Craven Museum may currently be closed for redevelopment, but there is lots of work going on behind the scenes! We did a Q&A session with our newest member of staff; Gemma, our Community Heritage Curator, to find out a bit more about her role in the Craven Museum team.
Q: Hi Gemma, could you tell us a bit more about your role at Craven Museum?
A: My role is really exciting because I have the unique opportunity to take our museum collection out into the community. The museum may be closed for the time being, but we are working hard to keep the museum and its objects out in the public for everyone to enjoy. I am working with our volunteers and work placement students from local secondary schools, colleges and the University of Bradford to take some of our favourite objects to the Rural Roadshows. It’s brilliant to talk to people and hear stories about some of their own favourite treasures. I also take objects out to schools as part of our education outreach where we use real and replica objects to talk about history. Later this year, I will be working with Arts and Dementia groups to create and display artwork around Craven and I am also planning some pop-up exhibitions in places you wouldn’t usually expect to see them- so watch this space!
Q: That sounds really interesting! What events are coming up next?
A: Our next Rural Roadshow will be at Crosshills Library on the 29th May so we are hoping to meet lots more people and gather more stories for our People’s Museum. During the summer we will have Make and Take craft activities for families at many different sites around Craven, again with more chances to talk to our talented staff and volunteers about their favourite objects and have a go at handling the objects too! Later in the year, we will be inviting everyone to join us in recording interviews that we can use in our new galleries, collecting stories and memories that people have from growing up, living and working in Craven.
Behind the scenes, our amazing volunteers are cataloguing and researching our collection in preparation for the new museum opening. All our museum objects will be moved back into new stores once we reopen and many previously unseen objects will be on display, so our volunteers are busy finding interesting stories we can share.
Q: What events and activities can we look forward to once the museum reopens?
A: We will use the new museum space to host specialist talks and workshops for people of all ages both during the day and in the evening. I am especially looking forward to giving behind the scenes tours of the new galleries and in the museum stores, so everyone can see the changes that have been made. We will also have the temporary exhibition gallery for exhibitions inspired by our collections and the community.
Q: What is one of the things you are most excited about when the Museum reopens?
A: I am most excited about the new gallery spaces because we will have areas where members of the public and community groups can contribute to what is on display in the museum. The galleries will become a real hub, incorporating heritage from the whole of Craven and you will see that by the contributions from members of the community, expressing their own memories and creativity. We will also have a fantastic new education space that will allow more schools than ever to access the collections.
Thanks Gemma for taking the time to tell us about your fascinating role here at Craven Museum!