There are many objects in our museum. Choosing one to look at more closely can be rewarding.
You could write down some of your thoughts and maybe take a photo or make a drawing of the object.
Please email your text, photo or scanned drawing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will collate and upload here as well as on the Henfield Museum Facebook page. Physical project slips are here and can also be returned to the Museum or Parish Office.
To the right is an example of what we suggest, but it’s entirely your choice to write just what you want to, because it’s your contribution that brings a museum object to life in a special way both for yourself and for many others. Thanks.
A project created by Museum Friend Christophe Fernandez.
A Favourite Object: Child's Doll
In our village museum
My favourite object
An iron boot protector
To protect the instep of your digging foot
As it bears down on the spade.
Reminds me of my Uncle Jim
He dug holes and trenches in our city
He called a spade a “bloody shovel”
It was heart shaped
As a gunner he probably used one
Across North Africa
And up through Italy.
Didn’t talk about the war
Or the beauties of Rome
Said he went to the movies
He was that sort of joker.
The boot protector,
In the middle of the night waking time
Reminded me of other diggers and ploughmen
And nowadays ploughing competitions
Focussed on the horses’ straightness.
Nowadays! Real tractors, rear wheels
Big as a tall man
SatNav their economic way round a field.
Do they have competitions with
Tricky irregular fields to see which save the most time and money?
Did the people of the voyage compete
For straight rows with their digging stick?
Settlers never asked that sort of question.
Likewise, there is no word from she who cooked the grain or kumara
Whether they tasted any better for a straight furrow.
I like this object partly because it's an easy one to overlook - especially in a crowded case in a crowded museum. At first glance, many prehistoric objects can seem nondescript and simple. But a closer look shows an object crafted, often with immense skill, over long or frequent sessions of intense activity, a regular ritual common to the stone age world. It has been said that more refined and delicate examples were more likely prestige objects - in this case, the rougher head appears to be knapped for definite practical use.
In many ways, this unshowy, deceptively insignificant object exemplifies entire cultures over unimaginable periods of human history. Visualising the prehistoric landscape when the craftsman of ages past sat to his task is difficult, let alone trying to inhabit the mindset and preoccupations of the life of the maker. A wild land, newly - in the grand scheme of things - emerged from an ice age. Scattered agricultural communities in place and the beginnings of forest clearance - but for the most part, still an arboreal wilderness stretching from the south coast to the sparsely inhabited lands of the north.
All this before we consider the crucial purpose of the spearhead (or dagger) - life and death. Perhaps in warfare, but more likely as a ticket to meat, and protein. While the famous woolly mammoth was recently extinct, the last survivors withdrawn to live out their twilight years on a couple of chilly island redoubts, wild boar, aurochs, wolves, buffalo and giant birds of the air would have roamed their wild land, with sabre tooth tigers and other megafauna conceivably remaining in fireside tales, handed down over generations as constellations recognised by lost ancient names shone down from above.
The flint spearhead is a symbol not only of an emblematic craft of eons of human time, but of the immensity of the technological progression seen since - a progression heralded to the descendants of the maker of this tool by the coming of those familiar with the new world - that of metal and the smelters of bronze.