Thursday, 29 September 2016

Pitt Rivers Team at the Oxford University Museums Staff Conference

The Pitt Rivers had a strong presence at the Oxford University Museum Staff Conference, held on Monday 26th September in the Ashmolean's Lecture Theatre.  The Conference allowed colleagues to share their work through a series of 5-8 minute 'lightning talks'.

It was great to see the public engagement work of the Pitt Rivers represented by Beth McDougall, VERVE Activities and Outreach Officer, and Madeleine Ding, VERVE Volunteers Officer.  They talked about how the HLF-funded project VERVE has enabled them to better connect the public with displays in the Pitt Rivers Museum:

Group of adults gathered around a curator talking in the middle of the Museum
Visitors in the Museum © Pitt Rivers Museum

Group of people sit round listening to adult speaking in centre of Museum
Public Engagement © Pitt Rivers Museum

Object displays in the Pitt Rivers - 823 Objects conserved and redisplayed, 13 new displays completed, 10 archaeology displays in progress
Rejuvenating Collections and Display  © Pitt Rivers Museum

Photo montage of Pitt Rivers Festival Tents and visitors - 10183 people met at 29 outreach events
Outreach Activities © Pitt Rivers Museum

Pictures of workshops from boatbuilding to mending ceramics kintsugi style
From boat-building to kintsugi workshops © Pitt Rivers Museum

One of the successful VERVE Takeover Events was described further in the lightning talk on 'Joint Museums Youth Forum Project'.  This was a sell-out evening event on Mythology by Moonlight organised by Matthew Arnold students with the support of the Secondary School and FE Education Officer, Katherine Rose.

Poster entitled 'Mythology by Moonlight' with picture of a moon and a raven
Poster Advertising Youth Takeover Event
© Pitt Rivers Museum

The Conference ended with a director-led panel discussion in which future strategy was touched on. Dr Xa Sturgis, Director of The Ashmolean, stressed the importance of the University Collections working closely together and communicating to their audiences that they are part of the University of Oxford's mind-blowing collections.

Four people sitting down in discussion
Lucy Shaw(left) leads a discussion with Directors © Pitt Rivers Museum
It was great to see so much energy and enthusiasm emanating from the conference and there are lots of new initiatives to look out for from a LGBT trail across the University Collections to a mobile app on which you can play musical instruments at The Bate Collection.

Becca McVean
Education Officer (Primary)