Exhibition Openings, and Exciting News!

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

“Based on the ground-breaking research of Wellcome Trust Professor at Oxford Brookes University, Paul Weindling, this exhibition examines coerced experimentation in Nazi-dominated Europe. Through the portraits of victims and perpetrators, the exhibition explores the legacy of medical research under Nazism, and its impact on bioethics today.”

On what felt like the rainiest day of the year, in new (and inappropriate for the weather) shoes, I attended the exhibition opening for the Wiener Library’s newest exhibition, Science + Suffering: Victims and Perpetrators of Nazi Human Experimentation.

On the 17th of May, after attending the Museums and Heritage Show in Kensington Olympia (whole separate blog post on that coming soon) I headed over to the launch event of the exhibition. The launch begun with a chance to see the exhibition and ended with a fascinating talk by Wellcome Trust Professor at Oxford Brookes University, Paul Weindling. Paul Weindling spoke about the processes of researching for the exhibition, a discussion of what is included on display, and the typical thank you’s of all involved. The Wiener Library also has a series of events connected to the themes of the exhibition such as film screenings of Unit 731 – Did Emperor Hirohito KnowGray Matter, and Forgiving Mengele, as well as lectures from Professor A Keith Mant.

On that note, the exciting news of the title, is that I will be joining the Wiener Library! As of the start of June, I will be joining the Wiener Library as their Visitor Services and Volunteer Coordinator. The Wiener Library already has a great volunteer program, with opportunities like Blogger, Book Reviewer, Events Assistant, Social Media Assistant and Tour Guides. I’m looking forward to starting working with such a diverse team of volunteers, in a library that hosts such a great collection, opportunities, and events.

Show off

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

“It’s an open mic night featuring curators, conservators, librarians, collectors, trustees, security people, retail folk, educators, funders, explainers, visitors, academics, archivists and everyone else associated with museums, libraries, archives and collections.” – https://museumsshowoff.wordpress.com

I’ve finished my dissertation today! All that’s left is finding a London printing and binding place that doesn’t cost more than the actual tuition fee. But I can see the finish line. 2 years of studying in the making, the end is nigh. So, as half treat half inspiration, I put my laptop away in my bag for a couple of hours, and headed to Museums ShowOff. Museums ShowOff is an open mic for museum professionals to talk about their museum, their role and their love for all things Museum.

This is my third Museums ShowOff night. I’d been once in Manchester and saw Dave Haslam (amazing) and a bunch of museum professionals based in Manchester. I also went this January in London, and saw people like Sascha Coward, Claire Madge, and the ever brilliant The Queer Cabinet Brigade perfect what Museums ShowOff is all about. They brought a humour, lightness and accessibility to their slots. In January, life and dissertation got in the way of writing a review, but this time I’m making the time.
First up, Eleanor Margolies spent her 9 minutes explaining how it takes so much longer than 9 minutes to describe what we see when we look at an object, and how they makes interpretation for blind visitors so tricky. Followed by Prachi Joshi talked about his MA project with the British Museum, a roleplaying event to shift our Prachi Joshi talked about her MA project with the British Museum, a roleplaying event to shift our perspectives of what a museum is. Next up was Catherine Freeman talking about… teddy bears. I’ll admit BM (before museums) I used to work at Build A Bear Workshop as my weekend job *shudders*, so I was ready to hate this slot, but there’s much more to bears than I first thought, and I ended up actually enjoying it.

Harriet Braine and Korantema Anyimadu spent their slots doing what Museums ShowOff is all about. Sharing their love of museums in the most creative, fun, and humorous way. Harriet Braine, from the National Maritime Museum,wrote, and sung a song specially for Museums Showoff and Korantema performed an incredible spoken word piece about shameful museum thoughts.

Rosie Lampard, who talked about the bizarre questions visitors ask. Hearing from a front of ouse perspective was brilliantly unexpected, and she completely nailed it. Slightly darker, well much darker was Sheldon Goodman, discussing cemeteries. From CemeteryClub.co.uk, Sheldon’s slot made cemeteries seem.. cool? Ever so slightly more of what you’d expect from a Museum event, Miranda Stearn spoke about the social mobility in Cambridge, or the lack thereof, and what University of Cambridge Museums are doing to change this.

I’d recommend Museums ShowOff to anyone. Whether you’re a director of a national museum, or a visitor, there will be something at Museums ShowOff for you. It’s basically a nerdy stand up show. The humour, creativity and excitement of Museums ShowOff makes you forget your learning stuff, and somehow manages to make hearing about museums an actual break from writing 15,000 words about museums…

 



First Night at the Museum

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

If you’re reading this blog, you probably like museums, so probably don’t need to Museums at Night explaining. But, just in case, Museums at Night is  a country wide late night opening of Museums and Galleries, produced by Culture 24. Museums at Night is an ‘opportunity for museums and galleries to come together around a single, simple campaign that is attractive to venues, audiences and the media. It’s a social experience, where visitors can get involved, delve deeper into fascinating subjects and perhaps enjoy a cocktail or two with friends.’

After moving to London in February, this is my first Museums at Night in London, so I wanted to make the most of it. After a swift visit to National Gallery, en route to the Houses of Parliament, a walk through the city reminded me how much I love London.

I’ve wanted to visit Houses of Parliament since I’ve lived in London, but since living in London, I’ve also learnt when it’s best to avoid tourists. Produced by Culture 24 and Museums at Night at the Houses of Parliament ‘Rights and Rebels: An alternative look at Parliament’ celebrated the Rebels, activists, and protestors that have shaped British political and social history. Those who have risked all to go against the grain to challenge the norms of their time.

The event was housed in the Westminster Hall, with a tour of the houses for thirty minutes. In the hall, the atmosphere of grandeur was emphasised by the beautiful award-winning folk artists, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Tim Yates, playing music lyrically related to the themes of rights and rebellion. Unlike the typical visitors day at the Houses of Parliament, the Rights and Rebels: An alternative look at Parliament event had gin tasting, from the new House of Commons branded Gin from Sipsmiths; an unexpected ode to the gin legal crisis of the mid 1700’s.

A personal highlight of the visit was the tour, delivered by one of the Houses of Parliaments Visitor Services staff, the usual tour was flipped to a discussion of rebels and rights, from LGBT+ activists, to suffragettes, to contemporary protests. The tour was an important reminder that the Houses of Parliament should be, ultimately, for the people.

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Bogeyman of Science Museum

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Last night I attended the ‘Frankenstein – From Literature Myth to Bogeyman of Science’ event at the Science Museum. I remember reading Frankenstein at Sixth Form, expecting a boring sci-fi novel, but falling in love with the take of ethics, guilt and morality. Hosted by the director, Ian Blatchford, the museum clearly recognises the novels significance too.

Timed at the bicentennial year of Frankenstein’s creation, the evening explored the history of Mary Shelley’s writing, through a lecture by Sir Christopher Frayling. This was followed by a panel talk with Frayling, Professor Alice Roberts, journalist Kim Howard, and Science Museum curator Ben Russell.

The lecture, and following panel talk, were incredibly enlightening. There was so much about the story of Shelley, and about the novel itself, I learned.

As I said, when first reading Frankenstein, I fell in love with the morality tale. I have since carried that notion with me, when studying Cold War fears of nuclear power, right up to modern fears of ‘designer babies.’ This was touched upon briefly, perhaps not quite enough, throughout the evening. Despite that, the evening was richly informative, engaging and fascinating.

When a Synagogue gets a hashtag

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Under the new Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council funding, the Manchester Jewish Museum is reinventing.

Bollywood, comedy, theatre, Video Jame, gigs, and old classic Klezmah is revitalising the museum, opening up to a new demographic. The museum, and heritage site as a former 19th Century Synagogue, is looking towards the future. With long-term future goals of extensions and development, the museum is diversifying its audience with an exciting new events programme, with the best hashtag.

#Synagigs is the hashtag for the autumn, and future, events within the museum.

I went to Video Jam and the Karima Francis gig and as a space for events, the building is impressive. Acoustically, performances bounced around the room. It fits amongst the interesting shift of heritage sites becoming venues, audiences are becoming tired of soulless, repetitive Academy venues and it is heritage sites and museums that are opening up to this demand, and doing it oh so well.

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FALL IN LOVE AGAIN WITH THE MUSEUM OF THE YEAR

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

These photographs are from the soft opening night event, just a few months ago, yet now the Whitworth has won the Museum of the Year award, and rightly so. Marketed to make Manchester “fall in love again” with the gallery, or the “gallery in the park,” the Whitworth fully utilises the Whitworth Park just outside, making the exterior walls glass to feel immersed in the park. Of course with so much hype surrounding the much-anticipiated opening, the exhibitions were going to be remarkable. Noticeably most engaging was the Unmanned Nature by Cai Guo-Quaing in the Landscape Gallery. Designed in 2008, the 45 metres high gunpowder image was set surrounding the serenity of the heavily-invigiated water. The Whitworth was, and now increasingly is, a key part of Manchester’s identity both culturally and historically, and the Museum of the Year award is a reflection of how Manchester has fallen in love again with the gallery in the park.
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PEOPLES HISTORY MUSEUM EVENT

Monday, February 25th, 2013

As part of my undergraduate History course, myself and two others planned, marketed and hosted an evening public event at the Peoples History Museum, aimed at the 17-25 year old student demographic. In this, we had free drinks (necessary for students, yes?), film screenings of Manchester based film 24 Hour Party People and clips of 40’s Manchester lent from the North West Film Archive, as well as tours of the fully open museum and a vintage stall with help from Random Quirks. In using surveys during the event, we were able to quantify attendance, as well as gather opinion of this demographic of the purpose and popularity of museums. Around 40 people attended the event, which was less than liked, but can still definitely be classed as a success, as it is still 40 students that wouldn’t have necessarily visited the museum otherwise, which is represented in the feedback surveys.

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