2021 Exhibition Programme Announced for Somerset Museums

10 May 2021


The South West Heritage Trust’s exhibition programme for 2021 explores the theme of ‘The Stories That Make Us’ – the many stories that define us as individuals and communities in a diverse and changing world. Exhibitions will take place at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton and Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury which reopen from 19 May.

The Museum of Somerset reopens with works submitted to the Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Competition. The museum will be the only South West venue to host this annual display of contemporary photography from across the globe. Photographers are encouraged to explore ideas, document personal stories, and reveal the world around them from new and thought-provoking perspectives.

The museum is known for its family-friendly summer exhibitions. This year the cartoons and art of the Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown are featured. The Horrible Histories books, written by Terry Deary, were launched in 1993 and are now world bestsellers. They have inspired TV series, stage shows, exhibitions and even a feature film. The series re-launches in 2021 with new titles including a history of flight called Up in the Air.  Visitors will be able to see the original covers for some of the Horrible Histories and discover more of Martin’s work from his beginnings as a humorous graphic artist and fan of cartoons.

The museum’s successful exhibitions dedicated to 20th-century British art continue in the autumn with a celebration of the colourful achievement of Brian Rice. After a childhood spent in south Somerset Brian Rice became part of the London art scene in the 1960s, where he moved in the same circles as David Hockney and Peter Blake. Later he returned to the West Country and reinterpreted its landscapes and archaeology with the imaginative vision of one of Britain’s leading abstract artists.

Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury will continue to showcase local artists and makers. The programme begins with the first solo exhibition by Glastonbury-based artist Joanna Briar. It will bring together ink drawings with linocut and woodcut prints in an exhibition inspired by the museum itself and by the countryside surrounding it.

During the summer the museum, working in partnership with the Royal Bath and West Society, will open its first ‘living exhibition’. There will be a vibrant programme of family events and activities that capture the spirt of the Bath and West Show, as well as an opportunity to discover more about the society’s wide-ranging history.
Autumn sees the museum continue its successful collaboration with Somerset Art Works. Alice Kettle is a highly-regarded textile artist whose large-scale narrative embroideries are inspired by contemporary issues and ideas. Themes of cultural heritage and displacement are explored through the contributions of migrants brought together in works by Alice Kettle.

Head of Museums for the South West Heritage Trust Sam Astill said: “After a very difficult year we’re now looking forward with optimism to the opportunities ahead. We’re collaborating with some brilliantly creative people and some key partners to deliver a programme that can provide enjoyment, inspiration and learning for everyone. It’s an important moment for rediscovering the joys and challenges of being the people we are. We want these new exhibitions to be part of that process.”

Opening times from 19 May:

All visits must be pre-booked at swheritage.org.uk. Tickets on sale from 11 May.
The Museum of Somerset, Taunton Wednesday – Saturday
Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury Wednesday - Sunday
Admission and opening times may vary in line with the latest Government guidance in response to Covid-19.
 
Exhibition dates
 
Museum of Somerset
RPS INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 19th May - 10th July
MARTIN BROWN: HORRIBLE HISTORIES AND OTHER DAZZLING DRAWINGS 24th July – 31st October
THE ART OF BRIAN RICE: 60 YEARS OF PAINTINGS AND PRINTS 13th November – 26th February
 
Somerset Rural Life Museum
A SENSE OF PLACE: AN EXHIBITION OF INK DRAWINGS AND PRINTMAKING BY JOANNA BRIAR
19th May – 3rd July
THE BATH AND WEST: A CELEBRATION 10th July – 4th September
THREAD BEARING WITNESS 11th September – 31st October
2021 Exhibition Programme Announced for Somerset Museums
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