Monday, 14 November 2011


We heard last week that we have received our extension - the full 27 days that we applied for. To celebrate Bridget and I spent this morning planning the last few days of the original project. We have so much to do and so little time! We have been caught up with planning our SHARE wider museum community workshops - the first of which we finished on 2nd November and the second of which is on 30th November. 2nd November went better than we hoped (perhaps we have too high expectations!) and my favourite bit was hearing about the unaccessible parts of everyone's collections and thinking about how they can be used and appreciated across their museums. It really showed me how hard we had worked to involve people from across the musum - and how far we had come from just thinking about the collections for display or exhibtions to using them throughout everything that goes on in the museum. It now seems natural to me to think about how the collections can be used in learning, retail, gardening and events - but for many other museums this is a new way of thinking and it takes some adjusting to get used to thinking about our collections as resources in that way. I think it is really a tale of thinking about the curatorial role as less of a gate keeper but more as an advocate. It is not only about protecting collections - but about enabling others to love your collections so that they can advocate for you and therefore raise the collections profile and ensure their protection and long term survival. A teacher rather than a jailer!

We have also been doing some planning for the future - looking at baskets which are going to be the new collections focus once the Monument Fellowship is over. So whilst this is not strictly Monument, and hasn't been done on Monument time, it is very exciting! It shows that the Monument work has opened our collective museum eyes to other parts of the collections and how we can appreciate and care for them better.

Bridget and I have also been talking about our "best bits" - the things we have most enjoyed during the project. We both feel that one of the most fantastic outcomes has been seeing other people just fascinated by the collections - realising that these resources are there to be used and enjoyed by all of us and watching people grow in confidence and coming up with their own ideas and plans on how to use these resources. We are so excited that we are going to be able to work together as a team to re-vitalise our seed merchants store and are hoping it is going to a fantastic space for our visitors to learn more about our objects and get involved with them and the gardens.

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