Nottingham Experienced: On Campus Culture – University Museum

Now that lectures are over, a lot of students are asking themselves: what will I do over summer? But there’s no reason to go home just yet! Impact Features writers are getting out and about in Nottingham to find the best activities for you all to enjoy. Get in touch if you have any ideas!

Not many students seem to know that there is a museum on University Park Campus, and many I tell look at me with surprise. “There’s a museum!? What do they have there?”

The building is unassuming on the outside, the green ‘Museum’ sign only just poking out among two trees, situated facing the backside of Lakeside Arts. However, as you step inside the small exhibition room, you’re instantly transported back in time.

There is a hush and reverence missing from some larger exhibitions, but don’t let the limited number of objects on display put you off; they are preserved in excellent condition, and the museum was awarded Nottinghamshire Heritage Site of the Year in 2014.

The original museum opened in 1933, when Felix Oswald donated his collection to UoN, and moved to its current Lakeside location in 2011. Over the previous century, a number of other collections have been donated, including objects from overseas, featuring items from locations as exotic as Egypt.

“There is always something fascinating about seeing centuries-old objects, knowing that they were once as ordinary to someone as our own personal items are to us now”

Recent past exhibitions include ‘Roman Sexuality: Images, Myths and Meanings’, which provided an investigation in what sex meant to Ancient Romans. On permanent display are a substantial number of items from the Bronze Age, the Roman occupation, Anglo Saxon and Medieval Britain, including an impressive collection of local items.

Most of these are everyday objects, from cooking pots to decorative tiles, ancient pick-axes and jewellery; if all this sounds unimpressive, there is always something fascinating about seeing centuries-old objects, knowing that they were once as ordinary to someone as our own personal items are to us now. It is interesting to see how little some items have changed. The design of the comb hasn’t altered much in over a millennium, beyond the fact that we no longer make ours from bone!

The University of Nottingham Museum is a must for history buffs and all those who have always wanted to see some really pretty Anglo Saxon brooches up close, with handy, provided, magnifying glasses. This isn’t the British Museum or the Louvre, that much is true, but it is a (free) insight into our country’s, and our county’s history, presented in a charming little room.

Pay a visit to the museum in between lectures or make a day out of the entire Lakeside area, and go for a coffee in the adjoining café overlooking the gorgeous fountain outside through the bay windows, before enjoying a peaceful row on the lake in the sunshine.With more specialised exhibitions coming next year, it’s worth popping in when you’ve got a free hour to see if anything catches your eye.

Matteo Everett

Image: Matteo Everett

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