Tagged: Research

Mapping Museums Web Application Evaluation Sessions

Can you help to evaluate the Mapping Museums web application?

Mapping Museums is a large scale research project that is based at Birkbeck, London. It aims at documenting an analysing the development of the museum sector between 1960 and 2020. So far, the team has collected a rich range of data on approximately 4000 UK museums, and we have developed a web application that enables users to browse, search, and visualise that information.

The evaluation session is an important means for them to gain feedback about the usefulness of the web application. With your input they can further improve the system before it is made publicly available.

The trial session will be based on three activities:

  • A hands-on introduction to the web application.
  • Using the application to undertake a small number of information searches. This will allow them to gauge how easy the system is to use.
  • Group discussion about your experience of using the system and the ways that it could be improved and extended.

The session will take no more than two hours.

There is more information about the project available here.

Locations and dates:

2-4pm June 15th, Room 404, Birkbeck Main Building, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX (the entrance is on Torrington Square)

2-4pm June 21st, Room 4.2, Roscoe Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PY.

If you would like to participate, please email the project director at f.candlin@bbk.ac.uk briefly explaining why you would like to attend. We can cover travel expenses of up to £20.

Researchers involved in the trial session

Researchers and contact details:

  1. Professor Fiona Candlin (candlin@bbk.ac.uk)
  2. Professor Alex Poulovassilis (ap@dcs.bbk.ac.uk)
  3. Nick Larsson (nick@dcs.bbk.ac.uk)

How the data will be handled in the study

Information obtained from you through the session will be used to inform the research work of the project and subsequent research publications. All personal data collected from this study including your name and contact details will be kept confidential. No reference will be made in oral or written form that could link any participant to information they have provided to us as part of this the study.

Your participation in this study is voluntary, and you may withdraw from the study at any time.


Museum of Them and Us Research Events

Do you want to take part or help with this research? Anyone with experience of working or volunteering in museums is welcome to participate. All focus groups and interviews are confidential.

Take part in a focus group: Sam Evans is arranging focus group discussions, face to face of between four to eight people. These will ask you about your work, and what matters in getting in and on. If you have worked in museums, volunteered, or are trying to get in, you can take part. Dates arranged so far (all 2018) are as follows.

Thursday April 5th 18.00 to 19.30, Birkbeck Main Building, Room MAL 420, Malet Street, WC1E 7HZ  


Wednesday April 11th  18.30 to 20.00 Birkbeck Main Building, Room MAL 420, Malet Street, WC1E 7HZ.

Thursday, April 26th  18.00 to 19.30, Museums Association Offices, 42 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AZ

Friday, May 18th, 14.30 to 16.00 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH 

Wednesday, May 23rd 18.00 to 19.30, Museums Association Offices, 42 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AZ

Thursday, June 7th 16.00 to 17.30, Whitworth Gallery, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER

Thursday, June 14th  17.30 to 19.00, M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN

Take part in an interview: If you think social class has mattered to you personally in your work or career then you can take in part in an individual interview, by email, Skype or face to face (depending on your location).

If you are interested in finding out more contact me below, or at sam.evans@bbk.ac.uk.

Freelance Opportunity: Sefton Library Service

Beyond the War Memorials – the stories behind the men listed on Sefton’s Civic War Memorials.

Freelance Researcher – £4250 + VAT – total fee including all travel costs and expenses

This is a Fixed Term Opportunity for a 4month period, completed over 17 days’ work delivered flexibly as required.

We are looking for an enthusiastic freelance researcher  who has the skills, experience and enthusiasm to undertake a piece of research on Sefton’s Civic War memorials.

You will research and write the history of the 11 civic war memorials in Sefton with a view to this being published on a website.

Working with volunteers and schools, you will find the stories behind the names on the war memorials including personal stories before the war, military records, manner and time of death. Where available, you will collate photographs and addresses of the fallen.

You will run a series of educational sessions with schools about the research being undertaken.

You will create a training plan to equip volunteers with the skills and knowledge to support the research with children.

Working with a web designer, you will support the collation of information and development of a website and digital map

Previous experience and knowledge of researching First World War records is desirable.

Closing Date: 12 noon, 06 Oct 2017

For the research brief please click here.

To request background information, make project enquiries and to submit your application please contact:

Dave Ewing – Senior Development Manager, Information and Heritage, Sefton Library Service, C/O Crosby Library Crosby Road North, Waterloo. L22 0LQ 0151 934 4890 dave.ewing@sefton.gov.uk

Coins, Museums and the Norman Conquest

Research Participants Required

Have you got half an hour to help with a research project?

Anja Rohde at the University of Nottingham is investigating the coins of William the Conqueror and his successor William Rufus. She is looking at what the coins reveal about life in England at the time of the Norman Conquest, and at how museums can use their collections to tell those stories.

She needs people to read some of the stories and then fill in an online questionnaire to tell her what they thought. 

Participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a £20 Amazon voucher.

If you are interested in being involved, please email: anja.rohde1@nottingham.ac.uk for more information or check out her Twitter feed @anja_coin_geek.

To find out more about anja’s work visit: 


Egyptology Researcher Opportunity: The Atkinson

The Atkinson’s new museum space provides, for the first time, modern display spaces with high security and environmental controls, and displays The Goodison collection of Egyptology for the first time in nearly half a century.

The collection provides unique insights to the civilisations of Ancient Egypt, but reveals much about Victorian England, presenting another strand of the history of the industrial revolution. In the 1880s Egypt was of the moment; interest in Ancient Egypt was fashionable and affordable,  it was the thing for wealthy industrialists to invest in and give themselves cultural standing. It was relatively little known, and excavated material may have been more affordable at a time when classical antiquities were out of reach. It reflected a preoccupation with individual improvement; and tracing the roots of civilisation. An important narrative is the story about 19th century women as sponsors, patrons, travellers, explorers and archaeologists, without whom we would not have such remarkable collections.

The Atkinson are looking for a freelance researcher to help develop their “A Victorian Woman in Egypt – The 1887 Collecting Trip of Mrs Goodison and Rev Greville Chester” exhibition.

The exhibition will explore what it was like for Mrs Goodison to make her first visit to Egypt in 1887.  It will explore travel and tourism in Egypt during the late 19th century; raise issues of the market and ethics of buying Ancient Egyptian artefacts at this time; it will also put Mrs Goodison and her collections in the broader context, not only of the other important Victorian female Egyptologists, but of other important Ancient Egyptian collections held by museums in Britain.

The freelance researcher will help The Atkinson develop this exhibition by:

  •  Researching and developing a Loan List of key Ancient Egyptian items acquired by Rev Chester (ideally in or around this period) from collections including the Fitzwilliam, Ashmolean, British Museum, National Museums Liverpool and Manchester Museum, consulting with key experts and curators, making research visits, developing loan requests and meeting deadlines for these loan 
  • Researching and developing a Loan List of key items from the Thomas Cook Archives and Science Museum Group photo library, negotiating image rights, developing loan requests and meeting deadlines for these loan requests.
  • Researching and developing a Loan List of key items from the collections of Bolton Museum, West Park Museum, Macclesfield, and Towneley Hall, Burnley and possibly the Petrie Museum, University College, London.
  • Supporting The Atkinson’s Curatorial team to develop an exhibition interpretation strategy, that will inform panels, labels, website and other content
  • Supporting The Atkinson’s Learning team to develop a dynamic and wide-ranging public engagement programme to run alongside this exhibition.
  • Supporting The Atkinson’s Marketing and Audience Development team to develop media and public interest in the exhibition.
  • Supporting The Atkinson’s Director in fundraising and income generation for this exhibition.

The successful applicant will have specialist knowledge of Egyptology and of working with collections.  They should also be fascinated by the history of collectors, museum collections and collecting as well as museum objects. They will have or be working towards a post-graduate qualification in Egyptology or a closely related subject area. They will also be highly self-motivated, organised and a fantastic communicator, who can work effectively as a member of a team.

The contract will start as soon as possible and run for approximately 6 months with an available budget of £6000 + VAT; including travel costs and expenses.

To Apply, please send or email your CV, plus a covering letter (up to 2 pages) setting out your experience, suitability and interest for the role, the names and addresses of two contactable referees; to:
Stephen Whittle,
Principal Manager,
Museum, Galleries & Operations,
The Atkinson,
Lord Street,

Applications must be received by noon on 25th April 2016. Late applications cannot be considered, as The Atkinson will be shortlisting and notifying candidates on the same day.

Share Academy Research and Opportunity to Promote Museum Activities on Research Blog

Share Academy would like to invite museum professionals to share there experiences of working with universities and higher education colleges. If you have had students or researchers using your collection, they would love to hear from you.

Share Academy are currently editing a blog for a research project n partnership with the National Coordinating Centre For Public Engagement. This project will look at partnerships between higher education institutions and museums, as part of this they are inviting museums, and universities to share there experiences with Share Academy, as well as peers and anyone who may be interested.

If you have a case study or an opinion piece you would like Share Academy to publish, please send them to Katie Dent at Share Academy  Pieces should ideally be between 500 and 1000 words.


WIRP International Travel Grant Scheme

Details of the WIRP International Travel Grant Scheme are now available on the ICOM UK website. The scheme is offering a small number of travel grants to support non-national museums in England to work internationally.

The travel grants will enable recipients to undertake an international research visit in 2016 to museums and/or organisations abroad who they would otherwise not be able to meet with face-to-face. The intention is to support non-national museums who are starting to develop international contacts and/or projects, and who are exploring their potential to work internationally in a particular part of the world. Priority will be given to museums whose staff have not previously undertaken international travel as part of their work.

The total budget available for the travel grants is £12,000. Applications will be considered for grants of up to £2,000 per organisation or consortium.

The application form with eligibility and guidance notes can be downloaded from the ICOM UK website.

Applications open: Thursday 15th October 2015

Deadline for applications: 12:00 on Friday 30th October 2015

Successful applicants notified: w/c 16th November 2015

For any questions about the scheme, contact Dana Andrew, Project Co-ordinator, dana@cuello-andrew.co.uk

WIRP Workshops

A series of one-day workshops will take place across England between September 2015 and January 2017 for regional and local museums and galleries who are embarking on international work, or interested in finding out more about it.

Focussing on a particular theme or topic, the WIRP Workshops will enhance the skills, knowledge, and confidence of participants to develop international work, and provide information and advice on how to do so.

Relevant case studies will be presented alongside facilitated group work, and participants will have an opportunity to network with colleagues and speakers.

The following WIRP Workshops are now open for booking:

International Touring Exhibitions & Loans – Tuesday 22 September 2015, MShed, Bristol


Working with China – Wednesday 14 October 2015, York Castle Museum


Working with India – Monday 9 November 2015, Imperial War Museum, London


The fee for each workshop is £35 with a discounted fee of £25 for small organisations with less than 20,000 visitors per year.  The fee includes refreshments, lunch, and a delegate pack.

Places are limited so early booking through Eventbrite is advised.

Engaging Research: A ‘NIRP in the North’ seminar

Thursday 2 July 2015
Lecture Room, Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL     

As museums’ in-house resources come under more pressure, the museum sector is looking for new ways to create and record collection knowledge. This seminar will look at real-life examples of innovative ways of researching art collections, local and national, by engaging scholars, non-art experts and members of the public.

11.00 Welcome and coffee

11.20 Andrew Greg, Director of the National Inventory Research Project (NIRP) at the University of Glasgow, will introduce its origins and achievements. NIRP has brought together academic expertise and specialist collections, with funding from a range of international sources, to create the online database ‘NICE Paintings; the National Inventory of Continental European Paintings.’ http://www.vads.ac.uk/collections/NIRP/index.php

NIRP has worked with hundreds of museum collections across the UK. Two of its researchers for ‘NIRP in the North’, based at the Walker Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery, will talk about their work, highlighting how the particular circumstances of their respective collections informed their research methodology, its problems and achievements, and some significant new findings.

11.40 Joseph Sharples, NIRP researcher based at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

12.20 Marion Richards, NIRP researcher working at Manchester Art Gallery.

1.00 – 2.00 lunch (not provided)

2.00 Jacqueline Arundel, project manager, Margaret Race and Veronica McDonnell will talk about the HLF-funded ‘Tagging the Treasures’ research project at Lytham St Annes, in which members of FyldeDFAS, the Friends of Lytham St Annes Art Collection and other volunteers are researching and cataloguing the town’s art collection. http://www.lythamstannesartcollection.org/

2.40 Andrew Greg has also worked with the Public Catalogue Foundation helping design and implement ‘Tagger’ and ‘Art Detective’ and he will explain the need, methodology and outcomes of these pioneering and award-winning projects. ‘Tagger’ is creating search terms for the Your Paintings database of all 210,000 paintings in public ownership in the UK; ‘Art Detective’ engages the general public as well as art historians and experts in other fields in helping identify the artists and subjects of mystery paintings in UK public collections. http://www.thepcf.org.uk/artdetective/ and http://tagger.thepcf.org.uk/

3.20 Ruth Shrigley, until recently Principal Manager: Collections Access at Manchester Art Gallery, will give us a tour of new displays in the gallery and highlight the role played in new research and displays by the National Gallery Curatorial Trainee supported by the Art Fund.

4.00 End

To sign up for the seminar send an email with names and full contact details to andrew.greg@glasgow.ac.uk

Staff of Accredited Museums in the North West can reclaim travel expenses from Museums Development North West by contacting alexander.bird@manchester.ac.uk.

‘NIRP in the North’ is based at the University of Glasgow and is funded by the Kress Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust. Engaging Research has also been supported by Manchester Art Gallery and Museums Development North West.

‘20 years in 12 places’ – New research reveals UK’s heritage helps make us happier

AIM Blog for independent museums and heritage sites

New research by BritainThinks puts heritage at the heart of improving quality of life across the UK over past 20 years.

To coincide with 20 years of investment into the UK’s heritage amounting to over £6billion, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)  commissioned BritainThinks to conduct in-depth research in 12 towns and cities representative of the UK population. The aim was to better understand the public’s view of that National Lottery investment and to see to what extent it had made places better to live and work in or visit.

conservation_of_the_painted_hall_phase_one_1 School children exploring the heritage of the Painted Hall in Greenwich (Image courtesy of HLF)

Key findings:

80% think local heritage makes their area a better place to live

64% think heritage has improved in recent years in terms of how well it is looked after and what it has to offer

50% answered 7 or more out of 10 when…

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