Tag Archives: collections

Posters and Propaganda

To tie in with our First World War Exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly we’ve focused our current Poster Parade on the use of Propaganda in posters, specifically those used on the Homefront. The 20 posters featured reflect advertising campaigns during both the First and Second World Wars.

The term ‘propaganda’ is not easy to define and all of the posters featured can be interpreted differently. Propaganda messages during this time were included, often surreptitiously, in advertising and other public messages.. At the beginning of the First World War, we can identify an emphasis on encouraging leisure travel and shopping. During the Second World War, we see greater use of patriotic and politically charged imagery. Posters also served to boost morale and provide safety information to the general public. However propaganda is defined, the posters produced in wartime were designed to influence thoughts and promote specific action.

they shout for joy
They shout for joy, they also sing – Flags of Allied Nations, 1944, Austin Cooper

Austin Cooper, a Canadian born artist, moved to London in 1922 and began producing posters for London Transport. Cooper is mainly known for his colourful, abstract style and in the pre-war years produced posters promoting travel by underground to places of heritage and the museums in South Kensington (http://tinyurl.com/cnspj9)

The poster‘They shout for joy, they also sing – Flags of Allied Nations’ (1944) is strikingly different to his other works. The central flags of The Republic of China, The United States of America, The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and Great Britain represent the super powers of the time. The white star and blue background at the top of the poster is reminiscent of the League of Nations, which was formed after the First World War. Is its inclusion intended as a symbol of unity?

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We had difficulty identifying all of the flags, but fortunately Cooper designed a key to illustrate them!

If you want to learn more about propaganda posters during the First World War, why not attend the talk by David Bownes, Assistant Director of Collections at the National Army Museum, at London Transport Museum on Tuesday 2 September.

Written by Hayley Jedrzejewski, Collections Assistant

An Art Deco Classic in Metroland

A good proportion of the vehicles in the Museum are maintained as working exhibits, and as such are, from time to time, allowed back on the road or rails, giving the public the opportunity to sample travel from earlier eras.

The Rickmansworth Canal Festival in mid-May provided an ideal opportunity for just such an outing. The festival has grown over the last 20 years or so into a major waterways event, drawing large crowds. Many of these visitors have a more general transport interest, so it’s an ideal opportunity to dust down a train or two and let them loose on the Metropolitan Line. This year two trains were running: a train of A62 stock and a train of 1938 tube stock.

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Being valuable historic items the Museum has to make sure that the trains are well-stewarded, and a mix of LTM staff and volunteers fulfil this requirement. Safety is also important, as is ticket inspection. The trains run mixed in with the normal service, and I saw a number of people try to board the A62 assuming that it was a normal service train. In fairness I suppose it is only a year or so since they were withdrawn.

Also out and about was the prototype Routemaster RM1 from the Museum’s collection, assisting with the bus connection from Rickmansworth station to the festival site, again with crews and stewards drawn from Museum volunteers.

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I was lucky enough to ride on both trains and RM1. The A62 was in ‘as withdrawn’ condition, and truth be told it was as if it had never been away. On the other hand the 1938 stock train is restored in immaculate condition, and regular readers will have seen it being prepared for service by Chris Daniels in an earlier post on the Volunteers’ blog.

Both trains drew a good number of passengers, but inevitably it was 1938 stock that was the star of the show. I can confirm that it gave a very lively ride, and drew many an admiring look from passengers on the new S8 trains. The interior was a delight, including the period adverts. Oh to be a guard on £25 14/6 a week.

Dave Olney, Volunteer

Young Consultants take over Poster Parade

We were given the opportunity to help create and present the Poster Parade as part of the Mind the Map exhibition, with the support of curators Michelle Brown and Anna Renton. The Poster Parade works alongside the exhibition to give visitors a further insight into the museum’s collection. We chose to use the Poster Parade to challenge the conventional ideas of ‘What is a map?’

We began to create our first Poster Parade in May 2012. We were given a selection of 150 posters and through a lot of discussion and voting, we picked our final top 20 posters! The posters reflect the diversity of ideas and perspectives on mapping journeys. They all pushed boundaries in conveying the meaning of a map. The themes we chose to devise the Poster Parade were; colour, progression of transport, journeys into the countryside and the skills of design.

After making our selection we went to the London Transport Depot in Acton and pulled out the actual posters. We also took part in the process of putting the posters up onto display which was really nice seeing the outcome of all our hard work. This was on display between May and July 2012.

What is a Map?

We currently have a new Poster Parade on display is based on the ‘Olympics’. We helped pull out the posters from the Acton Depot which is always a fun process. The ‘Olympics’ Poster Parade can be found on the second floor at the museum; come down and have a look!

We recently selected posters for the ‘North, East, South, and West’ Poster Parade. As it was our second time, going through the process was a lot quicker as we knew what we were looking for. This poster parade looks at all different areas within London; combing old and new designs.

This Poster Parade will be on display from 14 September 2012 Keep a look out!

We would like to thank Michelle and Anna for being so helpful whilst teaching us the procedures and also for the opportunity to take part. It was an amazing experience and we look forward to our forthcoming work for the Poster 150 exhibition.

Haiku Workshop for Museums at Night

Through positive feedback from our previous two spoken word events, we took the opportunity to create another workshop for the Museums at Night event on Friday 18 May 2012. This also happened to be the public opening of the exhibition Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography, making it even more exciting.

We worked alongside Dean Atta and Laila Sumpton (professional Spoken Word artists who facilitated our previous workshops) to prepare the activities. We then had the help of two Young Volunteers Ayomide Leshi and Daniel Otubela, from the Journeys Youth Programme, to deliver the workshop.

We decided to run a haiku workshop as it’s a simple and fun way of writing a poem. A haiku is a three lined poem with five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven syllables in the second line.

Here are some examples from the evening:

Everyone thinks queen
I know it’s really for me
Me, Victoria

Victoria Pipe, Victoria

People excited
Tickets, athletes, gold medals
Stratford twenty twelve

Jess, Stratford

Like our Emotional Map, we wanted to invite the public to share the emotions that they associated with different areas on the London Tube map and take it to another level by expressing it through poetry.

Being given the Design Gallery to work in, we thought about the resources we needed and how they would work in the space. We decided to display a Tube map on a large canvas. Visually, this linked directly to our Emotional Map within the Mind the Map exhibition. We then chose luggage tags for people to write on and pins to fix tags to the station on the canvas map.

We read out some haikus that we had found interesting and ended the workshop with a performance of poetry we had created with the Young Volunteers. Amazingly over 130 people participated. We were all really happy with the excellent feedback given and comments were also posted through LTM Twitter.

We really enjoyed the evening and thank you to all who took part!

Access to Art

Our day out at Kew could not have been better. The sun was shining, the ducks were out and about and spring was in the air. There were also plenty of aeroplanes in the sky, making for a challenging soundscape! Rhys ran through how to use some stereo system recording devices including a Marantz PMD 661digital recorder and a Rode NT4 Fixed X/Y Stereo Microphone in a Rycote wind shield. We also learnt to use mono system recording devices such as a Zoom H4 digital recorder and a Sennheiser Shotgun microphone on a boom!

After mastering the art of recording we set off into the sunshine capturing the sounds of waterfalls, geese, flowing water, leaves under foot, the raking and shoveling of earth, the clattering of cups and the sound of distant voices.

Rhys and his team then had the challenge of bringing all these sounds together to produce an MP3 soundtrack that would accompany the poster in the Museum as part of the Poster Parade in April (on display until 15th May).

The particiapnts wish to thank London Transport Museum, Museums, Libraries & Archives, Orleans House Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Audioposts.