Blog Post by Izzy Bartley (@FireflyHeritage)
Today we announced the themes for the 2015 Heritage Jam: Museums and Collections (which you can read more about HERE). This week our blog post will pick up on the theme to discuss my experiences with museums and collections. Hopefully this will provide some inspiration for those about to tackle the theme for themselves as part of our online or in-person jams! (Remeber that you can sign up HERE for all the various competition elements too!)
The act of collecting seems to be an integral part of human nature. For me collections say so many things. They transport me back to the school playground and the hours spent collecting stickers, swapping them with my friends, creating typologies and orders, continually sorting and re-sorting them. Collections astonish me by illustrating how people living in geographically separate locations have come up with similar solutions to the same problems (wooden neck pillows used in both Thailand and Sudan, for instance). And of course, as well as highlighting our commonalities, they can celebrate our diversity.
Natural history collections can be used to trace the evolution of species, measure climate change and chart ecological successions. An object can connect multiple narratives, or a narrative can connect multiple objects. Collections provide an endless stream of inspiration.
Sometimes the thread that ties the collection together is obvious. Sometimes it is unfathomable, unless we are let in on the secret, such as the collection below, each item gifted to a little girl by the crows she feeds every day:
I am self-confessed lover of curiosity cabinets. I can’t help it, they make the ends of my fingers tingle (generally because I want to pick everything up and examine it). As the museums that we know today grew out of these 17th century ‘wunderkammers’, many private collections became public, and magnificent buildings were constructed to hold the ever increasing collections. The Yorkshire Museum, just round the corner from King’s Manor here in York, officially opened in 1830, which makes it one of the oldest museums in England.
Today, new museum buildings are some of the most innovative and creative examples of modern architecture, either in their own right, or as an extension to the historic, original building, where the collection has outgrown the space.
Our graphic for this announcement symbolizes the amazing variety of museums that exist, from the buildings themselves, to the wonderfully diverse collections within (and outside in our bedrooms, cabinets and bags) them, and the endless stream of narratives they can tell. Basically, all the things we love about museums and collections!
We can’t wait to see how you interpret the theme(s), either at the on-line or the in-person jam. So get jamming!