What is a “Hidden History”?

person with body painting

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

SHARE Museums East have just launched a new grant scheme to support museums to interpret and share “hidden histories”, but what does it mean and why should you care?

Hidden histories are stories which are typically not told by museums. This could be because past curators haven’t collected relevant objects, or they have but museums lack the knowledge (or interest)to properly interpret them.

Often hidden histories are those belonging to minorities, such as people with disabilities, religious groups and BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities.

As homosexuality was illegal until the 1960s and continued to be deemed socially unacceptable for some time afterwards, LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) stories are often under-represented.

However, “hidden” does not necessarily mean minority. Women are fifty percent of the population, but their stories are often not well recorded or shared. In many museums, women are only represented in the domestic galleries, or in relation to their husbands/fathers/sons. Collections are also often focussed on the wealthy or middle classes. Employers of the working class are well represented but the stories of the individuals are often sketchy or overlooked entirely.

Of course, I speak in generalities and there are many excellent examples of the above in museums but they are the exemption, not the rule.

 

How has this happened and why is this a problem? How would it benefit your museum to do more work highlighting these stories?

Many collections have come together through the work of a few private collectors and/or curators. They therefore reflect their particular interests, prejudices and opportunities. More recently, we have tended to rely on objects being offered to us rather than actively seeking to fill gaps. There is also frequently an awkwardness in tackling experiences outside of our own.

However, the world is changing. People no longer visit museums because it is considered “a good thing to do”. By tackling more diverse stories, museums are relevant to more people. They can increase not only their audiences, but their volunteers, donors and supporters, making them more resilient.

 

This is the first in a series of blogs around hidden histories, but I would like to draw your attention to a study day I have organised at the British Museum on 23rd October. This day will look at two different examples of hidden history interpretation.

Museum News – 7th September 2018

Please find below updates from the latest Essex Museum Newsletter. To subscribe and get these updates straight to your inbox, click here.

Braintree Museum

Braintree Museum

Essex News

  • Youth Engagement Project

Pippa and I are looking for museums that would like to be involved in a youth engagement project, linked to Snapping the Stiletto. You do not have to be part of the original project or Accredited.

Pippa is putting together a Young Roots HLF application to work with youth organisations around the county to explore and celebrate Essex women’s stories from the last 100 years.

If you are interested in getting involved or just want to know more, please email Pippa at Pippa.smith@essex.gov.uk

  • Heritage Education Group, Thursday 13th September 2018, 10am for 10:30, Rayleigh Town Museum, FREE

The Heritage Education Group (HEG) is open to anyone working or volunteering in heritage education in Essex, including museums, heritage centres, parks, libraries, churches etc. It meets quarterly, at different venues around the county. At our September meeting we’ll be looking at Community Co-Production and sharing updates from around the county. For more information, visit: https://essexmdo.com/events/heg/

  • Museums Essex – Save the Date

The next Museums Essex meeting will be on Tuesday 4th October at Thurrock Museum. More details will be available soon.

Also, if you have been trying to contact the Chair, Robert Rose, please be aware that his email address has been updated to: robert.rose@bdmt.org.uk

  •  Donation to Disposal: Documentation Procedures and Guidance, Friday 12th October, 10am till 3:30pm, Rayleigh Weir Fire Station, FREE

This session, led by the Collections Trust, will explore the basics of museum documentation, its importance and how it is approached by different organisations.

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Be familiar with the requirements of the Spectrum Primary Procedures and how they might be applied in different museums
  • Understand what is required by Accreditation
  • Be aware of where to go to for help and advice
  • Feel confident in what they need to do to meet the standard

For more information, and to book, please visit: https://essexmdo.com/events/donationtodisposal/

 

SHARE Updates

  • New Website and Training Calendar

SHARE have revamped their website and launched their new training calendar. Please have a look and see if there is any training that would be useful to your museum: http://www.sharemuseumseast.org.uk/

  • SHARE Advisory Forum

“The SHARE Advisory Forum is a new panel set up to act as a ‘critical friend’, to advise and inform our programmes during 2018-22. We are seeking members to represent different parts of the museums sector in the East of England.

The Forum is composed of 12 nominated and elected members. There are places for six elected members from the following groups of organisations:

  • 1 representative of local authority museums
  • 1 representative of staffed independent museums
  • 1 representative of a fully volunteer-run museum
  • 1 representative of a National museum
  • 2 representatives of different external organisations who are able to bring relevant and suitable skills to the Group, e.g. other regional heritage and arts organisations or tourism bodies.

If you would like to nominate yourself, please email Jamie Everitt, SHARE Regional Museum Development Manager, to arrange an initial discussion.

To find out more about the SHARE Advisory Forum, go to the Funding and Governance page of our website where you can download the Forum’s Terms of Reference”.

 

Funding and Opportunities

  • Free Autism Access Resources

Friday is the deadline for these free resources to make your museum more accessible to people with autism: http://autisminmuseums.com/free-sensory-equipment-from-autism-in-museums/

  • Fundraising Cohort

“Following the success of SHARED Enterprise, I’m delighted to confirm that SHARE will be picking up the baton and offering a new fundraising cohort opportunity for 2018-19.

There will be one cohort, comprising up to 6 museums that are serious about developing their fundraising skills.  Applicants must commit to attending all group workshops and one-to-one sessions.  Ideally, all sessions should be attended by the same two people, as this makes the learning more effective.  Preference will be given to museums which have not had the opportunity to join any of the SHARED Enterprise cohorts, but previous participants are welcome to apply if they can demonstrate the benefit they would receive.

We are in the process of recruiting a consultant to facilitate the cohort.  The training offered will be a blend of workshop sessions and 1-2-1 bespoke support worth approximately £1,600.  We are asking for a contribution towards this cost of £200 per accredited museum or £400 for a non-accredited museum.  This is to ensure commitment to the whole programme”.

For more information, visit: https://essexmdo.com/2018/09/06/share-fundraising-cohort-2018-19/

  • Arts Council England Project Grants

ACE have produced a useful guide to their new grants and who is eligible to apply: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Information_sheets_Museum_projects_Project_grants_0.pdf

  • Safe and Secure: Facilities Improvements Grants

“SHARE is offering grants to help museums forge stronger links with National museums and other significant lenders to increase loans from these organisations to museums in the region.

Museums can apply for a grant up to £3,000 for a wide range of activities related to loans. Examples of activities for which the grant can be used include:

  • Security improvements including work needed for GIS
  • Environmental improvements including work needed for GIS
  • Conservation and condition report costs for loans
  • Conservation work required as a condition of the loan agreement
  • Transport and packing costs for loans
  • Courier fees or object handling staff time
  • Specialist mounts, frames or display cases

Other activities may be eligible. For more details see the Grants section of our website. The deadline for applications is 5pm Friday 28 September 2018. If you would like to discuss your project, please contact Miranda Ellis, SHARE Project Officer”.

  • Museums Change Lives Awards

“The Museums Association (MA) is calling for nominations for the Museums Change Lives Awards, which will celebrate the achievements of museums and individuals that have made an impact on the lives of their audiences and communities.

The inaugural Museums Change Lives Awards will have three categories for museums: Best Museums Change Lives Project, the Local Hero Award and Best Small Museum Project; and one category for individuals: the Radical Changemaker Award.

The Museums Change Lives award will recognise the best project in the past year that reflects one or more of the themes of the MA’s Museums Change Lives campaign: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate”.

For more information, visit: https://www.museumsassociation.org/news/31082018-enter-your-nominations-for-the-museums-change-lives-awards

  • SEMFed Study Trip Bursary

The South and East Museums Federation is unique among UK Museum Federations in organising an annual study trip that gives members a rare opportunity to visit behind the scenes and meet members of staff from museums across Europe and beyond.

It is a great opportunity to learn from fellow professionals across the world and socialise with fellow SEMFed members over dinner & drinks.

The 2019 SEMFed Study Trip will be to Copenhagen, Denmark on 30th January – 2nd February 2019

Each year, SEMFed offers a travel bursary in honour of Martin Howe, an ex-President of the Federation who was involved in the organisation for many years.

The £200 bursary helps to cover travel and accommodation costs of the study trip and is open to all SEMFed members who have not been on the Study Trip before. This year there are two bursaries available.

  • AIM Hallmarks Awards, Grants Of Up To £12,000

“AIM members in England can now apply for a grant of up to £12,000 through the new AIM Hallmarks Awards. Funded by Arts Council England through AIM’s National Portfolio Organisation funding, the AIM Hallmarks Awards will provide grants totalling around £55,000 each year over the next four years and are available in two strands:

Main grants of £4000 to £12000:  will enable museums to implement the key ideas of the AIM Hallmarks. We will support projects that have an impact on museums’ ways of working, culture, strategy or business model. These will be open to all Accredited AIM member museums in England.

Small grants of £3000 – £6000: will support museums to improve their financial sustainability through either cost saving or income generation. These will only be open to Accredited AIM member museums in England in AIM’s small museum category (that is, museums with up to 20,000 visitors a year).

The closing date for Round One is 20th November. Please click this link to find out more.

  • Call for Papers: Culture Geek London, March 2019

“If you work in or with a cultural organisation and have a digital project that you’d like to share, revolutionary new tech which we all should know about or an idea that could help those working in the sector to navigate the changing digital landscape we want to hear from you”.

For more information, visit: https://london.culturegeek.com/news/speak-culture-geek-2019/

  •  Weston Loan Funding

“The Weston Loan Programme provides funding for regional museums to secure important strategic loans from national collections, maximise loan opportunities in the context of their own collections and communities, and offers opportunities to strengthen the skills of museum professionals working in this area.

We recognise the great value of our national collections being shared more widely across the UK, and hope that museum staff, collections and audiences nationwide will benefit now and in the future.

The second round of applications for funding is now open and the deadline for submissions is 11 September 2018. Please find details of how to apply below, and contact Penny Bull, pbull@artfund.org, 020 7225 4840 for further information about the programme and to discuss a potential application.

We’d also encourage any applicants who are less confident about borrowing from a national museum or gallery to attend one of TEG’s ‘Preparing to Borrow’ workshops, being run across the country from May to July 2018”

For more information, visit: https://www.artfund.org/supporting-museums/weston-loan-programme

 

Training and Resources

  • Retail Forum: Inspiring teamwork through Retail, Friday 19th October, Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER, 10am – 3.30pm

“A workshop looking at how Retail volunteers are selected, recruited and inducted into the museum team, supporting a one team approach and how the retail team can help increase volunteer satisfaction and visitor engagement throughout the museum. We will be joined for the training sessions by Linda Brandish. Linda is a Volunteering Advisor who has 15 years experience in the sector, and who has previously worked with SHARE on volunteer focussed training opportunities.

There will also be the usual opportunities for networking, group discussion and the Dead Stock Swap Shop – an opportunity to brainstorm how to push sales of dead stock or where to pass it on to!

There is no charge for the event, and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

All welcome! To book your place please follow the link below: http://www.sharemuseumseast.org.uk/events/event/retail-forum-inspiring-teamwork-through-retail/

  • GEM Intermediate Course: Heritage Interpretation 2018, 4th October 2018, 10.00 till 16.30, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Fee: £125 for GEM and AHI members and £160 for non-members

“If you want to develop your understanding and application of interpretive good practice, then this course is for you!

Freeman Tilden, the “father of interpretation” believed that interpretation is an art, but one which can be taught. We will share the skills of this “art” and explore Tilden’s other principles of interpretation through hands-on learning. You will discover the background and context for interpretive theory and be supported to put it into practice in a meaningful way.

This course is aimed at mid-career professionals with responsibility for planning, delivering or managing learning programmes across the heritage sector. It is most suited to those already involved in interpretation in their organisation, especially those looking for ways to improve or build upon their practice.

The course will combine a one-day workshop with personal work and ongoing peer discussion to give you the most beneficial learning experience possible. The one-day workshop will be a mix of discussion and sharing of perspectives/experiences, practical working in pairs and small groups and some presentation of theory by the course director. It will also facilitate the building of a peer group to support you through the follow-up activity.

For more information and to book, please visit the GEM website (https://gem.org.uk/training-and-events/gems-training-programme/intermediate-courses/heritage-interpretation-course/)”.

  • V&A Professional Development Programme

“I’m very pleased to be able to share the new V&A Professional Development Programme with you. We are offering 20 courses between September and January, each led by expert V&A staff members.

I hope in visiting the Professional Development page on our website, you will find courses that speak directly to training needs of your colleagues. It would be greatly appreciated if you could share this page within your professional network. You can also view and download the programme brochure here.”

 

Vacancies

  •  Assistant Curator, Parndon Mill, Harlow

“We are looking to recruit a part time Assistant Curator to join a small team who deliver a variety of contemporary exhibitions.

This position is busy, interesting and fundamental to the smooth workings of Parndon Mill. It will be based at the gallery in an idyllic setting on the River Stort on the Hertfordshire and Essex border. It does require unique delivery of both customer facing and sound administrative skills. It will suit an individual with a keen interest in arts with a driving ambition to be part of the longer-term plan for the furtherance of culture”.

For more information, visit: http://parndonmill.co.uk/contact-us/jobs-and-opportunities

  • Curator (ESCALA and University Art Collections), University of Essex

“This is an exciting opportunity to manage a major art collection and contribute to the development of academic and research support services at the University of Essex. Library Services – in which the post is based – includes three campus libraries, the largest being the iconic Albert Sloman Library at the Colchester campus, with over 1m printed items, extensive special collections and examples of work by leading 20th century artists such as Christopher Wood, Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. In addition to promoting and conserving these artworks, the post holder will be responsible for the management and development of ESCALA, the University’s unique collection of Latin American art, with over 750 works dating largely from the 1960s to the present”.

For more information, visit: https://vacancies.essex.ac.uk/tlive_webrecruitment/wrd/run/ETREC107GF.open?VACANCY_ID=072097HjqK&WVID=9918109NEm&LANG=USA.

 

SHARE Fundraising Cohort 2018-19

money pink coins pig

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

As you may be aware, between 2014 and 2018 museums in the East of England had access to specialist fundraising training through SHARED Enterprise, an HLF funded project.  The programme included cohort-based training, which participating museums found highly effective because it combined group workshops with specialist one-to-one support and peer networking.

 

Now that the SHARED Enterprise programme has finished, we are planning to offer similar cohort-based fundraising training as part of the 2018-19 SHARE training calendar.  A small number of museums will attend group workshops and receive expert one-to-one support from an experienced fundraiser.  They will learn about fundraising strategies, including a variety of fundraising methods, and they will be supported to apply their learning in the real context of their own museums.

 

Workshop content will be tailored to suit the needs of the participating museums.  The following topics are likely to be covered:

 

  • Fundraising strategy
  • Case for support
  • Trusts and foundations
  • Corporate support
  • Individual giving

 

The fundraising cohort is for museums of all sizes that are serious about developing their fundraising skills, but applicants must commit to attending all group workshops and one-to-one sessions.  Ideally, the same two people should attend every session, as this makes the learning more effective and means you are more likely to be able to put the learning into practice and achieve fundraising success. Preference will be given to museums which have not had the opportunity to join any of the SHARED Enterprise cohorts.

 

The dates and locations of sessions will be arranged once the participating museums have been selected.  As far as possible, we will arrange workshops to be held in locations that are geographically sensible for participants, including asking participating museums to host a workshop if they have suitable facilities to do so.  Workshop dates are yet to be arranged and will be published as soon as possible.  One-to-one sessions will be take place at the participants’ own venues, by prior arrangement.

 

There is a small fee payable for taking part in the fundraising cohort.  This is £200 for an accredited museum in the East of England, or £400 for a non-accredited museum and museums outside the East of England region.  In return for this, you will receive training and one-to-one support worth approximately £1,600.  Information about how to pay will be sent to you if you are offered a place in the cohort, and payment is needed to secure your place.  If you would like to apply but have difficulty paying the fee, please contact us to discuss assistance.

 

How to apply:

Initially, please complete the expression of interest form below and email it to sharemuseumseast@norfolk.gov.uk no later than 5pm on Monday 10 September 2018.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Miranda on 01603 493659 or email miranda.ellis@norfolk.gov.uk.

Museum News – 23rd July 2018

I usually share links on social media so that non-subscribers can view my newsletters but there seems to be a fault with the new platform ECC are using which means the link doesn’t work. Therefore I am sharing the information on my blog.

If, since the GDPR changes, you are no longer receiving my newsletter but want to, or if you are a new subscriber, you can sign up here.

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  • Upcoming Essex Meetings

Collections Trust Event

The Collection Trust will be holding a free training day in Essex on Friday 12th October. We are looking for a venue to host and for everyone’s input on what subjects the training should cover. They are willing to talk about a range of documentation-related subjects including policies and procedures, the new SPECTRUM guidelines, backlogs and collection reviews. To have your say, vote online here

If you are able to offer a venue, please email amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk

 

  • SHARE Updates

Benchmarking – Deadline Friday 31st August 2018.

It’s that time of year again! The annual Benchmarking return collects data from museums around the region regarding visitor figures, income, staff and volunteer numbers etc. This data can be used by museums and SHARE for advocacy, funding applications, planning and all sorts of other things. You can see how your museum compares to others of a similar size or collection, compare data from different years or use it to illustrate the contribution your museum has had to the local economy and community.

The data that you provide should be for the period 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday 31 August 2018.

For more information about why you should take part in Benchmarking and how to get involved, click here

 

New Creative Communities Network

SHARE is launching a new Creative Communities Network. Building on the work of the previous Co-Production Network, this peer-support group is for any museums looking to engage more closely with their local communities. The first meeting will be this September in Ipswich. For more information, and to give your availability for the first meeting, click here

(Please do email me at amy.cotterill@essex.gov.uk with your contact details to go on the mailing list as well as filling in the poll).

 

  • Funding and Opportunities

OFBYFOR ALL

Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History is running a fully-funded international museum development pilot called OFBYFOR ALL. The project is based on their phenomenal success in community coproduction, which has seen their annual budget increase from $700 000 in 2011 to $3 000 000 in 2018. It is led by their director Nina Simon, author of “The Participatory Museum”. For more information, click here 

 

Grants Of Up To £90,000 For History Makers In England

“The third and final round of the AIM Biffa Award History Makers Programme is now open for applications from AIM member museums in England. Check your eligibility and find out how to apply here.

Grants of up to £90,000 are available to support museums by creating new exhibitions featuring the lives and achievements of extraordinary, historical figures who have made a significant impact on the industrial, creative industries and arts, scientific, commercial or social history of the UK, helping to shape the world we live in today.

We want the funded exhibitions to be inspiring and exciting – especially for young people – and we are very keen to hear about exhibitions that would feature female history makers, notable people from the 20th century and people that have made a positive impact in the different and diverse communities of England”.

 

“AIM Conservation Grants: Next Round Closes 31st September

Does your museum need financial or practical support for a conservation project? AIM members can now apply for the next round of our conservation grants which close on the 31st September.

The round features three different funding schemes: Remedial Conservation Scheme, Collections Care Scheme and Collections Care Audits. Find out more and how to apply at: AIM Conservation Grants: Next Round Closes 31st September

 

Building Connections Fund

“Following the Prime Minister’s and Minister for Sport and Civil Society’s announcement to unlock £20m funding to tackle loneliness (as a part of Government’s ​wider endorsement of the Jo Cox Commission recommendations​), a new £11.5 million Building Connections Fund has been set up to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness.

 

The fund is a partnership between Government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation and aims to:

  • increase social connections, helping people form strong and meaningful relationships and creating a sense of community and belonging, and helping people feel more connected
  • support organisations to build on their existing work, eg by reaching more people, or working in a new area or with a different method or group of people
  • encourage organisations to join up with others locally
  • improve the evidence base and use learning to inform longer term policy and funding decisions”

More details, including how to apply, can be found here

 

WH Smith Community Grants

“The WHSmith Trust is now offering grants of up to £500 to voluntary organisations and schools from the proceeds of the compulsory carrier bag levies across the UK. Grants are awarded every six months to charities, schools and community groups of any size, provided they support the community in the UK.” For more information, click here. 

 

Heritage Lottery Fund, 1-on-1 Advice sessions, Wednesday 1th August, 11.00am – 3pm, Hadleigh Old Fire Station, High Street, Hadleigh, SS7 2PA

“Do you want funding? Do you have an idea for a heritage project? Then book a slot with Sally to find out how we can help!

Call Sally Page 07790375405 or email; sally.page@hlf.org.uk to book a 30 minute 1-on-1 slot to talk about your idea and find out more about our funding.”

 

“AIM Members: Sign Up Now To Receive Free Digital Membership Of The Social History Curators Group

Members of AIM can now take advantage of free digital membership of the Social History Curators Group (SHCG). This offer is available until 31st August and the free membership will run until 31st March 2019.

The Social History Curators Group was formed to improve the status and provision of social history in museums and the standards of collections, research, display and interpretation.

The group is a friendly community of history practitioners, people with an interest in social history and those that work directly with social history in museum collections. You don’t have to be a curator or an established professional to join – the group is open to anyone who works with social history.”

 

  • Resources

Heritage Watch

Has your organisation joined Heritage Watch, an Essex Police initiative to battle crime against museums and other heritage sites? Find out more here

 

Freelancers

SHARE has produced two new guides, one for museums wanting to work with freelancers and one for individuals wishing to go freelance. Both are available on the SHARE website

 

East of England Emerging Museum Professionals (EEEMP) Network

There is a new online network for people in the early stages of their museum career, living or working in the East of England. More information is available here

 

  • Vacancies

 Vacancies at Colchester and Ipswich Museums

CIMS are currently recruiting for two posts:

-Assistant Collections and Learning Curator (Natural Sciences), Colchester/Ipswich, £20,043 – 23,574, 37 hours per week, Closing date: Wednesday 1 August, 2018

Senior Collections and Learning Curator, Ipswich, £27,360 – £32,884, 37 hours per week, Closing date: Friday 17 August, 2018

You can find out more information here.

Benchmarking Survey – Have You Completed It Yet?

chart close up data desk

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Now in its 16th year, SHARE’s annual benchmarking survey is aimed at museums in the region who are Accredited or currently Working Towards Accreditation (or with ambitions to be so).

The information SHARE receives from your surveys helps them, me as the county lead for museums and you to demonstrate the social and economic impact and importance of museums and heritage sites both locally and regionally to funders and stakeholders, helping to sustain investment in our sector.

Your survey returns are hugely important, not only to support us in our advocacy but so SHARE can get a clear picture of your annual activities and support you better as your regional museum development provider.

 

From the 2016/17 survey we know that:

  • there were more than 3,606,169 million visits to museums in the East of England region
  • visits to museums contributed over £60 million to the regional economy
  • there were more than 229,341 participants in learning activities provided by museums
  • and 6,608 museum volunteers who contributed an incredible 812,366 hours to museums
  • meaning that volunteer time was worth £5.8 million to museums
  • museums also employed 915 paid staff

In tough economic times for museums every little helps, and your stats can help enormously!

The survey is short and will be easy to complete by a volunteer or member of staff with a good overview of their museum’s work. The questions cover visitor numbers and engagement; museum finances; volunteers and staff; educational work as well as challenges and opportunities for the future. The data that you provide should be for the period 1st April 2017 – 31st March 2018.

 

If you are a multi-site, or a museum that hosts another Accredited collection within your museum, please contact museum.development@bristol.gov.uk for a bespoke survey form.

 

You can complete the survey online here. If you are unable to complete it all in one go then you can save and return to your answers at any time. Alternatively you can also complete  this paper version and return it via email or post to me as your MDO.  The deadline for completing the survey is Friday 31st August 2018.

 

A partial return is better than no return! If you can’t answer all of the questions because you haven’t been collecting the data, please do what you can.

 

If you have any questions about completing the survey then you can get in touch with museum.development@bristol.gov.uk

Kids in Museums Manifesto – Are You Signed Up?

Museum Explorer

Teddy Bears Picnic at Chelmsford Museum

The Kids in Museums Manifesto is not a new thing. The charity has been doing great work promoting the importance of engaging with children and family audiences for many years now. They run high-profile annual schemes such as Takeover Day and the Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award (nominations are currently open) and deliver regular training on subjects including Babies in Museum and Autism Awareness. The Manifesto is the backbone of all of these areas of work, informing their work and the work of many museums around the UK (and possibly the world…?)

 

The 20-point manifesto is made of really simple things, most of which you are probably already doing including saying hello to visitors and sharing stories. Last year they launched a “mini-manifesto”, covering all the key points:

  1. Reach out. Begin the welcome beyond your door. Help families find you, go out to meet them, start friendly conversations on their home patch and make your museum easy to reach.
  2. Get to know your families. Some have babies, some toddlers, teenagers, parents, grandparents or foster children. Embrace these differences, from your programme to your ticketing.
  3. Seek to reflect your community and include it at your heart in your displays, interpretation and events.
  4. Be positive. Say ‘Hello!’ Welcome enthusiastic comments (which may be loud), have things to touch and explore, challenge your staff to never say ‘No’
  5. Make it easy and Comfortable — with a family friendly café, pushchair friendly toilets, seating in the galleries, a place to store skateboards and teenage kit, child-height stair rails, tap water. Just a few of the very practical ways to help a family relax and have fun.
  6. Be accessible. Families with disabilities may make an extra effort to reach you. Include their needs in everything you do and say — from how to get there to exploring the displays. All your visitors should be equally supported and welcomed.
  7. Tell your story. Families aren’t only coming to see your collections. They’re coming to enjoy your museum and hear your stories. These are what they’ll share when they get home. Find a way to include their stories too. They’ll add new insights and make the museum belong to them.
  8. Communicate well. Let families know what you offer. Include this on your website and social media. Chat with families before they visit and after they leave. Build relationships and include them in long-term decision-making. These families will become your greatest advocates.

 

So, I was surprised to discover that only 17 Essex venues are signed up to this wonderful initiative. Kids in Museums are an Arts Council funded “National Portfolio Organisation” (NPO) so signing up will look good on your Accreditation returns. It is also worth mentioning on funding applications as part of your commitment to broadening audiences and supporting young people. You could also put it on your website and share that fact that you’ve signed up on your social media or in other publicity.

Registering your organisation’s commitment to the manifesto is really easy. Just fill in the short form on their website. You can also have a sneaky look at which other museums are signed up (and which ones aren’t).

While you’re there, why not nominate yourself for Family Friendly Museum of the Year

A Culture of Lates

This guest post has been provided by Culture24.

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Culture24 is running the first ever national conference about museum after-hours events at the National Gallery in London on June 1st. ‘A Culture of Lates: How do Museum Lates Build Audiences & Generate Income?’ is aimed at museum/gallery after-hours events programmers and venue decision-makers and will be a fabulous opportunity to learn about Lates and network with colleagues.

 

Tickets are available now from the conference sales page  but if you work or volunteer at an Accredited Essex Museum that is not an NPO please contact Amy before booking as she can help you to access funding to attend.

 

The speaker list includes:

  • Kim Streets, CEO of Museums Sheffield
  • Ashlie Hunter, Producer of Public Programs, Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Bill Griffiths, Head of Programmes, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, creator of Newcastle/Gateshead’s annual culture crawl The Late Shows
  • Marilyn Scott, Director, The Lightbox, Woking, whose Thursday Lates attract a new audience of local young professionals
  • Lucy Woodbridge, Head of Visitor Events at the Natural History Museum, who opens up access to the museum’s collection while generating income
  • Tatiana Getman, Head of special projects & events, the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
  • Tim Ross, Australian comedian and TV presenter who uses comedy to create original heritage interpretation events and Instagram to market them.
  • Neil Mendoza, entrepreneur and consultant who recently published the DCMS Mendoza Review, an independent review of museums in England
  • Sam Bompas, Experience Designer and Jellymonger from Bompas & Parr, who flooded the ss Great Britain with 55,000 litres of luminous jelly for Museums at Night 2012
  • The Godperson of Lates, the original Lates programmer who started it all off at the V&A in 2001
  • Abigail Daikin, Events Director at Time Out, the media outlet that supports Lates all over the world
  • Kate Rolfe, Head of Events at the National Gallery
  • Alan Miller, Chair of the Night-Time Industries Association
  • Airbnb

 

The programme will feature presentations, panel discussions, socials and practical sessions including:

Programmers’ Question Time – Is your venue’s Lates programme blighted by lack of funding? Do you have a crop of talented local artists but are unsure how to reap the best out of them? Our panel of Lates event programming experts will grapple with your event challenges and help you create your after-hours Garden of Eden!

Plus …

Sussex independent artisan spirit producers Blackdown Distillery will be sponsoring the after-conference drinks party providing a welcome drink to all guests who pop up to the National Dining Rooms from 5.30pm

 

 And if that were not all…

There will be a comedy improve show by Do Not Adjust Your Stage at the National Gallery starting at 7pm on the evening of the 1st June after the conference. The National Gallery are offering all conference delegates the opportunity to buy tickets at the discounted membership price. Delegates simply use this link https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/calendar/blank-canvas to buy tickets at the member’s price and present their ticket along with their conference lanyard on the door on the night.

You may remember that Do Not Adjust Your Stage have previously delivered training for Essex museums on audience engagement, public speaking and giving guided tours.

 

We hope you can join us for this unique occasion!