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Magical Birds
by artist
Athena Jane Churchill

A site-specific installation

at Cumberland House Natural History Museum

In Portsmouth this Summer

Portsmouth Installation Birds

A Sparkling trail of birds at Cumberland House Natural History Museum PO4 9RF

Tuesday 2nd August- Friday 25th September Open Daily from Tuesdays - Sundays 10am-5pm

A flock of sparkling jewelled birds made by artist Athena Jane Churchill have taken over the museum! Follow their trail and see how many of them you can find.


In ancient times and in many cultures of the world birds have been seen as powerful symbols with many meanings. They appear in many stories. Birds who heal with their song, birds who rise out of the ashes and birds who are the companions of mythological Gods and Goddesses. Their flight was read to prophesy the future. They have been seen as magical messengers between worlds, as a symbol of spirit, hope, soaring imagination and freedom. 


Artist Athena Jane has created a collection of over 300 magical bird sculptures inspired by bird symbolism and by natural history collections. She often explores ideas of collecting and natural variation within her art. Each bird is unique. 


They have flapped free and now we need help spotting them! See if you can discover how many of them are hidden around the museum, leading you on a journey of wonder through Natural History.

The Museum is open daily from 10am- 5pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays. It is free to visit the Museum and Installation of Birds.

Athena Jane will be running workshops on 9th August and the 10th September.

Please see below for more information and visit their site to book onto a workshop.

Cumberland House Natural History Museum
Eastern Parade

Cumberland House Natural History Museum

Bird 1.jpg

Creative Workshops
At Cumberland House
With Artist Athena Jane Churchill
9th August and 10th September 2022

Explore the beautiful Collections and visit the wonder that is the Butterfly House during the summer holidays. Whilst you are there book onto a workshop with artist Athena Jane. She will be running two days of workshops during the installation. Do come and say hello to her there and book for a fun making experience.

Each creative day will be a different practical art workshop exploring some of her inspirations; set design, ancient shrines, natural history, and heritage collections. Each workshop will be a fun journey through explorations of materials and techniques to make and take home a piece of your own art.

Tuesday 9th August

Family Drop-In sessions run throughout the day.

There are four sessions with tickets purchased at the front desk on the day.

£2.50 each 10-11.15am 11.30-12.15pm and 1.30-2.15pm and 2.30-3.15pm

Inspired by set design and Nature - create a Bird or Butterfly Box Shrine. Experiment with surface decoration, collage and a bit of sparkle...Journey through different materials and ideas to make a tiny Natural History inspired Bird Shrine Box or a Sparkling hanging bird decoration.


Saturday 10th September 2022

Two sessions: 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-4pm

Please book with the Museum

£10 per place limited places. 

Exploring how Athena Jane creates her birds, you will have the chance to try out some of the skills and materials she uses in a more intensive workshop for young people (aged 12+) and adults. Jane's birds take her several hours over 3 days to make, but we will make a version that can be made a little quicker! You will take home a beautifully sparkly little bird of your own.

Jane is an experienced artist and workshop leader who has spent over 20 years helping people to access their creativity. She creates a confidence building environment, sharing techniques and ways of working to free your inner artist. Step by step tuition, taking you gently on a fun journey into your own way of creating, is provided.

The Museum is very close to the seaside at Southsea and you could make a lovely day of it, exploring the museum, making something fun, playing on the beach and maybe even a lovely coffee at The Beach Cafe on the front nearby. 

Hope to see you there. 

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