more people come on board the displays will change, broaden and mature.

Having spoken to many small museum directors, it was decided to try and get the museum privately funded at the start. Everyone told the same story regarding public money. The amount of red tape involved, the degree of intervention and standardisation, ranging from the levels of light that should be deployed within the museum to the size and font that the information cards have to be and so on and so on. Once the museum is up and running though and a period of time has elapsed, then funds from the public sector can be chased. Luckily, many private funding bodies have not been affected quite as badly as you might think. They still have the same amounts of money to give out each year and I was told that due to the unique nature of this venture, I stood a good chance of receiving funds. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful. The funding will be three phase; 1. Acquisition of items for the collection and purchase of a suitable building. (A good time to buy with housing prices being at an all time low). 2. Fitting the building out, building work etc. 3. A 5 year sustainability plan. Of course there are cross overs between these three but far too boring to go into here!

I should point out now that I am under NO illusion as to the amount of work involved here. It is huge! That is why I have enlisted the help of various professionals. I am very lucky in that, due to the industry I work in, I have been fortunate enough to have been put in touch with a wide range of Santa's Helpers, as I call them. Two professional fundraisers are working on all the funding applications. A worker at the Charity commission has helped to draw up the endless polices that are needed. A friend who lectures at Bradford University is putting me in touch with MECCSA (Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association), with the aim of working on various Knowledge Transfer programmes to help with archiving. The museum will soon be a registered Community Interest Company, with a Secretary and Treasurer. A Teacher friend is working on the Outreach programme which will go ahead next year when the caravan has stopped being used on the tour. Hackney Council, where I live, have asked if I can do some talks at local schools as they realise that none of their current teaching modules contain any reference to seasonal customs and traditions. (This happened after they visited the caravan when it was recently parked outside Tate Modern). I could go on but I'm tired (as you can imagine!) and it's late. All these things are running alongside my commercial work and organising the tour. And no, I don't have a life and yes, I need all the help I can get!

Many people have said here that they care passionately about these subjects, well so do I. I do not see myself as appropriating them for selfish ends as has been suggested. I see the museum as filling a gap within the cultural landscape of this country and as a means for people from all walks of life to gain knowledge of and a deeper understanding of our unique Folk Culture.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 May 09 - 08:38 PM

Thanks Simon. Good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 31 May 09 - 03:58 AM

Thanks for that posting. MoBF: "And no, I don't have a life and yes, I need all the help I can get!"

What kinds and varieties of help - would be useful (I take donations as a given)?

Do you have any strategy in place (or planned) for gaining and organising vollunteer support?

From what I understood from a Folk Activism thread I started a while back - most of the current endevours to promote public awareness of Trad Folk Arts etc. are being run almost wholly by a volunteer base of enthusiasts. And according to J. Adams in particular, this bypasses much of the stifling affects of centralised funding.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Gillian B
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:20 AM

My word, what an undertaking! Might one ask what the selection process will be in terms of what is included and what is left out? How do you see the museum being initially structured? You do know that you could have a much easier life watching jerky footage on YouTube and perusing apparently unbiased writing from the internet as a means of enjoying our rich folk culture, don't you?
However I'm pleased to hear you don't seem to be prepared to do that. I very much look forward to following your progress on what appears to be an epic journey!


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:32 AM

Did anyone catch Cooper's Hill on the news at all? It was featured last night on Have I Got News For You. As ever, there's some splendid footage on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOyQBSMeIhM&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:45 AM

Naughty Gillian! And Touche Sean.......I did try to watch it but YouTube doesn't load very well on my old mac but I got the jist. I can try and see if News for You is on iPlayer which is usually better. I will come back to your questions a little later Gillian, if that's ok as I'm just running out.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:41 AM

What about a Friends of the Museum of British Folklore? A group of volunteers which can become a registered charity which supports the Museum through a range of services; collecting, conserving, working on displays, work as guides, etc.

Something like this Friends of Historic Essex.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:43 AM

Strange how these things work out... In Oxfam in Lancaster yesterday I picked up Gary Hogg's Customs and Traditions of England (David & Charles 1971) and Elizabeth Holt & Molly Perham's Customs & Ceremonies (Evans Bros. 1980), £5 the pair - they even had two copies of The White Goddess. Later in Heysham we were thwarted in our efforts to inspect the dark age sculpture in the church by a very floral wedding ceremony which spilled out into the graveyard where beauteous life flourished a while amongst the ancient headstones, upon one of which we found the following inscription: Heysham, 30th May 2009 1.

And on the porch, we found a very anciently weathered (and possibly hitherto unidentified) Green Man accompanied by two spirals : Heysham, 30th May 2009 2

We were hoping to check out the old public scales, recently restored, but they were wrapped up. See Here for the story.

*

Here's wishing the Museum of British Folklore a productive summer.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:44 AM

"Did anyone catch Cooper's Hill on the news at all?"

'Real Men! Real Cheese!' Or so they say...


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:50 AM

Would a virtual museum be a way of exploring the concept?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 31 May 09 - 07:00 AM

Virtual Museum

I think planners already do something like this when organising these projects. How much do gaming programmers charge? Anybody know a likely volunteer?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 31 May 09 - 04:40 PM

Thanks to Virginia for the link to the Essex site. I will read through and maybe contact them to see how they organise themselves. Regarding the Virtual Museum idea, in a way the internet provides this to a degree as Sean has mentioned. Admittedly it's not all collated in one place, in any kind of ordered fashion but I always find that once I start researching something on the web, it takes me to all sorts of unknown places which can open up other avenues of investigation.

In answer to Gillian's queries, I envisage that visitors will be lead from month to month as they navigate around the building. Within each month various customs and traditions will be highlighted while others are listed with the opportunity for further investigation in the research facility. The initial choices will be based on discussions with the curators and to an extent dictated by the objects/costumes/artefacts gathered over the coming year and a half. Other areas of the museum would be given over to special exhibitions which could highlight wider aspects of folk practise, such as Roadside Tributes for example, as Sean suggested.

As I mentioned before, at the start there is bound to be yawning gaps in what is covered. My main concern is that the customs and traditions represented are shown with integrity and help to give insights to a broad range of the general public.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:07 PM

Just as a footnote to the Virtual Museum idea, I'm a bit old fashioned and think you still can't beat seeing the objects, opening the books etc, first hand. In the same way that attending an event is a thousand times more satisfying than watching something on TV or a computer.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:18 PM

Re: virtual Museum. I think the suggestions were purely for purposes of aiding in the planning stage?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:20 PM

I knew of that Swiss folk museum, in Basel, through a programme about the flugehorn, I saw a few years ago - seems a good place to visit, as would be any "Museum of ENGLISH Folklore."


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:22 PM

"as would be any "Museum of ENGLISH Folklore." "

Problems with that have already been explained WAV.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:26 PM

...or Welsh or Scottish or Spanish, etc., I should have added, CS.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 May 09 - 05:37 PM

Seems a good idea


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:49 PM

"Re: virtual Museum. I think the suggestions were purely for purposes of aiding in the planning stage? "

Spot on

L in C


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 04:54 AM

'Re: virtual Museum. I think the suggestions were purely for purposes of aiding in the planning stage?'

I see, sorry, got the wrong end of the stick. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 05:11 AM

In laying out and looking at the relationship between various aspects of 'British Folklore' it might be possible to start with the most worthwhile, decide which might actually be better in a virtual format (perhaps songs and tunes?) and map in what already exists.

Just a thought

L in C


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:17 AM

Having narrowly avoided watching A Night at the Museum last night, I pondered the nature of museums in general, each of which becomes a fascinating piece of folklore in and of itself leading me to the notion that maybe someone should do something on The Folklore of British Museums. I'm sure The Pitt-Rivers could fill several volumes in itself, likewise the erstwhile Hancock Museum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (presently being reinvented as The Great North Museum, swallowing many fine smaller museums in the process) which contained the unwrapped 2,500-year-old mummy of Irt-Irw, who is said to set off intruder alarms and has inspired various ghost hunts. During a school visit in my youth a friend once ran out in terror claiming her lips moved when he was looking at her; one of the hardest kids in the school too - didn't sleep for a week! Of the smaller Newcastle museums swallowed by the GNM is the Museum of Antiquities which has been part of the university for as long as I can remember. A favourite exhibit was the reconstruction of the Temple of Mithras on the Roman Wall; a lurid scene which lit up upon receipt of 20p, playing a soundtrack solemnly intoned by a Roman legionnaire with various sounds of howling winds & festive carousing in the background. I was in there once with a friend from college who had a dizzy spell in the darkened space and the next day told me her dreams had been filled with vivid Mithraic rituals; others have claimed similar experiences. Friends of mine had strange experiences at the Temple of Antenociticus and were moved to visit his head which resided in the museum from which they were summarily ejected by the custodian for honouring him with flutes, drums and floral tributes.   

One hopes that the Oriental Museum in Durham will always be there, though one exhibit was removed from public view owing to it being considered rather too obscene for public view. This is a mid-18th century Ch'ing Dynasty porcelain depicting two lovers delightedly copulating in the Taoist Hovering Butterfly position. It is said that two young Christian students paying a visit on a blissful summer day were so inspired by the piece that they made their way to nearby Houghall Woods where they consummated what had hitherto being a shyly platonic friendship in the Hovering Butterfly position. One wonders how many other couples have been similarly inspired... Anyone with a copy of Tao Magic - The Secret Language of Diagrams & Calligraphy by Laszlo Legeza (Thames & Hudson 1975) can find it illustrated on page 84 (plate 57) - otherwise click HERE.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

Tao Magic - The Secret Language of Diagrams & Calligraphy


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 08:51 AM

Oops... I had a longer post but shredded it somehow - apart from that, for some reason there my brain insisted on reading 'Diaghphrams".


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 10:23 AM

Still looking for better picture of the Durham Taoist erotic porcelain; turned up this meanwhile which is rather delightful:

http://diptogo.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/chinese-sex-ed-figurine.jpg


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 10:34 AM

One of the most intriguing things about that porcelain, is that both of them are engaging eye contact - not with each other as in a life face to face encounter - but with the imagined voyeur. Reminds me of modern Western porn in that regard. Though they do seem most happy, none of the male grimacing in particular which makes me think of someone suffering the pains of extreme constipation rather than having a good time.

So anyway, yeah, back to the Museum of British Folklore innit..


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM

The Pitt Rivers is a fantastic museum and with lighting levels and labels that would never be allowed today. Few people who visit it are aware that you can ask for a torch at the front desk to help get a really good look at all those shrunken heads. Another wonderful but little known museum is the Flinders Petrie Museum which is attached to UCL in London. It houses one of the greatest collections of Egyptian archaeology in the world. Anyway, don't get me onto the subject of museums........ has anyone ever been to the Museum of Jurassic Technology? Now there's a museum.......


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 08:03 AM

Didn't know that about the torches; fortunately, as an inveterate green man spotter, I never go anywhere without my trusty Maglite which came in very handy during my last visit. The museum website is a browser's delight: http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/

The Petrie Museum's likewise: http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/william_flanders_petrie.php

And I can see the Museum of Jurassic Technology website is going to keep me happy for a few months: http://www.mjt.org/


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Museum of British Folklore
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 12:15 PM

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a gem of a place, a magical twilight world where your beliefs are questioned and your sense of wonder elevated. I must of been more than a dozen times and each time I visit it there is something I've never spotted before. It's set in the most surreal place, next to a busy freeway but once the door closes behind you and you enter it's darkend, labyrinthine rooms, the real world fades away and you can peer in amazement at the displays and wish that there were places like it all over the world. It's a little like entering the realm of Faery, as I've come out convinced that I was only there for an hour or so, only to find it dark outside.If possible it's well worth a visit.......


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:04 PM

The problem with having a museum of BRITISH folklore is that it will always relegate English folklore and music to a few isolated examples of Morris or Molly dancing,and the odd "OOOh AAArrgh" song about ploughmen and horses,whilst,as usual,extolling the virtues of Scottish,Irish,& Welsh folklore & music ( ie anything "Celtic" and therefore better and more pure than anything quintessentially English ).
      No ! No ! I say !! Let us have a museum of ENGLISH folklore, and leave "the others" to their own already-established,excellent,and well-respected institutions !


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Cats
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:12 PM

Any idea where it might be housed or have I missed that bit?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:13 PM

Always a bit helpful to read a thread, before posting Bubblyrat. IMHO..


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:17 PM

"Let us have a museum of ENGLISH folklore"
nothing like a bit of xenophobia to spice up the day, and yes bubblyrate PLEASE read the thread.
Thank You! Have a lovely day:-D


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

"The Pitt Rivers is a fantastic museum and with lighting levels and labels that would never be allowed today. Few people who visit it are aware that you can ask for a torch at the front desk to help get a really good look at all those shrunken heads"

They have a witch in a bottle.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 04:07 PM

They have a witch in a bottle.

That they do - as donated by the amazing Margaret Murray. Read all about it: http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-Margaret-Murray.html


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 04:57 PM

They also have the trepanned skulls and sealskin arctic explorer's suits which partly inspired Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials. In fact, the whole museum did. It's right out of Lyra's world.

I love Pitt Rivers because it's almost a museum of itself. It's a homage to Victorian museums - but I understand it's going through a big refurb. I hope they don't ruin it.

Simon, if you turn up with kids they virtually MAKE you take a torch! They're like, "Open the drawers! Explore!" It's really magical there.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Museum of British Folklore
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 06:21 PM

Folklore in England
On 10 March 1954, Murray gave her Presidential Address to the Folk-Lore Society about 'England as a field for folklore research'. This opens with an arresting statement:

It is surprising how few people are interested in England, that extraordinary country which lies south of the Tweed. Many men and women, trained at great expense, go abroad to look for folklore, and when they come back they write large volumes of peculiar rituals, of marriage customs, of curious beliefs, of folk tales and folk medicine, with tabulated lists of kinship systems, of agricultural systems, of trade systems, and so on. Yet here, under our very noses, is a country as full of strange unrecorded facts, beliefs and customs as any land overseas. England is in many ways the great Undiscovered Country. [Murray, 1954: 1]


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 08:17 AM

England is in many ways the great Undiscovered Country

I would think the same is true today as it was back then; where there is folk, there is folklore...

Meanwhile, just unpacking a few more boxes of books (we've only been here a year) and what should turn up but The Reader's Digest Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain (1973) which is a classic of its kind; 540 large format pages replete with lore, legend, custom and wonders all suitably illustrated - and not a Green Man in sight! Actually, the absence of the Green Man from this otherwise comprehensive volume is a fair indication of the general recentness of his arrival into the folkloric consciousness; indeed, if such a volume were written today, it would be he that adorns the cover, rather than the Dorset Ooser...

Needless to say it now takes pride of place on my bookshelves; however so waywardly popularist in its approach, no Museum of British Folklore should be without a copy!


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 08:39 AM

no Museum of British Folklore should be without a copy!

File under "British British Folklore Folklore". Then you could cross-reference the discussions on Mudcat about that kind of publication, filed under "British British Folklore Folklore Folklore"...


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 09:06 AM

The folklore of folklore, eh? Or even The Folklore of Fakelore, as once suggested, for even the recent re-inventions are more interesting as to what they represent on an unconscious level as oppose to the generally proscriptive approach taken by modern pagans and folkies alike - think of the teacher in The Wicker Man telling her girls that the Maypole is a Phallic Symbol. But there is something in the human mind that assumes that all things we can't understand directly must have a symbolic meaning, be it our various extant Folk Customs or such Folk Lore as Ring-a-Rosies, which is why, no doubt, such Mythconceptions abound. So even Mythconceptions are folklore, and ever more worthy of our attention...

S O'P (protected by the ejaculation of serpents).


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Gervase
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 11:49 AM

The folklore of folklore is likely to be a controversial topic - as seen by the defenders of the invented 'Jack in the Green' at Hastings, Gardnerian 'wiccanism' and the equally artificial Gorsedd stone traditions of Wales and tartan romanticism of Scotland.
The problem lies with drawing a line to separate invented traditions (in Hobsbawm's sense) and real folk traditions; to say what is bogus and what is not.
His own definition of invented traditions would seem to fit much of what we happily accept as folk custom today:
"'Invented tradition' is taken to mean a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past. In fact, where possible, they normally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable historic past....
However, insofar as there is such reference to a historic past, the peculiarity of 'invented' traditions is that the continuity with it is largely fictitious. In short, they are responses to novel situations which take the form of reference to old situations, or which establish their own past by quasi-obligatory repetition."

Sadly a Museum of British Folklore is likely to appeal most to those most in thrall to the bogus and invented; to the plastic pagans and the sort of Sealed Knot types who dress in upholstery brocade. It's a bubble that will need to be pricked if the venture is to have credibility, however.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:55 AM

the erstwhile Hancock Museum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (presently being reinvented as The Great North Museum, swallowing many fine smaller museums in the process) which contained the unwrapped 2,500-year-old mummy of Irt-Irw, who is said to set off intruder alarms and has inspired various ghost hunts.

Visited the Great North Museum yesterday - a rainy Saturday afternoon in Canny Newcastle. This is the £26 million makeover that replaces both the old Hancock Museum and the Museum of Antiquities, supposedly bringing it all together one roof but only managing to dumb it all down to such an extent one is left with nothing but an overwhelming sense of irretrievable loss - gone is the coffee machine at the foot of the stairs where one might watch lowering piranhas in vast dark aquaria whilst slurping a scalding beverage or two.

Never quite the Pitt Rivers or the Natural History Museum, the Hancock was nevertheless a place of inspirational clutter, with seemingly endless galleries of pinned months, butterflies, beetles, tribal masks, Egyptian coffins, human skeletons, and more threadbare Victorian taxidermy than you shake a stick at - one chimpanzee was particularly disturbing, looking like something Dr. Frankenstein had stitched together on his lunch-break. Thing is, some of this Threadbare Taxidermy remains, selected specimens of Spheniscidae looking particularly forlorn in the context of these vast wide open spaces favouring interactive displays rather than actual exhibits.

It was good to see the Roman collections again, particularly the venerable head of Antenociticus (now at knee level - how the mighty are fallen!) and the Mithraic sculpture from the Roman Wall. One of the features of the ertswhile Museum of Antiquities was a lifesize reconstruction of the Temple of Mithras which one might view for the payment of 20p, to be greeted by lurid lighting, chilling sound effects and a rather solemn voice-over latterly delivered in the character of a Roman Centurion. All that remains is a film of same, grainy digital images projected onto a vast screen complete with subtitles and a larger than life size person signing. No problem with signing of course, but his modern dress does detract rather from the whole re-enactment vibe; certainly not the place one might lose touch with the outside world that it used to be.

As for my beloved Irt-Irw, she now lies in her caskets with bandages draped almost teasingly about her withered breasts and pubis no doubt out of a sense of post-modern modesty or else according the poor girla long belated dignity. Last night safe in bed at home in Lancashire after the 140-mile drive home, I imagined her coming alive in the dark, wandering the stripped-out galleries of this once splendid museum sobbing as she searched in vain for her thread-bare chimpanzee...


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,jock
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 04:07 PM

The Great North Museum i.e. The Great North of England Museum ... so much for British.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Mike of Hessle
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:06 AM

What about housing it in the Millenium Dome and incorparating the artefacts from Cecil Sharp House in it plus contributions from other parties


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 07:34 AM

"What about housing it in the Millenium Dome and incorporating the artefacts from Cecil Sharp House in it plus contributions from other parties" - it's one use for that white elephant I suppose but would they be safe there, bearing in mind the attempted theft of the replica crown jewels?


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 10:10 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:40 PM

5 years later...

Here's a really good promotional video for the project: Museum of British Folklore, and a related article with pictures: Film: Tom Chick's amazing film to promote the Museum of British Folklore!.

It popped up on my Facebook feed via the Song Collectors Collective, who note that "Simon Costin will be talking at the Song Collectors Conference about his Museum of British Folklore". Here's a link for the 2013 Song Collectors Collective Conference.

~ Becky in Long Beach, Calif.


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:44 PM

Not sure why there's not a link at the SCC site, but here's a link from the Nest Collective for the 2014 Song Collectors Collective Conference, where Simon Costin of the Museum of British Folklore will speak.

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:51 PM

And, of course the Museum has a website now, with blog and whatnot, www.museumofbritishfolklore.com/, and a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/themuseumofbritishfolklore.

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:01 PM

And for those who want the basics before reading the thread and clicking links: the museum does not have a physical home yet, but Simon and others are making the push to make it happen. In the meantime, exhibits have been shown at other venues.

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 02:09 PM

One more link... 21st Century Folk Culture is the Museum's new online project - more of a longform blog. (I mispoke earlier: the Museum's own site has "News" and "Events and Exhibits", but not a blog, per se.)

I'll quit now, I promise!

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Museum of British Folklore - discuss
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 03:14 PM

Refresh for St. George's Day...


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