Lady Willoughby and her architect in Nottingham's Market Square. Photograph Chloé Titcomb © MLA East Midlands
Museum staff have been taking to the streets in the East Midlands during early May to celebrate the launch of Museums and Galleries Month 2007.
With launch events taking place in Lincoln, Nottingham and Leicester, museums were given the chance to explore this year’s theme for the month - ‘People who are we?’ - and showcase the fantastic variety of events coming up over the next month throughout the region.
“By coming onto the streets, people who wouldn’t normally visit museums and galleries can see what’s going on,” said Jo Wheeler, of MLA East Midlands, “and everyone has been really excited by all the events we have coming up.”
Vikings in The Collection! Re-enactors were on hand at The Collection in Lincoln to bring the collections alive. © The Collection
“It’s all about interacting with the public and letting them know what we do”, added Nisha Popat, Business and Regional Development Manager for Renaissance East Midlands.
The official launch kicked off in Lincoln on Tuesday May 1 with costumed characters, such as Gaius, a Roman soldier who described his bloody life in the army to anyone brave enough to listen!
For anyone not quite so brave, Siflaed the Saxon herbalist was on hand to administer some ancient remedies, accompanied by live music from the Medieval and Tudor times.
The appliance of science - rotocopters in Market Square. Photograph Chloé Titcomb © MLA East Midlands
Continuing the theme of identity, Michael J Jones, a Lincoln archaeologist gave a lecture, ‘Friends, Romans and Countrymen’, to focus upon the Romans of Lincoln and to piece together a picture of what life would have been like in Roman Lincolnshire.
Stepping back in time in Nottingham’s Market Square, costumed characters including Lady Willoughby and her architect, revelled in interacting with the public - which is what the month is really all about.
With something for all ages, the Nottingham event, Nottingham ID, saw the older generations reminiscing with Forty’s Flappers and despite some children being slightly taken aback by the full make-up of Lady Willoughby, the majority were enthralled to meet characters from the past and hear their tales.
Meeting the public in Nottingham. Photograph Chloé Titcomb © MLA East Midlands
The focus for the event was a photo booth where people were encouraged to be pictured with something that identifies them or means a lot to them - and the residents of Nottingham certainly rose to the occasion.
A variety of objects were pictured from crutches to cameras and mobile phones to a sculpture made by a Nottingham citizen to demonstrate his thoughts on Nottingham identity.
Children were able to actively participate in both events with a wide variety of activities and crafts. Particularly popular were the making of ‘rotocopters’, with Graham from Green’s Mill: despite involving a little bit of science, they were very easy to construct. Not just for children though - a few adults also enjoyed spinning their helicopter shapes across the square.
An array of toys from around the world, provided by Leicester Museums’ outreach team. Photograph Chloé Titcomb © MLA East Midlands
Over in Leicester museum staff were also out in force to launch an MGM 2007 project called ‘What Did You Do This Week?’ Located outside the Mirch Masala in Belgrave, staff were on hand to capture children’s (and adults) imaginations as they described what they had been doing throughout the week, with each experience being entered into a prize draw.
Especially captivating to adults and children alike was the vast array of toys from around the world, provided by Leicester Museums’ outreach team, including toys from Korea, Russia, India and China.
The photographs and stories collected in both Leicester and Nottingham will be used to provide a snapshot of life in that particular city in 2007. “The stories received will provide a valuable resource for future generations looking to find out about life in 2007,” added Nisha.
Museum staff in Leicester meet the public at the Mirch Masala in Belgrave. Photograph Chloé Titcomb © MLA East Midlands
The pictures from Nottingham will form an exhibition, ID Nottingham, displayed at the Yard Gallery, Wollaton Park until May 22. Similarly, the photos and stories provided in Belgrave will also form an exhibition to be held in Belgrave Library for three weeks from the end of May.
To discover more MGM 2007 events featured on 24 Hour Museum just enter MGM into the search box on this page or see the what's on page to search by date or place.
Chloé Titcomb is a Renaissance-funded student journalist covering MGM events in the East Midlands. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.