1. Be amazed by aerial magic
The annual air show at Imperial War Museum Duxford is a thrilling day out for all the family. See a range of modern and historic planes, including a Spitfire and a Hurricane, soaring overhead and taking part in aerial displays.
Event: The Duxford Air Show
Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire
5–6 September www.iwm.org.uk
2. Discover Goya’s dark side
Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) was a troubled individual whose private etchings depicted fantastical and horrible scenes. Several prints of these are now on show at Manchester Art Gallery. They reflect on topical concerns such as Spanish society, the church and warfare.
Exhibition: Fantasies, Follies and Disasters
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester
Until February 2010 www.manchestergalleries.org
3. Enjoy a wealth of heritage for free
England’s annual Heritage Open Days (HOD) was thrown into jeopardy this year with the collapse of the Civic Trust, which organised the event. Happily English Heritage has stepped in to take over the running of HOD, meaning that as usual thousands of historic properties are opening their doors to the public free of charge. Plus many will stage special activities.
Also this month Scotland runs its own Doors Open Days (www.doorsopendays.org.uk) while Wales hosts Open Doors (www.civictrustwales.org/ehd). In London there is an Open House weekend on 19–20 September (www.londonopenhouse.org).
Event: Heritage Open Days England
10–13 September (Free entry) www.heritageopendays.org.uk
4. Meet a tragic Aztec king
Unfortunately for Aztec emperor Moctezuma II, his reign (1502–1520) coincided with the arrival of Spanish colonists. Unable to match the invaders’ technological and military might, Moctezuma was compelled to cede control of his empire. His story is told in a major British Museum exhibition, which features some stunning Aztec artefacts as well as European portraits of Moctezuma.
Exhibition: Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler
British Museum, London
24 September–24 January 2010 www.britishmuseum.org
5. Dig deep north of the border
Get to grips with Scotland’s rich archaeological heritage at the country’s annual archaeology month this September. There are a whole host of events taking place across the country, with a special schools programme as well. Find out about excavations and discover the history of the peoples who lived in Scotland through the ages.
Event: Scottish Archaeology Month Scotland
6. See Victorian wars through the lens
The conflicts of the mid-19th century are revealed in photographic details at the National Army Museum’s new First Shots exhibition. It contains some of the earliest ever war photographs, recalling battles in India, Burma and the Crimea. Among the pictures are portraits of military leaders from the era as well as scenes of wartime devastation.
Exhibition First Shots: Early War Photography 1848–60
National Army Museum, London
2 September–10 January 2009 (Free entry) www.nam.ac.uk
7. Stroll through London’s past for a worthy cause
Children’s hospice CHASE is holding a charity walk this month that begins at the Tower of London and ends with a street party at the Imperial War Museum. Along the way you’ll cross nine of the capital’s bridges and get the opportunity to pop along to HMS Belfast and check out the exhibition Life Below Decks. The Imperial War Museum’s Terrible Trenches exhibition is also part of the programme.
Event: Charity London Bridges Walk
Tower of London, London
27 September www.chasecare.org.uk/londonbridges
8. Admire Turner’s sublime imitations
JMW Turner (1775–1851) liked to test his abilities against the greatest painters in history. He did this by producing works that were influenced by the likes of Rembrandt and Canaletto but which he also hoped would outshine the original efforts. In a new exhibition the Tate will be displaying a range of Turner paintings paired with those of the artists who inspired them.
Exhibition: Turner and the Masters
Tate Britain, London