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Museums Northumberland invites local communities to help shape its collections

15/03/2021

Museums Northumberland invites local communities to help shape its collections

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

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, helping to ensure voices from every part of Northumberland’s broad and diverse population are heard.

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. The new Community Advisory Panel will create a stronger bond with local communities in Northumberland.

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 at Museums Northumberland is invited to email the collections team at Museums Northumberland on collections@museumsnorthumberland.org.uk. For more information visit the Project Page for Femmer to Firmer.

 

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