Witchcraft Museum

Witchcraft Museum

Boscastle Cornwall

News – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

  The museum has several objects on loan to a new touring exhibition. ‘The British Isles have a particularly strong relationship to magic and the occult, with the chants of …

The post Waking the Witch, touring exhibition appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

 

The museum has several objects on loan to a new touring exhibition.

‘The British Isles have a particularly strong relationship to magic and the occult, with the chants of witchcraft echoing throughout their history. Legion Projects is delighted to announce Waking the Witch, a touring group exhibition which will look to the importance of craft, ritual and land on the practice of the ever shifting figure of the witch.

Traditional witchcraft has a strong connection to the earth, with an intimate knowledge of herbs, plants and the elements – as well as the human body. As gatekeepers to altered consciousness and as communicators with non-human beings, witches have been both feared and sought out for their dealings with the unknown. Historically persecuted as an outsider, the witch has been taken on by artists as a challenging force to prevailing norms and as a symbol of dissidence.

Offering interpretations of both contemporary and historical witchcraft, the exhibition aims to reclaim the multifarious voices the witch has been given over the course of history, facilitating a speculative search for lost knowledge. Looking to symbols, tools and the coven as a space for focusing collective intent, the artists in this exhibition explore the path of the witch as one that inspires a deep communion with our natural surroundings, a connection to our intuitive powers and as a force for harnessing collective energy.’

Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, 15 Sep – 7 Nov 2018
Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, 1 May – 8 June 2019 TBA
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, Sep – Oct 2019 TBA
20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, 18 January – 18 April 2020

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Author: simon
Posted: September 15, 2018, 10:56 pm

Simon will be promoting the museum at a talk in London on the 30th October at the Town Hall Hotel. Other speakers will be Professor Ronald Hutton — The History …

The post A Week of Halloween Curiosities, London appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Author: simon
Posted: September 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

We are delighted to announce that we have several items from the museums collection in this new exhibition in Oxford at the prestigious Ashmolean Museum. ‘Explore the history of magic …

The post Spellbound at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

We are delighted to announce that we have several items from the museums collection in this new exhibition in Oxford at the prestigious Ashmolean Museum.

‘Explore the history of magic over eight centuries in this immersive and thought-provoking exhibition. The intriguing objects on display show how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. They range from the fantastical and macabre (a unicorn’s horn, a human heart encased in lead), the beautiful and mysterious (exquisitely engraved rings to bind a lover and medieval books of ritual magic), to the deeply moving confessions of women accused of witchcraft.

The exhibition asks us to examine our own beliefs and rituals, and aims to show how, even in this sceptical age, we still use magical thinking and why we might need a bit of magic in our lives.

To illuminate the links between past and present, specially commissioned works by contemporary artists provide dramatic responses to the themes of the show, conjuring demons, flames and the scuttling of malignant spirits.’

There has already been a huge amount of press coverage for the show and the lead actors from The League Of Gentlemen have said how much they enjoyed it when they visited. We think they should make the trip down to Boscastle next, seeing as we’re not just a local museum for local people……!

 

https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/16686997.world-of-witchcraft-and-magic-at-ashmolean-museums-spellbound-show/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

 

 

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Author: simon
Posted: September 15, 2018, 10:39 pm

Hi! My name is Aleksandra and I have spent the last month working here at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. I study liberal arts with a major in history …

The post A Venture Into the Occult: My Internship With the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Hi! My name is Aleksandra and I have spent the last month working here at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. I study liberal arts with a major in history at the University of Exeter. With the history of witchcraft being a special interest of mine, I was very excited to hear I would be able to spend an entire month surrounded by books and objects related to this topic. 

During my time here, I have completed a variety of tasks which have expanded my knowledge and understanding of the history of witchcraft and magic, and the various aspects of working at a museum. One of the tasks was cataloguing typed interpretation cards made by Cecil Williamson, which contain various details and anecdotes about the museum’s objects. A lot of them were enlightening, a little strange, and rather entertaining. One of my favourites was document 8362, pictured below. 

 

Another task I was responsible for was cataloguing items from the current Dew of Heaven exhibition, as well as the Alpha et Omega (A. O.) tracing board diagrams and documents. The items in this collection contain information about the occult order of Alpha et Omega, initially named the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. All beautifully hand-made by the members of the order, the boards and manuscripts feature mysterious designs and secret (well, not anymore) magical knowledge which the members were tested on. 

Above: documents 3921, 3912,and 3945.

The most fascinating object I came across was the membership initiation record book which you can read about in more detail here: document 3920. The records revealed that many members of the order had rather ordinary jobs that did not exactly fit in with what you’d imagine a typical member of an occult order would be like. For example, one of the members, pictured below, was a doctor and has his own Wikipedia entry. 

Dr John Frederick Halls Dally, also known by his Latin motto “Hodie Non Cras”, initiated on 10/01/1917. “John Frederick Halls Dally (died 1944) was a British physician and president of the History of Medicine Society of the Royal Society of Medicine from 1941 to 1942 and in 1944.”  Another member, George Edwin Bance, was the author of most if not all the items from the Alpha et Omega collection. He signed his work with his Latin motto “Fide et Amore”, and was initiated into the order on 20/09/1919.

One of the highlights of my time here was the candlelit evening. I helped out with setting up the atmosphere which involved lighting candles and incense, before the museum re-opened at 8pm. And I got to listen to some eerie ghost stories! 

 

What made this internship truly wonderful were the incredible people I worked with. Anna – another student intern like myself, and the tight-knit museum team: Joyce, Gypsy, Hannah, and Judith and Peter who made this internship happen. Their advice and help extended far beyond what I expected, and they really wanted Anna and me to get the most out of our time at the museum. They gave us lots of valuable advice regarding future work experience and our dissertations. They also gave us plenty of book ideas and tips for research, a lot of which I have managed to do here by taking advantage of the library’s extensive collection of books.

It’s been a truly wonderful month, I’ve enjoyed my time at the museum and I’m sad to be leaving so soon, but I’m sure I’ll be back (the Halloween events look tempting)! It’s time for me to return to university and utilise what I’ve learned here, before I set out for further witchy adventures. 

Thank you for the lovely experience, until next time!

 

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Author: judith
Posted: August 31, 2018, 12:46 pm

Newberry Library are asking members of the public to transcribe the manuscript, which can be read here: http://publications.newberry.org/dig/rc-transcribe/charms It is a commonplace book, compiled by Robert Ashley (1565-1641).  In addition to …

The post Newberry Library: help needed with 17th Century Magical Text appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Newberry Library are asking members of the public to transcribe the manuscript, which can be read here:

http://publications.newberry.org/dig/rc-transcribe/charms?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

It is a commonplace book, compiled by Robert Ashley (1565-1641).  In addition to a series of written charms, it also has recipes and extracts from printed books.

Any information you have on the information relating to spirits, conjurations would be gratefully received!  Please email your thoughts to:  museumwitchcraft@aol.com

 

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Author: judith
Posted: August 22, 2018, 11:08 am

On Wednesday 15th August at 7.30pm, there will be an opportunity to see WITCH, an original play written for performance at the Museum.  The first ever play to have been …

The post Performances at the Museum this week appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

On Wednesday 15th August at 7.30pm, there will be an opportunity to see WITCH, an original play written for performance at the Museum.  The first ever play to have been performed here (that we know about!)  It is a fantastic look at the persecution of witchcraft in the early modern period and is historically accurate, tense and compelling.  

On Saturday 18th August, we have a candlelit evening.  The Museum will be open late and parts of it will be lit with candles to create a beautiful atmosphere.  There is no need to book for the candlelit evening, just show up, pay your normal entry fee and explore the Museum at your own pace.  There is an added extra for visitors to the Museum for this candlelit evening – Ghost Stories!  These ticketed performances take place in the Museum library and involve the Museum’s ghostly librarians telling you macabre tales of mystery and magic from the Museum’s own history, the West Country and beyond.

There are two performances: one at 7.30pm (so you can visit the Museum afterwards) and 9.30pm (so you can visit the Museum before).  Both events are suitable for children aged 10 and over.  

Tickets are limited and selling well, to purchase tickets please visit: https://www.circleofspears.com/store/c6/Tickets.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

Email Judith at the Museum (museumwitchcraft@aol.com) if there are any issues.

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Author: judith
Posted: August 11, 2018, 9:55 am

Several months ago Simon flew to Ireland to meet with friends, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone. Janet had kindly decided that she would like to pass on two iconic items …

The post Iconic objects on show appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Several months ago Simon flew to Ireland to meet with friends, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone. Janet had kindly decided that she would like to pass on two iconic items from her collection to Simon so that they may be shown in the museum. He was honored to receive the Horned Crown, which belonged to Stewart Farrar and their Copper Pentacle, embossed with symbols and semi-precious stones. Readers of Stewart and Janet’s books may well be familiar with these from the cover of ‘The Witches’ Way: Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft’ published in 1986. Both artifacts can be seen in the Modern Witchcraft section of the museum. We would all like to thank Janet and Gavin for their continued support of the museum and for entrusting us with these magical pieces.

 

 

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Author: simon
Posted: August 4, 2018, 9:21 pm

Here’s a link to an interview with the artist Paul Atlas Saunders.  He has been busily creating a fantastic door that will greet people as they enter the Museum, to …

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Here’s a link to an interview with the artist Paul Atlas Saunders.  He has been busily creating a fantastic door that will greet people as they enter the Museum, to be revealed later this year!  The door is being funded by the Museum Friends organisation.

Thanks to Paul and Adele at Friends!

Friends Fund New Door For Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

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Author: Collections Researcher (PH)
Posted: July 29, 2018, 2:35 pm

For the past few years, we have been delighted to have dramatic performances at the Museum created and performed by our friends at Circle of Spears productions (a Devon based …

The post Dramatic performances at the Museum coming soon! appeared first on Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

For the past few years, we have been delighted to have dramatic performances at the Museum created and performed by our friends at Circle of Spears productions (a Devon based theatre company).

They have created two different performances for the Museum and both are available to experience here this year.

Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.circleofspears.com/store/c6/Tickets.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

WITCH was the first ever play to be performed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  It centres on one case from the early modern period and looks at the perspectives of the accused, the accuser and the judge/Justice of the Peace.  It is intense and unexpected as well as historically accurate and moving.  It has gone on tour, featured in academic conferences on the use of theatre in presenting the past and also been booked by audience members to be shown to their students in schools and universities.  It is highly recommended.  There are only three performances of it this year (each performance starts at 7.30pm) and the dates are:

July 21st (only 12 tickets remaining)

August 15th

September 8th

 
 
The team at Circle of Spears also created a performance of Ghost Stories which takes place in the Museum library on our candlelit evenings.  You can hear traditional tales from Devon and Cornwall and accounts of spooky occurrences at the Museum too!  The tales are told by the Museum’s librarians and you can either attend the stories first and then visit the Museum at night or visit the Museum and then hear the stories – whatever works best for you!  No need to book for the late night, candlelit opening but tickets for the Ghost Stories are best purchased in advance to avoid disappointment (they almost always sell out).  Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.circleofspears.com/store/c6/Tickets.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss
 
July 28th
7.30pm (several tickets already sold for this performance)
9.30pm
 
August 18th
7.30pm
9.30pm
 
September 1st
7.30pm
9.30pm
 
 
 
 
 

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Author: Collections Researcher (PH)
Posted: July 14, 2018, 7:37 am