Trust in me, Bromley Museum is lost

2015-02-21 13.51.45I am actually quite angry at myself for coming to this London Borough of Bromley executive council meeting. I said I was done with Bromley Museum – what will be will be. But I can’t keep away, I know what the decision is going to be, but sometimes you have to bear witness. You just have to hear the words said, you might be raging inside, but the time for making a difference feels over to me. At least for the kind of museum I have in mind, the kind of museum I was working towards over two years ago.

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The deal is done, the vote is unanimous, Bromley Museum will move from the Priory in Orpington, a lovely medieval building (in need of tlc). The fate of the Priory is still in the balance, local community groups are still working on an arts and heritage centre. Good luck to them, they are going to need it.

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#TwitteratiChallenge / #MuseumTwitterati Mashup

I am going to try (in vain no doubt) to keep this blog post short and sweet.

#TwitteratiChallenge is all about nominating 5 fellow educators who are your Twitter ‘go-to’ in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support. It was begun by @TeacherToolkit and I was nominated by Kay Topping at Haslemere Museum, I failed miserably to respond in 7 days due to multiple hospital trips with various members of my family (yes, it has been one of those months).

I was also nominated by Paolo Viscardi at the Horniman Museum (who will forever in our house be known as the Extreme Curator) but he has taken #TwitteratiChallenge and obviously didn’t fancy sticking to the rules so has created his own version #MuseumTwitterati. His aim is to broaden the focus beyond educators to ‘museumy’ people, and in the process hopefully create a good follow list of Twitter inspiration, you can read his post here.

Anyone who has read any of my blogs knows I love museums / Twitter / blogging. So this is right up my street. But little did I realise how hard it would be! You can’t nominate anyone you work with, technically I don’t work(!) but to make it hard on myself I am not going to pick anyone from the Museum of London, RAF Museum or Horniman Museum, all places where I volunteer. Not everyone in my list blogs, but they all have a Twitter presence and are well worth a follow.

So here we go! My #MuseumTwitterati / #TwitteratiChallenge Continue reading

Volunteers’ Week: Skills Sharing

CCC pic 1This week is one of my favourite weeks at the Museum of London, the 1-7th June is Volunteers’ Week, a celebration up and down the country of all those who give up their time to work for free. This week is all about sharing the hard work and achievements of volunteers as well as celebrating the contribution that we make to different organisations. Volunteering is very much a two-way arrangement, volunteers give up their time, contribute their passion and enthusiasm and often their own knowledge, and in exchange we meet new people, learn new skills and quite often have a lot of fun too.

At the Museum of London volunteers are supported with a varied and interesting training programme, this can be informal talks and hands on training, as well as access to more formal training that is often open to volunteers who work at other museums as well. For this blog I have joined the Collection Cleaning Course, which is funded by Arts Council England, at the Museum of London Archive in Hackney to see how volunteers and paid staff from museums across London are benefiting from learning new skills.

You can read the rest of this post on the Museum of London Blog – Volunteers’ Week


What volunteering has taught me

Volunteering memories

Volunteering memories

One year ago I wrote a post about volunteering and what it meant to me. I wrote it in celebration of ‘Volunteer’s Week’, it was an emotional blog and it feels very strange to read it now, one year on. It is of course the perfect time to update that blog as we once again celebrate all those who give up their time and energy for free. I have now been volunteering for two and half years for different museums, first at Bromley Museum then the Museum of London, Horniman Museum and RAF Museum. This year, 2015, feels like the year my volunteering has ‘grown up’. I feel like my apprenticeship is over and I am taking some control over what I do and when. This post is five things that volunteering has taught me. Continue reading

Why and How? Engaging children with Special Educational Needs in creating art and cultural experiences – Royal Academy, March 2015

Royal Academy of Arts, sculpture by Frank Stella

Back in March I was kindly invited by Molly Bretton, Access Manager, to a one day workshop on children with special education needs (SEN) and art at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA). I have been to one of their SEN family workshops before and I was very impressed with the way in which art can break down barriers, and in a supportive atmosphere allow a whole family to enjoy themselves regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. It seems ridiculous to break it down in those terms – I witnessed families having a good time and that is what really stayed with me. This conference was an opportunity for the RA to share experiences with others and look at how children with special educational needs can be supported in a gallery or museum setting.

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Defining Beauty – British Museum, May 2015

2015-04-16 16.26.38My footsteps lead me to the British Museum, again. I am having a bad day. I don’t know why I often end up here, maybe it’s the anonymity I find in the huge crowds of people. There is a reminder that there is so much out there to learn about, so many lives, different worlds. Objects that have meanings we can’t always grasp. That urge to create, whether it is for religious meaning, economic value or trade, beauty, fashion and power. I am fascinated by these things we value, these old things. I don’t want to write a blog about an exhibition. I don’t want to write anything. I owe a couple of blogs to different people. I don’t have any time and I have all the time in the world. I think my last few blogs have emptied me out a bit.

I remember a couple of weeks ago saying to someone I began writing these blogs for me and no one else. I think that has changed. I remember just writing blogs about experiences, exhibitions, how I felt and not worrying what other people thought about them. Not caring if anyone read them. Now I think, “will this blog get views?”, “who will read it?”, “will it be interesting?”. I don’t know what I am doing now really. I avoid writing, because writing is becoming a little too honest.

I am typing up notes after visiting the British Museum’s new exhibition. I can tell you that these first two paragraphs aren’t in my notes. Back to the blog, back to the blog. It is my 4th visit to the new exhibition space at the British Museum. Whilst the Vikings was a disappointment, and Ming didn’t quite capture me, Defining Beauty I am very excited about. Continue reading

Blog 101 – saying goodbye

I heart museums

I heart museums

100 blogs – I can’t believe I have written 100 blogs. On good days this seems like an amazing, creative, powerful turnaround in my life. At other times it seems like a waste of time, why I have spent hours upon hours writing away late at night, early mornings, snatched moments. This week I gave a talk about blogging and engagement – I was incredibly nervous, it has been a long time since I have had to stand up in front of people and talk about anything. It seemed faintly ridiculous, I am not an expert in blogging. I looked back at my first blog – 12th October 2012, 500 words where I talk about beginnings and first steps. Continue reading