Monthly Archives: July 2014

Guest Post: Reasons to be Silly by Angharad Bullward

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can be a serious person, honest. I have had my museum blog for nearly two years and I have written about a wide range of topics including; reviewing historic sites, discussing the latest development in the sector, recording my own archival research and how I would run my fictional castle(Ok the last one was a bit silly).  My most read post to date is about a subject that is very close to heart of many people I know; the state of the job market in the cultural sector. Nearly 150 people completed my survey that illustrated the difficulties in securing employment in a very competitive sector that contradictory offers extraordinary job satisfaction.

In complete contrast, my second most read post to date is one entitled ‘10 things everyone thinks when they go to a museum.’ An entry that consists mainly of photos of things I think at museum and only took a mere fraction of time to write compared to the Career Survey. It features serious questions as ‘Am I too old to dress up?’ and ‘Didn’t they film that show here?’ I have yet to come across anyone that disagrees with this, which is somewhat reassuring.

I don’t know how prevalent the idea that museums are stuffy old buildings filled with boring ancient exhibitions is anymore. It isn’t my area of museum expertise but the post was meant to show the lighter side of the heritage sector. I am not always thinking about that when I visit as there are museums I been to that deal with sensitive subjects where such thoughts never cross my mind. I didn’t also include comments that pop up as someone who works in museums and has a degree in Heritage Management  as they were a bit too niche (they included spotting typos in interpretation and comments on queue managing systems – exciting yes?).

I have really enjoyed the feedback on this and it’s great to have struck a chord. I know I haven’t really explained the ‘Reasons to be silly’, the title of this post but surely the whole point of being silly is not to conform to such traditional expectations.

 So if you see a tallish women with long curly hair in her mid-twenties eyeing up the dressing up clothes in a museum, there is a pretty high likelihood it’s me. Care to join?

Angharad Bullward, can often be found getting overexcited in a variety of heritage sites and museums throughout the United Kingdom. On her blog, she documents her recent trips and musings, attempting to engage people with heritage regardless of whether they regularly go to museums or not.  

What is Dig It! 2015? @DigIt2015

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digitWhat is Dig It! 2015?
This is going to be a year-long, country-wide celebration of Scottish archaeology, run on behalf of the heritage sector by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland

There is already a lot planned for next year and we are compiling an exciting programme of events drawn from a whole range of organisations (we are taking a very holistic approach to what is considered ‘archaeology’!).

Why are we doing it?
We want as many people as possible to find out about archaeology and to contribute to the big story of Scotland’s past.  This is a past and story which belongs to all of us, and the events and programmes which run through the year will provide people with a range of activities from theatre performances to exhibitions, open days and discovery sessions, so that as wide a range of Scotland’s population can get involved.

What can you do?
We are especially looking for events that actively involve 16-24 year olds, whether that’s those who are in school, college or university or a local youth or scout group.  This part of the programme is still in development, so we are looking for ideas, as well as organisations and groups who want to be involved.

You might have an idea about putting on an archaeology activity or you might just want to be kept informed of events in your area where you could go along and find out more.  We are especially keen to get people out to actually visit sites and places of historical/archaeological interest, and to take some time to explore the heritage around them.

Whatever your interest, if you would like to be involved, then please take a look at our website www.digit2015.com for more information get in touch with your ideas!

Review of mystery shoppers Lichfield @WiPArtsUK / @priorityfive 

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@priorityfiveSo, to introduce myself,  I am a recently employed apprentice for Work In Progress my name is Jamie Scott . This review, as you may notice from title, is about our mystery shoppers programme which I assist as a support  to the coordinators and facilitators and to handle the documentary side of our project.

With our mystery shoppers project we work in partnership with a vast amount of museums to help them attract a younger generation of the community because, lets face it, museums are not a hotspot attraction for young people!

I can speak for myself regarding this matter because I am also one of those young people who had assumed all museums are boring.  I suppose I  had this approach because I never took interest in them or no one ever suggested going when I was younger.  It was all about going to the cinemas or playing pool with my friends, so really museums would be a last choice hotspot to be honest.

So, thinking about the programme, we basically work with museums and bring in a group of young people who will visit the venues and browse the many features it has to offer and then give their feedback on how the museums can make it more attractive to the younger generation!

Here are a few pictures I took from our recent trip to Litchfield which I edited leftleft top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the young people like to channel their feedback in a creative way (as seen above) so once the young people have had a tour of the venue, we as a group, and the museum sit down and have a group discussion. We spoke about what features they like best also what they could improve on. How they could input changes in order to make it more young people friendly and accessible to all people, who may not be as fortunate to experience the features that the venue has to offer due to certain physical disabilities.  

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum Lichfield center This was our first stop in Lichfield one of two venues we were visiting and the first assessment began. As I followed the young people around the building the structure consisted of 5 floors each containing certain historic pieces relating to the man himself Samuel Johnson. As the young people toured the building they took notes. These were then presented to the venues employee’s and we discussed the positives and the negatives. I managed to capture some of the moments which are below.

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Erasmus Darwin House

This was the second and our final venue of the day fresh from having our lunch we headed over to the Erasmus Darwin House where we were  greeted by a wonderful cared for garden that the venue looked after. Once  we had made our way through the garden we were greeted by the employees of the museum and ran through the health and safety procedures.

Once inside, there were suggestions to work your way through the building starting from the bottom floor working your way up. There were two floors to this venue, the young people’s interests seemed to be similar to the other venue, very interested in dressing up! They all managed to influence all the other young people into taking part  also the two deliverers of the project Liz Howell and Ruth Richardson. We had a tour of the venue and we had another brief review given by the young people to the employee’s of the venue about their favourite and not so favourite things.

There were a lot of favorites in this venue similar the first, so the review went rather well, the one thing that seemed to be a bit of a let down from one of the young person’s review named Hamsah, who couldn’t access the many features due to a physical disability which meant he was unable to touch or reach elements of the exhibits because it was all mounted in a difficult hard-to-reach way. He was unable to touch, to feel the texture or smell when there were certain scented items.

He was very concerned about the lack of accessibility for disabled people when he questioned why there was a lift for disabled people to reach the second floor but the access out of the lift included steps!

I felt this was a very good point and something the whole group commented on and we reflected on historic buildings and their access limitations.

Regarding the rest of the review, we gave the young people some stationery and craft bits and they were left to construct a response to a project proposed by Ruth and the team. They then fed back their opinions through their creativeness and in ways that they enjoy including written word, mind maps, art pieces and group drawings. This was also reviewed by one the venue’s employee’s. I’m looking forward to the next trip and to hear the outcome and reaction or changes that are made by these two Lichfield venues!