Our Temporary Exhibitions allow us to delve more deeply into specific themes and ideas from the 17th century, exploring their legacy up to today. These are usually located in the two rooms on the top floor of the museum, floor 5.
This stunning new exhibition of ceramics by acclaimed artist Emilie Taylor will be opening to the public the day after International Women’s Day. Entitled Tubthumping, it will blend the 16th to 18th centuries with the present day, looking at how women’s roles have been impacted and the challenges they still face.
Funded by Arts Council England, the exhibition is the result of a yearlong collaboration between our Exhibitions and Collections Manager Glyn Hughes and Sheffield ceramicist Taylor. Her works draw upon our collections and will feature alongside objects chosen from them by Emilie, including birthing stools as well as a scold’s bridle (a form of public punishment administered to ‘misbehaving’ women during the 16th and 17th centuries) and a tract of a woman’s account of wearing it.
Emilie’s beautiful and eye-opening pieces marry the traditional with the contemporary, using the heritage craft process of decorative slipware to tell updated stories of women in realistic modern settings including backdrops of council flats.
This approach has been lauded by critics with Lesley Jackson writing in Crafts magazine that “although Taylor draws on the 17th-century vernacular slipware traditions of Thomas Toft, her approach is unmistakably 21st Century”, while Sara Roberts of Ceramic Review said: “Emilie makes pots that draw our attention to the politics in the everyday”.
The richly decorated pots in the display tell stories ranging from modern female Morris dance troupe Boss Morris and their movement to reconnect with the land, to public protests and young mothers coping with the rising cost of living.
Our permanent galleries include the Main Civil War Gallery on Floor 1 which gives a comprehensive overview of the causes of the conflict while The World Turned Upside Down galleries on Floor 3 examine their consequences and 17th century life more closely.
The unmatched devastation of the Civil War led to an extraordinary transformation. Re-building society after such a dramatic breakdown opened the door to a chance at revolution, and the chaos of war left a remarkable opportunity for creativity in its wake. This 'World Turned Upside Down' is the focus of a brand new permanent exhibition exploring the 17th century's seismic shifts in religion, science, culture and politics. The exhibition will ask just what happened to turn the world from right way up to 'upside down'; examine what it would have been like to plunge into the mayhem of war and emerge into an unfamiliar landscape; and uncover how the pyramid of power shifted from the God-chosen King on top... to Charles' head on the ground.
Newark’s story begins with Ice Age travellers, following their prey along the high ground between rivers. After the ice melted, other travellers left their mark and their treasures here. Romans gave us our roads. Vikings named many of our streets. Anglo Saxons built Newark Castle and the New Werk – the town we know as Newark today.
Explore these two rooms to see some of the clues left to us by generations past. Find out about our local history and the people who built Newark. Who buried the golden torc by the River Trent? Why did Lord Byron have his first volumes of poetry printed here? Who used folding bikes before commuters?