Shop ’til you drop…. and looking back over a busy first term

Turner with curator 1

Question a Curator

Today we were lucky to have a talk on this gorgeous Turner Painting owned by The Ashmolean- The High Street, Oxford, by JMW Turner, 1810.  Helen Cobby, acting Curator and a Turner specialist, gave us an amazing insight into the work and the circumstances around it being painted. We found out that the painting originally didn’t have any people in it and the women and people were only added for some colour- who knew?

We needed to find out all about the painting to start planning for our event on Live Friday on 3rd March next year.

Natasha, Immie & Hannah

Shop ‘ til you drop...

The Shop: In today’s meeting we got the chance to visit the shop and meet Lycia Lobo, the Ashmolean’s Commercial Manager. We found out about all of the stages that go into choosing and creating the stock in the shop for new exhibitions and the marketing process behind selecting the most popular items. Lycia told us about some of the artists the museum worked with to produce products like jewellery to accompany the exhibitions. It was a really insightful visit to show us part of the museum we wouldn’t normally see.


As part of The Ashmolean’s Youth Panel, we have participated in various activities. For the autumn term these activities included : Viewing the Power & Protection Exhibition and visiting a Live Friday to get ideas for our own plans to run an event next year on March 3rd Live Friday. We have all really enjoyed listing to talks, visiting behind the scenes and hearing about what goes on in a  Museum,


Artists at Work!

Today  our group had the pleasure of seeing 3 unique artists who had been invited to the Museum to show their skills. Rita Floyd explained her work making porcelain Chinese flowers. It was really interesting to see how the flowers which were thrown away can make a beautiful sculpture. Later on we watched Jonathan Gravil who used to work at the Wedgwood factory practising sledging a complicated, delicate and patient artform.  Finally, we visited Anthony Chaliner who recreates highly complex detailed pieces of artwork on pieces of china. All of these artists were brilliant and we really enjoyed watching them working in the galleries.

Maggie & Tabitha

Looking Back…..

This term has been a whirlwind of debating, discussing and viewing the wonders of The Ashmolean! We have seen multiple exhibitions, photoshopped ourselves into paintings, had an in depth tour around the shop and listened to extensive talks on how to run events like Live Fridays and Museums in general.

We were shown the Print Room which contains hundreds of beautiful prints which has inspired many of us to make further visits to see the prints in store.

The best part for me has been learning about all the different parts of The Ashmolean and how they all combine to create one great place!

Ellie, Anna & Ellen


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Live Friday Challenge!

This week,  we started by  discussing Live Fridays; what they are about and the types of activities that go on. Then we were set a challenge in the Egypt Galleries. We worked in groups to look at objects  and quickly come up with 3 activities about Ancient Egypt for  an imaginary Live Friday which our friends would enjoy. We came up with loads of ideas covering a range of aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture such as mummification, tomb paintings and clothing. Ideas included Egyptian dressing-up and tomb wall painting.

Mtg Sarah D

We then met Sarah Doherty, Public Engagement Assistant and  three members of the Student Creative Board. They told us what was needed at a Live Friday and about successful  activities at previous events. We worked in groups and took one of our ideas for an Egypt Live Friday and developed it further, thinking about materials needed, the space we would put it in and how much it might cost. We then presented our developed idea to the rest of the group.

Finally, we handled three ancient Egyptian objects from the collection, trying to guess their function and the materials they were made of. These included  a mirror, a bronze axe blade and a wooden stand for a miniature statue of Apis the bull.

We will be running events at Live Friday on 3rd March next year- watch this space for updates on our plans!






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The wonders of the Ashmolean’s Print Room

Print Room Today was a real highlight when Caroline Palmer, Print Room Supervisor, showed us some stars of the collection. It’s quite a special morning when you have seen original drawings and paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael,  Michelangelo, Turner and Ruskin all before lunch time! We were really wowed by the artworks and were able to take photos and find out how we could visit the print room again to see even more amazing artworks from the Ashmolean’s collection.

Print Room crab mag glass 1Caroline talked to us about the conservation needs of works on paper and encouraged us to use microscopes to look closely at the materials the artists had used and to see tiny details within the paintings.

Today we also saw the Watlington Hoard, on display in the England Gallery, something the Ashmolean is hoping to acquire. Here is a description of the Hoard….

In October 2015, metal detectorist James Mather discovered an important Viking hoard near Watlington in South Oxfordshire. It dates from the end of the 870s, a key moment in the struggle between Anglo-Saxons and Vikings for control of southern England.

The first large Viking hoard discovered in Oxfordshire, it contains over 200 Anglo-Saxon coins, including many examples of previously rare coins of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (871-899) and his less well-known contemporary, King Ceolwulf II of Mercia (874-879).

Come and see it for yourself and make a donation to hep the Museum acqiure this important collection.




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Introducing our new young people’s panel

Interested in museums, art and archaeology, planning and running events for young people and finding about careers in the cultural sector? If the answer is yes, The Ashmolean’s CREATIVES young people’s panel for 16-18 year olds could be / is for you!

The CREATIVES Young People's Panel


on steps of templeOur first meeting saw the new panel members putting themselves in the picture using paintings from the Italian Renaissance Gallery. Can you spot some surprising twentieth first century faces hiding in these fifteenth century masterworks?

more madonna and childChessboard

We visited the ‘Storms, War and Shipwrecks’ exhibition about underwater archaeology from Sicily. Afterwards, we shared feedback about how the exhibition worked for families and young people, now given to the curator who worked on the exhibition. Everyone was very positive about the displays, design and interactives.

‘Really good visual way of explaining the history, enjoyable for children to watch and easy to understand.’

‘Lots of audio- visual material makes it easy to visualise how the objects week used and found. Interactive exhibits good for children. Good variety of objects but not too many.’

Some suggestions: ‘More seating, brighter lighting, couldn’t find a good place for a photo to post it on Instagram.’

The group made a wish list of things they’d like to do at future meetings including…

  • Learning about object care and conservation
  • behind the scenes tours
  • finding out about people’s jobs
  • visiting exhibitions
  • planning events for young people
  • learning about objects in the collections
  • giving their ideas to improve the museum for young people.

Over the next 2 meetings we will be visiting the Print Room, meeting the Museum’s Commercial Director to finding out about merchandising and shop displays and starting to plan an event for a Live Friday in 2017.

We meet monthly on Saturday mornings from 10- 12

Next meetings

  • Saturday 12th November
  • Saturday 3rd December

If you’d like to join us, please contact Clare Cory

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