Exhibitions reflect town’s rich and fascinating past
One of the cultural highlights of my summer was the opportunity to visit the newly refurbished and extended Northampton Museum and Art Gallery on Guildhall Road and the Northamptonshire Natural History Society on Castilian Terrace.
The timing of the opening is apt. The beginning of the biggest public sector regeneration programme of the town in a generation is under way and the museum refurbishment could be looked upon as marking the first completion of this ambitious programme. It makes a bold statement about the town. I found the spacing and design of the building impressive and well thought out.
There is a permanent exhibition of the shoe gallery which is a ‘must see’ and two further dedicated art galleries and a temporary exhibition space. Currently, there is a major exhibition of Northamptonshire artist Chris Fiddes, exploring his life and work.
The ‘We are Northampton’ exhibition is bold, engaging and very enjoyable. My only criticism is that there appears to be no mention or celebration of molecular geneticist Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA and Nobel prize winner. His contribution to science is immeasurable and, being born in Weston Favell, he must surely be one of Northampton’s most famous sons and thus have a place in the museum.
Maybe even a special exhibition of his own at some stage?
This brings me nicely to my visit to the little-known Northamptonshire Natural History Society, located in Castilian Terrace.
Its history goes back to the same period as the Northampton Museum and one of its founding members was a certain Walter Crick, amateur geologist, palaeontologist, and grandfather of Francis. The Covid crisis has hit the society hard over the last year but what it lacks in money it more than makes up in passion and dedication of its volunteers.
At a time when there is much interest in the effects of climate change and the natural world, this society has an important role and place for schools and families in Northampton and the county to inspire and educate in equal measure. I do hope this article may inspire younger scientists of every kind to get in touch with the society.
Find out more at www.nnhs.info and www.northamptonmuseums.com
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