Museums, galleries and historic houses are treasure troves of items from the past. But how easy is it at these sites to unknowingly just walk straight past an object with an incredible story to tell? In this podcast series host Ploy Radford talks to the experts at different museums, galleries and historic houses about the most underrated objects in their collection, and unveils some fantastic facts.
The prisons - Colchester Castle
Season 2 of Past Matters ends on a gruesome note with Ben Paites, Collections and Learning Curator at Colchester & Ipswich Museums, discussing the history of the prisons at Colchester Castle. Not for the squeamish this episode covers prison conditions, witch burnings and the over zealous pursuit of justice.
As ever you can see a picture of the objects discussed on the podcast on PloyRadford.com or Past Matters' social media channels.
A pair of huia birds - The Horniman Museum & Gardens
In this episode, host Ploy Radford talks to Jo Hatton, Keeper of the Natural History Collection at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in South London. She picked a pair of taxidermied huia birds from the collection as her underrated objects. What makes these sadly now extinct birds particularly remarkable is that they represent the most pronounced example of sexual dimorphism in bill shape of any bird species in the world.
So keep listening to learn more about these fascinating creatures from Jo, as well as what they tell us about emerging interest in natural history in Victorian England.
Two swords - Ipswich Museum
For this episode, host Ploy Radford revisits a museum featured in season 1 – Ipswich Museum. This time, Tim Rousham from the visitor services team at the museum discusses two pattern-welded swords from the 9th century AD. Tune in to this episode to learn more about designing beautiful and effective swords and how their shape changed over time and why.
You can see an image of swords on www.ployradford.com or by following Past Matters on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
1960s clock - Museum of the Home
Vanessa Meade, Curator of Exhibitions and Interpretations at the Museum of the Home, talks to Ploy Radford about a humble yet special 1960s clock for this episode of Past Matters.
You can view a picture of the clock on www.ployradford.com or by following Past Matters on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
'Schooner approaching the harbour' - Compton Verney
Compton Verney in Warwickshire has one of the finest collections of folk art in the UK. In this episode Director Julie Finch tells Ploy Radford why 'Schooner approaching the harbour' by Alfred Wallis, which is painted on a tea tray, is a piece of folk art that particularly resonates with her during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
You can view an image of the painting on www.ployradford.com.
Two smocks - The MERL
When you're asked to imagine an iconic item of clothing the humble smock probably doesn't come to mind. However, in this episode, Dr Ollie Douglas, Curator at The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), convinces podcast host Ploy Radford as to the importance of the smock to English identity. Design, how we align stories with historical objects and ferrets all feature too.
As ever you can find pictures of the objects discussed on this podcast on PloyRadford.com.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A fascinating look at a wide range of historical objects. I loved this podcast because it gave me the chance to find out a huge amount of detail about objects that may well only have a line or two written about them in a museum. Ploy is really personable and builds a great rapport with each of the experts/curators. First on my list of places to visit is the Weald and Downland Living Museum.
Interesting, insightful, niche history geekdom
Well worth listening and hearing curators give their views on what they love and why