Hello and welcome to this, the adventures of a museophile. This is where it all starts. Post number one. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce some of the thoughts and driving forces behind the blog; as well as explain one or two key concepts. Later posts will go into more detail where necessary, but for now brevity is the order of the day.
Who am I? I’m not sure I can truly answer that, but hopefully some general descriptions will suffice in the mean time. First and foremost I an archaeologist; of a determined phenomenological bent. I studied in Wales and have worked primarily in Museums since graduating. I currently work in a library, with the odd bit of museum and archaeology work on the side, and have worked in construction, a school, church youth groups, an office and as a gardener.At various points and levels I’ve studied and understood: philiospophy, geography, architecture, history, science, art, marketing. I have studied more things, but the less said about those the better. I’ve also been involved in alot of volunteering and it was through this that the initial inspiration for this blog came about.
Whilst volunteering at a local museum; I was discussing the recent decline in museum interaction from the general public. I postulated that people just didn’t really know how to engage with museums or that museums weren’t receptive to different ways of visiting. On the same day I received a Northern museums volunteer pass.
( A bit more infomation on that schme here — http://www.museumdevelopmentne.org.uk/current-initiatives/northern-museums-volunteer-pass-scheme.html)
I resolved to practice what i was preaching and then post it on the internet for all to see. Hopefully some people will see and be inspired and/or emboldened. Hopefully some people will visit museums. Hopefully you won’t get told off. Too much.
I’ve always loved museums. Fortunately so did my parents and grandparents, at least enough to keep taking me to them throughout my childhood. I wrote about them in my degree and have not stopped visiting. They’re free (mostly), fun (mostly) and there’s always at least one just about everywhere. I was very disappointed on a recent trip to Mara in Tanzania that we didn’t have time to drop into the Nyerere Museum.
Museums are so much more than rooms of stuff. They’re active players in the political field (just try to shut one down). They are conduits of history, creators of truths and spinners of fantasy. A museum can hardly change for a century, but will not stay the same for a single second. All that is required to unlock this potential is a connection, because ultimately all a museum is; is a room full of stuff.
How remiss of me though, to have not defined what I mean by museum! What is a museum? I’m not too sure. does it have to be an old victorian gothic mansion house, bequeathed to the local populace, crammed with glass cases, crammed with labels and amorphous collections of things so important we can only look at them? I think not. For one some museums are made of concrete. How far can we take the concept of a museum though? That.is something I aim to have a good look at over the next few months.
So is this blog for you? I certainly hope so. you may be thinking it’s not really going to be your thing, but give it a try. You might find out something you didn’t know or some where. You might find a way to entertain the kids for a day or the grandparents. You might get an idea so far removed for anything to do with museums; that you rethink what you previously thought you knew about heritage. I certainly hope you do, then all this spellchecking won’t have been in vain.