Wow. How the world has changed since I last posted on here…..
First and foremost I hope you and yours are well and safe.
A window into my life over the last month would be:
As a freelancer I was already used to working from home, but now share the office with my wife every day. This has necessitated setting up a ‘when I’m having a remote meeting’ calendar so we don’t clash.
Zoom, Teams, Skype, Slack etc are now all a lot more familiar than they used to be.
I (successfully) delivered my first remote training session, which all involved agreed went a lot better than we were expecting!
With most people I usually work for now on furlough (another new term that is now very familiar) or a reduced service lots of projects I was working on have had to be put on hold. Fingers crossed we can pick up again on the other side.
AIM like many others have adjusted their offer and have made their excellent bulletin available online. The current issue has articles on two projects I’ve worked on: An update on recent exhibition openings for projects funded by AIM Biffa Award History Makers grants, which I manage on behalf of AIM, and a piece from Emily at Bridport Museum on ‘Turner in Bridport’ which we worked on together last summer.
SO grateful to have a garden. Daily shambolic badminton across the flower beds keeping me fit.
The Getty Art Challenge (and others similar) is great fun and has exhibited some amazing skill and ingenuity. This does not fall into that category!
Some of you will know I’m a big music fan and one of the essentials of a festival for me is a round or two of Ringo Music Bingo. This can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. A great way to pass a Saturday night (as long as you are prepared for cringeworthy puns).
Wasn’t quite sure what to call this post – such unprecedented times.
Talking to friends and colleagues over the last few days its clear we are all learning to adjust together to this new way of being.
Not easy, but it is temporary and we will come out the other side.
Museums and other cultural organisations are being amazing. Listening to advice, thinking foremost of staff, volunteers and visitors and taking the hard, hard decision to close or curtail services and cancel events. Not easy, as for many this now means a big drop in income for a period of time. Hats off to all of you for doing the hard thing, but the right thing.
As often happens, a crisis brings out the best in people. If you’ve not seen it, I liked this idea. A simple card you can print out and pop through the letterbox of a neighbour to offer a helping hand.
Stay safe, stay in touch and I look forward to getting back to normality with you all when we can
The purchase of the painting will be accompanied by a redesign of the museum’s mezzanine floor to create a suitable display area and a programme of audience activities and events inspired by the Turner.
Hot on the heels of saving and re-purposing the Moravian Church in the town, now open as The Rausing Building for events, exhibitions and activities, this purchase shows what can be achieved by a small 100% volunteer run museum if they set their minds to it.
Warning – this post contains discussion of museum documentation. If that’s not your thing, maybe look elsewhere!
One of the services I offer is support and training with the Modes Collections Management System. After 20+ years working with the software and getting to know the team I’ve decided to jump in even further and have joined the Modes Users Association as a Director.
This means that alongside my work with clients as a Modes Associate, I am also now part of the governance team helping shape the future direction of Modes and ensuring a sustainable future for what remains the most popular collections management system in the UK.
Yesterday was the annual Modes workshop and AGM, held at Salisbury Museum, where over 50 Modes users came together to hear both inspirational high end and back to basics ways of Maximising Modes.
I spoke about work I have been doing with Poole Museum to reconcile some data that has got a bit confused over the years and was also invited to give a few top tips for using Modes.
We also heard from Orange Leaf systems about some nice online mapping work they have been doing with Modes data and from Southampton Museums about ways to use Modes to help you with collections management tasks such as loans and emergency planning.
It’s great to be part of the team and I look forward to helping steer Modes forward into the future.
If you’d like a chat about any Modes or documentation challenge do get in touch and either I or the Modes support team in Derby will be happy to help.
There is still time to go and see Turner’s watercolour of West Bay, Bridport, back in the town for the first time since it was painted 200 years ago.
This summer Bridport Museum have hosted the painting, on loan from Bury Art Museum. The exhibition runs until 28th Sep.
Thanks to the Lottery funded museum refurbishment and a further grant from SW Museum Development it has been possible to bring the temporary gallery space at the museum up to the standards required to host loans of this type.
It’s been an interesting journey and not without it’s challenges to pull this exhibition off and a lot of work, but hopefully worth it for the large numbers of people who have come to see the painting.
Alongside the main exhibition, the museum and other organisations in the town, have put on a really wide ranging programme of events and activities to complement the Turner.
I remember when we first sat down, probably a couple of years ago, to talk about bringing the Turner to Bridport, it was always going to be the ambition to use it as a catalyst for all sorts of other activity and development. Due to the hard work of the team, that has definitely happened.
All the details of the exhibition and events can be found on the Bridport Museum website.
Thanks to the generosity of Biffa Award and the success of the previously funded projects, I’m delighted to be working with AIM on a further round of History Makers grants. The programme is now open for Expressions of Interest.
Eligible organisations can apply for grants of up to £75,000 to create new exhibitions telling the inspirational stories of their chosen history maker.
Successful projects will show how the life and work of the history maker has helped shape the world we live in today.
We are particularly keen to hear from projects based on women who made history and history makers from diverse backgrounds.
Just back from an excellent few days at AIM Conference in Newark. In no particular order, a few highlights for me were:
Catching up with friends and colleagues old and new – AIM conference is fab for this – super friendly and relaxed
Hearing from some of our AIM Biffa Award History Makers projects and talking to people who have potential exciting ideas for the next round. Keep an eye on the AIM website for full details of when this goes live
The ‘horrible histories’ nature of the National Civil War Centre in Newark. It wasn’t all like this of course, but they did have some great gruesome interpretation like this bullet removing activity!
Wiltshire getting a mention in the research being carried out by Fiona Candlin at Birkbeck, mapping independent museums from 1960 to 2020. Turns out we’re the Local Authority area with the third highest number of independent museums. Ties in nicely with a piece of work I am currently carrying out for Wiltshire Council looking at who collects what in the county, where we have identified 74 different museum organisations.
The top notch vegan food at all venues. First time I’ve ever seen the vegan biscuits guarded! Guess that’s what happens when your obscure lifestyle choice goes mainstream.
Congratulations and thanks to all the team who make the conference happen. Hope you get a bit of a rest before work starts on planning for next year.