Thursday, 6 April 2017

Taking over the Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum regularly holds events curated by young people taking over the Museum.  Recently we hosted two evening events with groups of young adults working in collaboration with staff to organise and curate alternative social evenings at the Museum, drawing on themes suggested by the collections. This initiative is part of the Need Make Use project.   

In February Oxford University Visual Material Museum Studies students and Oxford Brookes Anthropology Society committee jointly organised an event inspired by women Anthropologists, entitled Journeys. The evening event was planned over a few months. Two key female figures, Mary Kingsley and Beatrice Blackwood, were chosen and objects collected and donated by them were selected to form a trail around the museum.  The students organised every aspect of the event from designing the poster, to creating ticket booking links, inviting speakers to talk, writing text about objects on the trail and curating temporary exhibitions with objects from the collection and artefacts collected by current anthropologists. 

Photographs by Wenqian Wang

On the evening the student volunteers manned the door, helped staff the bar and ran craft activities inspired by journeys. Even the drinks were inspired by Anthropologists, such as gin and tonic, highlighting the quinine Kingsley took medicinally.  Shannon said ''It was a fantastic experience and definitely something I would be interested in taking part in again''.

In March students from Reading College put on a fashion and accessories showcase 'Reading College Fashion meets Pitt Rivers'.  During a visit to the museum the students were challenged with the task of creating outfits under the themes of ‘armour’ and ‘multiform’ that were inspired by the Museum collections.  The students then displayed their final pieces in a fashion show at the Museum. The show highlighted the diverse range of objects and artefacts that inspired the costumes.  The balcony was utilised to display the accessories, sketchbooks and a film of the students talking about their creations.  The film and production side of the event was also student led, undertaken by Reading College media students.  Members of Pitt Youth Action Team helped out at the event by running craft and interactive activities with the education handling collection.  

When ask what they liked about the event one visitor said ''That designs were from objects in the museum, great designs, ideas and impressive pattern cutting and finishing and materials. It was a great show, well done!''.

Photographs by Reading College
Madeleine Ding
VERVE Volunteers Officer and Curatorial Assistant

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