NMDC members' highlights for 2015 7/1/2015

This is a selection of highlight exhibitions for 2015, representing work from around half of NMDC museums.   You can also read some of the themes for 2015, and our pick of the highlights in our newsletter: to sign up, just drop your email address into the signup box on our homepage.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA - and travelling to four US venues until mid 2016

A new exhibition from Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales exploring the art of the British landscape over four centuries opened in late December 2014 at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida.  It will offer audiences in the United States a rare opportunity to follow this peculiarly British art form and the exhibition travels to four-venues in the US over the next year.

Organised in partnership with the American Federation of Arts (AFA), the exhibition comprises paintings, drawings and photographs selected from Wales’ national art collection most never been seen in the USA before.  It includes works by Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Wright of Derby, Richard Wilson, Augustus John, John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, and Oskar Kokoschka.

Historic Photography Uncovered          
National Museum Cardiff, 24th January - 19th April 2015

This exhibition traces the evolution of photography, as both a means of scientific and social record and also as a medium for artistic expression.  The photographic material on display places the history of photography within the context of the development of the Museum’s own collections and also illustrates how photography has contributed to the visual history of Wales.

The exhibition explores how, in the mid-nineteenth century, the Dillwyn Llewelyn family, based at the Penllergare estate near Swansea, were early, pioneering experimenters in the new medium, creating astonishing images of the south wales landscape and of their family life and social activities.

Fragile
National Museum Cardiff, opening 18 April 2015

Exploring issues of materiality, process and expression, Fragile will address the diversity and beauty of contemporary ceramic practice in its widest sense.  Key works from the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and The Derek Williams Trust will be shown alongside exciting new commissions.

Chalkie Davies - The NME Years
National Museum Cardiff, 9th May - 6th September 2015

A exhibition of photographs of famous rock artists from the 70s and 80s, including David Bowie, The Specials, Thin Lizzy, David Bowie and Debbie Harry by photographer Chalkie Davies.  Originally from the town of Sully near Cardiff, Chalkie Davies who now lives in New York joined the NME as Staff Photographer in 1975.  He worked there until 1979, where he shot numerous covers and features, as well as touring with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Thin Lizzy for whom he shot the sleeve of Live and Dangerous. 

Ashmolean

Love Bites: caricatures by James Gillray
26th March – 21st June 2015

One of the world’s finest collections of James Gillray’s (1757–1815) work is owned by New College, Oxford, home to more than two thirds of Gillray’s 1100 engravings. On the bicentenary of his death, Love Bites takes a fresh look at Gillray’s caricatures, focusing on the theme of love in his pictures of courting, friendships and marriages.  The exhibition sets his work in the context of a canon of artists who have treated the subject of love, from Brancusi going to back to Rubens, and aims to reveal a new vitality in the caricatures of James Gillray.

Great British Drawings
26th March – 31st August 2015

This exhibition features more than 100 of the Ashmolean’s best drawings by British artists, charting the history of drawing and artistic development in Britain. Among the artists represented are: JMW Turner; Rossetti, Millais, Holman Hunt; Henry Moore; Ben Nicholson; Graham Sutherland; LS Lowry; Peter de Francia; and more.

Bristol Museums

Modern Art in Britain: Reality Questioned
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 17th January - 31st August 2015

Displaying well-loved 20th century British paintings in a new light.  Paintings by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, David Bomberg and Eric Ravilious reveal how they experimented with primitivism, illusion, visual puns and abstraction

Hockney: A Rake’s Progress
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 31st January - 14th June 2015

Hogarth’s classic morality tale gets a Pop Art makeover by renowned and influential artist David Hockney.  The exhibition takes place ahead of  a major exhibition of Hogarth’s work in the summer.

Moved by Conflict
M Shed, until 1st March 2015

The First World War had a profound effect on Bristol and its people.  Through 100s of original objects and archives Moved by Conflict explores the physical, social and personal changes made by war.  In association with Bristol Old Vic, people’s stories reveal how local lives have been altered by the turmoil of war.  This exhibition takes audiences from Bristol in the early 1900s and its position in the British Empire, through 1914-1918, to people in the city today affected by current global conflicts.

British Library

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy
13th March - 1st September 2015

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition will mark the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta, exploring the history and significance of this globally-recognised document.  When granted by King John in 1215, Magna Carta was a practical solution to a political crisis, but in the centuries since it has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law.  This exhibition takes us on a journey from its medieval origins to the modern uses of Magna Carta.

The British Library, as the custodian of two original Magna Carta manuscripts, will be drawing on its rich historical collections to bring to life a story that remains relevant today.  Also on display will be Thomas Jefferson's handwritten text of the Declaration of Independence, an original copy of the US Bill of Rights, together with other key documents and artefacts.

 The exhibition will be at the heart of a wider Magna Carta programme at the Library, with a series of public events, a conference, a learning programme and an online legacy for Magna Carta in 2015 and beyond.  British artist Cornelia Parker has been specially commissioned to create a new artwork, Magna Carta (An Embroidery), which will be unveiled at the British Library on 15 May 2015 and remain on display until 24 July.

 West Africa
16th October 2015 - 16 February 2016

This major exhibition will celebrate the rich cultural and literary heritage of West Africa.  It will explore literature, faith, politics and music from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and many other countries in the region.  It will showcase West Africa's long literary heritage, and its centuries-old oral traditions, communicated through story-telling, music and sound.

Referencing a millennium of history, it will span the great empires of the Middle Ages through colonialism, resistance and independence, to modern day life and culture.  It will bring together political pamphlets, protest songs, historic film and sound recordings, woven and printed textiles and exquisite manuscripts, and celebrating contemporary writers and thinkers from West Africa, including the Nobel-prize winning writer Wole Soyinka and musician and activist Fela Kuti.

British Museum

Defining beauty – the body in ancient Greek art
26th March – 5th July 2015

For centuries the ancient Greeks experimented with ways of representing the human body, both as an object of beauty and a bearer of meaning. The remarkable works of art in the exhibition range from abstract simplicity of prehistoric figurines to breathtaking realism in the age of Alexander the Great. These works continued to inspire artists for hundreds of years, giving form to thought and shaping our own perceptions of ourselves.

 

Indigenous Australia – enduring civilisation
23rd April – 2nd August 2015

The show will be the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, and will celebrate the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This culture has continued for over 60,000 years in diverse environments which range from lush rainforest and arid landscapes to inland rivers, islands, seas and urban areas today. Hundreds of different Indigenous groups live across this vast continent, each with their own defined areas, languages and traditions.

Bonaparte and the British - prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon
5th February – 16th August 2015

This exhibition will focus on the printed propaganda that either reviled or glorified Napoleon Bonaparte, on both sides of the English Channel. It explores how his formidable career coincided with the peak of political satire as an art form.

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – the final undoing of brilliant French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). The exhibition will include works by British and French satirists who were inspired by political and military tensions to exploit a new visual language combining caricature and traditional satire with the vigorous narrative introduced by Hogarth earlier in the century.

Glasgow Museums

Glasgow Fair to go on display
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, from February 2015

Glasgow Museums has secured Glasgow Fair, a long-lost oil painting by Paisley-born artist John Knox (1776/8-1845), for the city.  The ambitious art work portrays the Glasgow Fair on Glasgow Green around 1819-1822.  Glasgow Fair is certain to delight visitors to Glasgow Museums as it tells Glasgow’s story.  The extraordinarily detailed painting depicts a great Glasgow landmark, a famous Glasgow event and the crowds of Glaswegians that attended it.  The colourful, lively piece is full of humour.  It illustrates the renowned event, held annually on Glasgow’s oldest common, in the early years of the city’s expansion when trade, commerce, art and enterprise were flourishing. 

The display will be complimented by a programme of events and activities, including storytelling, creative writing, multi-sensory workshops, schools visits, specialist talks and family weekends.

Ripples on the Pond
GoMA, 27th March 2015 - 28th February 2016

Ripples on the Pond is a Glasgow Museums' collection exhibition and is designed as a conversation between works by women on paper and moving image.  It takes as the starting point recent acquisitions from the Glasgow Women's Library 21 Revolutions series, relating them to other works from collection and sparking questions about gender and media choice in relation to women's practice and visibility.  Ripples on the Pond is curated by Katie Bruce and being developed with the Glasgow University Affiliates programme and Modern Edinburgh Film School, along with Lux Scotland and Glasgow Women's Library.

Horniman Museum

Plantastic!
14th February - 1st November 2015

Explore the wonderful world of plants on a massive scale.  From giant seeds and exploding cucumbers to sun-seeking flowers and a huge crawl-through root system, Plantastic's interactive exhibits and games will bring visitors up close to all kinds of fantastic plant life, revealing how plants are essential for life on Earth.  Plantastic will be accompanied - from May 2015 onwards - by specially designed and themed outdoor displays including a mass planting of sunflowers, a floral picture of the ‘anatomy’ of a flower, and a border themed around plants that attract pollinating insects.

Plantastic is a co-production between Le Vaisseau (France), Museon (Netherlands), National Museums Liverpool (UK) and Technopolis®, the Flemish Science Center (Belgium).

Imperial War Museums

Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style
IWM London, 5th March – 31st August 2015

This exhibition explores how fashion survived and even flourished under the strict rules of rationing during the Second World War, often in new and unexpected ways.  Men and women of Britain found new ways to dress, from adopting more casual styles to demonstrating amazing ingenuity in renovating, recycling and creating their own clothes.  Fashion on the Ration will display fashion, uniforms and textiles from wartime Britain to look at the impact of the war on people’s lives – on what they wore, their sense of identity, and how they coped with the demands and deprivations of shortages and austerity.  This is an exhibition not about the end of fashion but about creativity, coping in adversity and making your own style.

 Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist
IWM London, 14th May 2015 – 30th May 2016

Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist examines the art and practice of Britain’s most important political artist.  Kennard’s images have become synonymous with political activism in recent times and inspired many of today’s politically-aware artists from Mark Wallinger to Banksy.  This free exhibition at IWM London will be the first major retrospective of his work charting a 50 year career featuring over 200 artworks and related items, including a new art installation ‘Boardroom’ created especially for the exhibition.

Lee Miller:  A Woman’s War
IWM London, 15th Oct 2015 – 31st Jan 2016

This major exhibition, presented by IWM London in collaboration with the Lee Miller Archive, will examine the impact of the Second World War on women’s lives as portrayed in the photography of Lee Miller, one of the most important female war photographers of the twentieth century. This will be the first exhibition to address Lee Miller’s vision of gender and will feature photographs, objects, art and personal ephemera, many of which have never been displayed before.

Ironbridge Gorge

To Check the Tide of Prejudice: John Cooke Bourne and the London and Birmingham Railway
Coalbrookdale Gallery, 30th April 2015 - 10th September 2015

An exhibition of John Cooke Bourne's lithographs  and drawings of the construction of the London & Birmingham Railway in the 1830s.  Drawn from the collections of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and the National Railway Museum, the exhibition explores how Bourne’s work presented the railway in a picturesque fashion for the first time.  However idyllic Bourne’s images might have appeared, there was a strong political undertone to them. The railways were about to radically re-shape the English countryside and not everyone, especially those with large landed interests, was happy about this.

Museum of London Group

Soldiers and suffragettes: the photography of Christina Broom
Museum of London Docklands, 19th June - 1st November 2015

This is the first ever dedicated exhibition to Christina Broom, and her photography of London.  Broom was active between 1903 and 1939, taking approximately 40,000 photographs during this time, and is widely regarded as the first female UK press photographer.

Broom’s work embraced a wide variety of subjects, including Suffragette processions, the military, and official photographs of the Household Brigade.  She was also present to document key London events, including the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race, the Lord Mayor’s Parade, royal coronations and funerals, historical pageants, with privileged access to photograph the Royal Family, on occasion, and the Royal Mews.

National Gallery

Inventing Impressionism - How Paul Durand-Ruel created the Modern Art Market 
4th March – 31st May 2015 

Impressionism produced some of the most controversial images of its time; yet is now one of painting’s best-loved movements. It owes much of its global success to the endeavours of one man: art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922).  

This ground-breaking exhibition lifts the veil on this key figure that discovered Monet, Pissarro, Degas and Renoir in the early 1870’s, immediately buying their works when they were still largely ignored or ridiculed. “Without him”, said Monet, “ We wouldn’t have survived”. Fierce advocate and loyal friend of the Impressionists, the dealer became the group’s most courageous backer during its early decades of struggle.

Soundscapes: Listening to paintings
8th July – 6th September 2015 

After the highly successful and experimental Metamorphosis Titian 2012, where contemporary artists – including choreographers, composers, dancers, poets and visual artists – responded to paintings by Renaissance master Titian, the National Gallery is inviting six sound artists and musicians to each select a painting from the National Gallery’s collection and to create new work in response to it. 

Goya: the Portraits
7th October 2015 – 10th January 2016           

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746 -1828) is one of Spain’s most celebrated artists. He was considered a supremely gifted portrait painter and an excellent social commentator who took the genre of portraiture to new heights through his ability to reveal the psychology of his sitter.  

This landmark exhibition - the first ever focusing solely on his portraits - will re-appraise Goya’s genius as a portraitist and provide a penetrating insight into both public and private aspects of his life. It will explore Goya’s ambitions and development as a painter, and his innovative and unconventional approach to portraiture which often broke traditional boundaries. 

Peder Balke  
12th November 2014 – 12th April 2015 

This autumn, the National Gallery will hold the first-ever UK exhibition focused on the paintings of Peder Balke.   Largely forgotten for more than a century, this Norwegian artist is only just being rediscovered and recognised as one of the forerunners of modernist expressionism. 

The exhibition will see around 50 paintings representing every facet of the artist’s career travelling to London from private and public collections across Europe. The vast majority of these works have never been seen in the UK before.

Maggi Hambling: Walls of Water
26th November 2014 – 15th February 2015 

Maggi Hambling, the first National Gallery Artist in Residence (1980-81), has established a reputation over the last four decades as one of Britain’s most significant and controversial painters and sculptors. This autumn she returns to exhibit in Trafalgar Square for the first time in almost 35 years with a brand new series of paintings – Walls of Water – which have never been seen in public before.

National Galleries Scotland

M. C. Escher
Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), 27th June - 27th September 2015

M.C. Escher remains one of the great conundrums of modern art: an artist whose work is part of the fabric of twentieth-century visual culture, and is as instantly recognisable as anything by Salvador Dalí, yet whose name means little to a British audience.  This exhibition offers the opportunity to rediscover a giant of twentieth-century art, a fabulously imaginative artist of unparalleled technical ability, whose work is familiar from reproductions, but is seldom seen 'in the flesh'.  The exhibition includes nearly 100 prints and drawings stretching across his whole career, and is drawn in its entirety from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, in the Netherlands, which holds an almost complete set of Escher's prints.  It is also mounted in collaboration with the Escher in Het Paleis, a museum of Escher's work which opened in the centre of The Hague in 2002.

Bailey's Stardust
Scottish National Gallery, 18th July - 18th October 2015

Hundreds of photographs by David Bailey, one of the world's most distinguished and distinctive photographers will be on show from July to October 2015.  Over 300 portraits including works that depict Bailey's time in East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Delhi and the Naga Hills, as well as icons from the worlds of fashion and the arts, striking portraits of the Rolling Stones, Catherine Bailey and the East End of London.

Scottish Women Artists 1880 - 1965
Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), 7th November 2015 - 1st July 2016

This revelatory exhibition of work by Scottish women artists will concentrate on painters and sculptors, from Catherine Read of the eighteenth century, to Amelia Hill and the Nasmyth sisters of the mid-nineteenth century, to Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath, who both died in the 1960s.

Containing over seventy works, drawn from the National Galleries of Scotland and other public collections from throughout the UK, as well as from private collections, the exhibition will include familiar masterpieces alongside important works by significant artists which are rarely seen and who are not widely known.  The exhibition and accompanying book will explore the experience and historical context of these women artists and their place in Scottish art history.

National Library of Scotland

Game of Crowns: the 1715 Jacobite Rising
This exhibition marks the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite rising.  Beginning with the deposition of James V11 in 1688 and the birth of his son James, Prince of Wales, known to history as the Old Pretender, it explores the family connections that brought George I to the throne; the major events in Scottish history that led to the rising and the efforts made by the Government to keep the Stuarts in exile. The handwritten order for the massacre of Glenco is one of the prize exhibits.

The story of the rising and its aftermath is told through contemporary documents produced by those at the heart of the conflict. The exhibition explores the political, personal and religious motivations of the Jacobites, some of which are as relevant today as they were 300 years ago.

Lifting the Lid: the history of Scottish cooking
June – October 2015
Using the Library’s rich collections of manuscript and printed recipe books, the exhibition explores Scotland’s changing relationship with food and drink over the centuries, as part of the Year of Food and Drink 2015.

The Scots have been branded the ‘sick man of Europe’ and their eating habits condemned yet, before the industrial age, the rural poor were said to be ‘remarkably healthy’ with a simple, frugal but wholesome diet despite the limited availability of food. The exhibition uses a variety of material – manuscripts, books, household accounts, tradesmen’s bills and amateur and government films about food – to contrast the richness and diversity of Scotland’s larder and the myths and traditions associated with the Scots diet.

We will look at the role of the cook from the ordinary housewife and domestic servant to the professional chef. The social and economic significance of food will also feature.  How far has social convention dictated what was eaten by whom and when? 

National Museums Scotland

Game Masters
National Museum of Scotland, until 20th April 2015

This exhibition features over 100 playable games spanning a period when gaming evolved from a niche interest to a global industry.  Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario and Angry Birds are just some of the computer gaming legends included.  Scotland’s own contributions are explored through playable games and original artwork, including scripts and early sketches for Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings lent by leading figures from the Scottish gaming industry.

Photography: A Victorian Sensation
National Museum of Scotland, opens 19th June 2015

The birth of photography caused a sensation in Victorian society – images of never-seen-before celebrities, from famous authors to the Royal family, could be reproduced for the public to enjoy, and pictures sold in their hundreds of thousands.  These early technological revelations transformed the way we capture images today, and mirror our own modern-day fascination for recording the world around us.  The exhibition will chart the cross-channel rivalry between photographic innovators Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot; examine the world of the 1851 Great Exhibition; and display some of the world’s first stereophotographs.  It will also feature beautiful images from Hill and Adamson, whose photography studio was based in Edinburgh, and reveal some of the remarkable stories of the people behind the pictures.

Helmand Return
National War Museum, from 27th February 2015

This exhibition is the work of renowned photographer Robert Wilson, and builds on his 2008 project Helmand: Faces of Conflict, which was exhibited at the National War Museum in 2009.  In 2014 Wilson revisited Afghanistan as an official war artist, this time to record the British troops' final tour of duty.  The exhibition offers a unique perspective on a much documented conflict, with many never-before recorded sights both on and off base.  These photographs allow a rare insight into the process of ending war, including the packing up and disposal of equipment.  In a year of retrospective imagery surrounding the centenary of the First World War, these images provide a fresh perspective on the photography of conflict.

The Silversmith’s Art: Made in Britain Today
National Museum of Scotland, 18th September 2015 - 4th January 2016

The exhibition will present work from the Contemporary Silver Collection of the Goldsmiths’ Company, London, dating from the Millennium to the present day.  The 150 chosen exhibits – the work of 60 silversmiths – are some of the most treasured of the collection, showing a progression of design styles as well as the individual artistic personalities of the makers themselves.

Natural History Museum

Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea
27th March – 13th September 2015

Coral reefs are home to almost a quarter of all marine species.  This exhibition explores inhabitants of these richly diverse habitats, describes why reefs are so important and how their future is being secured.  200 strange and beautiful specimens from the NHM collections include the gigantic Turbinaria coral, the venomous blue-ringed octopus and coral collected by Charles Darwin.  Visitors will also be able to take a virtual reef dive, see live sea coral and fish in the NHM aquarium as well as enjoying spectacular underwater photography.

Norfolk Museums

Homage to Manet
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, 31st January - 19th April 2015

This major loan exhibition examines the legacy of one of  the French artist Edouard Manet (1832-1883).  Central to the exhibition and the undisputed star of the show is Manet's stunning Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus recently acquired for the nation by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Unique to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, the exhibition explores how Manet influenced the way future generations of artists depicted women and paved the way for professional female artists of the early 20th century to represent themselves. 

Featuring approximately 60 works, including examples by Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Walter Sickert, Gwen John, William Orpen, Vanessa Bell and others, this exhibition breaks new ground in tracing Manet's legacy in Britain.

ARTIST ROOMS: Jeff Koons
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, 9th May - 6th September

This is a rare opportunity in the UK to experience the work of American artist Jeff Koons, one of the most important, influential, popular, and controversial artists of our time.  The exhibition will feature works in a variety of media to showcase his originality and remarkably diverse art practice, and will include some of his most iconic works such as Winter Bears, 1988.

Royal Armouries

Church Armours
Royal Armouries, new gallery display opens 9th February 2015

With the assistance of churches and parish councils from around the country Royal Armouries has created a unique display dedicated to church armours.  Funerary armour is a particularly English tradition.  The practice of setting up arms and armour as ‘achievements’ to be carried in the funeral procession and finally hung above the owner’s tomb dates at least from the middle of the 14th century and continued into the 18th century.

Waterloo 200
Royal Armouries, opens Friday 22 May 2015

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – one of the most significant battles in British and European history.  Royal Armouries will be marking the anniversary with a special exhibition of art and weapons (May – August).  The centrepiece of the exhibition will be the monumental 12m x 3m ‘cartoon’ by Daniel Maclise, on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts.

Work on the exhibition’s other main feature begins in February with the conservation of Captain Siborne’s famous model of the Waterloo battlefield in miniature.  Our expert team of conservators will be cleaning the battalions of tiny soldiers and the battlefield itself in a special area which will be open to the public at set times.  There will be live demonstrations of the intricate work involved plus film footage of the work in progress.

Agincourt 600
White Tower, Tower of London October 2015 - January 2016

One of the most famous battles in English history, Agincourt was fought in northern France on 25th October 1415.  Henry V, supported by the devastating firepower of his archers, scored a shattering victory.  His dynasty was secure.  France was thrown into confusion for decades.  Five years later Henry was accepted as the heir to the French throne.  The French, of course, eventually won the conflict but Agincourt, thanks not least to Shakespeare’s play, has held, ‘From this day to the ending of the world’, a defining place in the English sense of nationhood.

Our exhibition will bring together medieval arms and armour from the Royal Armouries’ collection and others, as well as art, music, sculpture and manuscripts from leading institutions across the UK and Europe.  To complement the exhibition Royal Armouries, and a range of partners, are developing a programme of events and activities, both to mark the anniversary and to create a lasting legacy.  Events include a banquet at the Guildhall, a service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey and to encourage the next generation of scholars an Agincourt scholarship.

Royal Museums Greenwich

Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire and Revolution
National Maritime Museum, 20th November 2015 - 28th March 2016

Samuel Pepys lived through a time of turmoil which saw kings fighting for their crowns, the devastation of medieval London by plague, fire and war and its resurrection as a world city.  Using the voice and personality of Samuel Pepys, the exhibition will explore and interpret the period from the execution of Charles I in 1649 to the Glorious Revolution of 1688.  This was a formative era in British history which saw the repositioning of the monarchy and the development of Britain's place as a maritime, economic and political force on the world stage.  The exhibition will consist of 200 paintings and objects from museums, galleries and private collections across Britain and beyond.

Against Captain's Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted
National Maritime Museum, 28th March - August 2015

In an exclusive first for the museum industry, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is collaborating with Punchdrunk Enrichment to create an exhibit for six to twelve year olds and their families.  With so much history secured in one museum: so many objects, so many stories, so many doorways to other times and other worlds, Against Captain's Orders: A Journey into the Unchartered, takes audience members on the adventure of a lifetime through the National Maritime Museum's extraordinary collection of maritime artefacts.  Exciting, enlightening, and, who knows, perhaps just a tiny bit dangerous, The collaboration promises a theatrical journey through the museum, the like of which has never been seen before.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Royal Observatory Greenwich, September 2015 - August 2016

The Royal Observatory's hugely popular Astronomy Photographer of the Year returns in 2015 to celebrate the very best in astrophotography from around the world.  The winning images are selected by an expert judging panel which includes the Observatory's Public Astronomer, Dr Marek Kukula.  After the awards are announced in September 2015 the winning photographs will be displayed in a special exhibition at the Royal Observatory.  The 2014 contest received a record number of entries, with over 2,500 outstanding entries submitted from 50 countries around the globe.  More details and previous winning images can be found at www.rmg.co.uk/astrophoto

Unseen: the Lives of Looking by Dryden Goodwin
Queen's House, 5th March 2015 - 26th July 2015

Acclaimed contemporary artist Dryden Goodwin creates his first feature-length film to consider the act of looking.  Shown within the striking space of the Queen's House, Unseen: the Lives of Looking delves into distinct worlds of intense scrutiny, charting a series of close encounters by the artist.  The film focuses on three individuals with a particular relationship to looking: a planetary explorer, an ophthalmic surgeon and a human rights lawyer, with the artist's own gaze tying the three together.

1915 Crew List Project
National Maritime Museum, May 2015

To coincide with the centenary of the loss of the Lusitania the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives will launch the 1915 Crew List.  Designed to recognise and commemorate the contribution of the Merchant Navy in the FWW, the project has indexed approximately 39,000 merchant navy crew lists from 1915 held at both organisations.  Since 2012, over 350 e-volunteers from around the world have been downloading photographs of these crew lists and transcribing the information they contain into an online catalogue.

Science Museum

Cravings: Can your food control you?
Opens 12 February 2015 - January 2016

From the flavours you learned to love in the womb to the very next bite you take, your appetite has been shaped by food.  Through personal stories, fascinating objects and cutting-edge science and technology, Cravings explores the power food has over our bodies, brains and behaviour.  This new exhibition will reveal how the brain, gut brain and gut bacteria work together to control our desire for food.  Visitors will be able to discover how not one but two brains affect our cravings and take part in real experiments to uncover how our senses trick our brains into wanting more.  

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Conscience and Conflict: British Art and the Spanish Civil War
 Laing Art Gallery, 7th March - 7th June 2015

The exhibition includes two outstanding works by the Spanish artists Picasso and Miro, notably Picasso’s influential Weeping Woman (1937), painted in response to the bombing of the village of Guernica.  British artists include Henry Moore, Edward Burra, Wyndham Lewis, Roland Penrose, Ursula McCannell, and Felicia Browne (who died in the war).  The exhibition includes around 80 artworks ranging from Realist to Surrealist and Abstract in style, and includes paintings, prints, textiles, sculpture, photography and film.  The exhibition is a partnership between the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, and the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Roman Empire: Power & People
Segedunum Roman Fort, 30th May - 13th September 2015

This exhibition features over 130 pieces from the British Museum, including sculpture from the villas of the Emperors Tiberius and Hadrian, coins from the famous Hoxne treasure, beautiful jewellery and even near-perfectly preserved children’s clothing.  A British Museum UK Partners touring exhibition.

Year of Drawing
Hatton Gallery, 26th June - 8th August 2015

As the headline show of the new North East-wide arts initiative Year of Drawing, this exhibition will bring together works where drawing has been used as a method of enquiry and working out.  It will show archival material, such as engineering drawings and maps, alongside works by contemporary artists, including a suite of drawings by Antony Gormley.

Spineless Wonders
Great North Museum, 1st August - 1st November 2015

Invertebrates (animals without backbones) make up the majority of animals on Earth, with many millions of species exploiting the sky, sea, land and even the insides of other animals.  This exhibition, including live animals and interactive play, explores the world of these fascinating creatures from coral reefs to the rainforest and even our own gardens and parks.  From the largest to the smallest with a good dollop of ick, this will be an exhibition to amaze and inspire.

V&A

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
14th March - 19th July 2015

The V&A’s major spring exhibition will be Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.  The first and largest retrospective of the late designer’s work to be presented in Europe, the exhibition will showcase McQueen’s visionary body of work.  Spanning his 1992 MA graduate collection to his unfinished A/W 2010 collection, McQueen’s designs will be presented with the dramatic staging and sense of spectacle synonymous with his runway shows.  The original version of Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2011 was organised by the Costume Institute and became one of the Museum’s top 10 most visited exhibitions.

All of this Belongs to You
1st April - 19th July 2015

At a time when Britain will be engaged in the democratic process of an election, the V&A will examine the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection.  A series of specially commissioned interventions around the Museum will raise questions about the opportunities, obligations and limits to participation in this national institution. The exhibition will act as a laboratory for public life and explore the role of design and architecture in defining civic identity, technology, security, citizenship, democracy, the public realm and urban experience.

New galleries: Europe 1600 - 1800
Opening 2nd May 2015

Seven galleries are being transformed for the redisplay of the Museum’s unrivalled collection of 17th and 18th century European art and design.  A major project in the V&A’s ongoing redevelopment programme, the displays will present 1,100 spectacular examples of textiles and fashion, painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, furniture and metalwork, prints and books, including a number of important new acquisitions.  On show will be some of the most magnificent works held by the V&A, many made by Europe’s finest artists and craftsmen for the period’s most discerning leaders of taste such as Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great and Napoleon  The galleries will explore the dominant styles of the period, shifting centres of power and the continent’s role in an increasingly global cultural market.

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
13th June 2015 - 31st January 2016

This exhibition will look at the extremes of footwear from around the globe, presenting around 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.  It will consider the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes and will examine the latest developments in footwear technology creating the possibility of ever higher heels and dramatic shapes.  Examples from famous shoe wearers and collectors will be shown alongside a dazzling range of historic shoes, many of which have not been displayed before.

The Fabric of India
26th September 2015 - 10th January 2016

The highlight of the V&A’s India Season, this will be the first major exhibition to explore the dynamic and multifaceted world of handmade textiles from India from the 3rd to the 21st century.  It will include a spectacular 18th century tent belonging to Tipu Sultan, a stunning range of historic costume, highly prized textiles made for trade and fashion by contemporary Indian designers such as Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House
Museum of Childhood, 13th December 2014 - 6th September 2015

This exhibition reveals the fascinating stories behind 12 of Britain’s best loved dolls’ houses from the past 300 years.  Visitors  are taken on a journey through the history of the home, everyday lives and changing family relationships presented through the eyes of the inhabitants.  Day to day life is illuminated through tales of marriages and parties, politics and crime.  Displayed chronologically, the houses show development in architecture and design and include country mansions, a Georgian town house, suburban villas, newly built council estates and high rise apartments.