Category: Collections

‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’ evaluation report

‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’ took place in 2017, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to mark Lancashire Life magazine’s 70th anniversary by showcasing the heritage of the county. It was a partnership led by the magazine, Museum Development North West and Lancashire Heritage Learning Team (part of Lancashire County Council).

The project featured 70 objects selected from 70 different museums across the old county palatine of Lancaster, brought together in three editions of the magazine and a family Spotter’s Guide. The objects were selected through community engagement at the museums.

An external evaluator was commissioned by the project’s steering group to assess the impact of the project. The full report is here – 70 OBJECTS FOR 70 YEARS Evaluation

In summary, the evaluation found that the project delivered:

  • Great enjoyment and fun for visitors and readers
  • A showcase for collections in a wide geographical region: a true `sense of place’ for Lancashire
  • A model for a large consortium of heritage venues to combine for the benefit of the public and of their own resilience
  • An example of the sector being flexible, responsive and fleet of foot
  • A great partnership with an external partner and equality between participants
  • A model of a proactive and engaged Steering Group selected from the sector
  • More awareness of ways to consult and involve the public
  • People engaging with their own heritage and feeling empowered by this

Findings and recommendations included:

  • The 70 objects chosen were the result of a public or collective vote at nearly all venues – making this a genuinely democratic selection
  • Venues taking part were 35% local authority museums, 31% independents and 25% other heritage organisations including historic houses, archives, a library service, a shopping village and a theatre. This is an inclusive and representative selection of the heritage sector in the region
  • The diversity of venues gave a wide range of the public the chance to be involved and was an opportunity for venues to share audiences, within the limitations of time and geography
  • Venues had different motives for getting involved with the project: 39% of venues got involved to showcase their collections; 21% because they are always looking for new partners. Future projects should play to these needs; a marketing initiative that focuses on a trail and a collections theme is a successful model
  • There is scope for more public engagement directly with collections and more training for venues in doing this. 20% of participants interviewed felt that they had learnt new techniques for consultation and would use them again, particularly online and social media techniques
  • Visitors were encouraged to move from one venue to another using a Spotter’s Guide and the Tweets of Spotty the Bear. These were high quality and the character led marketing was carried out with creativity and enthusiasm. The Spotter’s Guide trail worked best when venues were geographically close. Future projects should build on this approach and embed any characters into planning earlier to allow them to have maximum reach and impact
  • After the project, 86% hope to engage with Lancashire Life again
  • 75% of museums would take part in a similar project again if it had a longer timescale

Further details of the project are here –, @70_objects.


Money & Medals Network Day Conference 2018

10am-5pm 23rd March 2018
British Museum

To mark three years of funding from Arts Council England and to celebrate the work conducted so far, the Money and Medals Network will be holding a day conference at the British Museum on 23 March 2018.

There are still places and travel bursaries available if you would like to attend – if you would like to request a bursary please email ASAP.

The conference will cover the work of MMN over the past three years, outlining its key achievements and demonstrating to a wider audience how the Network has been active all over the UK with the collections mapping project and the provision of training. There will be themed sessions on collections mapping, local numismatic networks, the use of numismatics in education and outreach projects and the display of numismatic objects. These sessions will feature short presentations by key Network participants followed by panel discussions and audience Q&A.

The conference will also be a chance to meet colleagues from other UK public institutions to share knowledge and ideas about museum numismatic collections. In addition, there will be a chance for delegates to see the British Museum’s exhibition about the Money and Medals Network which will be on display in Room 69a from the 22nd of March until the 30th of September 2018.

For further details see

Booking is essential and please note that booking closes on Friday 16th March.

Call for Papers for Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities 2018

From The National Archives and Research Libraries UK :

DCDC18: Memory and Transformation
19 – 21 November 2018 


The National Archives and Research Libraries UK invite submissions for this year’s Discovering Collections Discovering Communities (DCDC) conference, which takes place 19 – 21 November 2018 in Birmingham.

Memory and transformation will be the theme of DCDC18, as we seek to examine how, through developing new points of entry to collections, archives, libraries, museums, and galleries, we can work collaboratively with each other and academic organisations to meet strategic ambitions.

We are calling for papers or workshops from heritage and cultural organisations, as well as the academic community. The deadline for abstracts is Friday 27 April 2018. You can find out more information on the conference theme and how to submit an abstract here:



Money & Medals Network Day Conference 2018

British Museum
23rd March 2018

 To mark three years of funding from Arts Council England and to celebrate the work conducted so far, the Money and Medals Network will be holding a day conference at the British Museum on 23rd March 2018.

 Conference scope
The content of the day will cover the work of MMN over the past three years, outlining its key achievements and demonstrating to a wider audience how the Network has been active all over the UK with the collections mapping project and the provision of training. There will be themed sessions on collections mapping, local numismatic networks, the use of numismatics in education and outreach projects and the display of numismatic objects. These sessions will feature short presentations by key Network participants followed by panel discussions and audience Q&A.

The conference will also be a chance to meet colleagues from other UK public institutions to share knowledge and ideas about museum numismatic collections. In addition, there will be a chance for delegates to see the British Museum’s exhibition about the Money and Medals Network which will be on display in Room 69a from the 22nd of March until the 30th of September 2018.

This event is free to attend and open to anyone working or volunteering with numismatic collections in UK museums and other public institutions such as libraries, universities and country houses.

The day is suitable for delegates who are museum professionals and volunteers, especially those working in exhibitions, loans, collections management, partnerships, sector development and curation; cultural sector body representatives; academics and students.

 A limited number of travel bursaries are available to assist delegates who may not otherwise be able to attend. To apply, please email with a brief description of how attending the conference will benefit your work, and why the bursary is needed.

For further details and to book a place go to

This conference is part of the Money & Medals Network’s programme of national activity 2015-18 which has been made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England.

Archives Revealed funding deadline approaching

‘Archives Revealed’ is a partnership programme between The National Archives and The Pilgrim Trust. It is the only funding stream available in the UK dedicated to cataloguing and unlocking archives. The fund is comprised of two funding strands: Cataloguing grants (up to £40,000) and Scoping Grants (up to £3,000).

Important dates:

  • 12 January 2018 – application deadline for Phase 1 of Cataloguing Grants
  • February 2018 – Scoping Grant Fund opens.

For further information, including details of how to apply, please see here.



Art Fund New Collecting Awards Now Open

This funding programme enables promising and ambitious curators to build critical professional skills by pursuing new avenues of collecting for their museums.

Applications for the fourth round of the scheme are now open.

The deadline to submit an expression of interest is 13 February 2018. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to present to the New Collecting Awards panel in late April 2018.


Through the New Collecting Awards programme we aim to support the next generation of curatorial leaders across the UK. The awards promote the value of research-led collecting and foster curatorial expertise at both individual and institutional levels, enriching museum practice long-term.

Offering 100% funding for focused collecting projects of the highest quality, the scheme enables curators to expand museum collections of fine art, design or visual culture into exciting new areas, or to deepen existing holdings in imaginative ways.

Each awardee also receives a generous funding allocation towards research, travel and training costs to facilitate their proposed collecting plans and professional development. Additionally, they are offered the ongoing support of a mentor, Art Fund staff and our trustees.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from curators who are either in the early stages of their career or have had limited opportunities to collect.

We expect applicants to be in full- or part-time employment at a fully or provisionally accredited museum or gallery. We will also consider applications from freelance curators or researchers, provided they can demonstrate that they will be officially affiliated with an accredited museum or gallery for the duration of the project and that their participation will have a longer-term institutional impact.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate why receiving a New Collecting Award would benefit not only their museum and its collections but also, crucially, their own professional development in a way that would not otherwise be possible.

How much can you apply for?

Typical grant awards fall between £50,000 and £80,000. Curators can apply for any amount but will be expected to demonstrate that the sum is reasonable and proportionate in relation to the types and number of works they propose to collect.

With generous support from the KMF Maxwell Stuart Charitable Trust, one award will be ringfenced for a curator working with a collection in a museum or gallery in Scotland.

The allocation for professional development is ringfenced at 10% of the total sum awarded.

Please note that we retain the right to award a reduced grant for either planned acquisitions or professional development at our own discretion.

Find out how to apply and read about the previous winners.

The New Collecting Awards are made possible by a number of generous individuals and trusts including the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Ruddock Foundation of the Arts, the Headley Trust and the Vivmar Foundation.

Numismatics training day

Leeds University Library
Friday 27th October, 10am-4pm

There are still places available on a numismatics training day this Friday run by the Money & Medals Network. The day is an opportunity to learn more about the storage, documentation and display of coins and medals as well as local numismatic projects and there will also be an introduction to Chinese coinage. The event will also provide a chance to meet people working with similar collections at other museums in the interest of sharing knowledge, ideas and expertise.

This event is FREE to attend and open to anyone working or volunteering with numismatic collections in museums in Yorkshire and beyond.

To book a place please email Peter Webster:

Consultancy Opportunity: MDNW

Project Co-ordinator, Women in STEM (working title) Phase 1

Job Title: Project Coordinator
Status: Freelance Contract
Duration: November 2017 – March 2018
Fee: £5,000 inclusive of travel costs. Can be home-based or office-based in Manchester. The post involves some travel around the North West

We are looking for an organised project co-ordinator to work with us to scope out the potential, and to develop a funding bid, for an industrial heritage-based project. The project will use museum collections to showcase the achievements of women in the North West in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Across the North West there are museum collections that tell the stories of the achievements of women in the traditionally male-dominated STEM fields, from Paradise Mill in Macclesfield which featured in a recent BBC documentary about Ada Lovelace who worked on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general purpose computer, to the Armitt’s collection of Beatrix Potter’s botanical drawings which supported her research as a mycologist. Some stories are better known that others and this project is an opportunity to give prominence to some of these lesser known women alongside the more familiar.

The scoping part of the project will run from November 2017 to March 2018.  Phase 2, the delivery of the project, is intended to run through 2018 and 2019, overlapping with the Great Exhibition of the North, the centenaries of the Representation of the People Act giving some women the vote and of Nancy Astor taking her place in Parliament as the first female MP.

Please see the full brief for details of key tasks in the contract – Women in STEM coordinator brief

For further details about Museum Development North West visit our website, If you have any questions about the project please contact Lynsey Jones, Museum Development Officer,

To apply:
Please send a proposal outlining how you will deliver the contract, submitted by email to Lynsey Jones, by 5pm Monday 23rd October 2017. Full requirements are outlined in the brief.

Interviews will take place in Manchester on Wednesday 1st November 2017.

Making more of collections programme

The final details have been confirmed for our “Making more of collections” programme. Please note that the date for the first session is coming up soon.

MDNW have partnered with Manchester Museum, the Whitworth , Wordsworth Trust, the Human Remains Subject Specialist Network and Collections Trust to develop a series of taster session workshops looking at five different collection specialism areas: Human Remains; Geology, Botany and Entomology; Textiles; Manuscripts, Books and Fine Art; and Ethnography. The sessions are designed to inspire and raise confidence levels of delegates to make the most of areas of their collections that may be underused. They will give an overview of a variety of themes linked to working with collections such as:

  • Research and identification
  • Storage and display techniques
  • Basic care
  • Using collections to engage audiences

A sixth session with be run by Collections Trust, looking at Collection Reviews and Rationalisation, with case studies focusing on some of the collection areas covered in the previous workshops.

This series of training days will be used by MDNW to help develop packages of support around some of the subject areas from 2018 onwards.

Introduction to dealing with human remains
Led by: Margaret Clegg, Human Remains Subject Specialist Network
7th September 2017, 10am-4pm
Manchester Museum

Many museums and institutions within the UK hold remains as part of their collections; however outside the large institutions the collections are usually cared for by non-specialist curation staff, students or volunteers.

The seminar aims to provide an introduction to the basic skills and information needed in caring for human remains by using the skills and expertise of the Human Remains SSN members who are trained in all aspects of the care of human remains from curation to the legal and ethical requirements of holding these remains. This seminar is intended for those with no experience of working with human remains and is suitable for those newly employed in museums that have responsibility for human remains but no professional training, and for volunteers within the sector who also have responsibilities for human remains.

The seminar will cover major issues, such as documentation, access, ethics, the law, display and conservation. The morning and early afternoon sessions will be presentations on each of the areas above. Then the session will concentrate on working through various problems involved in the aspects of the care of human remains which participants will discuss in small groups and feed back to the whole group.

Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided. There are bursaries available to cover the cost of the course and travel to the venue. Applications for places will be on a first come basis but please state if you wish to apply for a bursary. It is also possible to pay to attend and this cost will be very small to cover expenses..

To book a place, and to find out more detail about the bursaries and costs, please email Stef Vincent,

Introduction to geology, botany and entomology
Led by: David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Science Collections, Rachel Webster, Curator of Botany, Dmitri Logunov, Curator of Anthropods, all Manchester Museum, Simon Jackson, Curator, Tullie House Museum
23rd October 2017, 10am-4pm
Manchester Museum

This session will look at three areas of natural science collections to support non-specialist museum staff to explore ways to identify, care for and use natural science collections in creative ways to engage audiences. The expert staff from Manchester Museum and Tullie house will share their insights into working with some of the most interesting objects in your collections and how to unlock their potential.

Follow link to book:

 Introduction to textiles
Led by: Uthra Rajgopal, Curator (Maternity Cover: Textiles and Wallpaper) and Curatorial Assistant (South Asian Textiles), and Amy George, Curator (Textiles and Wallpaper), The Whitworth
2nd November 2017 10am-1pm
The Study, The Whitworth

This practical session will support delegates to find out how to make more of textile collections including: how to deepen your understanding of the material you have; how to care for and store textiles; and a chance to see exhibitions that demonstrate how to use textiles to engage audiences.

Follow link to book:

 Paper based collections – manuscripts, books and fine art
Led by Jeff Cowton, Curator and Head of Learning, Wordsworth Trust
6th December 2017, 11am-1pm for main session and 2pm-3.30pm for tour of house and chance to explore the reading room
Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere

This session will explore the enjoyment, care and interpretation of works on paper in the Wordsworth Trust’s collection, based around the poet William Wordsworth and the story of the discovery of the Lake District 250 year ago – whether these items be in the form of single sheets, home-made notebooks or bound volumes.

Delegates will get the chance to handle original works from the Designated Collection, exploring their make-up (looking for watermarks, for example), trying out techniques used in their creation (making ink and using quills) and generally looking at the clues that tell us something about the creation of pieces from the collection – and how this has changed over time. The session will also involve discussion of how the Trust cares for its collection, and how they use them in interpretation and outreach work. It will be a fascinating and enjoyable day and a chance to get to see how manuscripts have stories that go beyond the words on the page.

Follow link to book:

Introduction to ethnographic collections
Stephen Welsh, Curator of Living Cultures, Manchester Museum
14th December 2017, 10am-1pm
Manchester Museum

This session will give delegates fantastic insight into how to make more of ethnographic collections by hearing from Stephen who is responsible for 18,000 ethnographic objects from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific which form part of the collections at Manchester museum. He will talk about his inspiring work of working with the collections, including his involvement in the development of a new South Asia gallery that is being developed at Manchester Museum in partnership with the British Museum and South Asian Communities.

Follow link to book:

Collection Review and Rationalisation
Led by: Sarah Brown, Outreach Officer, Collections Trust
22nd February 2018, 10am-4pm
Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston

This session will explore the benefits of collection reviews and rationalisation, to both the museum and visitor. The session will also introduce different methodologies, frameworks and case studies focussing on some of the collection areas from the ‘Making more of Collections’ series.

Delegates will be encouraged to participate through discussion, and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions throughout.

This session is part of Collections Trust’s Arts Council England funded Activity Plan, developed in collaboration with Museum Development teams.

Follow link to book:

Pulling together: Collections Trust 2017 Conference

21st September 2017
The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York

Being responsible for collections management can feel like ploughing a lone furrow. But it’s actually a museum-wide task that needs everyone to pull together – from the governing body to the people on the front desk. This year’s Collections Trust conference considers the human side of documentation systems, the people who capture and share information that gives museum objects meaning.

Wednesday 20 September 2017: pre-conference evening meet-up

Thursday 21 September 2017: registration and refreshments: 9:30am, conference: 10:00am – 5:00pm

For further information and to book tickets see