Short story competition

It has been a busy month here at the Royal Mint Museum!

We had the great privilege of awarding the prizes to our Crossing Continents short story competition winner. The Education Manager, Amy Williams, and Museum’s Project Coordinator, Beth James, visited Cothill Prep School in Oxfordshire to give them a £5000 book voucher for the school library and presenting winning author, Muduo Wang, with a framed copy of his professionally illustrated story and an annual coin set at a special assembly attended by the whole school.

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You can read the winning story and register your interest for our upcoming competition on our website.

Reminiscence boxes

Megan James, our Museum Assistant, visited Bryn Ivor Lodge Care Home in Newport, to see one of our Reminiscence Boxes being used in a session. Megan enjoyed listening to the residents as they shared stories about army numbers, throwing coins at weddings, playing shove ha’penny and so much more. The residents had lots of questions for Megan about the work of the Royal Mint too! Thank you to Bryn Ivor Lodge for hosting us. You can find out more about our reminiscence box project here.

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The Royal Mint Museum installed two new temporary exhibitions this month. At the beginning of September our Exhibition Manager, Hannah Spruce, and Collections Manager, Sarah Tyley, visited Number 11 Downing Street to install a temporary exhibition celebrating the work of Sir Isaac Newton. The objects from the Museum appear alongside a series of books kindly lent by Winchester College and will remain in place for several months. Serving as both Warden and Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton is an important figure in the Royal Mint’s history and the exhibition highlights the importance of Newton’s work in raising the profile and status of the Mint.

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A new temporary exhibition ‘A woman’s place… Women at the Royal Mint’ was installed in the Royal Mint Experience. This temporary exhibition explores the social demographics and changing face of the workforce at the Royal Mint throughout the twentieth century. From the outbreak of the First World War, through munitions production and medallic craftsmanship, to a diverse and modern current workforce, this exhibition explores the fascinating stories of the women who have made the Royal Mint what it is today.

Vasa visit

This month, our Public Engagement and Information Officer, David Mason, had the exciting opportunity to visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, to examine the copper and silver coins held in the collection. The Vasa Museum’s coin collection contains around 4,000 copper coins of Gustavus Adolphus, including some rectangular tokens crudely cut from large copper sheets. The collection offers the chance to see how money was carried and used aboard seventeenth-century ships; while some of the coins were located in a sea chest, the vast majority were found in small groups throughout the wreck, indicating that they had been part of the personal effects of those who had been sailing on the Vasa prior to her sinking.

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“Getting the chance to go behind the scenes at another museum is always something special, and the Vasa Museum’s collection is absolutely fascinating. Both the ship and the items upon it are remarkably well-preserved – a result of the very cold and oxygen-poor waters of the Baltic Sea. It was wonderful to meet the curatorial team there and talk through plans and possibilities for future collaboration. Watch this space!”

Talks and trips

September has been full of travelling and talks for our team. We have spoken about coins and the history of the Royal Mint to hundreds of people in the United Kingdom and overseas.

Our Information and Research Manager, Chris Barker, gave an online talk to over 300 people from Boundless, a membership club for working and retired public-sector and civil-service employees. He also visited the beautiful Somerville College, Oxford, to give a talk to the Thames Valley Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Our Public Engagement and Information Officer, David Mason, travelled to Stockholm, Sweden, with colleagues from the Royal Mint to talk about the history of bullion. It was a great opportunity for us to tell the Royal Mint’s story around the world and to showcase to Mint customers how much the organisation builds on its heritage. Later in the month David also visited London to join the Royal Mint at their pavilion at the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair.

Closer to home, Chris gave a talk to the Garth Rotary Club and both David and Chris took part at the Change Checker take-over day at the Royal Mint Experience. Our Exhibitions Manager, Hannah Spruce, also visited the Gwent Family History Society, Newport branch. Hannah’s talk was well received, and it led to a lot of discussions about where the members of the group were on Decimalisation Day, in February 1971, and how it changed aspects of their lives. If you would like to book a talk from one of our team of experts then feel free to contact us.

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