Isy Suttie, actor, musician, writer, and comedian, is best known to the public for her role on Peep Show, but has a long list of credits on television and radio, as well as stand up comedy shows and writing for the stage. Brought up in Matlock, when Isy was asked to pick a museum to visit for a new podcast, she chose Creswell Crags. The podcast was recorded in March, when Isy visited with her good friend Caz, and is available to listen, for free, via the Art Fund website.
The Art Fund podcast series, Meet Me at the Museum, features well-known faces taking someone they love to a favourite museum or gallery, to explore what's on offer, have a chat about what they find, and generally muse on life. As well as Isy, the latest series features guests including actor Brian Cox, Siobhan McSweeney, and more, all exploring places they love. Guests get a peek behind the scenes, finding out what makes a museum tick, and their visits are also the starting point for some great conversations about life, the universe and everything.
During their visit, Isy and Caz discover that the building which houses the museum and visitor facilites at Creswell Crags has been much updated and improved since they visited as children, and reminisce about those childhood visits. They explore the Ice Age artefacts in the permanent exhibition, discovering 'Eric' the baby hyena skeleton, and the oldest coloured art in Britain, the 'Ochre Horse' found in Robin Hood Cave. They also get a sneak peek into the collection stores with Creswell Crags' Curator, Dr. Angharad Jones.
Leaving the building behind, they head across the meadow - a great place to pause to reflect - and onto a tour of Robin Hood Cave with Heritage Facilitator, John Charlesworth, who has worked at Creswell Crags for 20 years. Learning about Ice Age art and more recent apotropaic Witch Marks, scratched into the wall of the cave, and getting up close to one of the rare cave spiders.
The podcast was a great opportunity to share a visit to Creswell Crags with a wider audience. But it was also an insightful chance to understand why people visit museums and heritage sites, and what is important to them. Both Isy and Caz had strong associations between Creswell Crags and their late fathers. As they say in the podcast, the visit is both a chance to connect with their dads, and to see the place for themselves, and make their own memories of this important place. Much is rightly made of Creswell Crags as a significant archaeological site, but Isy and Caz's visit demonstrate that every visitor brings their personal story to the extraordinary Ice Age gorge and caves, and has their own response to the artefacts in the museum. The podcast is a wonderful opportunity to hear that personal response as it happens.
The Creswell Crags team would like to thank Isy and Caz - and the podcast team - for choosing to visit, and featuring the Crags, and hope it will inspire others to visit, and make memories of their own.