SOUVENIR, Aldeburgh

August 15th through August 21st 2016

Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and The Aldeburgh Museum


Eileen Haring Woods and Deborah Jaffé

With Bill Jackson’s World of Wonders



Souvenirs are a pebble, a leaf, a divine piece of kitsch, a mass produced novelty item linked only to a place by the inclusion of the place name, an inappropriate or comical representation of a place,  or a handcrafted artwork sensitively commemorating the experience of a specific place. These are all definitions of souvenirs. From prehistoric times to ancient civilizations, from pilgrim journeys to international holidays, the temptation to acquire and collect souvenirs as objects of memory has remained strong and evolved into a massive industry.   These ‘must have’ objects of memories of ‘there and then’ become prize displays in glass fronted cabinets, are relegated to the back of the cupboard, off loaded at car boot sales.  


SOUVENIR, Aldeburgh was a new artwork which has been over forty years in the making, since Eileen Haring Woods bought the first item in her personal collection - a nodding head brown dog at Mont St Michel; with absolutely no connection to this historic site, sitting oddly amongst other souvenirs with no connection to the place.


This site specific installation provided the visitor with five interrelated experiences which considered memory as object.


The main display in the Lookout was a curated collection of weird and wonderful objects from around the world from the collections of Eileen Haring Woods and Deborah Jaffé with additional contributions from friends. An avid collector and writer on the social history and manufacture of souvenirs, Deborah has amassed hundreds of seaside souvenirs and intriguing objects from her travels.  Deborah Jaffé’s ceramic works are her interpretation of seaside souvenirs. These works were for sale.


The film, Memory as Object (below) by Eileen juxtaposes images and film of souvenirs as a digital curated collection.


A New Souvenir for Aldeburgh invited visitors to draw their own experience of Aldeburgh and contribute to the potential for a new souvenir artwork.


In the ‘middle room’ up the wooden stairs, Bill Jackson’s World of Wonders offered visitors a very special souvenir experience via his 3D Viewmasters and collection of slides from the 1960’s.


A new map for Aldeburgh, Lookout-Look up was in the top of the Tower, up the spiral stair. Our sense of place is linked to the geographical reference points of maps, and this new map of Aldeburgh provided a totally new reference, positioning you, the visitor at the exact point on the planet where you stand, at the centre of the Lookout tower. It wass worth the journey.


The Aldeburgh Museum in Moot Hall presented their own collection of Aldeburgh souvenirs and we invite you all to stroll along the seafront to enjoy one of Aldeburgh’s famous landmarks.


Many thanks to Caroline Wiseman, owner and curator of the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and to Catherine Howard-Dobson, curator of the Aldeburgh Museum for their generous support.  www.deborahjaffe.

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Souvenir Project

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