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What’s going on at The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford?

October 2012 - March 2013

Get your doodle on

at Big Draw 13th October 2012


The Big Draw 13th October 2012 The Big Draw is the world’s biggest celebration of drawing. It has grown into a month-long festival during October all over the UK. There will be lots of Big Draw action here in Bedford, brought to you by The Higgins, Bedford Creative Arts and John Bunyan Museum.

2 The Big Sand Draw

The Pilgrim’s Progress Big Draw Event

Saturday 13th October, 10am - 3pm On the lawn, near Castle Mound, off Newnham Street

Saturday 20th October, 11am - 3.30pm On the lawn, near Castle Mound, off Newnham Street

Come and join us for our biggest Big Draw to date. We’ll be making large scale sand drawings on the lawn by Castle Mound. We’re using weird and wonderful things from The Higgins’ collections for our inspiration and sand instead of pencils. The event is suitable for everyone from 1 to 100. Free Event. Organised by The Higgins.

Paint your way through John Bunyan’s story The Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian’s journey will be painted on the hoarding outside The Higgins. Free Event suitable for all ages. Organised by John Bunyan Museum. Throughout the month of October there will also be a free drawing trail available at John Bunyan Museum. Visit www. or call 01234 270303 for more details.

#Takeover2012 Be the boss...

Drawing Together Queen’s Park Tuesday 6th October 10am -12noon Big Draw, All Saints Church, Queen’s Park Monday 29th October, 10am – 4pm Big Draw and Paint, mural site Ford End Road, Queens Park Paint your way through John Bunyan’s story The Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian’s journey will be painted on the hoarding outside The Higgins. Free Event suitable for all ages. Organised by John Bunyan Museum. Throughout the month of October there will also be a free drawing trail available at John Bunyan Museum. Visit or call 01234 270303 for more details.

What would you do if you were in charge of the museum for a day? November 23rd 2012 could be your chance. Takeover Day 2012 offers opportunities for children and young people all over the country to get their hands on the reigns of power and make decisions in museums for the day. If you are between 13 and 18 we want to hear from you. Send us your ideas for a museum event designed for young people. Text your ideas to 07946802838, email them to us at thehiggins@bedford. or post them on our Facebook page www.facebook. com/CHAGandBM We will invite a select group, who come up with the most interesting suggestions, to come and spend a day behind the scenes at The Higgins as we prepare to re-open. You’ll get to choose the objects you want to put on display, to find out about all the different jobs that go on in The Higgins and write a guest blog. You may also get to take your event ideas further and plan a launch for other young people in June.


The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Dickens family fun We’ll be working in partnership with Bedford Central Library to bring you a Dickens Family Fun Day as part of the bicentennial celebration of his birth. Saturday 20th October Dickens Family Fun. Bedford Central Library, 11am – 4pm, Free Drop in to discover what life was like in Dickens’ time. Try on costumes and visit the Victorian school.


Friends of The Higgins events The Friends support the art gallery and museum with a regular programme of talks, outings and fundraising events. Everyone is welcome to Friends’ events, although there is a charge for nonmembers. To become a member is £18 per year, £15 for Senior Citizens or £8 for students.

The Art of the Violin - Tuesday 13th November 2012 by Vincent Manze, violin maker and restorer. Behind the Scenes in the Saleroom - Tuesday 8th January 2013 by David Fletcher - valuer, auctioneer and on-screen expert in BBC1’s ‘Flog-it’. Life in Art - Tuesday 12th March 2013 by Terry Sladden - Artist and lecturer.

To join the Friends contact Ann Ayres on 01234 359558 or

Meetings begin at 7.30pm and are held at St Cuthbert’s Hall, Newnham Street, Bedford.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

SAW - Saturday Archaeology Workshops SAW or Saturday Archaeology Workshops are monthly sessions for children aged 8 – 16 who are interested in archaeology. There is lots going on with SAW in the coming months: Saturday 20th October Graveyard Survey. Work with Albion Archaeology to record monuments at St Mary’s Church. Saturday 24th November Forensic Science. An introduction to forensic science in archaeology. Saturday 15th December Building Survey at Moot Hall, Elstow. Find out exactly how big Moot Hall is.

archaeology exhibit. This display will help to tell visitors what archaeology is about and why it’s important. The young people have helped to develop ideas for a recreated excavated burial. They have made suggestions for hands-on physical and digital interactives showing that the context of excavations are as important as the finds.


For further details please contact or phone 01234 718627 or visit the blog saturdayarchaeologyworkshops. SAW Goes Beneath the Surface During the last two years young people who have been attending Saturday Archaeology Workshops have been helping to design an exciting new interactive SAW at PRiory Country Park ‘Digging the Dirt’ Summer 2012

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Exhibitions coming soon... The Higgins will have increased space for temporary exhibitions. Here is a sneak peek at the inaugural exhibitions planned for spring 2013.

Victorian Visions: Pre-Raphaelite watercolours and drawings


Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882) Fanny Cornforth: Study for Fair Rosamund 1861, coloured chalks on paper © Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford

Drawn entirely from the Cecil Higgins

Simeon Soloman. Also on display

Collection, this exhibition will feature

will be designs by Rossetti, Burne-

work by the founding members of

Jones and Ford Maddox Brown for

the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

stained glass windows made by

and the artists they influenced.

Morris & Co., while further links will

The collection’s strength lies in its

be drawn between the work of these

preparatory works, including studies

visionary artists and the redisplayed

for larger works such as Burne-Jones’

decorative arts collection on show in

Cupid’s Hunting Fields (1880)

the brand new Design Gallery

and illustrations by Millais and

and William Burges Gallery.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Edward Bawden Gallery - Aesop’s Fables This display will show vibrant linocut prints alongside colour separations, allowing visitors to see the artist’s entire process from initial sketches to the final print. The Aesop’s Fables prints show Bawden at his entertaining best. They bring to life well known stories

like the Hare and the Tortoise as well as lesser-known fables like the Ant and Grasshopper. Also on display will be a series of adverts Bawden was commissioned to design for Guinness, which featured updated versions of some of Aesop’s Fables.


Edward Bawden (1903 - 1989) Aesop-to-date: ‘The Travelling Kangaroo’ 1981, linocut © The Edward Bawden Estate

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Exhibitions coming soon... Refused Entry! (working title)


Collections in storage. There will be many choices to be made by the Beauchamp Middle School team.

Children from Beauchamp

They will learn about the work

Middle School will be curating

of a curator; how to design, market

an exhibition from The Higgins’

and publicise an exhibition and what

collections, comprised of works

it takes to make an event enjoyable

that won’t appear elsewhere in

and safe for the public. This will be

the galleries’ opening displays.

the first exhibition in the Sir William

The children will discover what’s

Harpur Gallery, named in honour

involved in creating a family

of this great champion of education

friendly exhibition.

in Bedford.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

A Sense of Place Our new Community Gallery will

an insight into a wide variety

open with ‘A Sense of Place’

of working processes, from

curated by visiting artists Alex

lacemaking to photography,

Julyan and Lucy Wilson. Ten local

rush-weaving to sculpture. The

community groups have taken

aim is to create a stimulating

up the challenge to create an

visual conversation between the

artwork which explores their

final works and to invite visitors to

perception of ‘places’. Visitors

reflect on their own connections

to the exhibition will be offered

with the Borough.


Image from Film Infinity and Aragon Lacemakers - Sandra King making Thomas Lester Lace.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Getting Involved Whilst The Higgins has been closed we’ve been out and about finding ways to get people involved in creating and curating some of the content for our new galleries.

This mouse has received more votes then any other object so far. Sheila Alliez said ‘I admire Lalique’s glass sculptures, and this is very endearing and cute.’


Collection Point One of the first displays you’ll see when you come into The Higgins is Collection Point. This display is an introduction to the variety of collections held at The Higgins and it will change over time to show new objects chosen by you. The first set of objects were chosen at events during the summer and we hope you’re all looking forward to visiting The Higgins to see your chosen objects on display. The People Gallery One of the new galleries in The Higgins is the People Gallery. It will hold changing exhibitions that tell the stories of the people of Bedford and its surrounding borough. We’ve been collecting votes, nominations, oral histories and your comments to make sure that the People Gallery tells the stories that are important to you. At Heritage Open day on 8th September we held an election

for Great Bedfordians. Many of you came to cast your vote as well as nominating some new Great Bedfordians.

Higgins fan, Tracey Wright, casts her vote.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Out and About Our Audience Development Project has been working to build relationships with families moving into large new housing developments in Great Denham and Wixams. Over the summer we ran family activity sessions that introduced Saxon and Medieval pottery, retold the story of The Great Siege of Bedford Castle and marked the Olympics. In partnership with young people from Uprising Bedford, Brenton Jackson and our colleagues at Bedford International Athletics Stadium we delivered an International Flag Parade and Olympicnic to celebrate the cultural diversity of Bedford. We have also been working with local film company Film Infinity to record an archive of footage of annual events across the borough from Lace Days and Morris Dancing to Italian Saints and Polish dancing. Over the autumn and winter we will be talking to a huge range of groups about the events and activities they want to see on offer when


Photograph by Dan Davies 2012

we re-open. Our Community Historian, Carmela Sameraro will be continuing to record oral history interviews with a focus on capturing the industries and occupations once represented in the borough. If you spent your working life in Bedford and would like to share your experiences with future generations, please get in touch on 01234 718627.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford


Dave Hodgson, Rae Borras and Cllr Doug McMurdo at the ‘Topping Out’ ceremony.


Topping Out On 31st July 2012 we held a ‘Topping Out’ celebration to mark the fact that construction work at the site was complete. Rae Borras, Chairman of Borras

Next steps With the building work completed the next steps are already under way. Work has begun on fitting out new onsite stores for the collections. Staff that have been based in temporary offices have

Construction Ltd, presented Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford, with a ceremonial key to mark the occasion. Dave Hodgson said: “To have reached this milestone is thrilling; the borough has an extremely good reputation for the provision of leisure and cultural services and we are delighted to be one step closer to opening The Higgins to the public, for all to enjoy.” For many of the staff it was the first chance to see the redeveloped buildings. It provided an exciting glimpse of things to come at The Higgins.

moved back onsite. Museum cases and displays are being manufactured and installed throughout the coming months. It won’t be long until the building is ready for us to install the first museum objects in the new cases.

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Volunteers get a sneak peek On a beautiful sunny day in September our learning and access staff and volunteers went for a tour of the new buildings. For the volunteers it was the first glimpse of the buildings since the building work began back in 2010. Volunteer Diane Bell said ‘It was very exciting to re-enter the building which we hadn’t been in for two years. Trying to decide which room we were in was fun! And to be able to appreciate the vast spaces which have been revealed, showed us how the new art gallery and museum will look.’ Staff and volunteers alike are looking forward to working in the new space and to receiving the first school children for the new sessions.


The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Bringing a group The Higgins will reopen in spring 2013. We welcome group bookings for talks and tours. If your group is interested in booking, call us on 01234 718618 or email us at We’re looking forward to seeing you!


Welcome Talk: A short introduction from one of our front of house team. There’s a lot to see at The Higgins, as well as being a friendly welcome, this will help you and your group to get the most out of your trip.

Cecil Higgins Collection Tour or Talk: Ideal for those groups who specifically want to explore the Cecil Higgins Collection, we can offer this as a tour or illustrated talk.

Time: 15 minutes Cost: Free

Time: 1 hour Cost: £5 per person

Exhibition Tour: Join one of our tour guides for an in-depth look at your chosen temporary exhibition.

Collections in Focus Talk: This range of talks focuses on particular areas of the collections to suit the interests of your group. We also offer a longer session with a chance to view and sometimes handle objects not usually on public display. Options include: Watercolours & Prints, Ceramics & Glass, the Edward Bawden Archive and William Burges.

Time: 30 mins Cost: £5.00 per person

The Higgins Tour or Talk: Join one of our tour guides for the perfect introductory tour of the highlights of The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford. This is also offered as an illustrated talk with seating provided. Time: 1 hour Cost: £5 per person

Time: 1 hour (talk only) Cost: £5 per person OR 1 hour 30 mins (talk and object handling) Cost: £10 per person

All of our talks and tours can include refreshments such as morning coffee, afternoon tea. Please call us to talk through your options. 01234 718618

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Venue Hire When The Higgins re-opens it will have several new spaces available for hire. These range from modest meeting rooms, through to large conference and lecture spaces. They will be ideal for corporate functions, meetings, groups or clubs, lectures and workshops. If you feel that your event would benefit from the cultural surroundings as well as state-of-the-art facilities give us a call on 01234 718618 or email What’s On Email Newsletter We will be launching our new membership scheme in spring 2013 as part of our reopening celebrations. The membership scheme will be an accessible and fun way to support The Higgins whilst also getting the best value at events, shop and special exhibitions.

Free delivery of our regular ‘What’s On?’ leaflet will be part of the membership scheme. The regular email newsletter will be free. If you would like to receive our email newsletter please call us on 01234 718618 or email to sign up.

Scan this QR Code with your Smartphone to sign up for our regular email newsletter and be the first with all of the news.


The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Contact Us Mill Street Church

The Lawn


tle Q


Swan Hotel

Castle Mound

ad am Ro

Castle Lane


We are scheduled to reopen in spring 2013. In the meantime we have a lively programme of events and activities. Keep an eye on our website for all the latest news.

How to find us...

eet (A6) High Str

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford is currently closed for redevelopment.

The Embankment

Stay in touch... We have a Facebook page

You can follow us on Twitter

The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum Castle Lane Bedford MK40 3XD t: 01234 718618 f: 01234 718619 e: w: The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford is a Bedford Borough Council Cultural Service. Home of the Cecil Higgins Collection. AS136_12

The Higgins - What's Going On? October 2012 - March 2013  

Find out all of the latest news from The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

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