Pop-up museum tours St Albans

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News release: 03 July 2017

A pop-up exhibition to showcase the new £7.75 million museum in St Albans is to appear at four locations this summer.

A Curious Conversation

A Curious Conversation is organised by artist Lyndall Phelps and will feature eye-catching objects from the St Albans Museums’ collection as well as new artwork by her.

She has chosen artefacts that highlight the archaeology, art, environment and social history of the City.

St Albans Museums’ collection is in storage while the Town Hall in St Peter’s Street is converted into the new Museum and Art Gallery.

Lyndall has been inspired by an 1880 exhibition in the City that marked the opening of a new School of Science and Art in Victoria Street, now the Maltings Surgery.

It brought together objects from private collections and was such a success that it led to the foundation of the Museum of St Albans.

Lyndall has used the list of objects from this original exhibition to inspire her own. Some of the objects she has chosen were donated by people who were also involved in the 1880 exhibition.

Indeed, she has included one object that was in that display 137 years ago, a leather wallet with flint and steel that was used as a lighter. It was donated by a Mrs Cherry.

A Curious Conversation has already visited UH Galleries at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, and St Albans City Hospital. It will pop up four more times this year:

• Thursday 13 July – St Paul’s Church, Blandford Road, Fleetville;

• Saturday 15 July – Maltings Shopping Centre, outside the library;

• Saturday 26 August – St Albans Cathedral; and

• Saturday 7 October – St Julian’s Church, Abbot’s Avenue.

The exhibition is free and open to all with opening times scheduled for 11am to 3pm.

Wallet with flint and steel to light a fire; from museum collection
PICTURE: Pre-1880 wallet with flint and steel, used as a lighter, from museum collection.

A Curious Conversation was jointly commissioned by St Albans Museum and UH Galleries with funding from Arts Council England.

It is part of a larger project to engage artists and new audiences in fresh aspects of St Albans Museums’ collection.

Councillor Annie Brewster, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sport and Culture, said: “A Curious Conversation is a wonderful chance to bring the Museum’s collections out into St Albans.

“People will be able to see the objects and Lyndall’s artwork up close, and be able to see how history and art will work together in the new museum when it opens next year.”

The new Museum and Art Gallery is due to open late next year. The former Museum site in Hatfield Road closed in 2015 and is being redeveloped for housing.

Councillor contact: 
Councillor Annie Brewster, Portfolio Holder for Sport and Culture for Albans City and District Council. Email: cllr.a.brewster@stalbans.gov.uk; Tel: 01438 832255 
Contact for the media: 
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City & District Council, Tel: 01727 296130, E-mail: john.mcjannet@stalbans.gov.uk

UH Galleries, at Hatfield and within the Museum of St Albans, are amongst the most innovative contemporary art spaces in the UK , giving artists space to experiment and develop new ideas. Working with emerging and established professional artists across all media, UH Galleries organise a rolling programme of exhibitions and collaborate with other major cultural institutions across Europe. For more information, see: www.uharts.co.uk