by Ann-Marie Peckham
So far the majority of work here at the Superstore has been to do with unloading crates and documenting the many treasures inside them. However, as we are swiftly running out of crates (thereby meeting our deadline – yippee!) and getting ready for our new racking to be installed, we are now thinking of new and exciting ways to engage our future audience (that’s you by the way!)
Although we have made a brilliant start so far, with some press attention, our Twitter and Facebook sites (and of course this blog), we are also planning on hosting more interactive events with the public. After all, that’s what museum are all about…people, the emotions or memories that objects evoke in them and the stories that they tell.
With this in mind we decided that our first public event would be Grandparent’s day, held at Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse on the 28th July. Despite the name, it wasn’t just for grandparents, and there were activities and events that families could enjoy together including weaving flowers, playing traditional 1950’s games or taking part in a Victorian school lesson.
So what did we do? Well we decided that as well as having photographs of the project and the objects that we have found, that we would also offer visitors the chance to add to our modern decoupage screen (inspired by the one Wayne wrote his blog about). We also had a selection of rag rugs from our collection on display and offered visitors the chance to try their hand at making some of their own!
Although the flow of traffic was slow to start with, we soon had a good number of visitors around our table getting to grips with our activities. But for us the most interesting aspect of the day was the stories that our visitors shared. One gentleman explained that the reason he had chosen a picture of the coronation of Elizabeth II for our decoupage was because he had been to watch it happening as a child in 1953.
Our rag rugging also brought lots of memories to the fore with lots of visitors remembering that they had ‘done rag rugging as a child’ either by themselves or as a family. These statements were then made all the more poignant when towards the end of the day we had three generations of the same family; grandfather, father and children all taking part in making rugs and all of them wishing to take their segments home so they could finish them off!
We also inspired the younger generation as well, with one of our favourite contributions being from a young man who drew on an entire battle between good aliens and bad aliens. Thankfully he explained to us that the good aliens won and were drinking milkshakes and the bad aliens were on fire!
So what did we learn from Grandparent’s day? That its not the number of people that attend your event, it’s the enthusiasm that your visitors bring, the stories they tell and the inspiration that they take away with them.
So with this in mind we are going to be hosting tours of the superstore for Heritage Day on 15th September 2013 (book on the day at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse).
Hopefully we’ll see you there!