Step behind the scenes and discover London Transport Museum's poster collection
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Step behind the scenes and discover London Transport Museum's poster collection
Enjoy talks, creative workshops and family activities revealing how art and design has characterised London and its transport.

LONDON.- This April, for four days only, London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton, west London, will open its doors for the public to explore this working collection store and the museum’s iconic collection of transport posters dating from around 1905.

Taking place between Thursday 21 April and Sunday 24 April the ‘Art of the Poster’ Open Days are part of the BBC’s Art That Made Us Festival. Visitors will have the chance to tour behind-the-scenes in the Depot’s fascinating poster store - usually closed to the public – and enjoy talks, creative workshops and family activities which will reveal how art and design has characterised London and its transport for more than 100 years.

The much-loved London Transport Miniature Railway will also be running on the Saturday and Sunday for passengers to hop aboard replica models of Underground trains used on the Metropolitan line between the 1920s and 1960s.

The London Transport Museum Depot is a trove of transport treasure housing more than 320,000 artefacts, including historic Tube trains, buses, trams, maps, signs and a collection of more than 30,000 posters. Representing up to 7,000 designs, artists featured in the collection include Abram Games, Dora M Batty, Edward McKnight Kauffer, Man Ray, Dame Laura Knight and Max Gill.

At the ‘Art of the Poster’ Open Days visitors can:

• Try their hand at creating their very own posters with artist Emma Hockley in creative workshops on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 April. Using collage and lino cutting techniques people can craft their own design inspired by the capital, from its transport and landmarks to its people and culture

• Over the weekend, a line-up of lively talks by artists, curators and historians will explore the past and present of poster art. On Saturday 23 April:

• The museum’s Head Curator will delve into how London’s transport poster design has changed over the last 100 years. He will journey through the pictorial beginnings of Underground posters through the ‘golden age’ of poster design to the present days. This talk takes place at 11:30

• Caroline Walker, the great niece of artist MacDonald ‘Max’ Gill, will reveal how Gill’s whimsical poster maps first unveiled in 1914 led him to become one of Frank Pick’s favourite poster designers during his time as publicity manager, and later chief executive, for the Underground. Gill’s 1914 ‘Wonderground Map’ drew such attention on platforms that passengers 'watched so long they missed their trains'. This talk takes place at 12:30

• Prolific graphic designer Abram Games was just 23 years old when he received his first poster commission for London Transport, marking the dawn of a career spanning six-decades. In her talk, his daughter Naomi Games will explore the creative journey his posters took from conception to completion and share sketches from his archive. This talk takes place at 13:30

o Looking to the present, Artist Lucy McKenzie and curator Fiona Orsini will reveal insights into the contemporary commissioning of McKenzie’s ambitious public artwork, commissioned by Art on the Underground, at the Charles Holden designed Sudbury Town station. This talk takes place at 15:00

On Sunday 24 April:

o Historian and author Lucinda Gosling will draw on previously unpublished artworks and sketches, as well as letters, diaries and photographs to reveal how British artist John Hassall earned the title of ‘The Poster King’ in the early 20th century. This talk takes place at 11:30

o Ruth Sykes, Associate Lecturer in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, will take guests back to the golden age of poster design and the stories of two prolific female poster artists, Herry Perry and Dora Batty. This talk takes place at 12:30

o Author and historian Oliver Green will explore what London and its transport was like in 1920s London, from a surge in colourful poster publicity, to the creation of huge infrastructure projects at Chiswick and Acton and the development of the West London suburbs. This talk takes place at 13:30.

Families visiting the ‘Art of the Poster’ Open Days can:

• Follow a trail to spot an array of colourful vehicles from different eras of London’s transport history. (Available on all dates)

• Take part in creative activity sessions on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 to make their very own colourful transport posters to take home

• Cast their vote for their favourite transport poster from a selection of colourful designs featuring animals

As well as discovering London Transport Museum’s vast collection of poster art, visitors can marvel at the array of vintage vehicles, signs, maps and transport curiosities.

See how passengers travelled in days gone by as you walk through the Museum’s beautifully restored 1938 Tube stock train and see a 1936 Leyland Cub C94 bus and a 1952 single-deck Guy Special motor bus on display. Visitors can also try their hand at being a train operator in the museum’s Victoria Line driving cab and see two Q stock Tube cars dating from the 1930s which are currently being resorted to their former glory.

The Depot shop will be open offering exclusive gifts and souvenirs, from moquette pattern socks, scarves and cushions, to framed posters, limited-edition prints and authentic Underground signs. Refreshments will be available from Mini Bean Coffee.

Timed tickets to visit the London Transport Museum Depot must be booked in advance online.

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