A knight swirls to victory in a skirt; a queen rules with a fist clad in iron. What we choose to wear says a lot about us, and how we want, or need, to be seen. Intricate, powerful, stories like these are connected to perhaps surprising objects in an iconic collection. The current exhibition and self-guided object trail at The Royal Armouries, Leeds, was created by volunteers and researchers who identify under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella to showcase diverse voices and hidden histories. Get a taster of their brilliant exhibition and trail with these highlights.
Come closer, these images will be worth a second look! From a smoking urn to a hallway hiding in a cupboard, turns out you definitely shouldn't believe everything you first see! Two of the National Trust's curators have seven wonderful optical illusions to share from amongst their curious collections. Enjoy!
An astounding invention made from Meccano and elastic bands.
A pop-up book on the master of suspense.
A stylish poster.
Just three treasures you might not think to look for in the collection of our fantastic British Film Institute national archive. I was lucky enough to attend their Heritage Open Day last year, and it really is like walking in to an Aladdin’s cave. The brilliant team throw open the doors once a year, but there are so many wonders to explore – so I am handing over to their coordinator, Jo, to tell us more!
Between the covers of a book lie whole new worlds, conjured by words and beautiful illustrations. Worlds that range from the heavenly (17th century star atlas) to the mundane (13th century instruction manual). From business (introducing the shampooing surgeon!) to the deeply personal (18th century diary). Books that have been jotted in whilst on the move or beautifully designed and produced in extreme conditions. Fascinating worlds - and all can be found in a new book of books from the National Trust. Take a moment and tour them with us!
Did you know a library isn’t just for books? When I asked our organisers for stories about the history of creativity Leeds Libraries came back with these amazing posters. Turns out a peek at playbills from across the centuries gives a fascinating glimpse of past pleasures. Take a break with their senior librarian as she talks us through the designs of the times – from competitive creators to fears of a nude pantomime!
From chocolate worms to hair-raising gadgets and back to front furniture, a rummage amongst the collections of the National Trust doesn't always turn up what you expect! Assistant Curator, Katie Knowles is working on an exciting new book highlighting the curious inventions amongst the collection. Look out for it this autumn, but grab a cuppa and take 5 with us now for a sneak peak at some of the things she's found!
Check the cupboards and choose your weapon - will you go for a hollow glass rolling pin, a prickly baker's docker or this trim little creature?! Yes, we're talking 'batterie de cuisine' ('kitchen artillery' apparently!) As the National Trust prepares to release a new book on baking, I needed no further excuse to invite back Katie Knowles, Assistant Curator, for another rummage through their extraordinary collections. This time she serves us stories of tins, trays, and trimmers with side helpings of food history! So put the kettle on, grab the cookie jar and let's explore!
Who's the woman behind this iconic label and why might you order a drop of Foggie Moss? For these stories, and a thousand more, we're hopping across the border for this Saturday's International Whisky Day to a place with a very special collection - 3,400 unopened bottles of liquid gold. So pour yourself a wee dram and get comfy as Lucy Naughton from the Scotch Whisky Experience tells us a tale or two...
A wooden pet, a grenade that looks like a perfume bottle and a prosthetic leg for dancing - not what immediately comes to mind when I think of things the National Trust holds in its collections. But chatting about archival treasures by the tea point one day Katie Knowles, one of the Trust's Assistant Curators gave me a new perspective. The stories are too good not to share, so of course I asked her to introduce us all to the quirky side of the Trust's collection, over to you Katie...