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Museum Secrets

Author: Ashmolean Museum

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The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Museum Secrets is produced and presented by Lucie Dawkins.
27 Episodes
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Join Mallica Kumbera Landrus, the Keeper of Eastern Art, as she introduces us to a tiny drawing made by a child genius. This scrap of paper tells a story of cultures embracing each other across vast distances and the curiosity of one exceptional 13 year old boy in Mughal India, 421 years ago. Christ on the Cross, Albrecht Dürer, 1511 - Find out moreSaint John the Evangelist, Abu l'-Hasan, 1600–1601 - Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at the objects in this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsEpisode Presenter: Mallica Kumbera LandrusAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Join curator Matthew Winterbottom as he explores ancient beliefs about disease testing and vaccines, through the Ashmolean’s collection of toadstone rings. These bizarre pieces of jewellery have a lot to tell us about the human effort to find hope in the face of illness and uncertainty, even when it involves the strangest superstitions. And at the end of the day, it turns out that toadstones have nothing to do with toads after all… Charm ring with toadstone – Find out moreGold and toadstone ring - Find out moreSilver and toadstone ring -  Find out moreSilver and toadstone charm ring - Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at the objects in this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsEpisode Presenters: Lucie Dawkins and Matthew Winterbottom About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Rules for Life

Rules for Life

2021-05-1409:55

In this episode we take a look at an understated little painting by the artist Gwen John, which hides complex depths. Gwen was one of the greatest and least known artists of the 20th century, who lived a life according to her own rules – literally. Her memos to herself are a guidebook for finding joy in solitude, and living largely and deeply on your own terms.The Convalescent, by Gwen John – Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at painting in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer and Presenter: Lucie DawkinsAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Opening the Box

Opening the Box

2021-05-0716:57

Join teaching curator Jim Harris as he peers inside a tiny tortoiseshell box. The little box holds a secret portrait of a woman, with a lock of her hair. The tiny empty space inside is stuffed with hidden stories, about wealth and the often ugly means of making it. This polite and pretty little box has so much us to tell us about memory.Portrait of Sophie Schutz in a tortoiseshell box – Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at artwork in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Jim HarrisAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Join An Van Camp, the Assistant Keeper of Northern European Art, as she lifts the lid on some strange boxes in the Museum's stores. Some contain witches, others devils, others letters of the alphabet wrapped in pink ribbons. They all belonged to the same man – the eccentric Francis Douce. Dürer drawing of two witches – Find out morePortrait of Francis Douce – Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at artworks relating to this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and An Van CampAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Join Clare Pollard, the Curator of Japanese Art, as she gives us a tour of Japan’s first skyscraper, through a vibrant and intriguing print, with some hidden surprises. It tells a story of a turning point in Japanese history, and also doubles as a board game.  Ryōunkaku Tower Game – Find out moreIf you want to take a closer look at the woodblock print in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Clare PollardAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Meet Naunakhte, an Ancient Egyptian mother who has a bone to pick. There are only a handful of surviving records of the voices of Ancient Egyptian women, and here in the Ashmolean, we have one of them. Her last will and testament reveals a story of a family argument which still sounds familiar over three millennia later.Naunakhte's will – Find out moreIf you want to find out more about the object in this episode, you can read more on Wikipedia at the link above, or to take a closer look at it visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenter: Lucie DawkinsAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Windmills and Wagers

Windmills and Wagers

2021-04-0906:50

Lockdown is slowly lifting, and this week, the pubs will be opening outdoors again in Oxford. To get us in the right frame of mind, curator Matthew Winterbottom takes us on a tour of historical drinking games in the Ashmolean. We meet a windmill in the silver gallery, with more to it than meets the eye.Cup in the form of a windmill – View it hereCup in the form of an owl – View it hereCup in the form of a bear – View it hereCup in the form of a stag – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the object in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Matthew WinterbottomAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
Beneath the Blue

Beneath the Blue

2021-04-0212:30

Lots of objects in the Ashmolean have got secrets hidden under their surface. Join the Ashmolean’s Conservation Research Fellow and colour detective Tea Ghigo, as she looks at a special bookcase with a suspicious shade of turquoise on it. Armed with an X-ray spectrometer and an infrared camera, she’s managed to find something strange lurking beneath the blue.When Tea looks at this bookcase, she sees a Venetian carnival and smells citrus fruits. What about you?The Great Bookcase – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the object in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Tea GhigoTea's research on the Great Bookcase is part of a European Research Council-funded project called Chromotope. Find out more.About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
A Sitting Duck

A Sitting Duck

2021-03-2609:51

Spring is in the air, and families of ducks are out in force in Oxford. Paul Collins, the Ashmolean Museum's Jaleh Hearn Curator of the Ancient Near East, introduces us to ancient duck with a cheerful story to tell. From the ducks of the time of the pharaohs to the ducks of today, Paul explores this timeless symbol of better times to come. Box in the form of a duck – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the object in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Paul CollinsAbout Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.
It's been a really hard first few months to 2021, so here at the Ashmolean, we've been putting together another series of Museum Secrets to cheer us all up. Join Lucie Dawkins for more bite-sized adventures behind the locked doors at the Museum. We'll be finding tales of hope, cheer and reflection, just long enough to enjoy over a cup of tea. Every week, we'll be bringing you stories about a jaunty duck, historical drinking games, one of the world's first skyscrapers, an ancient Egyptian mum with attitude, and a box full of witches. Join us every Friday for your Ashmolean pick-me-up.Museum Secrets is produced and presented by Lucie Dawkins.
The Ghost Painter

The Ghost Painter

2021-01-1507:05

Shelagh Vainker, the Curator of Chinese Art, introduces us to Miao Jiahui, the ‘ghost painter’ of the Chinese Empress Dowager. The Ashmolean holds a rare painting of some peonies, in which she came out of the shadows by signing her name as the artist.Peonies by Miao Jiahui – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the painting discussed in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Shelagh VainkerAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
The Masked Matriarch

The Masked Matriarch

2021-01-1410:24

Catherine Whistler, Keeper of the Western Art Department, introduces us to Titian’s Triumph of Love, an amusing painting which hides a secret: it was once the cover of a portrait of one of the most formidable women in Venice.Titian’s Triumph of Love – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at Titian’s Triumph of Love, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Catherine WhistlerAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
Podcast host Lucie Dawkins takes a look at John Singer Sargent’s drawing of Vernon Lee in the Ashmolean Collection. Vernon was a genderqueer trailblazer who invented the word ‘empathy’ in the English language.Portrait of Vernon Lee – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at John Singer Sargent’s drawing of Vernon Lee, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer and Presenter: Lucie DawkinsAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
More Tea, Vicar?

More Tea, Vicar?

2021-01-1212:31

Jim Harris, Andrew W Mellon Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean, tells us the story of a silver teapot hiding a rude joke underneath it. Please be advised in advance that this episode contains an expletive.Silver Teapot – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the silver teapot discussed in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Jim HarrisAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
Globetrotting Art

Globetrotting Art

2021-01-1108:34

Aisha Burtenshaw, Head of Registrars and Exhibitions, takes us on a trip around the world with objects from the Ashmolean Museum.Producer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Aisha BurtenshawAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer. Find out more on the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets
Francesca Leoni, the Ashmolean’s Curator of Islamic Art, tells the story of an up-cycled Cretan wedding dress which found its way to the UK as a cushion cover. Cretan Cushion Cover – View it hereIf you want to take a closer look at the cushion cover discussed in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Francesca LeoniAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
Damaged by Light

Damaged by Light

2021-01-0706:56

Textiles Conservator Sue Stanton reveals a green and gold Turkish wedding gown, which she uncovered deep in the storerooms of the Ashmolean. It contains a story of the dangers of too much light.Wedding Gown – View it hereConservation at the Ashmolean – Read moreIf you want to take a closer look at the wedding gown discussed in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Sue StantonAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
Broken And Beautiful

Broken And Beautiful

2021-01-0608:41

Clare Pollard, Curator of Japanese Art, introduces us to a beautifully broken Japanese plate, and Head of Conservation, Daniel Bone, takes us inside the conservation labs and tells us about the art of caring for the beautiful and the broken objects in the collection.Japanese Plate – View it hereConservation at the Ashmolean – Read moreIf you want to take a closer look at the plate Clare talks about in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins, Clare Pollard and Daniel BoneAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
Requiem for a Pug

Requiem for a Pug

2021-01-0506:32

Alison Pollard, Lecturer at Oxford University, takes us to meet a very special marble table in the Ashmolean’s Arundel Collection, which was repurposed as a tombstone for a beloved pug dog. Doug the Pug – View Alison’s photograph of DougTable top – View it hereTable legs – View it hereHenrietta Louisa Fermor – View a portrait / Read about herIf you want to take a closer look at the sculptures in this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secretsProducer: Lucie DawkinsPresenters: Lucie Dawkins and Alison PollardAbout Museum Secrets: The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Join us every weekday for 3 weeks, from 28 December onwards, for a daily dose of cheer.
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