Thursday, 5 September 2013

NMU Day 2013: Sunshine, Yarnbombing and Drums galore...

© Pitt Rivers Museum Source

So our inaugural Need / Make / Use Day is over and what fun it was! The NMU team arrived bright and early to set up and our excitement - plus, if I’m honest, our trepidation  - built as demonstrators, wokshoppers and craft makers started to arrive. Would the public show up? Would it rain? Did we forget anything? Where were our balloons? Have we collected enough ‘rubbish’ for the junk workshops?

© Pitt Rivers Museum Source

Thankfully, the weather was on its best behaviour, we found supplies were ample, volunteers were prepared to undertake a variety of tasks, and the public were fantastic, turning up in healthy numbers throughout the day. We had hoped for perhaps 1000 people but in the end we had more than 1600. We were really pleased with this, especially as on such as sunny day, people might have chosen a million other places to go and we were competing against a local beer festival, a food festival and an Oxford United home game! Interestingly, it was the adults who sometimes got more enthused by the instrument-making, weaving, face-painting and craft activities, which is great - VERVE is all about trying to get people in touch with their creative sides and thinking about the making skills they have, have forgotten or might want to develop.

© Pitt Rivers Museum Source

The first event of its kind to be hosted by the Pitt Rivers, NMU Day 2013 was a bit of a test year – a practical and theoretical space for the NMU team to work in collaboration with some fantastic partners in order to explore what public outreach on a large scale should include. Most of you know how short we are on space inside the Museum so an outdoor event seemed the best way to allow as many people as possible experience a little of the Pitt Rivers magic. New things were tried and tested and on the whole, everything went well - all of the workshops and making activities went smoothly; 'dressing up for survival' produced some interesting sartorial creations (we love the mini 'Livingstone in Africa' below!); craft sellers helped make a lovely handmade market atmosphere; kids with baked bean tin drums made their debut with the brilliantly entertaining Sol Samba musicians; highlights tours and architecture talks were well-attended; and finally, we learnt that kiwi coffee, freshly baked pizza and ice cream are fantastic accompaniments to crafty and ethnographic fun!

© Pitt Rivers Museum Source

© Pitt Rivers Museum Source

Flicking through the Need / Make / Use Day visitor feedback book, my heart sunk as I came across a comment opening with ‘RUBBISH...’ However, reading on, the author finished with ‘…is great! What fun’. Phew! It was fantastic to see so many people – young and old, locals and those from further-a-field – so engaged by the interactive activities on offer. You can find lots of photos from the day on our Flickr site.

Thank you to all of you who took part  - it wouldn't have happened without you. For a full list of participants, see our previous post. If you made it to NMU Day 2013, do leave a comment below and let us know what aspects you got involved with. If you didn't make it, we look forward to seeing you next year! 

Keep an eye on our website for the date of NMU Day 2014. In the meantime, feel free to email me (Jozie) for further info. 


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