Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Museum Engagement In 2017

I’m the Museum Engagement Officer and during my short time in post in 2017 I have been a busy bee! I have delivered various engagement activities at the museum and in the community. I have also been planning for 2018.

Back in December 2017 E-J Scott, Lecturer (HE) – Fashion, Fashion Branding & Communication and Textiles arranged to bring 3 groups of first year BA (Hons) Textiles students to the museum. These sessions involved supporting E-J by introducing MoDiP and preparing the museum study space for the display of a selection of fashionable dress and accessories for the students to engage with. Students sat at tables or in front of mannequins. On each table there was a selection of objects ranging from a WW2 fashion-on-the-ration brightly coloured paisley blouse to a 1960s Mary Quant umbrella complete with daisy logos.

During the session students were asked to choose an item that appealed to them and were then given time to find out more about it by searching the online collection database. Some students then shared what they had found out about their chosen object with the group. They were then given independent time to investigate further, take photographs to use in their own work and to ask questions. The information they had collected would aid them to develop an understanding of the broader social and cultural contexts surrounding when the objects were produced and consumed. This material culture investigation increased the student’s confidence in using objects from the MoDiP collection - to conduct primary research. It also built their skills in the interpretation of research findings: directly employable when writing their first ever academic essay at university level, thus turning a daunting endeavour into an intriguing detective session!

First Year BA (Hons) Textiles AUB Students

I also introduced craft activities at lunch time to the museum. The first session delivered was a drop-in activity, Creative Christmas Cards. Students and staff from AUB came along to make a unique Christmas card using buttons made of plastic. If you missed out watch out for dates of activities in 2018!

Creative Christmas Cards 

Lastly, I planned and delivered two outreach sessions at St Luke’s Church of England Primary School (Infants Site), Winton, Bournemouth. I worked in collaboration with two teachers, Mrs Hurl and Mrs Stoddart, to plan sessions for both classes of Year 2, just before Christmas. These sessions were themed on toys (old and new), something familiar to the children. All the toys used in these sessions were a combination of objects from the new handling collection and the main MoDiP collection. The toys were all made of various different types of plastics. I was then able to introduce something unfamiliar to the children, material properties of plastics. 

First, I held up various words in front of the children, which were types of material properties, to see if they knew what the words were and what level of understanding they already had about the words. The children were able to explain what some of the material properties were and others were new words with new meanings which they had not come across before.

Then, I explained the types of material properties of plastics using various plastic objects to physically demonstrate: transparent, opaque, waterproof, strong, weak and flexible. The children were then asked to work in small teams to predict the material properties of the objects presented on the tables and then write down the actual results after physically examining the objects. Some children exceeded exceptions by being able to identify that quite a few objects presented on the tables had more than one material property. 

At the end of the session children were asked "Today I enjoyed.." responses were: touching the toys, I enjoyed investigating the objects and putting down the old pictures on the old pile. 

They were also asked "My favourite object was…" responses included: stretch Armstrong, the Lego, the hairdresser set, the baby doll that was fragile and the mad doll with the crazy hair.

Toys From The Handling Collection & Main Collection

If you are interested in collaborating with MoDiP to develop an engagement session please get in touch with me via e-mail on or calling 01202 363315.

Sarah Jane Stevens AMA, (Museum Engagement Officer

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