Archive for September, 2020

Dear Members…

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Dear Members,

Apologies that we have not been in touch for some time. Our board members are all volunteers, many of whom have been fully occupied, dealing with the challenges of adapting their own institutions to the current pandemic and responding to the growing Black Lives Matter movement. Global events are having a significant impact on our sector, challenging us to work and think differently, towards our colleagues and with our visitors and communities. Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a sector to support each other and share inclusive practice which is evolving rapidly and organically.

The NWFed was on the verge of a re-launch just as the COVID 19 took hold. It has taken us a while to reflect on how this might now happen, in the much changed circumstances we all find ourselves in. However, we have begun to work together again to think about the future of the Fed.

And one thing remains the same – as an independent membership organisation we will continue to represent and champion the interests of museums and galleries in the North West, and the people who work in them. Watch this space!

NW Fed

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash 

New ‘Museum Basics’ events launched at National Museums Liverpool, 22 January 2020

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Following feedback from our members the Fed introduced the first of our new ‘Museum Basics’ training events with a session on object marking and labelling aimed at volunteers and professionals new to the sector, as well as anyone who needed a refresher. Hosted by National Museum Liverpool and run by Tracey Seddon – Conservator Organics and Gemma Dolan – Stores Co-ordinator, the course provided a solid theoretical introduction to the subject followed by a fascinating practical workshop which allowed us all to have a go for ourselves.

This combination of experiential leaning alongside examples of good (and sometimes bad!) practice, expertly presented by Tracey and Gemma, made for a very successful session appreciated by all attendees from students to more experienced staff. The day concluded with a Q&A and discussion allowing everyone to share any issues they faced in this area of collections management and seek advice from the group. A great example of Fed members in action working together and supporting each other!

Andy Pearce

NW Fed Board Member

Museum Basics Course – professional, informative and valuable.

Siobahn Wordingham, Volunteer, West Kirkby Museum

Participating in this  training was a great way to gain expert advice and hands-on experience for advancing my career – what set this course  apart from some other training opportunities was connecting with emerging talent and industry leading professionals who share my passion for championing North West Heritage and culture.

Adam Duckworth, Demonstrator, National Museums Liverpool

Image: Museum Basics event in action at National Museums Liverpool 

Smiles all round – Creative Science Engagement explored at Bolton Museum, 20 November 2019

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

I was delighted to attend on behalf of the Fed this event run by SMILE (Science in Museums Inspiring Learning & Engagement) held at Bolton Museum. Organised by Alex McLeman, SMILE Network Leader and Collections Access Officer for Bolton Library and Museum Service, this free CPD day aimed to enable colleagues from across the North West to share their experiences to enrich science learning and investigation across our region’s museums.

A strong line up of speakers, kicked off by Alex himself outlining some of the innovative science education at Bolton, was interspersed with plenty of ‘hands on’ opportunities and audience engagement. Although this was a day all about sharing the ‘Periodic table bingo’ definitely got quite competitive!

Many of you will know there have been numerous new exhibition developments at Bolton recently, and tours of the new Nature Gallery, Egypt Gallery and Elements temporary exhibition gave an insight in to how contemporary museum displays can encourage public engagement with science. At Bolton Museum this engagement with science has a long history, as we discovered in their Aquarium, which has been amazing people with the wonders of the natural world since it opened during the Second World War.

Visiting speakers included Kirsty Hall, Curator of Lifelong Learning, Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool and Dea Birkett, Ringmaster, Circus250 (who you may know better as the person behind Kids in Museums). Kirsty demonstrated the Bag of Beasts project as a tactile and visually striking way of capturing the attention of even the youngest potential scientist. Dea outlined how her Strong Women of Science circus show is taking a unique new approach to encourage more women to get involved in science

The final session concluded with Carole Ogden’s poem inspired by Bolton Museum’s Encountering the Unexpected project with older people – yet another great example of how the arts can be used to inspire science engagement with people of all ages.

The day allowed ample time for busy colleagues to network and swap ideas and I’m really pleased the Fed were able to support SMILE in delivering it.

Andy Pearce

NW Fed Board Member

Image: Bolton Museum, courtesy Bolton Library and Museum Services