The Art of Listening

This week, some of our volunteers and staff have been learning more about working creatively with people living with dementia and how to record the unique stories of ordinary people. Read on to find out more:

Your Memories- Oral History workshop

As part of the National Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘Stories and Treasures of Street and Dale’, staff and volunteers at Craven Museum are collecting the fascinating oral histories of people from the Craven community. Oral Histories are the stories of ordinary people and everyone has a unique story to tell. Staff and volunteers spent the day learning about the process so that they can start interviewing and recording stories themselves. We were joined by Louise Price, Heritage Freelancer and Part-Time Curator (George Marshall Medical Museum), who gave us an insight into the importance of oral histories and how best to record them.  

We covered some of the ethics of recording and copyright issues, before moving on to interview techniques. We all had a go at interviewing ‘Sally’ and faced some of the issues that might present themselves when making a recording such as a noisy pet in the background or an overly helpful spouse! Our volunteers learnt about the importance of making sure their interviewee is comfortable and has an understanding of what their story will be used for. We also practiced using open questions that allow conversation to flow to get a good oral history.

In the afternoon, Louise talked us through transcribing the recordings we make. This will be a long process but it is really important that we have a written copy of the interview, in case the recording is lost and also to make copies that we can put on display in the gallery for people who might not be able to hear the recording.

We are really excited to have some new volunteers joining us on this project and can’t wait to go out and start recording your stories and memories! If you would like to take part, take a look at our website https://storiesandtreasures.wordpress.com/yourmemories/ or contact the museum on museum@cravendc.gov.uk 01756 706407

The Moving Museum training day

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On Monday we had a training day for some of our staff, volunteers and new volunteer recruits! Ailsa Lewer from Pioneer Projects led a morning session ‘Introduction to Dementia’ and got us thinking about ways we are creative in our everyday lives. We also thought about how being creative can make people feel and which factors can sometimes stop us from being creative. In the afternoon session, we all had a go at making our own monoprint! This is a simple etching where ink is transferred from a plate to paper. We were really impressed with how they turned out!

The Moving Museum will have 6 sessions held around Craven for people living with dementia and their carers, to come along and be inspired by the museum collection to make their own monoprints. Even if people have never made a print before or thought of themselves as ‘creative’, they will discover their creativity and produce some amazing artwork that will be on display throughout Craven in December.

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If you or someone you know would like to be involved in The Moving Museum, either as a volunteer to help facilitate the sessions or as a participant, contact Ailsa on 07835 503449 or Gemma at gbailey@cravendc.gov.uk

Curious Creatures on Tour!

In 1811, the Craven Heifer was taken on tour around the country and exhibited as the largest cow ever shown in England. Weighing 1,132 kg and measuring 3.4m long nose to tail and 1.6m at the shoulder, she was an incredible sight!

The Craven Heifer is on tour again, or at least a print of the famous animal, along with other curious creatures from Craven Museum for an exciting pop-up exhibition at The Folly Museum in Settle. Opening Saturday 14th September, this pop-up display will remain at The Folly until 22nd December alongside the Folly’s Curiosity exhibition.

This new display was created with the help of Craven Museum volunteers who have been researching the objects and revealing more about their intriguing histories. Here we give you a sneak-peek at some of the objects that will be on display.

In 1955, two young children stumbled across an unusual discovery in Skipton Woods. They had found a cast iron doorstop in the shape of a majestic lion. Nobody could explain how or why this doorstop found its way into Skipton Woods and people were fascinated. The children appeared in local newspapers and the V&A Museum were contacted to try and reveal more about this exciting find. The V&A museum responded, dating the doorstop to the early 19th century.

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We still don’t know today where the doorstop came from or how it ended up in Skipton Woods but the lion has been an important symbol to humans for many years.The symbolic form of a lion often represents strength and courage which might explain this doorstep, as a symbol of protection at the entrance to the home.

This is a view inside a frgament of mammoth tusk! Mammoths were ancestors of the modern elephant that went extinct more than 10,000 years ago and this fragment will be displayed at The Folly until December.

Visitors will also get a chance to see a Megalodon tooth from an extinct species of shark that lived millions of years ago and was the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived. For hundreds of years, fossilised shark teeth were referred to as ‘tongue stones’ because many people thought they were actually the petrified tongues of dragons and snakes.

Behind the Scenes:

Rachel Terry (Museum & Collections Officer) and Gemma (Community Heritage Curator) condition checked the objects as we prepared to loan them to The Folly museum. They have been carefully packed by Lizzie and Megan and are now ready to go on their next adventure!

Visit The Folly to discover more for yourself from the 14th September, when we will be opening with a drop in family craft workshop 11:00-13:00, free on entry.

Your Craven Treasures

 The summer holidays have come to an end and we wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in our summer activities! Over the last 7 weeks we have had so much fun crafting and creating with you all, out and about in Craven. Check out some of the amazing creations you made below:

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In our Make & Take workshops we have crafted our own Roman mosaic designs, moulded replica Neolithic clay pots, designed our own dinosaurs and made moving toys. We even created our own paper looms to produce unique weaving patterns! At one Make & Take workshop we made our own Treasure Maps using old maps of Skipton as inspiration! We looked at maps from the 1700s, 1800s, 1910 and 1970 and we were amazed to see how much Skipton has changed!

On 21st August we visited South Craven Community library in Cross Hills for a Roman Invasion! We loved sharing mosaics and plaster found at the Roman site, Kirk Sink Villa, and our visitors especially enjoyed handling a Roman oil lamp! We  even had a couple of intriguing coins brought to our ‘People’s Museum’ that you can see below.

We couldn’t have had such a successful summer without the help of our volunteers so thank you for all your help! 

We will have more Make & Take crafts in the October half term holiday. Come along on Wednesday 30th October 10:00-12:00 and Friday 1st November 10:00-12:00 at the Hub, Skipton Town Hall.

Join us for our next Rural Roadshow at Gargrave and Malhamdale Community Library Wednesday 30th October 14:00-16:00 and bring along your own treasures to feature in our online ‘People’s Museum’.