We are as much about Knowledge as we are about Collections – how can we bring these two aspects together so that they both benefit?
Scotland’s industrial heritage is diverse in terms of type and geographical location. Many collections that are focussed on local or social history contain industrial artefacts, things that perhaps don’t mean very much on their own. Collections knowledge is every bit as rare and fragile as the artefacts themselves, perhaps more so. There has been a problem historically with the neglect of Scotland’s industrial collections, a situation that thankfully now seems to be changing with the announcement of long-term support for the Maritime, Mining and Fisheries museums. It is important that we are confident and able to tell both the technical and social histories behind our industrial collections and not concentrate solely on the social history aspect just because that is the only story that we feel able to tell.
Consultation by Jilly Burns for NMS in 2006 2. These were the parts of their collections that people wanted to know more about 3. There was a need to put the holders of the stuff in touch with the people who knew about the stuff 4. Jilly organised a workshop to find out what people considered to be the issues and priorities 5. The outcome was a recommendation that a specialist subject network be formed
1. 2. STICK was launched at the 2007 Museums Association Conference 3. Informal governance with wide representation including NMS, RCAHMS, local authority and independent museums and trusts, as well as individuals 4. A mapping exercise to establish who held industrial collections 5. National Partnerships provided the vital support to get the network up and running, but always with the aim of taking a backseat once the network was established 6. The first Special Project award under the MA’s Effective Collections scheme 7. AGM in March elected a committee to succeed the steering group – more formal arrangement to provide confidence to funders
Statement of purpose
One of the biggest obstacles to the curatorship of industrial collections, along with money, has often been communication
‘Old Tools New Uses’ project is an example of how we have begun to tackle these issues
Access in every sense of the word.
Word informed is critical here – we need the COLLECTIONS KNOWLEDGE to make properly considered decisions
Website: increasing number of resources on the site Kiara King, Archivist at the Ballast Trust, is our Digital Content Manager & has developed our online presence Blog: launched last year – place to find our latest news Presence on Collections Link: join our group!
2008 – Summerlee (Sir Robert MacAlpine) 2009 – National Mining Museum for Scotland (Henry McLeish) 2010 – Kelvingrove (David Woodcock) THIS YEAR AT NMS, 1 st OCTOBER
The first major project the network has taken on. This was the first award given out under the Effective Collections Special Project Fund. Managed by Rowan Brown, more recently by Jilly Burns. Opportunity to review domestic technology and hand tool collections in Scotland in a very imaginative way.
Top: Sally Colvin from MA, Minister for Culture & External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, Gordon Rintoul Director of NMS, Alex Hayward of STICK. Tools for Self Reliance refurbish the tools and send them on to partner charities in west Africa. Master catalogue is now on our website, all 296 pages of it.
4 drop-in workshops Specialist Subject Advisor, members of STICK steering group and resources to help curators identify objects from their collections
Learning resources in the form of loans boxes – this is sewing machines. Each resource contains a video of the particular tool being demonstrated and explained.
In May STICK jointly hosted with the Museums Association a knowledge transfer event as part of the MA’s Monument Fellowship Scheme to record the knowledge of former and retired curators and pass it on to their successors. Of the 3 current Monument Fellows in Scotland, 2 are focussing on industrial collections. The event in May focussed on machine tools and as you can see it included a practical demonstration by Dan Mackay. We are planning a second event, this time an afternoon talk on forging by Dan, again at Summerlee. Will be on 1 November. On 10 November we will be jointly hosting with NMS National Partnerships a knowledge transfer event on dealing with large objects. That will be at the National Museum of Flight.
One aim that STICK has long had is to establish a National Industrial Heritage Day for Scotland. We have chosen to begin on a smaller scale by linking up with the Scottish Civic Trust’s Doors Open Days this month to publicise some of the industrial heritage sites that are open to visit as part of the event.
There is a map of the participating venues on our website.
1. 2. Membership includes 10 Recognised collections and the National Collections of RCAHMS and NMS 3. Specialist knowledge not always where you expect 4. There are so many things we can do together that are much harder on our own: expertise is a resource and sharing it is an efficient way to work. Also: access to knowledge We have contacts in the field internationally 5. Sometimes informal can be good 6. Old Tools New Uses attracted a good deal of press attention
1. This is sufficient for some funders but not all 2. We don’t currently charge a membership fee as we aim to be as inclusive as possible 3. No-one is paid to run STICK, we rely on each others’ support 4. Inevitable transport difficulties 5. We discovered this during the Old Tools New Uses drop-in workshops: curators were very keen to meet our specialist subject advisor but few were able to travel to our regional workshops 6. Hopefully Recognition Funding and the forthcoming National Strategy will improve this situation
1. Family history, pride in our past achievements, a desire to encourage more young people to go into engineering and related disciplines 2.But NOT ALWAYS WHERE YOU EXPECT IT – we have to be prepared to look beyond museums and archives (& never ask someone if they are an expert – they will say no!) 3. There is money out there for projects. Our members include SFC accredited organisations 4. Eg Heriott-Watt working with NMS, City of Glasgow College working with NLCMH. Our collections are often ideal for explaining basic mechanical principles and studying the use of materials 5. Some of the great names are still going: Weir Pumps, Howdens, Babcock and Wilcox, Kelvin Diesels 6. Particularly at a time when many museums are conducting collections reviews 7. The importance of representing transport and industry today as well as in the past
Not just within museums - skills, knowledge and memories are disappearing from the wider community Some curators are finding it difficult just to get permission to travel to meetings This is an unknown Following withdrawal of NMS National Partnerships – 6 months on no sign of this
Broadening scope of membership by sector and geographically Finding out what is where, within and outside museums 3. Finding the experts – they may not consider themselves experts – and connecting them with the ‘stuff’ 4. Object inventories, etc 5. Raising the profile of industrial heritage 6. Making collections available to higher education, industry, etc 7. Particularly with more modern things 8. From 2011 at least 2 events per year 9. STICK is not just for industrial museums, nor is it just for museums – that outside perspective is essential if we are to stay relevant and innovate
1 st October National Museum of Scotland £10 - bargain
IN SUMMARY: Curators voiced a need for support and access to specialist advice Particularly from Alex Hayward, our first Chair, and Rowan Brown Annual conference in particular has been a place for the membership to let the steering group know where they wanted STICK to go next. We now have an AGM 4. STICK would not have happened without the commitment NMS staff, in particular Jilly Burns and Megan Combe of NMS National Partnerships and our first Chair and Vice-Chair Alex Hayward and Rowan Brown 5. Decisions could be made quickly and our energies put into meeting our objectives and not servicing STICK as an entity 6. We have had to accept that we can’t do everything at once, but we know where we are going 7. The project has been extremely important in giving impetus to the network and in raising its profile
Preserving Collections Knowledge: The STICK Network
The Road to STICK <ul><li>Need identified by consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Significant interest around </li></ul><ul><li>industrial/science collections </li></ul><ul><li>Wish to connect with experts in the field </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation that </li></ul><ul><li>a network be created </li></ul>
Development of the Network <ul><li>Initial development </li></ul><ul><li>led by NMS </li></ul><ul><li>Launch 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Steering group </li></ul><ul><li>Action plan and data capture exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by NMS National Partnerships 2005-11 First annual conference 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Old Tools, New Uses’ 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Constitution and Committee 2011 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ STICK exists for all those with an interest in, or specialist knowledge of, Scotland’s industrial and transport heritage.” </li></ul>
Our Objectives <ul><li>STICK will: </li></ul><ul><li>Develop opportunities to advance acquisition, care, development, research and interpretation of transport and industry collections </li></ul>
Our Objectives <ul><li>STICK will: </li></ul><ul><li>Identify key issues facing long-term stewardship and development of transport and industry collections and work together to tackle these </li></ul>
Our Objectives <ul><li>STICK will: </li></ul><ul><li>Promote, encourage and advance access to Scottish transport and industry collections through a variety of mechanisms </li></ul>
Our Objectives <ul><li>STICK will: </li></ul><ul><li>Support informed, efficient and confident decision making in the acquisition and long-term care of transport and industrial heritage across Scotland </li></ul>
<ul><li>www.stickssn.org </li></ul>Achievements to Date stickssn.blogspot.com
Achievements to Date <ul><li>Annual Conference </li></ul>
Old Tools New Uses project Achievements to Date
What We Have Learned: Strengths <ul><li>Enthusiasm of membership </li></ul><ul><li>World-class collections </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical spread </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership approach </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>Outward looking </li></ul><ul><li>Profile </li></ul>
<ul><li>Not a registered charity or company </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of regular source of funding </li></ul><ul><li>Reliant on commitment of members </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical spread </li></ul><ul><li>Curators often lack time and confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Structural variations </li></ul>What We Have Learned: Weaknesses
<ul><li>Strong interest in industrial history </li></ul><ul><li>Large amount of expertise out there </li></ul><ul><li>External funding </li></ul><ul><li>Educators want to engage with museums </li></ul><ul><li>Industry wants to celebrate its history </li></ul><ul><li>Links with other museums </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to collect from new industries </li></ul>What We Have Learned: Opportunities
<ul><li>Loss of specialist subject knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure on resources </li></ul><ul><li>Effect of membership fees </li></ul><ul><li>Potential loss of momentum </li></ul>What We Have Learned: Threats
The Future <ul><li>Expanding membership </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping collections </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping skills & knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Develop Web resources </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Putting our collections to work </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing obstacles to collecting & interpreting industrial material </li></ul><ul><li>Events </li></ul><ul><li>Join us! </li></ul>
Why the Network has been Successful <ul><li>Meets a clear need </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment of those involved </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewing decisions with membership </li></ul><ul><li>Support of NMS Partnerships & MGS </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>Open and inclusive approach </li></ul><ul><li>Ambitious but realistic </li></ul><ul><li>Old Tools, New Uses </li></ul>