Posts Tagged ‘Rise of the Machines’

Object of the week- Mystery machine!

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

In every museum collection there are a few objects that nobody can identify. This machine is simply recorded as an unknown instrument or tool and with no further information we have never been able to discover exactly what it does!


During Rise of the Machines we asked visitors to tell us what they thought it might be and we had some interesting suggestions from a device to peel fruit through to something to do with navigation but nobody knew for sure and so today it will be going back to its home in the store unidentified unless any of our blog readers can help!


If you missed your chance to see our orrery on display inRise of the Machines don’t forget you can still see our videos of it being conserved and then in motion on the Rise of the Machines playlist. The orrery is also being returned to a new home in our stores where it should be much more accessible for visitors to see it on our Stores Open Days so watch out for future dates!

Object of the week- Brewster’s Mechanical Spinner

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Happy New Year to all our visitors! After the success of our Advent calendar we’ve decided to give our weekly blogs a makeover and start each blog with an “object of the week”.

Brewster machine

This week’s object is this mechanical spinner, designed to experiment with how different shaped objects behaved when spun. This machine was designed and built by renowned Scottish physicist and inventor Sir David Brewster (1781 – 1868) who is most famous for being the inventor of the kaleidoscope and was primarily interested in experimenting with light.


You can see this mechanical spinner on display, alongside several other pieces of scientific equipment including our orrery, in Rise of the Machines. The exhibition closes on Saturday 17th January so you only have a week and a half to visit if you haven’t already!

Christmas comes to the museum!

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

On Friday evening 841 of you visited our Christmas Spectacular! It was an amazing evening with the Christmas Lights being switched on in town, St Andrews Church Choir singing carols for us, some amazingly glittery crafts coming out of the Andrews Room and best of all Santa Claus himself was here!


If you missed out on seeing Santa last week then don’t despiar- he’s agreed to come and visit the children of Hertford again on Saturday 13th December as part of our Christmas Model Railway Day! He’ll be here from 10.30- 12.00 and then again from 2.00 – 4.00 so check out our website for full details!

2006-12-02 26 Hertford Museum

Also on our website are details of our other Christmas events from a very sparkly Christmas Toddler Morning to our Handmade Christmas family activities on the 23rd December! You can also find out about our regular Knit & Natter day (with mince pies as its nearly Christmas!) and don’t forget Rise of the Machines is still on!


And if all of that isn’t enough then we’re also posting a Hertford Museum Advent Calendar online this year with a different object from our collections posted each day! You can check it out on facebook or on twitter with the hashtag #HMAdvent.

Today's Advent Calendar object- a Saxon silver penny!

Today’s Advent Calendar object- a Saxon silver penny!

Autumn sunshine

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

It looks like autumn is really here, there’s a chill in the air and we’re starting to see drifts of leaves come in with our visitors! However there’s still one last Teas in the Garden this Saturday and it’s lovely and warm in the knot garden when it’s sunny (and if it isn’t sunny there’s space inside!)


Alongside the autumn visitors in our garden there are some wonderful woodland creatures in our shop at the moment!


Not to mention the one’s on display in Hertford and Beyond.

HAB 19 Red Deer Paris House

So there’s plenty to see and do at the museum! And we’re keeping busy behind the scenes too, we’ve raised enough money to start work on the orrery so it’s currently in pieces under the care of our wonderful conservator Francis.


Hertford Museum Orrery

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Over the year’s the objects on display at Hertford Museum have to keep changing but we’re often asked about objects that are now in our stores. One of the things we’re asked about most frequently is our orrery which was on display in the museum for nearly 70 years!

The orrery on display in the 1960s

The orrery on display in the 1960s

The orrery –a mechanical model of the solar system – was made by Jeremiah Cleeve of Welwyn in around 1810. It was given to us by the Science Museum in 1933 and has been an important part of our collection ever since. However it now needs urgent conservation work. The globe is rapidly losing varnish and the paper surface at real risk of permanent damage. The mechanism of the orrery is also in desperate need of cleaning so that it can one again be operated.


We are hoping to have the orrery on display as part of our Rise of the Machines exhibition later this year and we’d like to have it in full working order but to do that we need to raise £2050. We’ve already had a donation from the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust but we’ve got a long way to go to raise the full total and so we’re asking our visitors and supporters for help!


If you’d like more information about the significance of the orrery, our plans for it’s display and storage long term and also the work that needs doing you can download a pdf here or get in touch with us.


Don’t forget if you want a chance to see some of the other objects in our collection that aren’t on display at the moment then you can come and see behind the scenes at our Store on Saturday as part of this year’s Open Heritage Weekend. See our website for full details!