Residents sought to help shape future museum exhibitions

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

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 9:00 am
Museums Northumberland is looking for people to join its Community Advisory Panel.

Museums Northumberland is looking to create a new Community Advisory Panel to give local people the chance to shape the existing collections, including at Woodhorn 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.

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, Trustee at Museums Northumberland, 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.”

Rowan continued: “We’re proud to share Northumberland’s stories, and we want local people to have a say in how we tell them.

"Our collections belong to the people of Northumberland and this is an opportunity for them to work with us to celebrate our county’s proud heritage.

“Together, we can protect and preserve Northumberland’s unique history.”

Anyone interested in joining the new Community Advisory Panel should email [email protected]

Museums Northumberland shares and preserves Northumberland’s collections and stories across its four museums – Woodhorn Museum in Ashington; Berwick Museum and Art Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed; Hexham Old Gaol in Hexham; and Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum in Morpeth.

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