Tagged: Collections Reviews

Objects Available – Museum of Childhood

As part of the on-going major review of the National Trust Museum of Childhood’s collection, the National Trust have identified and assessed a large number of objects as being ‘irrelevant’ to the museum’s collection. These include adult costume, household items, furniture and many other miscellaneous items.

Click here to see the list: objects-available-nov-2016

 If an object has a ‘CMS’ number it can be used to search on www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk

A few costume items do not have numbers and say ‘not on CMS’. This means they’re not on the online catalogue but Sue Fraser can provide images of the item. Some objects have already been selected (highlighted in yellow – these may possibly still be available).

If anything appeals to you for your collections, please contact Sue Fraser (Collections Assistant) on sue.fraser@nationaltrust.org.uk


Viewpoint User Guides

We are pleased to launch our new Viewpoint user guides. These practical guides give you easy to follow steps to create your own Viewpoint surveys

The guide includes clear step by step instructions of how to add questions to your survey, how to route your survey, & how to design your survey

Viewpoint MDNW user guide 1 supports ViewPoint users through the process of creating a survey

Viewpoint MDNW user guide 2 supports ViewPoint users through the process of deploying surveys and uploading responses from a device

Viewpoint MDNW user guide 3 supports ViewPoint users through the process of extracting and analysing data


Invitation for a numismatic collections review

Since 2013 Museum Development North West, in partnership with the Money & Medals Network, has been providing training and support to museums with numismatic collections. The next stage of our work is to carry out collections reviews with four museums to help bring underused numismatic collections back into use. We are now inviting applications from interested museums.

We will be appointing a numismatic specialist to undertake the reviews. They will spend time with the collections to identify key objects, strengths and weaknesses of the collection, and work with non-specialists within the museum to increase their knowledge and understanding of the collections. The consultant will suggest priorities and ideas for use, whether through exhibitions, learning, outreach etc., improvements to the care and management of the collections, and collections development. As a result of these reviews, the participating museums will begin work towards delivering increased public use and access to the collections from 2016 onwards.

Qualifying criteria

  • Accredited museums or those working towards Accreditation (NPOs and Major Partner Museums are ineligible). Preference will go to smaller to medium sized museums where the numismatic collection hasn’t been used for a number of years (however, we don’t want to discourage museums that are trying to use their own collection under their own steam so don’t be put off from applying if you’re already using your collection)
  • No numismatic specialism on staff
  • Commitment of three or four days for staff and/or volunteers to spend time with the numismatist
  • Museum commitment from the outset to produce a public outcome from the work – e.g. small temporary/permanent exhibition, schools resource, handling collection, event or programme of events

The selected museums will work with MDNW to identify possible sources of funding for the public outcome for the work.

How to apply

There is no application form. Please submit no more than 4 pages of A4 outlining:

  • Your museum
  • Brief description of your numismatic collection (including what you do and don’t know about it)
  • How much it currently is or isn’t used
  • Any plans you may have for the collection
  • Aspects of collection you’d like to focus on in particular – this could be a particular type of coin, medals or tokens, with approximate numbers
  • What you hope to gain from a collections review
  • The name(s) of the staff and/or volunteer(s) involved at the museum who will be working with the numismatist
  • A commitment to give time to the review, and to use the review for a public outcome – we would expect to see this commitment given from a senior manager

Once the museums have been selected and the numismatist appointed, the working relationship will be agreed between each museum and the specialist regarding when and how each review will be carried out. The review work will be carried out in autumn/winter 2015-16.

Documentation will be produced for each site and will demonstrate findings, suggestions for outcomes that are achievable and realistic, including future resources likely to be needed. The programme may highlight some partnerships, joint working or other ways in which the museum can collaborate to make the most of their numismatic collections to create an improved offer for visitors.

For further information or to submit an application please email Lynsey Jones, Museum Development Officer, at lynsey.jones@manchester.ac.uk. The deadline for applications is 5pm Friday 16th October 2015.

Textile Machinery Listing Project

One of the purposes of this Project is to identify textile machines which are either already being considered for disposal, or look likely to be under review with disposal in mind.  Those museum and heritage sites which specialise in showing aspects of the history of the textile industry have very limited capacity to acquire more textile machinery.

Thus it is felt to be important that when textile machinery is put up for disposal by museums through the approved channels (listing the machines in the Museums Journal/Museums Association website) it is possible to quickly discover where similar machines already exist.  Alternatively, the Project List will also reveal if a particular textile machine offered for disposal seems to be a unique survivor in the museum/heritage sector.  It is hoped that in this latter case serious consideration will be given to finding an alternative home for such a machine.

Moisture Tester on display at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum

Moisture Tester on display at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum

An example of a textile testing machine which appeared to be rare, or possibly a sole survivor, is a Moisture Tester on display at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum (see photograph No.1).  At the top of the machine is a weighing device so that a sample of cotton suspended in the cylindrical chamber can be accurately weighed and its weight recorded.  The lid is then put on the machine and electric heaters raise the temperature in the chamber and evaporate the water from the cotton sample.  Weighing the cotton sample again gives the weight of water that was in the sample.  Knowing the moisture content of cotton is important.  The machine at Helmshore was made by John Nesbitt of Market St, Manchester

During the Listing Project a very similar machine made by Goodbrand & Co of Stalybridge has been found on display at Tameside Museum and two examples (also by Goodbrand) are in store at MOSI (see photograph No.2) although whether both these machines are complete with weighing components is not certain.

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

Thus, the machine at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum is now known not to be unique, but to be one of four. However, it appears to be the only surviving example made by John Nesbitt.

Stepping Up – Textile Review Project

Textile Machinery Listing Project

Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts about an ongoing textile machinery review of museums in the North West:

There were a great many places in the NW where some aspects of textile production were carried out until well after the Second World War.

As the industry started major change and decline during the 1950’s onwards, local museums often collected one or two machines as representative of the industry in their area.

In those days there were still many people about who had experience of working in the textile industry, and they could set up, and sometimes operate, a loom or other machine in their local museum.  Some museum Curators would also be quite knowledgeable about this subject.  Many museum visitors would also have textile industry experience and/or be involved in making clothes for the family at home.

Nowadays things are very different and this project is finding machines stored away in some museums with no one left who remembers when they were last on display, how they work, or even what they are, in some cases!

Textile machinery ready to be assembled

Textile machinery ready to be assembled

Most of today’s museum visitors are unfamiliar with the production of textiles and machines must at least be “gaited up” (set up as if ready to work), have simple explanations, and, ideally, be operated, in order to make sense to the modern visitor.

With the relevant skills now in very short supply the number of North West museums able to display textile machines in a meaningful way is small.  Storage is expensive, so it is important that the total stock of surviving textile machines is known so that important ones can be saved when examples no longer wanted are proposed for disposal.  Hence this project.

Margaret Harrison and Ian Gibson

Free Items to a Good Home

As part of an ongoing Collections Review process Gallery Oldham wishes to dispose of the following items. They items below are offered to anyone who might be interested, in particular they might be suitable for handling collections.

  • Typewriters, adding machines and other office equipment
  • Costume (ranging from the early twentieth century to the present day and including both women’s, men’s, children’s wear and military uniform)
  • Scarves and shawls
  • Costume accessories (gloves, slats, tights, jewellery, belts, ties and collars etc)
  • Hats and hat boxes
  • Shoes, boots and clogs (including women’s, men’s and children’s)
  • Bags and purses
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Items of domestic textiles and textile samples (table mats, bedspreads, chair covers etc).
  • Wicker baskets and trays
  • Mangles, clothes airers, dolly tubs, washboards and possers
  • Radiograms, projectors, tape recorders and gramophones
  • Suitcases
  • Furniture
  • Tins

For more detailed object information and photographs please contact Margaret Harrison margaretrharrison@hotmail.co.uk