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Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery celebrates 125 years with new exhibition and year of events

Mayor Benjamin Scott laying the foundation stone for the Victorian extension to Tullie House, May 26 1892 ©cumbriaimagebank

Tullie 125: Celebrating 125 Years is a new exhibition, opening Friday 8 February until Sunday 17 March, which reflects on the museum’s history, celebrates the present and looks ahead to an exciting future. Alongside the exhibition there will be a programme of events throughout the year, showcasing the outstanding collections and diverse range of activities offered at Tullie House.

Tullie House was officially opened as a museum, public library and school of art in 1893. The buildings housed the collections of the city and shared the stories they told. During the next century the Schools of Art, Science and Technology, and finally the library, would all move to new premises in the city, but the museum and art gallery remained and expanded. The exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to see some of the earliest objects and art works collected by the museum in the 1890s, many of which have not been on public display for many years.

The history of Tullie House will be told through objects from the collection and personal stories about the people who made Tullie House what it is today. Art works by Thomas Bushby, Sheila Fell and others will help tell the story of the students and tutors at the Art School. Objects from the Natural Science collection will reveal the discoveries made by researchers and stunning displays of favourite objects selected by our visitors will bring back happy memories of school trips and family visits.

Staff and visitors to Tullie House have been sharing their memories of the Museum over the past few months, and their stories have shaped the exhibition and informed the choice of objects. Within the exhibition you can hear Susie’s story about how Tullie House inspired her lifelong passion for the Pre-Raphaelites and went on to inspire her children. Gill shares a special memory of a visit to the museum on a rare trip into the city with her beloved mother. Tony recalls how Tullie House was the perfect venue for his and Kathryn’s big day, and Simon and Deb give a behind the scenes look into the work (and smell) involved in preparing Driggsby, the Tullie Whale, for display!

Visitor’s favourite objects will be highlighted in the exhibition and across the permanent galleries throughout the year, inviting visitors to take a closer look at familiar objects and discover those no longer on permanent display. If you have a favourite object at Tullie House you can share your memories of it in the exhibition and take part in Tullie’s 125th Anniversary celebrations.

Alongside the exhibition a series of talks is planned to explore key themes in more depth. Join speakers from Tullie House on Thursday 14 March for 125 Years in Carlisle to find out more about the buildings, their uses and Tullie House’s role in the heart of Carlisle. Further talks throughout the year will explore the development of the Art, Nature and History collections.

Join Tullie House from Saturday 2nd to Sunday 3rd of March for the Big Birthday Bash, a fun-filled weekend of activities for all the family, celebrating Tullie’s 125th birthday by showcasing the amazing range of events offered by the museum throughout the year. Members of the curatorial team will be on hand across the galleries with items from our costume, archaeology and natural science collections for you to handle, and will give an expert insight into the depth and importance of the Tullie House collection. Get crafty with a taster session from Tullie Textiles, a group for adults who meet monthly to learn new skills and meet new people. Join the learning team to find out about life in Carlisle 125 years, take part in craft activities and even get a Victorian family portrait.

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