Discover objects of desire at Museums and Galleries across the UK

Published: 16 years ago Author:

Museums and Galleries Month 2005 runs from 1 - 31 May. During May, museums and galleries throughout the UK will put the focus on their objects, with special events and activities to encourage the public to explore collections and treasures in a new light. 

Fabulous Finds Day on Saturday 30 April will get Museums and Galleries Month 2005 off to a great start when enthusiastic collectors of weird and wonderful objects will have the opportunity to show off their finds and special treasures and get advice from the experts.

Collecting has been a British past-time for centuries and British museums and galleries hold some of the finest treasures from around the world. Many of these started as private collections. From Greek urns to Anglo-Saxon gold jewellery; from the first motorcar to the jet engine, an ancient fossil to a designer mobile phone - Museums and Galleries Month is a great opportunity to explore these riches open to all.

"Museums and galleries Month 2005 is a great opportunity to highlight the variety and richness of regional collections" said Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Campaign for Museums . "The theme, Objects of Desire: The Art of Collecting will bring to life the stories behind the objects, treasures and memorabilia left to us by past generations and encourage visitors to think about the objects that would represent today's culture."

Fabulous Finds Day is organised by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Hubs and will take place in nine regional centres across England . Experts will be on hand to examine finds, explain their use and discuss their importance with the person who found them. Other museums and galleries across the UK will also be staging their own Fabulous Finds events throughout May.

Although the focus will be on archaeological finds, the objects can be anything from a fossil discovered on the beach to a '70s lampshade from a car boot sale. There are no limits on the age, size or type of object - the finds are limited only by the imagination of the finders.

So search out your object of desire at museums and galleries in May. The MGM website, can be searched by location, subject and type of event. MGM 2005 will list over a 1,000 events continuing through to the May Bank Holiday weekend (28-29 th May). The 24 Hour Museum, will be providing full coverage of MGM events and reports on Fabulous Finds Days across the UK .

Hundreds of events are already on the MGM events website and Events are being added to the MGM database daily. Here are some examples from around the country.


Letchworth Museum & Art Gallery | MGM Event: Objects of Desire - The Art of Collecting | 16/04/2005 - 11/06/2005 A community-led exhibition looking at people's objects of desire, on display alongside objects from the Collection. A display exploring the themes of collections, collecting and what constitutes an 'object of desire.'

East Midlands

Charnwood Museum , Leicestershire | "The original art of Peter and Jane...and more" | 26/05/2005 - 10/07/2005 | 10:00 - 16:30

An exhibition of the original 1960's and 1970's artwork by Martin Aitchison from the popular Peter and Jane Reading series published by Ladybird books. Martin Aitchison was one of Ladybirds most famous illustrators.


London Metropolitan Archives | CONSERVATION SURGERY | 26/05/2005 | 11:00 - 16:00 Drop In Advice session Conservators will be on hand to give advice on how to care for your precious family documents including photographs, negatives, diaries, books, drawings and old letters. Please note if your document is very large or fragile it would not be advisable to transport it. However, it may be possible to give advice based on photographs of the document.

West Midlands

Warwickshire Museum - St. John's House | Child's Play?! - Evening Talk | 26/05/2005 | 19:30 - 21:00 . Why collect toys and dolls? What do they tell us about the past? How can we protect them in the future? Discover more about the Museum's collection of dolls and toys with Keeper of Social History, Maggie Wood.

North East

The Bowes Museum | Sense and Sensibility Cotman Watercolours | 07/05/2005 - 31/07/2005 | 11:00 - 17:00 An exhibition of Cotman's stunning 19th century landscapes focusing on local countryside. (in association with Harewood House, Leeds .)

North West

The Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester | Caring For Your Collections | 22/05/2005 | 11:00 - 16:00 . As part of Museums and Galleries Month the Museum is offering you the chance to pick our brains. Talk to Curatorial staff about how to look after your own collections at home.

Northern Ireland

Harbour Museum | MGM Event: Objects of Desire - The Art of Collecting | 01/05/2005 - 31/05/2005. Exhibition 'Objects of Desire' shows items from the Civic collection, to include artwork, silver, glass and sculpture.


University of Dundee Museum Services | MGM Event: Thinking About Museums: Objects of Desire & The Concept of Collecting | 24/05/2005 . A one-day conference on philosophy and museums. This event has been organised jointly by University of Dundee Museum Services and Department of Philosophy. What can museums and their collections tell us about the ways we think? How do aesthetics and metaphysics relate to museums and museum collections? These and other topics will be discussed at the event.

South East

The Surfing Museum | BRITISH SURFING HISTORY EXHIBITIONS | 01/05/2005 - 31/08/2005 | 10:00 - 17:00 The country's first full time museum of British surfing history will open on Brighton beach early in 2006. A long-term lease has just been signed on a seafront gallery in paddling distance of the resort's pier surfing breaks. This unique project is creating the first national museum of surfing history anywhere in Europe . The national tour will raise money and the profile of the permanent British Surfing Museum in Brighton .

SEARCH - Hampshire Museums' Hands-On Centre | MGM Event: X-Factor Objects | 21/05/2005 . A community exhibition of objects to amaze and delight, with plenty of hands-on and art & craft activities. The x-factor objects will be displayed and interpreted by local people.

South West

Museum of East Asian Art | The Art of Collecting | People's Choice: from 26 April.

With contributions ns from visitors, Museum Friends, staff, and trustees as well as local and national personalities, the exhibition aims to promote an understanding and enjoyment of East Asian Art at all levels. Using people's explanations as labels, the exhibition will explore the reasons why people have chosen certain objects. This display includes items chosen by a range of famous faces as we ll as leading professionals in the field of East Asian Art. High profiled names such as Loyd Grossman (Presenter and Chairman for The Campaign for Museums), David Battie (BBC broadcaster/writer), The Mayor of Bath, Don Foster MP (Bath MP) and Colin Sheaf (International Head of Asian Art, Bonhams), have all chosen their favourite objects.


Royal International Pavilion Gallery | MGM Event: Open Chinese Exhibition 'Objects of Desire: The Art of Collecting' | 25/04/2005 - 25/05/2005

Calling all traditional and contemporary artists and craftspeople with a Chinese connection. All entrants should contact Jim Allen on 01978 860111 for entry details.


National Trust, Nostell Priory | Passions of An Antiquarian Collector: Charles Winn & 19th Century Nostell | 11/05/2005 | 12:00 - 14:00 . A specialist guided tour during Museums and Galleries Month! Ancient oak furniture, historical portraits, old master paintings, colourful cabinets, stained glass, rich leather books and eccentric curiosities - all part of the collection of Charles Winn held at Nostell Priory. Refreshments included. Nostell has long been famed for its eighteenth century Chippendale furniture, but the contribution of Charles Winn - the house's owner in the first half of the nineteenth century - has been largely ignored. Join this new specialist guided tour to learn more about Charles Winn, about the rich variety of items collected by him and the means through which he was able to collect.

Notes to editors

1 Museums and Galleries Month 2005 runs from 1 - 31 May nationwide.

2 Search for events in your own part of the country by logging on to and select town/city/region and theme. The website is being continually updated as events come in.

3 Fabulous Finds Day is supported by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council as part of Renaissance in the Region and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Events will take place in major regional centres in England as well as at other museums on different dates throughout May. Look out for information about Fabulous Finds Day at The 24 Hour Museum, , will be provide full coverage of Fabulous Finds Days in each region.

4 NB laws regarding Portable Antiquities in Scotland are very different than those in England and Wales . Whereas in England and Wales the recording of all non-Treasure finds is voluntary, all archaeological objects found in Scotland should be reported under Treasure Trove. More information on and .

5 Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Campaign for Museums, the 24 Hour Museum and Board Member of Museums, Libraries and Archives Council , and Virginia Tandy, Director of Manchester City Galleries are co-chairmen of Museums and Galleries Month 2004.

6 Museums and Galleries Month is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), and Arts Council England.

7 Museums at Night takes place on Saturday 14 May, when some UK museums and galleries will be joining museums across Europe for a late night opening. Participation and activities will vary across the country so check the MGM website for up to date information.

8 Museums and Galleries Month is organised by The Campaign for Museums. Its aims are to raise the profile of and encourage visits to museums and galleries all the year round.

Further information: Gill Roth 020 7635 0520, email (or Ylva French, Campaign for Museums 020 7233 6789, email

Contact: Fiona Cameron

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