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Fossil Hunting

The current exhibition at Abingdon Museum “Sea Dragons and Giant Monsters” has been greatly enhanced by specimens lent to us by Dr James Etienne from his private collection. While installing the exhibition, we talked about collecting fossils, how he found some of the most impressive items in his collection and how he is looking forContinue reading “Fossil Hunting”

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Grinling Gibbons on the move

If you have visited Abingdon Museum, you will have seen the mirror with the large ornately carved frame hanging on the wall in the Sessions Gallery. However, if you have visited very recently, you will not have seen the mirror. That is because it has temporarily travelled elsewhere. The frame is one of Abingdon Museum’sContinue reading “Grinling Gibbons on the move”

Nelson, HMS Victory and Abingdon Museum

One of the real curiosities in the museum collection is a small piece of wood, not shaped into anything in particular, just an irregular block. The significance lies in where the wood has come from: it is from the Victory, the famous ship which is now a major tourist attraction in Portsmouth. There is noContinue reading “Nelson, HMS Victory and Abingdon Museum”

Clocking In At Abingdon Museum

A recent arrival at Abingdon Museum is this handsome long-case clock, now on display in the Attic Gallery. It was a donation from Sir Hugo Brunner, whose family has owned the clock for a long time. It used to be at Denman College, the adult education college set up by the Federation of Women’s InstitutesContinue reading “Clocking In At Abingdon Museum”

Lights, Camera, Action at Abingdon Museum

Recently Abingdon Museum was the venue for a film production, with two of its objects in a starring role. Filmmaker Felix Melia contacted the museum to ask about the possibility of shooting footage of a couple of Anglo-Saxon mounts. These mounts are small metal ornaments, looking a bit like a snake curved in a figureContinue reading “Lights, Camera, Action at Abingdon Museum”

Creative Women of Abingdon

Abingdon has been the home of a number of writers and artists. It is noticeable however that many of them spent most of their careers elsewhere, and that Abingdon is not really reflected in their work. The painter Agnes Tatham, for example, was born in Abingdon and grew up in Northcourt House. Her father, MeaburnContinue reading “Creative Women of Abingdon”

Caring for the Abingdon Ichthyosaur

The recent research visit to examine the Abingdon Ichthyosaur presented an excellent opportunity for the Collections Officer to give the fossil some TLC. The display case is rarely opened, but even when shut, it is not completely sealed. The glass top is in three sections, and the joints between them are not sealed, so overContinue reading “Caring for the Abingdon Ichthyosaur”

The Islamic Glass at Abingdon Museum

Most of the objects in the museum collections originate in or around Abingdon. One object on display however has come from as far away as Cairo. It is the enamelled glass vessel displayed with other objects from medieval Abingdon. The vessel was not found whole, only fragments of it remain, but they are enough toContinue reading “The Islamic Glass at Abingdon Museum”

Medieval Maths

Have you ever walked down the Checker Walk in Abingdon and wondered where it got its name from? The Checker was one of the buildings of Abingdon Abbey. It was the counting house, the place where the Abbey’s finances were administrated.  The name comes from the accountants’ tools of their trade: a checkered table top,Continue reading “Medieval Maths”

Admiral Bowyer and the Glorious First of June

One of the splendid treasures in the Town Council’s possession is the two-handled vessel known as the Bowyer Vase. It is a large cup of silver-gilt with a cover, 75 cm high, on a square base, made in London in 1795 by Robert Salmon. The cup is highly decorated, with leaf designs on the lowerContinue reading “Admiral Bowyer and the Glorious First of June”