@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • If you build it, they will come. Case Study: Creating @IGMTArch

    January 28th, 2012mardixonCulture

    This past summer, I saw a tweet about Day of Archaeology  as part Festival of British Archaeology which saw venues across the UK hosting archaeology activities for every age bracket.  Charlotte and I went to Ironbridge Gorge Museum where we, along with 20-30 other people, took part in surveying a Quaker burial ground.  The activity itself was amazing to be taking part in but knowing our work was actually going to be used with the Museums records made it so much more special.

    It was at this point I asked Archaeologist Shane Kelleher if he’d ever consider starting a volunteer archaeology group as clearly there was enough of us that wanted to take part. He wasn’t sure but the seed was planted.

    Soon after (still during the Festival of British Archaeology), there was a talk at Ironbridge Gorge Museum where Shane discussed the importance of the furnish. Again, this was well attended so I ‘asked’ (more of a nag…) Shane again about starting a volunteer group.

    Fast forward a few meetings/emails, creation of a Twitter and Facebook account and soon enough, a date was chosen for our first Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Archaeology Volunteer Group meeting.  Simples!

    Ok, there was a bit more to it than that like getting local newspaper to run an article and promoting on Twitter and Facebook and outright asking people if they were interesting or knew about the new IGMT Archaeology group starting.

    Suddenly over 70 people were showing interest and roughly 40-50 showed up on the day of our first meeting.  It was decided the best approach would be to separate into groups to best suit the volunteers.  For example, I’m not particularly bothered about digging, while others are.

    • Quaker Burial Ground Team
    • Research
    • Mapping
    • Archives and Stores
    • Field Work
    • Community and Archaeology
    • Young Archaeology (under 16 who will work with education department).

    Everyone was encouraged to sign up for the group that suited them best but also to feel free to sign up for more than just the one.  Leaders of each sub group were also determined.

    An important aspect of this group will to be record not only their findings, but oral social history that some members will be bringing.

    During the Quaker Burial surveying we were privileged to have John Simpson whose parents were the last to be memorialised in the Quaker Burial Ground.  Combining the facts with personal social history was an important factor that I wanted to add to our project.  Additionally, as I’m an archivist’s wife, I wanted to document the members and their thoughts on the projects so that future researchers had a sense of what we were doing and why.  With this in mind, I had arranged for Paul Hutchinson from Virtual Shropshire to come along to film interviews I wanted to conduct following up from our first project.

    See video here :  Ironbridge Archeology Volunteer Group

    One goal will be for everyone to be involved in running a conference at Ironbridge in 2013.

    Seeing the wonderful response and spark this created for all ages proved what I said all along… If you build it they will come.

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7 responses to “If you build it, they will come. Case Study: Creating @IGMTArch” RSS icon

  • This is very interesting…the Facebook page says nothing about the group, or how to join, or when & where they meet. It’s just a list of Tweets from someone. I found it a bit disappointing, as I had hoped to join & got no joy when I rang the Museums Trust, no-one rang back. The group certainly has a FB page, but it’s not about the group, sadly. Perhaps you could post some details here please, I’m sure it’s not just me that would benefit. Thanks.

  • Thanks, that would be great.

  • I have tried the museum again with no luck so I have given up and posted a rather grumpy message on the group’s Facebook page in the hope of getting some information from them. A FB page is like a front garden, it needs to be maintained, just having a page means nothing. Thanks for trying to help.

  • Well, they are there as they’ve taken down my post, it wasn’t abusive, just exasperated…it would have been more to the point to reply with details as requested, perhaps they’ll update now.

  • Finally managed to get the info from the video …however, where I live we have signal and band width issues, it took 25 minutes to watch in little snatches…the info needs to be written in the group’s ‘about’ section as successive posts will push the video out of sight down the wall & not everyone will think to look at it(I run a FB page for a charity I’m a trustee of). If I had not read this blog I would not have thought to look there for details anyway.
    Doesn’t explain why my messages didn’t get passed on when I rang the museum..but no matter. I doubt they’d want me to join now anyway!

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