“…confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.”

I am still working hard on my project in Ludlow: choosing themes and objects for the cases in Shrewsbury’s new museum.  We still have to hear from the funding people with regard to how much we have to spend; this will determine whether we will actually use the old Kensington cases or be forced to utilise newer, less idiosyncratic cases.

Either way, I am trying to distil the ideas mentioned previously into a more streamlined and elegant plan.  I met with my mentor, Henry McGhie, who has a lot of experience in designing and executing exhibition spaces.  He was great and was able to enlighten me as to how I should be thinking. Not what I should be thinking; ways to guide my thoughts and give my relatively vague/flexible brief some structure.

Two of the main pieces of advice Henry gave me were to:

  • Use the “Code of Ethics for Museums” (CoEfM) as a way to make sure the ideas I have are in line with the industry standard; and
  • Use Generic Learning Outcomes (GLOs) to identify what I want to achieve with the exhibition and give those aims a direction.

By using these two resources it was easier for me to translate my lofty ideas into grounded, achievable goals, such as:

  • CoEfM:
    • Improve the quality of the experience;
    • Recognise interests of people who made, used, owned, collected or gave items in the collections; and
    • Improve public understanding, awareness and appreciation.
  • GLOs:
    • Learning facts or information;
    • Making sense of something;
    • Making links and relationships between things;
    • How museums operate;
    • Innovative thoughts; and
    • Perceptions.

The GLOs are generally more pertinent to what I’m doing and help establish the foundations of my basic aims for visitors:

  1. What: See a cross-section of unusual/interesting Victorian natural history collections.
  2. Why/How: Understand and appreciate the attitudes of the period and how these shaped the reasoning for and process of Victorian collecting.
  3. Who/Where: Become aware of the role Shropshire played, highlighting important people and places in the county.
  4. Connections: Get a sense of how the above areas are tightly interwoven with the Victorian Zeitgeist, as well as the negative repercussions of some of them.

Here are a few more images of the material that I am considering.  I took most of them with my phone, so apologies for the poor quality.

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