AUG 01] SHAKESPEARE BIRTHPLACE TRUST NEWS
New Museum For Stratford
has gained another historical treasure trove with the opening of a
museum dedicated to British pewter.
Museum of British Pewter was opened
last Friday by Lord Gowrie, former Chairman of Sotheby’s and
Minister for the Arts at Harvard House in Stratford.
PEWTER INK WELL ON
DISPLAY AT THE MUSEUM
on the generous donation of the Neish Collection, an extensive
private collection, together with the Shakespeare Birthplace
Trust’s existing collection, the Museum displays trace the use of
pewter from Roman Times to the present day.
now often neglected as a metal, pewter was in the past the most
common choice for household items. Everything from vast chargers and
tankards to delicate medieval pilgrim badges and even children’s
toys were made from pewter and can be seen at the new Museum.
displays are arranged chronologically so that visitors can place
what they are seeing in historical context. British-Romano platters
recovered from the bed of the River Thames, are followed by a
pilgrim badge depicting Thomas a Becket, chargers from
Shakespeare’s day, a tankard engraved with images of William and
Mary, a teapot inspired by the Portland Vase and finally a display
of modern designs in pewter, lent by the Worshipful Company of
can use an interactive computer program to explore the collection
and the history of pewter. In the second part of the program,
children can learn how to make pewter and create a virtual tankard.
Children’s Discovery area also features two ‘hands-on’
activities where children can examine original items and try to work
out with the aid of a magnifying glass and a book of touch marks,
who the manufacturer was, who it was made for and what it might be
Museum of British Pewter is situated in Harvard House, once the home
of the mother of John Harvard, the founder of Harvard University.
Visitors can find out about the history of the house and the life of
John Harvard through displays on the upper floor of the Museum.
Pringle, director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, believes the
Museum will become a popular attraction for visitors:
course, most will come to Stratford because of the connection with
Shakespeare, but this new museum offers something different –
2000 years of British history in microcosm. I think few will be
able to resist its appeal.”