The final meeting for 2008, attended by 25 members and
guests was an illustrated talk about the new Leeds City Museum by Katherine
Baxter Curator of Archaeology for Leeds Museums and Galleries. Katherine
has held this post in Leeds for three and a half years, and most of her
time here has been spent in preparing for the opening of the city's new
museum. She previously worked in Manchester, having done her degree there.
and has also spent time working on excavations in such exotic locations
as Bahrain, Cyprus and Jerusalem. A far cry from a rainy November evening
in an east Leeds suburb. Nonetheless we were delighted to welcome Katherine
to our meeting to give us an insight into the work and planning that has
taken place over the last nine years and has culminated in our superb
new museum. Katherine began her talk by explaining the many and varied
locations in the city, such as Temple Newsam, Abbey House Museum, Thwaite
Mills, etc, which are the responsibility of Leeds Museums and Galleries.
She then went on to talk about the new museum which, since it's opening
in September has attracted over 80,000 visitors. She explained that alongside
the development of the museum, the Leeds Museum Discovery Centre had been
purpose built to safely house the many thousands of objects in the museum's
collection. The coins and archaeology collections alone amount to over
40,000 items. Katherine showed many particularly interesting images during
her talk tracing the development of the museum from its empty shell as
the former Civic Theatre to the stunning showcase it is today. But the
ones the audience most enjoyed were the pictures of items being conserved,
particularly the polar bear having a shampoo, and the lengths the team
had to go to in order to safely move the Leeds Mummy, Nesyamun to his
new home. This involved borrowing a stretcher from a mountain rescue team,
and Katherine said it was the scariest day of her life.. At the end of
her talk, the audience engaged in a lively question and answer session,
and I'm sure Katherine was encouraged to hear that she had inspired some
who have not yet visited the museum, to make a trip there as soon as possible.
The evening ended with drinks and mince pies to celebrate the beginning
of the festive season.