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Community museums? Whatever next! | Ian Smith


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Conferentie 'Het aanpakken van armoede door middel van erfgoed. Naar een raamwerk voor gemeenschapsmusea', 7 december 2016 @ Huis van Alijn, Gent

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Community museums? Whatever next! | Ian Smith

  1. 1. Community museums? Whatever next! Ian Smith Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Industry National Museum of Wales
  2. 2. In the 1960s, as a young boy in Hafod Primary School, Swansea I had been fascinated by the ‘School Museum’ – a few glass cases with a motley collection of curiosities from all over the world. An ostrich egg, relics from WW2 and various coins and stamps fired the children’s imaginations as we made up stories to go with these strange artefacts. It had long been an idea of mine to recreate this little museum in other schools or ‘somewhere’ in the community. In early January 2012 the opportunity came up at Waun Wen Primary School
  3. 3. Creating a timeline of local and international events • Pupils visited the Waterfront • Conservation staff visited the school – 3D jigsaw • County Archivists visited the school and the children went to County Hall • We interviewed new residents to Swansea as well as older residents who lived here all their lives • We created a video history film that is displayed in the reception area • Pupils were taught how to write labels and object handling
  4. 4. Waun Wen Primary School, Swansea The children interview older residents about their memories of the area, living through WW2 and changing Swansea Archival pictures from the school records It cannot be stressed enough the importance of ‘real’ people telling ‘real’ stories about their history to children who mostly live their lives through video games and television programmes.
  5. 5. Waun Wen School and Community Museum I kick started the collection with ‘handling objects’ from my collection, but pupils and community members were asked to donate or loan objects too. The pupils were trained in how to document these objects so we knew who to return them to.
  6. 6. Opening ceremony The children now use the museum as a learning resource for many different subjects Rolled out as ‘make a museum’ The project was so well received that it was decided to roll out a streamlined version that that could be offered to primary schools as part of the National Museum’s education platform.
  7. 7. community museum I wanted to create a museum in the heart of a community. • Graigfelen • Blaenymaes • Spark and Gwalia • 104 building • Penlan Community Centre
  8. 8. I scoured the Museum Freecycle offers for any display cases that we could utilise and found four cases on offer in the National Museum Cathays Park. This meant that we could use two in the 104 and two at Penlan.
  9. 9. Coffee mornings to publicise the museums Involved three local primary schools
  10. 10. Involved the residents of Plas Melyn retirement complex – especially Len Burns who was 94 years old, and I decided to ask him if he would consent to ‘open’ the Community Museum on November the 12th 2015.
  11. 11. Children video interview older people
  12. 12. Over 100 people turned up for the opening!
  13. 13. Pride in Penderry 2 This is the space we had to work with in Penlan Community Centre
  14. 14. We opened the Pride in Penderry Community Museum Penlan site on 18th March 2016
  15. 15. Nearly 200 people turned up for the opening!
  16. 16. There are more Community Museums planned! Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire – Gwalia + Llanybydder Primary School (rural area) Hafod Senior School, Swansea (children from 11 – 18) EYST Swansea – Ethnic youth support team involving communities form all over the world Oakdale Miners Institute, St Fagans Llanybydder EYST, Swansea Cwm Aur, 55+ residential complex
  17. 17. What started out as a small idea has blossomed into a worthwhile and compelling series of projects that take heritage out into the community, empowering and giving ownership to ordinary folk and valuing everyone’s memories and history equally. By making displays relevant and inclusive it is possible to break down barriers and create an environment where nobody will feel out of place. Partners include: CCS Communities 1st Gwalia Housing (social housing and retirement housing) West Glam Archives Glam Gwent Arch Trust Penllegare Valley Woods Severn Wye Energy Agency CCS Library Service People’s Collection Wales Swansea Museum Five local Primary Schools (CCS Education Dept) Plas Melyn Retirement Complex The ‘Ark’ Drop-in Centre, Blaenymaes Penlan Community Centre Carmarthen Education Department