16 January 2013

‘Meet the Reviewer’ reviewed

Phoebe Westson, volunteer at Haslemere Museum, looks at the plans for the ‘Made for Trade’ exhibition with Pitt Rivers Museum design technicians, Chris Wilkinson Alan Cooke.
Sixteen curators, future curators, museum volunteers and museum-related students attended the ‘Meet the Reviewer’ event at the Pitt Rivers Museum on 7th November initiated by the Museum Ethnographers Group. The event was billed as an opportunity to critically interrogate the process of curating a temporary exhibition with curators, designers and conservators - in this case the ‘Made for Trade’ exhibition. Through presentations and gallery exploration in the morning, the rationale behind the exhibition was shared as well as practical and creative components.

In the afternoon, the review of the exhibition by Sue Giles of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery was explored as a round table discussion in an informal ‘question and answer’ format. The review itself had been available as a web blog several weeks prior to the meeting and prompted a lively exchange led by Sue.

Feedback from the meeting suggested that it had been very useful, particularly for continuous professional development. Subsequent to the session there have been links and support networks established between participants to discuss requirements for other museums, particularly those with ethnographic collections but no specialist staff in this area.
A follow-up visit by Phoebe Weston, a volunteer at Haslemere Museum who is working on the redisplay of an ethnographic showcase, enabled display technicians and curators at the Pitt Rivers Museum to share and demonstrate simple and effective techniques for developing artefact display supports and interpretation.

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