27 January, 2010

Simon Roberts and Stephen Daniels

As part of one of our upcoming exhibitions Simon Roberts: We English photographs from our own collection will be displayed, accompanying Roberts’ images, introducing the English at leisure from a historical perspective.

Since September last year Simon Roberts has been working closely with Ruth Kitchin, our Collections Assistant, on the selection and curation of works for the exhibition; alongside them Stephen Daniels (Professor of Cultural Geography at Nottingham Trent University and author of the essay The English Outdoors We English, Simon Roberts, Chris Boot Ltd, 2009) was invited to the Museum to discuss the development of the selection. On 24 November last year they all came together to discuss some of the considerations for the selection and this short film provides an insight into what happened that day.

Come and see the final selection of works from the Collection and We English when the exhibition opens to the public on the on the 12 March.

The Foyer is being Fixed

If you’ve visited the Museum recently, you’ll have noticed that we’re currently undertaking an extensive refurbishment of the foyer, which will incorporate a new Shop and Box Office, electronic Welcome Wall, Games Lounge and wayfinding areas, and culminate in a more effective flow of people and navigation through the building. These improvements have a combined cost of almost £400,000, and are due for completion next month.

So what has been achieved thus far? I spoke to Project Manager Nick Townend, and got quick report on the project’s development, along with some images of the work in progress.

The fitting of the new Shop/Box Office area is well under way – the Box Office desk is up, power and flooring is installed, and merchandising units are almost ready to be racked with the souvenirs, books and gifts which are currently residing in the temporary Shop on level one, outside the Cubby Broccoli Cinema.

The former home of the Museum’s Box Office will see the installation of a Welcome Wall, to be utilised as an electronic orientation and information screen – an eye-catching addition to welcome visitors as they enter the building. It should also assist in providing better orientation around the Museum!

Finally, the most exciting metamorphosis will see the former Shop changing into our all-new Games Lounge. The existing shop fittings have been stripped out, and work is progressing well towards this brand new gallery which will let visitors play their way through the history of videogames, including titles such as Pong, Frogger and Street Fighter 2.

You may have spotted our new eye-catching graphics on the front window. Freezing temperatures, meant that we were unable to display the graphics until last week but now the outside of the Museum has begun to resemble a giant game of Space Invaders, which should certainly draw some attention. It looks fantastic!

As for content, the last of he arcade games have now arrived onsite ready for the Games Lounge (more on this soon). Electronic games are a vital element of this digital age, and certainly part of the Museum’s focus is on the expansion of new media forms, but the arrival of the Games Lounge also coincides nicely with Immersion, the Exhibition of work by Robbie Cooper, which explores our exposure to contemporary media, including video games and online virtual worlds (opens Friday 12th March).

We’ll cover more of the re-development soon, especially concerning the unveiling of the new Games Lounge - your chance to immerse yourself in the world of retro arcade games.
written by Emma James

22 January, 2010

February Film Highlights from Tom Vincent

February is a great time to wallow in films here at the Museum: Up in the Air, a sharp, very entertaining satirical comedy with a fascinating George Clooney performance, starts on 29 January in Pictureville. The following week we’re playing A Prophet, a storming, far-reaching prison drama from the director of The Beat that My Heart Skipped. Most famous for Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest animation Ponyo, playing from 12 Feb, makes a great half-term film for kids. Then rounding off February we have A Single Man, the story of a grieving man played by Colin Firth in 1960s L.A.

There are also a whole brace of wonderful movies playing more occasionally throughout the month. Identity of the Soul on 13 Feb, is a unique, 5-screen presentation that combines archive film and a host of other media; not to be missed If there are many new films as good as Still Walking released this year I’ll be very happy. It’s in the very fine tradition of Japanese ‘home drama’, and to highlight this we’re playing two films by one of the greatest of all directors, home drama master Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story and Late Autumn). Rounding off the month we have a window onto the world of ordinary Israeli and Palestinian lives in our Dreams of a Nation season.