Cookie Crumbles #14

Hello all!

A digger claws away at the sloping sides of the Mayan pyramid in Belize

One of the most upsetting stories from the past two weeks is the destruction of a Mayan pyramid in Belize The Noh Mul temple was bulldozed by a construction company for road filling. Read more about it here and here.

The clip above is the first episode in the fascinating History Channel series, Tudors From Above. It looks at the Tudor dynasty and their influence on the country through aerial photography and video of the landscape. Longer than the videos we normally link, but definitely worth watching.


In other British aerial news, in honor of their tenth anniversary, the Museum of London Docklands commissioned this exhibition of the London Skyline made entirely out of sugar cubes. So cool!

In memory of Amelia Earhart’s flight across the Atlantic on May 17, 1932, here’s a link to a video documentary containing photographs that have recently been uncovered in relation to this famed flight.


Finally, in celebration of the 102nd anniversary of the New York Library being dedicated (read more here!) we give you this article that proves why libraries are not yet irrelevant yet. We hope that it stays that way!!

Until next week!

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Cookie Crumbles #13

This month, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, which was the longest continuous military campaign of WWII. This campaign was of particular importance because German submarines or U-boasts were a major threat to the Allies’ trade routes and defense. Anniversary events are taking place throughout May across England. Check out more on these fascinating commemorations here.

This week, legislation to officially pardon the men who left the Irish Army to join the British armed forces during WWII. Many of these men faced punishment upon their return home and had difficulty finding jobs, or lost their pensions. Although most of these soldiers are no longer alive, the pardons will hopefully allow these men to be remembered with honor, instead of being ignored.

This past February, the book ‘The Secret Museum’ by Molly Oldfield was published. Covering 69 artifacts from across 5 continents, this book explores the unknown treasures buried in museum basements around the world. Read more about some of the highlights here.

Pinturicchio‘s recently restored Vatican fresco, ‘Resurrection’, which was created in 1494 is now thought to be the first appearance of Native Americans in a Western artwork. This occurrence is thought by some to be a result of Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage to the New World. Others claim that since accounts of the voyage were not published until the 1800s, that this could not be the case. Take a look here, and let us know what you think!

After 234 years, a famous collection of old masters is returning to the United Kingdom. Originally collected by Sir Richard Walpole, Britain’s first prime minister, the works were then sold in 1779 to Catherine the Great to pay off debts after his death. Currently on loan from museums and galleries in Russia and America, the exhibition at Houghton Hall (the original home of the works) will take place from May 17th until September 29th, 2013. Read all about it here.


Last but not least, here’s a hilarious link that covers Art History as explained by Beyoncé lyrics.

Until next week!

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Tom Crean and the Terra Nova Expedition

Link to Article from on Expedition

After watching a documentary recently on the explorer from Annascaul, co. Kerry, I was reminded of the sheer force of will that so encapsulated Crean. The black and white images of his expeditions, three in all, are incredibly iconic. It is worth noting that on Easter Monday, 1916, a date synonymous with revolution in Ireland, Crean and group of 5 others embarked on one of the most dangerous journeys in exploration history. 

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Cookie Crumbles #12

Hello all!

There have been a couple interesting stories in the news this week. First off, we’ve linked below an article and short clip from the BBC on the recent discovery of a Dornier 17 bomber plane that was shot down off the Kent coast during WWII. The plane is the last of its kind, and will be restored by the RAF.

Next up is the shocking discovery by forensic anthropologists that settlers in the colony of Jamestown Virginia practiced cannibalism. Animal remains had been discovered previously, but this week it was uncovered that a 14-year-old girl also fell victim to her fellow colonist’s hunger. While it is true that this is most likely attributed to the harsh winter of 1609, it is gruesome nonetheless. More research is being done to find out the cause of death and the extent of community participation. Check out the article and accompanying video clip below.

In honor of all of the recent graduates who have finished up their degrees in the past month, here are 5 (well, 6 really) influential commencement speeches. Take some time to check out one or more for your daily dose of inspiration. Just for good measure, here’s a quote from Ellen DeGeneres’ 2009 Tulane speech:

“As you grow, you’ll realize the definition of success changes. For many of you, today, success is being able to hold down 20 shots of tequila. For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity, and not to give into peer pressure. to try to be something that you’re not. To live your life as an honest and compassionate person. to contribute in some way. So to conclude my conclusion: follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else’s path, unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that.”

And last but not least, here’s a collection of hilarious renderings of what famous historical figures would look like if they were alive today. We all know Shakespeare would have totally been a hipster.


Until next week!!

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Cookie Crumbles #11

Hello all!!


In honor of William Shakespeare’s Birthday, here’s a handy link full of Shakespearean insults that you can use in your day to day life. Enjoy!

Following on the heels of our Ireland in 100 Objects post, here is a link to the BBC’s History of the World in 100 objects. You can watch videos or download podcasts covering each item and its history as well as check out the interactive timeline and highlights from the collection of objects. Check out today’s object, the Mummy of Hornedjitef.

Above we’ve linked a recent news clip by RTE covering the commemoration of the 1916 rising, which celebrated its 97th anniversary this year. With the 100th Anniversary of this historic event fast approaching, there is much discussion over how to properly commemorate this event. What are your thoughts?


For all of you bibliophiles out there, here’s a link to an article on one of the most beautiful libraries in the United States, located in Kansas City, Missouri. I mean, check out the parking garage pictured above!!! Who wouldn’t want to visit?!

And last, but not least, on this day in 1613 Belfast was grated a royal charter to become a city. Linked above is a fascinating slide show that looks back through Belfast’s street through the last 100 years.

Until next week!

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Cookie Crumbles #10

Hello all!

One of the biggest stories this past week was the Boston Marathon bombings. The story behind the tragedy is still coming to light, but this act of terroism will not go unpunished. Our hearts and thoughts are with those who were injured or lost a loved one in this terrible tragedy.


Comedian Patton Oswalt’s response to the event was especially resonant. We’ve copied his words for you below.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”


But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.


But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.


But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.


So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

In honor of the anniversary of the Titanic’s historic launch (and subsequent sinking), we linked above an article of 11 things from the movie Titanic that are compared to their real life counterparts.

Continuing along the Titanic theme, the above video features a short biography of Thomas Andrews. Andrews was an Irish businessman and naval architect who was born in County Down and worked for Harland and Wolff in Belfast; the firm responsible for the construction of the Titanic. Considered by many to be one of the most heroic men on board the sinking vessel, he helped to fill the lifeboats and encourage the evacuation of passengers even throwing deck chairs to those in the water to use as floating devices. There is a memorial hall dedicated to honor his memory in his home town of Comber.

For all of you who need a laugh with finals and essay deadlines approaching, here is a hilarious tumblr aptly titled the Metropolitan Museum of Butts. Enjoy!

MODERN ART DESSERTS from Clay McLachlan on Vimeo.

Last, but not least, here’s an amazing video featuring the pastry chefs at the San Fransico Museum of Modern Art. The museums’ cafe, the Blue Bottle Cafe, creates its own works of art inspired by the pieces on display at the museum.


Pictured above is the cookbook that one of the chefs, Caitlin Freeman, has published. It gives step-by-step instructions for twenty-seven desserts for you to create at home.

Until next week!

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Athenry Heritage Centre – Putting the Fun into History!

Entrance to the heritage centre

Athenry Heritage Centre is small but significant amenity found in the centre of the infamous medieval walled town, located fifteen miles East of Galway city. This year the centre celebrates ten years of bringing the past to life through a series of fun activities and colourful displays. A community service project funded by Pobal, the heritage centre aims to put the fun into history, as is proudly exclaimed on its website and in its mission statement. The Heritage Centre itself is located within St. Mary’s Church in Athenry town. The fact that it is enveloped in history is particularly significant and visually engaging, as this church is a protected structure. The surrounding graveyard is also active, illustrating the continuity of the town’s history.Athenry Heritage Centre

The designers of the heritage centre display interacted well within the confines of the church space and utilized the layout to its best advantage. The long rectangular nave is subdivided by fake masonry props that act as dividers and circulation devices, guiding visitors on a particular route through a series of different spaces. These include the dungeon, armory and medieval streetscape. In terms of circulation within the gallery, the passages are wide enough to facilitate the movement of large groups throughout. As well as this the chancel at the back of the church has been utilized as a stage area, often used for plays by drama groups, puppeteers or school children. Information is presented via a series of visual aids throughout the gallery. These are detailed information boards, artefacts (the Athenry Mace and Seal), models of the walled town layout and a timeline.

The centre offers a variety of activities, both daily and seasonal, as well as historical tours. Medieval costumes are available for visitors of all sizes and heights and are designed by local volunteers using second-hand fabrics. By dressing in medieval costume or armour it brings the past to life for the participants. Archery is provided and implores participants to channel their “hidden Robin Hood” by catering for all ages and levels. A sensory herb garden allows visitors to explore history using their senses in a relaxed outdoor environment, while walking tours of the Athenry town allow further open air exploration of its historical sites.
Colourful Costumes
A key strength of the heritage centre is its engagement with and education of individuals with special needs, as indicated in its mission statement. As well as participating in the tour, dress-up and role-play activities in the centre, the aforementioned sensory herb garden provides a huge range of benefits to both children and adults with special needs. Visitors can touch, smell and taste the herbs, many of which would have been cultivated and used during the Medieval period. The interior of the heritage centre is also completely wheelchair accessible. The heritage centre also offers a venue for children’s birthday parties and provides medieval costumes, an archery lesson, a medieval banquet table for the party food, face-painting, games and a tour of the dungeon. Seasonal events include a Hallowe’en Spectacular and Christmas Winter Wonderland. The centre also celebrates the Heritage Council’s annual National Walled Town’s day with various activities including battle re-enactments, plays by local theatre groups, archery tournaments, medieval craft demonstrations and a children’s parade.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and, judging by the happy faces depicted on the website, many others enjoy it too. The staff are friendly, helpful and eager to impart knowledge and create a fun visitor experience. The centre fulfils its aim of ‘putting the fun into history’ with its wide range of entertaining activities, while also educating the public on what life in a medieval walled town was actually like. The level of accessibility for all visitors is exceptional. It promotes the rich heritage of Athenry very well to locals and visitors from further afield through the range of seasonal and daily events organized. It is accessible via train or bus, or alternatively by car on the motorway from Dublin to Galway. A fun experience for all and you might even learn a thing or two!

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Out and About: April/May 2013

Here’s a look at some of the current and upcoming temporary exhibitions taking place around Ireland for the next two months.

National Museum, Country Life:

The Irish Headhunter – Searching for the Irish Race!April 2-May 31

“An exhibition of 63 photographs taken in the 1890s as Dr. Charles R. Browne undertook, for Trinity College Dublin, physical surveys of west of Ireland people using sliding rules, steel tapes and ‘craniometers‘. A number of these surveys were carried out in County Mayo. The photographs are full of human interest and tell us so much about people‘s customs, clothes, housing and modes of transport during this time.”

A History of Ireland in 100 ObjectsApril 2-June 3

“The Irish Times series ‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects’ highlights the richness of Irish history and culture. This treasure trove of objects features a 19th century cooking pot, an emigrant’s teapot, an emigrant‘s suitcase and the Boyne Coracle, and are on display at the Museum of Country Life.”

Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA):

Analysing Cubism: Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone, Mary Swanzy and masters of European ModernismFebruary 20-May 19

“Analysing Cubism explores the early decades of Cubism and features the work of such celebrated Cubist artists as Albert Gleizes, Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett. The exhibition focuses especially on the Continental milieu in which Hone, Jellett and other Irish artists worked in the 1920s and ‘30s, learning from and contributing to the development of European Modernism.”

IMMA @ National Concert Hall

This Situation – Tino SehgalApril 12-May 19

“This Situation offers Irish gallery-goers the first opportunity to experience British-German artist Tino Sehgal’s innovative approach to art, in which he responds to and engages with gallery visitors through the use of conversation, sound and movement.”

National Gallery:

The Sketchbooks of Jack B. YeatsFebruary 2-May 5

“This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a significant selection of Jack B. Yeats’s personal sketchbooks, which form part of the Anne Yeats Gift (1996). By the end of his life, Yeats had assembled a collection of over 200 individual sketchbooks, 204 of which are held by the Gallery. By the late 1890s, these sketchbooks had become an integral part of his artistic practice and he drew regularly upon them for inspiration for both the subject matter and composition of his more formal oil paintings. The exhibition will be complemented by a digital presentation with Samsung Galaxy Tablets which will allow visitors to browse through 4 complete sketchbooks in addition to letters and photographs selected from the Yeats Archive.”

The Hugh Lane Gallery:

Doric by Sean Scully – March 28-June 9

“This exhibition presents Sean Scully’s Doric paintings, a series of works he has produced since 2008. The title references one of the three orders of ancient Greek architecture, the least ornate Doric order, and the paintings were conceived as a celebration of the contribution of classic Greek culture to humanity. The Doric order impressed Sean Scully for its simplicity and force, “the spaces between the columns are space for thought, for light, for questioning and growth.””

When I Leave These Landings by Jonathan Cummins – April 18-June 2

“Rooted in a simple act of sustained conversation, these inter-connecting works address the impact of extreme ideological conviction on self, family and society. Evolving from an art project in prison, the work engages with four anti-agreement political prisoners during their time in prison and for a period of time after their release and when they go home. The conversation eventually extends to the families of the men. Produced over several years, these intimate artworks trace lives lived and in so doing reflect on difficult subject matter.”

Crawford Gallery:

False OptimismApril 12-June 1

“False Optimism, an exhibition of contemporary art from Berlin.  Not based on any single theme, it is a group exhibition that includes a diversity of styles and media, as represented in the work of fifteen artists.”

The Model:

Norah McGuiness: Illustrations to the Stories of Red HanrahanMarch 28-May 19

“This small exhibition of McGuinness’ illustrations to William Butler Yeats’ The Stories of Red Hanrahan and the Secret Rose (1905) will mark the first time that these works have been exhibited publicly in many years. The suite of drawings has recently undergone some moderate conservation work, a project which was made possible under the Heritage Council Grants Programme.”

Irish Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: The Niland Collection – April 2-May 19

“The Niland Collection holds a considerable amount of work by key Irish women artists and when looked at together, these works provide a comprehensive survey of the changing themes and practices of Irish female artists throughout the twentieth century.”

Douglas Hyde Gallery:

Ah, Liberty!  by Ben Rivers  – April 12-May 22

“Ah, Liberty!, a 20 minute black and white film made in 2008, shows aspects of the lives of the children of a family leading an unconventional existence in the Scottish highlands. It will be screened in a hut that has been specially created for this exhibition.”

Darkened Days by Simone Kappeler – April 12-May 22

“Simone Kappeler’s photographs reflect the atmosphere and moods of the people and landscapes she encounters at home in Switzerland and abroad on her travels. Typically her images have a dreamlike quality and an intense or melancholy tone; they are often meditations on loss and the passing of time.”

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios:

10th President by Seamus Nolan – April 12-June 8

“As a way of honouring the survivors of institutional abuse in Ireland and of recognising those who died in institutional and state care, Seamus Nolan has invited President Michael D Higgins to hand over, for the period of one day, the Presidency of Ireland posthumously to Willie Delaney, a child who died whilst under the care of the state.  The exhibition at Temple Bar Gallery and Studio will include, alongside documentation and artefacts from the process and development of the project, a film work by Seamus Nolan which touches on the story of Willie Delaney’s short life and death.”

NCAD Gallery:

When I Leave These Landings by Jonathan Cummins – April 18-May 31

“Rooted in a simple act of sustained conversation, these inter-connecting works address the impact of extreme ideological conviction on self, family and society.”

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Public History, Private Dignity: Margaret Thatcher and her legacy

Today we are featuring a guest post by Niall McGlynn, a fellow history student at Trinity College.  He writes for Burton Bastwick and Prynne, which is another collaborative blog full of interesting historical related posts.  We highly encourage you to go take a look:  Enjoy!


Today is probably a fitting day to write about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and the reaction surrounding her passing, given that her funeral is currently taking place in London.  In many ways Baroness Thatcher is an ideal subject for writing about public history.  In death as in life, she was a figure who inspired debate and discussion about both her time in office and what it meant to those who came after her.  It is the reaction surrounding her death however, which I wish to focus on, as I believe that it is regrettably this aspect of her legacy which carries the most important lesson for public historians and commentators.

The passing of a major figure in any field, but particularly in politics, is always a time for reflection and debate about their legacy and what the contributed either positively or negatively to their country. Debate is one thing, crass insults and outright celebration of the persons death is another. No matter who the person is or what they did in life, celebrating their death is a uniquely unpleasant thing to do. Attempting to then justify this celebration as some kind of justified reaction to alleged crimes committed by the person is to add insult to injury.

The relation of all this to public history is that the commentary on Margaret Thatcher’s legacy is public history. It is a discussion of historical events taking place in the public domain. As such, what is written now will have a direct impact on how the history of Mrs. Thatcher’s time in office and out of it is perceived by the wider public and how it is communicated to future generations. Do we really want to characterise our discussion and analysis of “the Thatcher years” with “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”?

There has been a lot of discussion in recent days about how future generations will look back at the debates over gay marriage, and what they will think of opposition to marriage equality. How will they look at celebrating the death of an old lady using a song from a children’s movie? Public figures, no matter what role they are in or actions they take, remain human beings, and possess the same dignity as all other human beings. No one’s death should be celebrated in this way. Margaret Thatcher was a living, breathing person. She was someone’s Mother and Grandmother. She was a Sister, a Wife, a beloved family member. She should not have “spontaneous parties” being organised to celebrate her passing.

Public history is in many ways the guardianship of history. It is the quest to preserve and record our past, and pass it on to the next generation. Do we really as historians of any type, want to pass on hate and vitriol being poured on and old woman who has passed away? What we write, what we say, what we choose to put on the “public record” is what we are choosing to pass on to posterity. In many ways it represents our societies historical legacy. As all historians are public historians to a certain extent, should we not be trying to pass on a legacy we can be proud of, not one filled with hate and spite for an elderly stateswoman?

As historians, public or otherwise we are bound to pass on all we can to the future. But we can add our own contributions. We should strive to pass on a rational and dignified discussion of Margaret Thatcher, who she was, what she did and why it matters, good or bad. Objection to someones policies and actions in office is to be welcomed and gladly added to the discourse. Hate, spite and celebrations of someones death are not. When we come to write the history of Margaret Thatcher and her legacy, we must remember that despite the “public” part of public history, we are dealing with a private human being, who is to be accorded all the respect we give any other human being.

“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”  – Margaret Thatcher, May 4, 1979

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Cookie Crumbles #9

Hello all! Here is your special extended edition of public history updates from over the past three weeks.

To start things off, here’s a hilarious video of a flashmob in Breda done to mark the return of Rembrandt’s famous painting the Night Watch to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam,  which we’ve pictured below.   Definitely the kind of flash mob that we want to be a part of.


One of the biggest stories in the news this past week has been the passing of Margaret Thatcher on April 8th. Her death has been the subject of much celebration for some, due to their disapproval with her apparent lack of concern with promoting feminism, her indifference towards the plight of the gay community as well as her alleged mistreatment of the working class which caused a ripple effect of unemployment and welfare dependency. For others, her death was instead a time of mourning as they looked back on the positives that came as a result of her time in office. Among other things, she reduced national debt, helped to dismantle the class system in England and signed the Anglo-Irish agreement which in turn led to the Good Friday agreement. Above we’ve included a link to the BBC History page on Thatcher for anyone who wants to learn more about her.

Whenever the economy faces a downturn, culture and the arts are inevitable the first to get cut, seen as a luxury, rather than a necessity. In the article above written by Canadian Todd Hirsch however, it is argued that investing in the arts is an economic imperative for the three reasons; it can mitigate the ups and downs of other industries, culture helps to attract and retain labour to certain areas and, it is the easiest way for citizens to become creative, innovative and imaginative, and therefore able to keep up with global competitors, is by having a vibrant arts and culture community. What do you think?


The most famous item associated with Trinity College is arguably the Book of Kells.  Recently digitized from the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library, it is now up on the TCD website for everyone to enjoy, especially for those who can’t go see this incredible work in person.

For all of you Tolkien fans out there, the ring that allegedly inspired the fabled one true ring goes on display this week at The Vyne, a historic mansion in southern England as part of a joint effort of Britain’s National Trust and the Tolkien Society. Read more about it above!

In other celebrity death news, Annette Funnicello died from complications of multiple sclerosis on April 8. Funnicello was part of the Mickey Mouse Club, as well as starring in many Disney films as well as the Beach Party series with Frankie Avalon. Above is CNN’s Remembering Annette Funicello.

Finally, linked above is a list of 19 offbeat holidays you can celebrate during the month of April.  We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for National Reach As High As You Can Day, and then again on the 23rd for Talk Like Shakespeare Day.

Until next week!

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