Tuesday, 13 September 2011

John Jarrold Printing Museum

On Saturday, I ventured into Norwich for Heritage Open Day (and to celebrate finishing my masters with some pimms!) I enjoyed a quick walk around the Regimental Museum on its last day of opening. I then headed to the John Jarrold Printing Museum. I had seen this museum in previous years Heritage Open Day guides and wanted to visit. Well this year I was finally able to. Although, slightly out of the main city the short walk to this museum is well worth it. We were not the only visitors to venture here either as the museum was very busy. The process of printing has always fascinated me, the traditional type and the careful use of ink and paper.

What makes this museum particularly charming is that all the machines are used and worked by volunteers. Many who were printers using these machines in their working life. What was clear is that these volunteers are dedicated to these printing processes and really enjoyed showing us how they worked. I couldn't help but wonder what will happen to this museum in the future. Without the volunteers keeping the machines and printing processses alive, it will lose its uniqueness and appeal. They give the museums its charm, and they are what has made me fall in love with this museum!

How can those of us working in the museum sector encapture this?

Friday, 12 August 2011

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Volunteer Run Museums

Today I supported two of my local volunteer run museums Dad's Army Museum and Charles Burrell Museum by visiting them. I had intended on visiting them both for a long time, and took my parents with me aswell.

Particularly at the Dad's Army Museum, it was great to see the dedication of the volunteers in making the museum a success and ensuring that the visitors (of which there were many) had a great time. I would really love to see the Charles Burrell Museum revitalised with better opening hours and joining the other two museums in Thetford as a really positive heritage centre for the town; locals and visitors. Possible volunteering opportunity, perhaps?

Researching museums for my dissertation today, it really surprised me how many museums are purely volunteer run. Now, I've got my feet on the ground and knew that there were a lot but I was still surprised by the sheer volume of them! I wonder how much of the museum sector are purely volunteer run, I should think that they outnumber local authority and national museums. Anybody know? Are there any statistics out there?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Oxburgh Hall

Today I had a quick visit to Oxburgh Hall a local National Trust Property. I have recently become a member and was keen to visit. My dad was taking part in their event 'Boys and their Toys' as an exhibitor and I was also keen to see the property since the last time I visited was three years ago when I was a volunteer.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much had actually changed within the house. Ropes were gone, atmospheric lighting, new furniture, paintings, objects and display panels. So much had changed and the house really had a great atmosphere to accompany the slight but significant changes. It's very easy to think of historic houses as very static places where not much changes, but Oxburgh Hall really showed me today how wrong that is. I only had a very quick look round and will be going back soon to take it all in properly.

What I've realised is that small changes to displays and an institution can make a big difference. You may think that when you've been somewhere once like your local museum or National Trust property then you don't need to visit again, which is NOT TRUE! The heritage and museum sector need to find a way of encouraging local people to support and visit them and after today, I think small changes may be the way forward.