Saturday, 28 May 2011

4472 is back



Today 4472 is back. I awoke on the first day of half term to a Radio 4 Today story about what is this great day. After five years of restoration, 4472 is back on display in the NRM and will shortly be in action once again. This is great news for the museum and for everyone who loves railways. Yesterday before an invited audience, the restored engine was unveiled. Today as part of the half term programme, the general public get to see her.

The NRM's own website contains full details of all the events planned and also a number of associated goodies like models that have been commissioned. The models just now don't appear too obvious on the website. I think they soon will be. The museum has however sent me this information:
"The National Railway Museum shop has a limited offer on Hornby Special Edition Flying Scotsman 00 gauge working
models, DCC ready. There will be:

500x Wartime black livery available with certificate, £149 each
1000x Apple green livery available with certificate, £146 each

Don't miss out. Visit the museum and pre-order your model at the shop from 28 May or online from 1 June. Collection & delivery will be from the museum from 6 October 2011."

For my own take on the occasion, what better than a picture of the very first time I encountered Scotsman when she made a visit in steam to Norwich in 1967?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A view of a national museum


A perfectly brilliant rant about National Museums http://irishwaterwayshistory.com/rants/lets-burn-down-collins-barracks/ .

It is always good education to reflect on these matters. Without dwelling too long, the question is this: by holding onto items in stores, unsorted and unappreciated, can a museum fail firstly to present its own full story and secondly leave outside in the cold pieces which its proper purpose demanded an interest in? The blogger does not mention by name the National Transport Museum at Howth but he could have done. The collection there (see my picture) is worthy of state support but is ignored by those at the national collection.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Mallard at Shildon

We have been working hard at Facebook and you are very welcome to drop by. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.146837008723396.39113.100001912940850&saved#!/photo.php?fbid=147537175320046&set=a.146837008723396.39113.100001912940850&type=1&theater

The text there: This was the day 23rd June 2010 that Tornado brought Mallard from York to Shildon. There was a huge amount of excitement, 1000s of people and a small degree of controversy. That was about Mallard the icon leaving York. It now seems that her trip to Shildon is being foreshortened. The development for which she had to vacate the Great Hall called NRM+ has been cancelled. Sometime this summer she is heading off to Germany for a DB exhibition and then back to York. The photo of Mallard outside at Shildon thereby becomes unusual and if you remember how many people there were it was darned difficult to get. How did it happen? Without dimwhit me quite appreciating it, Hannah Bayman a BBC Look North weathergirl cleared the crowds to do her broadcast. Subsequently to my wife's hilarity I have managed to serve her coffee in our kitchen and still not realised who she was. Ooops or is it my inherent discretion?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"NRM+ as a cohesive project is no longer viable and will therefore be cancelled"

The url for this story is http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/27042011-nrm-scraps-facelift . So it is a biggy. The dream of several years which I know has intensively involved staff substantially diverting them from important everyday work is over. The Regional Growth Fund turned down a £7 million bid as part of the £21 million package. This came after several other turn downs. Meanwhile as previously blogged November 2009, we will trail behind the example of the massive redisplay of the Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht.

There will be a certain thread of opinion heaving a sigh of relief for there are those who think that the cathedral qualities of the former running shed (albeit re-roofed) and the roundhouse nature of the displays of mechanical icons had an inherent quality which appeared under threat. However it cannot be gainsaid that over many years the NRM has appeared weak at presenting an overall narrative. That was something the Dutch went for head on and with fairground ride style interpretation. It will certainly be fascinating to see how the pieces are picked up from this position.

Is it a consequence of the NRM+ demise that Mallard's stay in Shildon in being foreshortened ? Mallard drew the crowds to Shildon when she went there but also attracted the critics that such an important engine was leaving the "centre". It really depends on how you see the NRM. As a federation of locations or as the pre-eminent location with satellites. Anyway if like me Shildon is your local make sure you have clocked Mallard whilst you can.

As I find any more coverage I shall add links:
Railway Magazine
Heritage Railway
The Press
Museums Journal
National Preservation