In 2011, I caught the hashtag #museomix on Twitter and immediately wanted to know more. One little problem – it was on in French, a language I can’t read or write. But I could tell from the 140 characters that this was something magical I was witnessing.
In 2012, I attend MuseumNext in Barcelona and heard Samuel Bausson speak about Museomix. He explained it came out of frustration – that real changes need to be done but it had to be changes made WITH people and museums.
I was hooked, I knew I wanted to get involved. I was invited to help on the web team (social media) at Museomix in Lyon, France. Again, I don’t speak French so this was going to be a challenge – or so I thought. My job was to report and watch the hashtag for English input.
What happened in those 3 short days was amazing. People who met each other on the Friday spent long hours all weekend to build a prototype as a team. It took a huge leap of faith from everyone involved: team members, coaches, organizer, the museum and more. This is not just about the prototypes – actually, it ISN’T about the prototypes – it’s about a platform for sharing, engaging and openness to happen in a positive way.
I knew I had to bring this experience to the UK. I live in Shropshire and spent a lot of time at Ironbridge Gorge Museums (I have a tendency to call it ‘my’ museum even when talking to staff). Ironbridge was the perfect choice as it’s home of the industrial revolution and Museomix is about taking things to the next level.
It was a perfect marriage.
I then decided to talk to the museum *ahem* and luckily they agreed. We knew last year when we started this process that it was going to be a long journey. At the time, IGMT didn’t have wifi (or very good mobile signal) and we had to worry about getting people to the venue as many (not looking directly at Londoners but near enough…) do not like to travel outside cities.
The museum has embraced the challenges and not only had Wifi installed throughout the location, but they are the first museum on the Global Fab Lab network. That’s right, a permanent Fab Lab has been installed in Enginuity which will be available to the public, schools and private hire long after Museomix UK leaves.
A year later and with a lot of support from an amazing Orga team, we are here.
Museomix UK kicks off on Friday, November 8 with people travelling from all over the UK, France and Russia to join us in remixing Coalbrookdale (Museum of Iron, Enginuity, The Old Furnace and the land) at Ironbridge. But it’s not just here, Museomix is a Global event happening in 6 locations: 4 in France, 1 in Quebec and us.
We will work 8am to 11pm Friday and Saturday with prototypes ready to view and be tested by the public on Sunday from 3pm – 5pm.
There will be laughter, arguments, tears, ideas, thoughts, dreams, wishes, and cake.
We have no idea until Friday at lunch what we are up against. It’s a mixture of excitement and quite frankly, fear. But I’m not worried. I know the people who are coming are bringing the most important thing: an open mind and a will to make a difference.
What more could we ask for?
If you would like to join us Sunday for the Open Day, please let us know here.
I’d like to do a big shout out to my Orga team:
Special Mention to Teresa M & Susan P for volunteering to bring smiles, we’ll need them!
And of course, the very brave Museum:
Anna Brennand, CEO
John Hughes, Museum Project Coordinator MuseomixUK
Paul Gossage, Press