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Seldom-seen treasures unearthed at Beacon

Elizabeth Kwasnik and Matthew Bland have been delving into Copeland’s historical collection in preparation for Curator’s Choice

AN ARRAY of seldom-seen artefacts goes on display at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven this Saturday (October 12).

Curator’s Choice unearths Copeland objects visitors may not have seen or heard about before. The collections have been acquired over many years through purchase, gifts and donations.

Graduate Trainee Curator, Alex Milner, said: “There will be a range of themes, from local industry to objects from abroad. Highlights include a collection of Kenworthy paintings displayed together for the first time in the museum’s history, and the first public display of the Irton Iron Age sword, which has recently returned from conservation, having been found in 2016.

“In our local collections we have objects tracing through time from Stone Age tools found at Braystones, to 20th century letters and invitations marking royal and political visits.

“As well as local objects, we have assembled a collection from around the globe, including a Maori cloak from the 19th century and African objects dating back 2,000 years.

“Many of our objects have been donated by, or purchased from, local families and we look forward to sharing our collective history and hearing their stories. This is a diverse collection, all of which have rarely, or sometimes never, been accessible to the public before.

He added: “Curator’s Choice is a wonderful opportunity for museum staff to show the public incredible treasures not currently on display, and it has been a journey of discovery for those who brought it together. Matthew Bland is a history and archaeology student and long-term team member at the Beacon Museum. He worked alongside museum Director, Elizabeth Kwasnik, to bring together his first exhibition of this type.”

Elizabeth said: “Matthew’s contribution as a young museum professional in training has been invaluable to this exhibition and we hope these learning experiences will pave the way for more locally-sourced and curated exhibitions.”

The exhibition features some mysterious objects and paintings that will enable the public to get involved. Visitors can play detective and ask ‘who do you think they are?’ about portraits where important information is currently lacking.

The exhibition is in the Harbour Gallery and opens on Saturday, October 12, running until Sunday, December 1. Entry is free for Copeland residents with a Copeland Pass up until December 31, 2019. Standard admission otherwise applies. The exhibition is suitable for all ages.