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From the Ripper to the RNLI

It's been a busy few weeks at the museum as we've started to get back to something like 'normality' - or as close to it as we can under the current circumstances. Welcoming visitors back to the museum in May was a major milestone and we've been so happy to see almost 3,000 people come through the doors since then. That, together with some bumper sales in our gift shop, has given our coffers a much needed boost - so thank you to everyone who has been to see us so far!


As an independent, self-funded museum the income we get from general visitors is absolutely vital but so is the money we make from special events. That's something else that's been put on hold for the past 15 months, so it was another milestone moment last week when we announced a new programme of events for the summer and to take us to the end of the year. It's another exciting addition to what's on offer at NESM and we think it has something for everyone, whatever your age!

The programme begins next Friday, 9 July, when we welcome author Adam Wood to the museum to give us an exclusive insight into the Jack the Ripper case. This promises to be a really fascinating evening. Although the mystery of Jack the Ripper has never been officially solved Detective Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, the detective who led the investigation - and whose personal archive is now in the care of NESM - did name his prime suspect in a book known as the 'Swanson marginalia'. In his talk Adam will look at the discovery of the marginalia and examine the case against the man who Swanson named as the killer. A must-see for any true crime fans!

This is the first in a series of similar talks over the next few months, led by a roster of leading experts. In September author Neil Bell will take us into the dangerous streets of Victorian Britain as he introduces us to the uniformed 'bobbies' who kept law and order ; solving crimes, keeping the peace and paving the way for the police force of today. The following month we'll be given a glimpse into the murky world of 19th century crime in the company of historian Andrea Buckley, who will introduce us to suspicious characters and nefarious criminals like baby-farmer Amelia Dyer and Sheffield murderer Charlie Peace.


Remember remember the 5th of November; that's the day we welcome former GP and police surgeon Dr Peter Moore to NESM ​to give us a fascinating insight into early forensic science. Focusing on the 19th century as a massive period of development in the field, Dr Moore will bring to life the theories and thinking that solved some of the most famous 19th century criminal cases, from tracing arsenic to the examination of early gunshot wounds.


Have you ever wondered how scientists can build an image of a person from just their bones? You can find out on 22 October when, in the final talk of this series, Dr Christopher Aris will introduce us to the fascinating world of forensic anthropology. The engaging talk with a real-life specialist will cover what can be done to identify human remains in the field, how these can be assessed in order to identify individuals, and where in the process of a forensic investigation that a forensic anthropologist operates. It'll be an hour of captivating science and learn a few skills along the way!

Forensic anthropology is also the focus of two exclusive hands-on workshops in July and August; one aimed at adults and one for children. Under the guidance of Dr Chris, visitors will get a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with human bones, learning what skeletal remains can reveal about an individual and a crime. They'll also be able to have a go at producing their own facial reconstruction using clay.


Getting hands-on is the theme of the museum’s summer CSI school, Daring Detectives, which begins at the end of July. If you have a budding detective or forensic scientist in your midst, then this is the perfect opportunity for them to polish up their Victorian detective skills with our summer holiday activities.

Youngsters will be able to get hands-on with sand, paint, microscopes and more, learn all about the crime scene investigation methods of the 19th century and solve a crime Sherlock Holmes style! Our detectives-in-training will be able to try out a number of methods like blood-spatter and fingerprint analysis before going on to figure out what happened to our poor Victorian victim.

For the school holidays the museum’s ever-popular lifeboat tours are back, giving visitors the chance to jump aboard NESM’s 47-foot RNLI lifeboat, explore the cabin and find out what life was like for the crew of this lifesaving vessel. Two sensory play sessions will also allow the museum’s youngest visitors to learn more about the RNLI, as well as the fire service, through songs, stories and interactive fun.


And, at the end of the year, we will welcome back our ever-popular Wartime Christmas.


Being able to schedule these events in is a huge boost to the museum and is another slice of 'normality' that we have sorely missed. We hope to welcome as many of you as possible to at least one of them over the next few months.

For full details of the museum’s 2021 events and booking information to go www.visitnesm.org.uk/whatson.

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