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Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery gets ready for a busy spring 2016

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery has a brand new season of exhibitions and events to entice visitors though its doors during the early part of 2016. From the history and restoration of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal, the dramatic life and death of Viking invaders, the Boys Dancing promenade dance performance, and the world of Shropshire author Mary Webb of "Gone to Earth" fame, there is plenty of variety and interest.

To prepare for this busy time the Museum and Art Gallery is closing its upstairs galleries for six days from Tuesday 19th January 2016 to Sunday 24th January 2016, but the Visitor Information Centre and the Pre-History and Roman Gallery will be open as normal, except on Sunday 24th January 2016.

stop. Café will remain open daily from 10am.

"The Collectors" dance performance - Saturday 23rd January

On Saturday 23rd January 2016 the Museum and Art Gallery will host an evening of energetic, exhilarating and thought provoking dance by young men and boys called "The Collectors", performing together as part of the Boys Dancing project.

During the last two months over 100 students from schools across Shropshire have been working with professional dance artists Dave McKenna and Mark Anderson. They have gathered, assembled and collated their ideas, to create a unique promenade dance performance.

"The Collectors" explores why humans are compelled to collect. Is it a choice or a compulsion? What will the collections and collectors of the future look like?

A partnership project between Shropshire Council and West Midlands Boys Dance Alliance, Boys Dancing develops and celebrates dance for boys and young men, providing them with the challenge, exhilaration, discipline and fun of making and sharing dance.

There will be two performances at 5pm and 7pm.

Tickets: £5 for adults, £3/£2.50 for concessions. Available from the Theatre Severn Box Office tel: 01743 281281 www.theatresevern.co.uk

The story of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal - from 12th January 2016

Meanwhile, the extraordinary story of the rescue from oblivion of stretches of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal is being told in a new exhibition in the Museum's Community Gallery from 12th January for one, and then reopening on 26th January until 16th April.

"Valhalla - Life and Death in Viking Britain" - 8th February to 4th June

The exploits on the Viking invaders from Scandinavia are part of British folklore but how much do we really know about them? The Valhalla exhibition from the Jorvik Centre in York goes on show for the first time outside the city at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery from 8th February until 4th June. Be prepared for some surprises in the most important Viking exhibition to visit the region for many a year.

The exhibition is supported by Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, and the museum learning team is offering a workshop programme to support an educational visit to this exciting exhibition. Contact [email protected] 01743 258881 for further details.

LGBT exhibition - 12th-14th February

Shrewsbury is one of the UK hubs for the National Festival of LGBT History and there will be a free exhibition between 12th February and 14th February on The Balcony at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

"Treasures: The Literature and Landscape of Mary Webb's Shropshire" - 7th March to 4th June

Shropshire-born Mary Webb is still hugely popular in her home county. Her novels such as "Gone to Earth" were turned into Hollywood movies with no less than "Gone With The Wind" producer David O. Selznick in charge. On 7th March The Mary Webb Society, which exists to celebrate her books and poetry, is mounting a special exhibition of landscape photographs of the county that so inspired her.

Award-winning author Lisa Blower joins us as our first writer in residence in March. Lisa will be writing live in the Mary Webb exhibition space on the museum balcony every Tuesday and Thursday between 10am and 3pm to create a contemporary reimaging of Mary Webb's classic novel "Gone to Earth". During her residency Lisa will be hosting a series of talks, readings, a six week novel writing course and will launch the Museum's book group.

Poetry by Heart regional finals - 24th February

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is proud to be hosting the regional finals of a national competition Poetry by Heart on 24 February. The competition was created by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, with the aim of encouraging pupils aged 14-18 at schools and colleges in England to learn and recite poems by heart.

Stuart West, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said:

"This is going to be a really exciting start to this year's exhibitions and events programme at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. We are working with a range of organisations across the country to bring some top cultural attractions to Shrewsbury."

Details of events at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery are available at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery website or tel 01743 258888.

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