£17.60 – £22

Archives at Night: Cabinet of Curiosities

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The National Archives

Bessant Dr

Kew

TW9 4DU

United Kingdom

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This October, join us for an evening to explore our Cabinet of Curiosities!

An essential part of any self-respecting Edwardian antiquarian’s home, a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Room’, contained their collection of unusual and extraordinary items.

For one night only, as part of Museums at Night, we will open our own Edwardian Cabinet of Curiosities. Delve into our records charting the popularity of Egyptology and fascination with all things archaeology; the rise of spiritualists, along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s correspondence on the treatment of mediums; late 19th and early 20th century practices for dealing with death, from designs of coffins and funerary monuments, to the vast out of town cemeteries – cities of the dead. Take a step even further back in time from the Edwardian era to learn about infamous witch trials and the history of sorcery.

Talks and document displays

Our own and visiting experts will thrill you with talks and document displays on all this and more, exploring some of the more unusual documents and objects from our collection.

Confirmed talks:

Cemetery Club - Experts in tombstone tourism

Light your torches as the Cemetery Club's Sheldon and Sam emulate the Edwardian explorers of old and descend into the underworld of Ancient Egypt! Adventurers such as illustrator-cum-archaeologist Howard Carter (whose amazing exploits are betrayed by his plain headstone in Putney Vale Cemetery) are remembered in some beautiful monuments throughout our cemeteries, see how an ancient civilisation culturally influenced the Edwardian era not only in architecture and culture but artistically too!

The three curses of Tutankhamun, by Dr Juliette Desplat, Head of Modern Overseas, Intelligence and Security Records, The National Archives

Tutankhamun lay in his tomb undisturbed until 1922, when British archaeologist Howard Carter and his wealthy patron Lord Carnarvon opened it and revealed him to the world. It was the discovery of the century, but it came with a price. Or rather three prices – the three curses of Tutankhamun: overwhelming popularity, damaging political blunders, and lingering ancient dark magic.

Magic and Power: witchcraft and the king in medieval England by Dr Sean Cunningham Head of Medieval, Collections Expertise and Engagement, The National Archives

Do you want to find out about magic animals, mummies in the Duchess of Norfolk’s face powder, how having the wrong king ruins the weather and how to concoct a spell to make a king fall in love with you? Our many legal records show the ways in which magic, witchcraft and the supernatural were accepted as part of everyday medieval life. This talk will explore the evidence linking magic to the status of the king – his right to the crown, his fitness to rule, his conduct, and when he might die.

The second Pendle Witch scare by Dr Jessica Nelson, Head of Collections (Medieval, Early Modern, Legal, Maps and Plans), The National Archives

Pendle in Lancashire is famous for the witch trials of 1612, in which a number of women were tried and hanged. But how much do you know about the scare 20 years later? Learn about the young boy feted as a ‘witch finder’, paraded around accusing an ever-growing number of women. Hear about the examinations of the accused, including those by physicians and midwives, and the intervention of the Privy Council who sent the Bishop of Chester to investigate the boy's claims…

Attend a mummy unwrapping party

The centrepiece of the evening will be the re-enactment of a 19th century mummy unwrapping party, brought to you by Odette Toilette – Purveyor of Olfactory Adventures! You'll find out how mummies were procured for these events, who attended them, what the guests saw, and what became of the mummy's remains after the party ended. Under the expert guidance of Egyptologist John J. Johnston, and with a wrapped 'mummy' by Art Macabre on the operating table, you will witness the recreation of the process before your very eyes and under your very noses. (No mummies will be damaged during this entertainment…).

This event will involve smelling scents. Those with identified allergies to perfume should avoid the session.

You will need to select an early or late mummy party when booking (19:00-19:45 or 20:20-21:00). Please be aware that due to venue capacity you will only be able to attend the session that you book.

Do not miss your chance to experience all of this, plus a themed photobooth, music, a cocktail bar, a very special menu from our new restaurant, as well as prizes and giveaways.

Your ticket price includes a complimentary drink on arrival.

Feel free to come in costume inspired by our Edwardian theme or any of the subjects we are featuring on the night ...

This event is strictly adults only (18+).

More activities to be announced and the programme is subject to change.

DIRECTIONS:

Tube: Kew Gardens station - District Line and London Overground

Train: Kew Bridge station - South West Trains

Buses: R68 to Kew Retail Park

Further travel information is available on our How to find us page.


Other events you might be interested in:

Archives at Night is a strictly 18+ event. If you are looking for an event the whole family can enjoy, check out our Time Travel Club family day on Saturday 30 September.


We run an exciting range of events and exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. For more details, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/whatson.


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Date and Time

Location

The National Archives

Bessant Dr

Kew

TW9 4DU

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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