Curators Fly in to See North Wildlife

Article excerpt

Three young women from Sudan have been getting privileged access to some rare North-East wildlife.

Last week, as our picture shows, they were introduced to the region's most famous swan.

Not a feathered specimen but the fabulous silver one which has been the main attraction for years at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.

Ikhlass, Sabah and Shadia are trainee curators from the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum.

Last year the Bowes staged a stunning exhibition, Sudan: Ancient Treasures, which came from the Sudan museum via the British Museum in London.

One outcome of the exhibition was a request that staff from Sudan might be allowed to visit the Bowes as part of an international trainee scheme organised by the British Museum.

Under the scheme, trainees from abroad spend an intensive five weeks at the London institution before moving to other parts of the country to find out about museum practice in Britain.

The three trainees saw conservation work, exhibition planning and education provision during their time at the Bowes Museum, staying in a local bed and breakfast.

Jane Whittaker, principal keeper at the Bowes, said: "We have enjoyed hosting our three guests.

"It has been an opportunity for us all to share our experience of very different museum cultures and to sustain our relationship with an international museum."

The three trainees have now moved on to Tyne & Wear Museums which means that tonight they will be encountering another artistic beast.

Strictly speaking, The Emperor's Terrapin is not indigenous to the region.

Thought to have graced the garden of an Indian prince in the 1600s, it is carved from one of the largest pieces of jade in existence. …