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WHAT'S ON

Wells & Mendip Museum has a busy calendar of events. From talks and workshops to art exhibitions and garden days, keep an eye on this page to see what's coming up.

The museum publishes a free newsletter every two months with information on events and developments in the museum. Please visit Our Newsletter page to subscribe or download copies.

What's On
What's On - Summary
Scroll down the page for full event details

9 Jul 2024

9:00 am

to

7 Sept 2024

3:00 pm

Out of Time: Underground Mendip
Herbert E Balch, John Hassall, Ben Rivers, Harry Savory and Emma Stibbon
Exhibition curated by Josephine Lanyon for Wells & Mendip Museum

9 Jul 2024

9:00 am

to

30 Jul 2024

3:00 pm

The Italians of Wells
Exhibition

 

Curator's Choice

The Curator's Choice

A changing display which features items specially chosen by the curator.

It can be viewed on the mezzanine floor of the museum.

Mostyn with Lumex adjusted.JPG
'Shelter known as White Spot Cave, by the reservoir, Cheddar Gorge'

A painting in oils by Thomas Edwin Mostyn (1864 - 1930). Mostyn was born in Liverpool, but raised in Manchester where he studied at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. His early works were realistic in style, often depicting working-class poverty. After World War One, his style changed, and he became famous for enchanted garden scenes. Mostyn held several solo exhibitions with the Fine Art Society in London during the 1920s.

 

White Spot Cave is 10m above road level 20m down from the Bristol Waterworks covered reservoir. It is 60m long with a vertical range of 33m, and its entrance is a prominent feature in the gorge. Amazingly, close to it but not connected is ‘The Frozen Deep’, part of nearby Reservoir Hole, the largest chamber by area in the UK.

 

The painting is inscribed ‘To Harry Savory, Aug 1915, Tom Mostyn’, and it was given to the museum by Harry Savory in 1945.

 

Accession Number 1996.148B

What's On - Detail
Out of Time: Underground Mendip
Herbert E Balch, John Hassall, Ben Rivers, Harry Savory and Emma Stibbon
Exhibition curated by Josephine Lanyon for Wells & Mendip Museum

9 Jul 2024

-

7 Sept 2024

9:00 am
3:00 pm
Out of Time connects early twentieth-century quests for archaeological and geological knowledge with our current environmental concerns. This exhibition intertwines the pioneering works of Herbert Balch, John Hassall, and Harry Savory, who unravelled the mysteries of Mendip caves, with new contemporary works by Ben Rivers and Emma Stibbon, inspiring us to imagine the future of this subterranean world. 

At the heart of the exhibition is a series of black and white pen and ink drawings by the museum's founder, Herbert E Balch, whose motto, ‘Search and Learn’, has been lent to a wider three year project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Balch’s drawings from the 1900s, shown for the first time in this exhibition, result from a relentless investigation into how the caves have been formed and used by humans for 45,000 years. The documents have an urgency and directness that reflect hours of physical endeavour to pioneer the discovery of Swildon’s Hole, Priddy (1901), Eastwater Cavern, Wells (1902) and Wookey Hole 1906). The 1914 publication Wookey Hole: its Cave and Cave Dwellers is the culmination of years of research by Herbert Balch in collaboration with the photographer Harry Savory and the graphic artist John Hassall; this book will be displayed alongside examples of the three artists’ work and archaeological specimens. 

Emma Stibbon is interested in a geological understanding of place in her approach to landscape. Previous projects have taken her to the Arctic and Antartica, volcanic terrains, deserts and coastal environments, and she currently has a solo exhibition Melting Ice Rising Tides at the Towner, Eastbourne. In preparation for this exhibition she has focused on Wookey Hole where she has gathered her research and experienced caving for the first time. Emma’s monumental monochrome ink drawing Resurgence reflects on how the forces of nature and human activity have shaped the Show Cave at Wookey Hole. Stibbon has also produced a series of photographic ambrotypes and drawings of Balch’s geological samples, which connect back to the founder’s research. 

Ben Rivers was inspired by William Boyd Dawkins's 1852 research into the palaeolithic archaeology of the Hyaena Den at Wookey Hole Ravine and Jules Verne’s 1864 science fiction novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. His film Look Then Below shows the netherworld of chambers carved out over deep time and foretells a future subterranean world, occupied by a species that evolved from our environmentally challenged world. 

Josephine Lanyon, the exhibition’s curator said: “This exhibition is a rare opportunity to focus on Mendip’s unique and changing underground worlds. By fusing the museum's collections with twentieth-century thought, we can examine these very special habitats' past, present, and future.” 

Museum entry fees apply

Out of Time connects early twentieth-century quests for archaeological and geological knowledge with our current environmental concerns. This exhibition intertwines the pioneering works of Herbert Balch, John Hassall, and Harry Savory, who unravelled the mysteries of Mendip caves, with new contemporary works by Ben Rivers and Emma Stibbon, inspiring us to imagine the future of this subterranean world.

At the heart of the exhibition is a series of black and white pen and ink drawings by the museum's founder, Herbert E Balch, whose motto, ‘Search and Learn’, has been lent to a wider three year project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Balch’s drawings from the 1900s, shown for the first time in this exhibition, result from a relentless investigation into how the caves have been formed and used by humans for 45,000 years. The documents have an urgency and directness that reflect hours of physical endeavour to pioneer the discovery of Swildon’s Hole, Priddy (1901), Eastwater Cavern, Wells (1902) and Wookey Hole 1906). The 1914 publication Wookey Hole: its Cave and Cave Dwellers is the culmination of years of research by Herbert Balch in collaboration with the photographer Harry Savory and the graphic artist John Hassall; this book will be displayed alongside examples of the three artists’ work and archaeological specimens.

Emma Stibbon is interested in a geological understanding of place in her approach to landscape. Previous projects have taken her to the Arctic and Antartica, volcanic terrains, deserts and coastal environments, and she currently has a solo exhibition Melting Ice Rising Tides at the Towner, Eastbourne. In preparation for this exhibition she has focused on Wookey Hole where she has gathered her research and experienced caving for the first time. Emma’s monumental monochrome ink drawing Resurgence reflects on how the forces of nature and human activity have shaped the Show Cave at Wookey Hole. Stibbon has also produced a series of photographic ambrotypes and drawings of Balch’s geological samples, which connect back to the founder’s research.

Ben Rivers was inspired by William Boyd Dawkins's 1852 research into the palaeolithic archaeology of the Hyaena Den at Wookey Hole Ravine and Jules Verne’s 1864 science fiction novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. His film Look Then Below shows the netherworld of chambers carved out over deep time and foretells a future subterranean world, occupied by a species that evolved from our environmentally challenged world.

Josephine Lanyon, the exhibition’s curator said: “This exhibition is a rare opportunity to focus on Mendip’s unique and changing underground worlds. By fusing the museum's collections with twentieth-century thought, we can examine these very special habitats' past, present, and future.”

Museum entry fees apply

The Italians of Wells
Exhibition

9 Jul 2024

-

30 Jul 2024

9:00 am
3:00 pm
Have you ever wondered why Wells is home to so many Italians? And why we have so many Italian building firms? Did you know Wells had a WW2 Prisoner of War camp?

Come to our new exhibition - The Italians of Wells - See genuine POW art, learn about the Romulus and Remus statue, talk to descendants of those POWs. And think about the differences and similarities between these Italian immigrants and the Ukrainian families staying in Wells today.  

In the Ground Floor Meeting Room. Museum entry fees apply

Have you ever wondered why Wells is home to so many Italians? And why we have so many Italian building firms? Did you know Wells had a WW2 Prisoner of War camp?

Come to our new exhibition - The Italians of Wells - See genuine POW art, learn about the Romulus and Remus statue, talk to descendants of those POWs. And think about the differences and similarities between these Italian immigrants and the Ukrainian families staying in Wells today.

In the Ground Floor Meeting Room. Museum entry fees apply

Curator's Choice
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