‘A Northumberland Menagerie’ is a stunning series of new exhibitions by artist Bethan Maddocks.
A ‘menagerie’ is the term used for a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition. Museums Northumberland and Bethan Maddocks invite you to explore our menagerie of extraordinary new animal-themed exhibitions across our four museums. Discover stories of Northumberland’s animals – past and present, real, and imagined – through Bethan’s magical, paper-cut installations.
‘Over Familiars’ at Hexham Old Gaol reveals animal stories connected to witchcraft, trials, and incarceration in Northumberland. Plunge into the depths of the oldest gaol in England to discover the shadowy creatures imprisoned within the dungeon. Travel up through the building to spot cats dancing and hares leaping through the lift shaft. Upstairs in the museum, a curious collection of elevated spinning plates – inspired by the story of the Witch of Seaton Sluice – invites visitors to consider gender and class inequality within the historic witch trials and within the walls of the Old Gaol itself.
With artist thanks to: Jona Aal for technical assistance, Catriona Maddocks and Rémi Bec for artist assistance, the Staff at Museums Northumberland, the many artists, collaborators, and researchers who helped along the way and to all the communities, both human and animal, who donated their time and stories to ‘A Northumberland Menagerie’.
‘A Northumberland Menagerie’ has been made possible with public funding from Northumberland County Council and Arts Council England.