Throughout the running of the current exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum people get to choose their favourite items from the Portsmouth City Collection that are on show in A Hard Choice (you can see and read our preview of the exhibition HERE). Every month different items chosen by many visitors are given rosettes showing the current favourites. Strong Island, working with the Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services (with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund), are asking lots of different people from around Portsmouth what their personal favourite items are in the exhibition and why.
Next up in this series of articles we met up with Megan Barnes, a local photography student with an interest in art and history, at Portsmouth City Museum. After Megan had a walk around the exhibition, she let us know what were her own Best in Show.
Hi Megan, can you let us know what your first best in show object is and what you liked about it please?
It is the souvenir clock of the coronation of King George, and I just love the craftsmanship of it. It’s completely different to all the others that are on display (in the community case) and I like the fact that they’ve kept it bronze, which is nice, and it keeps it natural. It just caught my eye completely, separately from the others, and the woodwork ones are lovely, but I really think it gives a real feel to it because of the materials. It gives it that powerful feel. I mean, it’s a strong material that has been used and the symbolisation of the coronation complies with that in a way.
So could you tell us what the second exhibit you’ve chosen is and what you liked about this image?
This is called a Pier to Pier race. I love black and white photography anyway; it gives such a strong image compared to other photos, and I just love the story behind this, because the whole picture captures how big this event was. The fact that she had to fight to get her place and then came second as a disabled swimmer, I think is brilliant anyway, but I just love the people in it and it makes me laugh, because you wouldn’t get that, say down Southsea, nowadays. It’s also weird to see it that busy, because you don’t get that. And I think that’s because Southsea gets forgotten, even though it’s such a beautiful place, I mean I have family down there and we visit there a lot, but it does; it gets forgotten.
And can you explain to us what your third choice is and what you liked about it?
This image, of a child with a dog and a squirrel, caught my eye because I love paintings, especially old-fashioned ones. I think they’re just stunning and with the materials they had back then and what they achieved, but this one I just love the girl’s face and the little dog in the corner. But the story of the frame and how it took a long time to find the correct frame for it; how early she (the curator) had to get up and go to London to make sure she got her place to get this framed show that actually it’s a marvellous piece. I just love looking at it, the colours, it just hasn’t lost any of it’s originality, and considering how old it is I just think it’s stunning.
Finally, what thing would you personally consider donating to the city collection?
So, this only started a couple of years ago, but my family and I go camping every year and we go to Swanage. They have a carnival type week and a masquerade night, and I’ve been collecting quite a few of their masks that they have on sale, so I have about 6 of them now. I think that would be what I would put forward because they’re stunning; they’re just so pretty.
Don’t forget you can visit A Hard Choice exhibition and the rest of Portsmouth City Museum and other museums in the city for free the Easter and beyond. You can find out more about the museums and what activities are taking place at: