New community panel formed to help shape collections at Northumberland museums

Communities are being invited to have their say on the current and future collections at Museums Northumberland.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:58 am

A new community advisory panel will give local people the chance to shape the existing collections at Woodhorn Museum, Hexham Old Gaol, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum.

Panel members will be involved in discussions on how future exhibitions and additions to the Museums Northumberland collection reflect the communities living and working in the county today.

Museums Northumberland is encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to take part.

Museums Northumberland’s new community advisory panel will give local people the chance to shape the existing collections at Woodhorn Museum, Hexham Old Gaol, Berwick Museum and Art Gallery, and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum.

Rowan Brown, chief executive of Museums Northumberland, said: “The collection at Museums Northumberland comprises of more than 25,000 objects, representing 90 million years of Northumberland’s history.

“As we look ahead to our future, we want to review our existing collections in partnership with the local communities we serve. We want to make sure our exhibitions and collections remain relevant and that we continue to share Northumberland’s rich and diverse stories in engaging and accessible ways.”

The project has been named ‘Femmer to Firmer’; Femmer being the Northumbrian dialect for fragile.

Lindsay Allason-Jones, a trustee, said: “Museums are all about people and their histories, so it is very exciting that communities and individuals in Northumberland are being invited to get involved in planning the future of Museums Northumberland and the wonderful collections it cares for.”

Femmer to Firmer is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which supports a range of projects that bring collections closer to people.

Sarah Briggs, collections development officer at Museums Association - who award the fund on behalf of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation - said: “We’re thrilled to support this project that reminds us that collections are held by museums for people and that communities are the true owners of these priceless resources.

“It promises to be a fantastic approach to democratising collections and using them to support community cohesion, which is likely to be so vital after the events of the last 12 months.”

Anyone interested in joining the new Community Advisory Panel at Museums Northumberland is invited to email the collections team at Museums Northumberland on [email protected].

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