“Ignore what doesn’t make you happy, it’s not worth getting upset about. For everyone else put your Christmas tree up when you want to, and take it down only when it starts to get embarrassing!”
What do we mean by Twistmas Greetings? Holidays have never been more personalised and immersive. Our selection box of events and activities have been inspired by the growing influence of Halloween and the Day of the Dead festival on British popular culture. It will take us from Halloween through Christmas and the New Year, reflecting how at least three winter festivals have become part of a wider trend to celebrate vintage holiday chic.
As a museum staffed by artists and ‘death positive’ enthusiasts we have seized the opportunity to resist conventional holiday wisdom as we welcome the gothication of Christmas. We salute the homemade and less commercialised charm of Halloween and uphold the right of every individual to create their own holiday heaven .
As a Victorian themed medical museum and one of the few collections dedicated to the life and legacy of a woman, we examine the role of women and Victorian society’s celebration of Death. Lucy Coleman Talbot’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ talk will discuss historically and culturally the role women have played in death and dying, tracing the maternal links between early life and end of life care, how women seem to be dominating the emerging ‘death positive’ movement, and the new approaches that women are bringing to the field through various academic and artistic means.
Our own curator Holly Carter- Chappell offers a visually rich step-by-step guide on ‘How to Die Like a Victorian’. Bill Edwards, curator of the Gordon Museum of Pathology, the largest medical museum in the UK, will explore ‘Art and Medicine’ looking at the art inspired, at least in part, by Medicine and Surgery, considering how for centuries Medicine and Art were intimately connected and where this “marriage” broke down and the recent resurgence of this vital relationship.
The Twistmas activities running over the weekends from November to the New Year are free with admission and open to all. The Mad Sea Party designed by Sarah Jane McGregor is a steampunk themed art trail. Laura Worthington presents our poetry and illustration workshop featuring cautionary tales, and a ‘Twistmas Wrapping Treats’ activity (starter kit and materials included). Learn how to create wonderfully retro parcels swathed in yards of streamers concealing layers of indulgent treats.
The Autumn/Winter season is a time of hedonism and ritual, whether it be comforting our bodies with extra food and alcohol to fortify ourselves against the lowering temperatures, or buoying our spirits through long dark days by holing up in rooms lit only by television screens that become beacons of pleasure, or lingering at shop windows enjoying gloriously illuminated displays. The darkness of winter becomes enchanting, enabling us to express child like delight and optimism. Many complain that Christmas, Halloween and Easter come earlier each year. For those that want Christmas to last three days then stop, or Halloween to go away because it is not British, I say Bah Humbug! Ignore what doesn’t make you happy; it is not worth getting upset about. For everyone else put your Christmas tree up when you want to and take it down only when it starts to get embarrassing and enjoy your hot cross buns on New Year’s day. One thing I’m sure we nearly all agree on, we all hate Valentine’s Day.