This spring, we have commissioned Dumfriesshire-based poet and writer JoAnne McKay to undertake three readings from the handwritten Running Catalogue compiled by Dr Thomas Boyle Grierson (1818-1889) in relation to the holdings of the extraordinary museum he established in Thornhill in 1872 and which remained there till 1965. Though the Running Catalogue is itself now in the collection of Dumfries Museum alongside other papers and items from the Thornhill museum, it gives a unique insight into the nature of Grierson’s collecting practices, the beguiling array of objects he gathered into his museum, and the extensive range of donors, many local to Thornhill, that gave them to him.
Entitled We Fire the Dark, McKay’s readings will combine extracts from the catalogue (and its 1252 entries) with a fascinating mix of archival material and her own poetry. These different strands will be woven together to give us a unique insight in to this remarkable document, its author, and their legacy.
Two instalments will take place at CAMPLE LINE, placing Dr Grierson and his collection in a wider international story of how such collections were formed and used. A third will take place at the Friendship Club on West Morton Street in Thornhill.
We are delighted to welcome back Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen in April and Maeve Brennan in May. Both artists will talk about the work that they are showing at CAMPLE LINE this spring as well as other current projects.
We are also initiating two projects this spring: we will start Reading Grierson’s Library with support from Dumfries Museum and Wallace Hall Academy, Thornhill. Small groups of senior pupils from Wallace Hall Academy will participate in readings of three books that were once held in the library of Dr Grierson’s Museum in Thornhill and develop creative interpretative projects.
Our first book is No 69 in Grierson’s library list – Giovanni Battista Belzoni’s Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids (1822 edition). The group will focus on the passage that details how Belzoni and a group of labourers moved the head of Rameses II a distance of two miles from where it lay to the banks of the Nile and set it on its course to the British Museum in London, where it remains today.
Our first Read With US! event takes place in April – an open family reading of Jessie Hartland’s wonderful picture book How the Sphinx Got to the Museum (age 4-9). Throughout April, we invite you to follow our digital reading of E. L Konigsburg’s From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler (ages 7-10) via our Facebook page.