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Heritage Open Days 2020

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Welcome to the start of this year’s Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture, 11 – 20 September.

This year we have moved our activities online so get ready for a week of stories, music, art and heritage brought to you at home.

Hidden Nature

When we heard that this year’s theme is Hidden Nature we got very excited. There is so much to explore with the Royal Pavilion & Museums. How were the Royal Pavilion interiors inspired by the natural world? What unusual plants live in the Royal Pavilion Garden?

The Booth Museum of Natural History team began exploring some of the real life inspirations behind the Royal Pavilion’s nature themed decoration, including exotic birds and dragons.

Heritage volunteers at Brighton Dome & Festival have been investigating some of the more elusive fauna and flora in the Royal Pavilion Garden.

All of this will be shared though a series of blogs starting tomorrow. Check each day for new stories.

New Note Orchestra

If you’d have gone down to the woods at Three Cornered Copse in Hove last month, you’d have been sure of a big surprise as you might have come across the New Note Orchestra dreaming up a brand new piece of music.

In a first get-together since lockdown restrictions eased, the musicians met to create a unique composition to accompany a new online exhibition of some of Brighton Museum’s best-loved artworks. Inspired by some of the rich images of landscapes that appear in the online exhibition, the orchestra took to the woods for the day and the result is a very ethereal arrangement with the calming chime of hand bells taking centre stage. The musicians also used the natural environment around them to enhance the music, using sticks and gently knocking on tree trunks for added percussion. We are launching the online display with the newly created composition for this year’s Heritage Open Days. Look out of it towards the end of this week.  

Test our new digital apps

If you are out and about in Brighton & Hove then get involved with two new digital experiments. Gardens, outdoor spaces and fresh air have been appreciated more than ever in 2020. A mindful tour of the Royal Pavilion Garden will launch on our audio guide next week. Rather than simply give you a history of the Royal Pavilion Estate, it will encourage a more mindful appreciation of the space and invite you to think about the people and plants, the sounds and sensations, the questions and the qualities that make up this historic garden.

The second is Then & Now, a new interactive map that uses our collections to show how Brighton & Hove has changed over time. We’ve pinned some of our historic photographs and artworks to the locations they depict. We invite you to take your own photographs of the spot and share them with us so we can present a compare and contrast of the present and the past.

Meet Queer the Pier Community Curators

If you are really missing Brighton Museum, as we all are, take this opportunity to meet some of the Queer the Pier exhibition Community Curators, in these new short films. Due to lockdown Brighton Museum closed a few short weeks after the exhibition opened. As we can’t share the exhibition with you in person on this year’s Heritage Open Day, we would love to share some of the stories behind it online with you instead. The Community Curators explain how the show they made came together, what’s in it and the way it helps us all better understand the spirit of the city we recognise so fondly today. 

We hope you enjoy this coming week of new stories and activities. Tune in to each day to be part of our Heritage Open Days 2020.

Jody East, Creative Programming Curator