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Musical matchsticks go on show at the Museum
Discover the story of the mandolin and violin made out of matchsticks ... Part of the 'Laurie Lee Curator of Eccentrics at The Museum in the Park'
An unusual event takes place at Stroud's Museum in the Park this weekend as part of the Laurie Lee Centenary Celebrations. Laurie Lee is known as a writer, chiefly of memoirs in prose but also of poetry.
But in 1951, he worked as the Curator of Eccentricities for the Festival of Britain and was responsible for a small display of items such as a mandolin made out of matchsticks and motorcycle goggles with wiper blades.
"Lee's sense of humour and pleasure at the ridiculous are perhaps as important a part of his heritage as his love of the countryside and of a finely phrased sentence" said local poet Philip Rush.
To celebrate this spirit, the Museum in the Park has invited a disparate group of artists to present a new collection of eccentricities. By presenting work of this nature, the artists are both complementing the existing collections in the Museum and intervening with it, so that the visitors to the Museum over this special weekend will see everything in a new and intriguing light.
The exhibition aims to tread in Laurie Lee's footsteps and put on display a wide range of amusing and thought-provoking eccentricities from the collections of local artists. There will be something for everyone.
In a strange and unexpected twist of fate, it turns out that the exhibition will include the very same matchstick mandolin displayed by Lee in 1951. And the mandolin will be accompanied by an amazing violin also made out of used matchsticks. These incredible instruments were created by Jack Hall, and are on on loan from his son Tony Hall.
'I am thrilled to be invited to exhibit Jack Hall's matchstick violin and bow in the 'Curator of Eccentricities' Laurie Lee Centenary event' said Tony Hall. 'In 2006 I made an astonishing discovery: Laurie Lee performed with the matchstick violin at the 1951 Festival of Britain! My Dad was never aware of this; in fact he didn't know if it could actually be played until he heard it for the first and only time on BBC television in 1991. It's quite incredible to think Laurie Lee knew 55 years before Jack Hall knew that his matchstick violin was playable.'
Tony Hall will be at the Museum on Saturday 13th September. Visitors can drop in and meet him and see his father's incredible creations alongside other eccentric work by local artists.
'The Curator of Eccentricities' exhibition takes place at The Museum in the Park on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September, open 11am until 5pm, admission free.
Photograph shows Laurie Lee's violin, on display in the Museum.
Museum work showcased
Some of the Museum's work has recently featured in two national reports.
Museum Collections Inspire New Book
A new picture book inspired by the Museum Collections is to be launched at Stroud Book Festival on 4 November 2017.
Certaine Wytches: Fear, Myth and Magic
Work by tapestry artist Anne Jackson exploring 'witchcraft' comes to the Museum in the Park.
Museum retains national quality mark
The Museum in the Park retains official tourist board's quality assurance mark
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