by Rebecca Darley
Museums and stately homes across the country have numismatic collections which are often not widely known about. Indeed, museum collections of all kinds can lie forgotten or unseen due to changes in funding, curatorial interests or access to specialist expertise, only to be rediscovered – a new kind of buried treasure. In recent years the Money and Medals Network has been working with numerous collections across the UK to help curators and visitors make the most of their collections. Meanwhile, numismatic collectors and scholars have always been crucial to the creation and understanding of numismatic knowledge, often providing their time voluntarily through this Society and other numismatic societies across Britain and the world, or supporting collections local to them.
The Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery has been working tirelessly over the last five years to develop its facilities and raise awareness of its collections, which include world-class holdings of early printed books and manuscripts, as well as a magnificent numismatic collection, with especially good selections of Hellenistic, Roman and Sasanian material. Some of this material was exhibited in Autumn 2015 at Two Temple Place, London. ‘Cotton to Gold: extraordinary collections of the industrial northwest‘ (see review by Claudia Prtichard, The Independent here), focussed on the way in which industrial entrepreneurs in northern England often used their resources to build eclectic and fabulous collections of art and antiquities. These were then frequently left to their local town and city museums.
Building on this exhibition, the Institute of English Studies and Birkbeck, University of London, together with the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, and the University Centre at Blackburn College are pleased to announce an international conference on the R.E. Hart Collections at the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery. ‘Something for my native town’ will take place on 9th and 10th November 2017. Beginning on Thursday 9th November from 4pm to 6pm at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery there will be the official opening of the new Level 2 Collections Research Room and a chance to view manuscripts and coins from the Hart Collection with the museum Curators. On Friday 10th November there will be a Full day conference at University Centre at Blackburn College with a plenary lecture by Professor David McKitterick. Full programme to be confirmed.
More information about this exciting event and the opportunity to register to attend can be found here.