The story of the new Temporary Exhibition spaceOnce upon a time, there was an old building in Boscastle (see photo below). One man (Cecil Williamson) had the vision to convert it into the Museum of Witchcraft.
He created lots of different rooms inside the building (see his plans below).
In one of these rooms, he displayed tableau known as The Witch's Cradle (see photo below). According to documents in the Museum archive written by various people, "The witches cradle helps the mind and spirit to leave the body..." Another document mentions, "...experimenting with balanite and ash, and find that even without certain aids, it works remarkably well combined with a witches cradle." One other document states, "The darned trouble is, while I have no knowledge of the use of any Witches Cradle...I can quite imagine something of the sort being made and used..."
The room stayed that way for many years until the display was removed and replaced by the stone circle (seen below looking lovely by candlelight). For many years, this display was a central part of the Museum and held a special place in many hearts.
This year, the stone circle was removed to make way for the room's next incarnation as a temporary exhibition space. The idea is to have different displays here each year. This might be objects from the collection that are currently in store or haven't been displayed for a while or it might involve getting new objects in or on loan (as is the case this year). The first exhibition is an art exhibition but it is not intended that every future exhibition will be art - we could do anything with this versatile space.
For a while this year, the room was an empty cream box.
But then, the paintings (which were held up in customs) arrived, were framed and Peter and Simon sprang into action (here is an action shot of them deep in concentration).
And now, the Museum's first ever temporary exhibition (to the writer's knowledge) is installed. There are around thirty paintings on display and each has an interpretation panel or caption with it. These texts are either from Erica Jong's book itself, comments from the artist or comments by individuals who have been influenced and affected by the book. Special thanks must go to Desdemona McCannon for helping with the interpretation texts.
Most of the paintings are on the wall, some are on tables. The title of the exhibition is Witches and Witch Lore: the Illustrations of Jos A Smith. It will be on display until November 2015. Limited edition signed prints of some of the artwork are available in the Museum shop and online shop. Greetings cards will be coming soon.
So it started out as what looks like an empty building, then it housed a witch's cradle, then a stone circle and now some original artworks. Who knows what it will hold next? Things keep moving...hope to see you here soon.