We are exceptionally pleased to have received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for our innovative new project Gustav Holst in Salonika.
The project was made possible by National Lottery players through the HLF’s First World War then and now programme, with the focus being an anticipated exhibition on the celebrated composer’s experiences of the Macedonian Front at the end of the First World War.
Launching on 10th July, the Gustav Holst’s WW1: With the Salonika Forces exhibition will explore how Holst taught music to soldiers in Salonika and Constantinople during the Great War, as part of the YMCA’s education programme.
Our visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the period through letters, diaries, photographs and archive film, as well as a reconstruction of Holst’s own room in the Salonika YMCA (pictured).
In addition to the exhibition, which runs until 15th December, there will be a chance for family members of all ages to learn more about this significant part of The Planets composer’s life, whilst developing skills, thanks to a varied programme of workshops and events.
Children can enjoy a WW1-themed trail running throughout the exhibition, and August will feature free weekly craft drop-in sessions in which they can create their own rag rug mats inspired by the Home Front; a special YMCA pin flag and hut model; their very own WW1 model aircraft; and felt poppies.
For foodies there will be two free WW1-themed Bake Back in Time sessions in July and November, which will see them taste delicious recipes from the period, prepared by the resident historic cook.
Keen knitters can hone their talents with WW1 patterns during the weekly Knit Your Bit sessions in October and, as part of the annual Heritage Open Days, Curator Laura Kinnear will delve deeper into Holst’s time in Salonika during a lunchtime talk in September.
Laura said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the National Lottery to enable us to share the story of arguably one of the most forgotten parts of Holst’s life, but which had a huge impact on the man and the composer.”
“I myself joined a Salonika Battlefield Tour last year, which provided fascinating context for the times and geography of Holst’s experience over 100 years ago. I’m excited to offer museum visitors a chance to step into his shoes through the centenary exhibition.”