NAtional Army Museum re-opens

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NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby jf42 » 24 Jan 2017 18:00

New National Army Museum Opens 30 March 2017

http://www.nam.ac.uk/new-museum/museum- ... rce=Direct

"Over 2,500 objects will be coming out of storage, many of which have undergone conservation work, to take their place in one of our five new permanent galleries – Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight."

There follows a somewhat mystifying article, which I confess, made my heart sink.

It is headlined with a photo of Jimi Hendrix circa 1967, fine guitarist and fomer paratrooper, wearing a sort of pelisse. There's a burberry trench coat, too. Um...

Whether the NAM had now become an outpost of the V&A or still offers visitors a clear outline of the history of the British army with uniforms and guns and battles and stuff, we shall have to wait till March 30th to find out. Bring crayons.

Harrumph
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Re: NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby johnpreece » 27 Jan 2017 21:49

There is nothing in that item which does not fill me with horror. The most interesting item to come out of three hundred years appears to be a stuffed cat. Are they anticipating any visitors aged over 17?

It's another interactive experience for the dim and uninterested. It used to be such a great museum.

Though it may be the curators are still OK and only the article is prepared by an idiot, I live in (very faint) hope.
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Re: NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby jf42 » 28 Jan 2017 10:03

johnpreece wrote:

Though it may be the curators are still OK and only the article is prepared by an idiot, I live in (very faint) hope.


Yes. I should have added that. A ray of hope.
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Re: NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby Redcoat 57 » 31 Jan 2017 23:22

I love Jimi Hendrix but I am pretty sure he was not influenced by the British army in his choice of clothing. I am also puzzled by the reference to "The gallery will showcase the first official representation of black soldiers in the army..." as the last time I visited the NAM there was a full size mock up of a soldier of the West Indies Regiment in their splendid Zouave style dress! Does anyone else remember seeing this or was I hallucinating? It was along time ago...
I am always slightly annoyed when I am told about the forgotten soldiers of the African or West Indian Regiments as they may be forgotten by the authors of such articles (and the circles they move in) but they are well remembered by me and I suspect by the majority of forum members!
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Re: NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby jf42 » 01 Feb 2017 10:13

I assume the pircture of Jimi Hendrix is a reference to the fashion for wearing C19th uniform tunics and other 'Victoriana' that grew up circa 1966, at the height of the 'Swinging London' era. There was a shop called 'I was Lord Kitchener's valet' that specialised in vintage uniforms. The fashion inspired the title and the cover of the Beatles 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' LP. Collectors today would probably weep at the fate of some antique items.

As for black soldiers at NAM, in a refit in the late 1990s (IIRC), a number of realistic mannequin figures, portraying British soldiers throughout history, were posted throught out the main galleries. For 'The Road to Waterloo' exhibition, there was a figure depicting George Rose of the 73rd Regiment, sitting exhausted by the side of the road. Rose has been, a little quaintly, described as 'The Black Watch's black soldier.' I vaguely remember the West India Regiment figure in a case in the main gallery.

I think "the first official representation of black soldiers in the army..." refers to the earliest known contemporary depiction of black troops being recruited, albeit in dedicated regiments for Caribean service, i.e.a poster. The fact that men like Rose were scattered throughout Line infantry regiments was either not acknowledged at the time or possibly, not thought of as particularly remarkable.

Only in later C19th depictions was the presence of black soldiers probably found inconvenient, although in the famous canvas of Nelson being mortally wounded at Trafalgar, a black seaman is shown on the deck of HMS Victory.


PS, from our sister forum:

Black Soldiery in the Peninsular Army
http://www.napoleonicwarsforum.com/view ... =rose+73rd
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Re: NAtional Army Museum re-opens

Postby bill wright » 02 Feb 2017 00:49

It will be fascinating to see the new-look Museum but from what you say about Jimi Hendrix I am nervous. I well remember the opening party of the original NAM with Field Marshal Lord Templar, the old "lion of Malaya", in attendance. Slowly through the years the Museum went downhill in my estimation, noisy and full of turbulent school parties of 5-10 year olds. Another mistake was the change from following the British Army up to 1914, whence exhibits and later history was based at the Imperial War Museum. The old style arrangement allowed for a greater display on 18th and 19th century British military history. Trying to cover some of the same ground as the IWM seems crazy to me.
Hopefully the archives will now be easier to enjoy but I doubt it somehow. At least the NAM last time had a decent book shop with a good selection of Victorian Campaign titles. Hopefully that will stay the same.
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