Our website is moving!

NEW blog postFrom 1st April we will launch the new and improved website for Museum Development in the West Midlands: mdowm.org

The new website will present local news and information as well as regional resources and project updates. It will send you regular e-updates from your MDO, tailored to what’s happening in your area.

You can view the new website now while we are making a few finishing touches. Please sign up to make sure you continue to receive our updates.

Have you seen our new website?

From 1 April our new website Museum Development West Midlands will officially take over from this site bringing you museum development updates, news and resources for the region.

We’ve been busy uploading our resources and toolkits, which are available to view here now. The latest addition to the site is ‘A beginner’s guide to Wikipedia’. This back to basics manual has been written especially for museums. It’s suitable for complete beginners or anyone looking for a refresher and will support you to create and edit Wikipedia articles for your museum.

You can visit the new website now and sign up to receive future updates for your area. Go to Museum Development West Midlands to find out more.

What is eating your collection?

A great write-up from attendees of our Integrated Pest Management course with Jane Thompson Webb last month. Staff from Wightwick Manor have also shared lessons learnt during the training on their brilliant new blog: http://wightwicktrainees.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/biscuit-beetles-and-biscuits.html

Worcestershire's Treasures

We have turned into fledgling botanists-cum-poachers tracking down and hunting wild beasts – and museum pests are our prey.

insect 1We had no idea there were so many different kinds, all with their personal favourite hiding places, and diets. Some like the dark corners, under cases, where they munch on the carpet. Some venture into boxes and cases for a tasty morsel of skin, fur or textile. Others with a sharper tooth spend their lifetime wriggling through wood. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours, and can nibble at most things you might find in a museum or archive, if you don’t keep tabs on them.

insect from english heritage poster 2Luckily at the Archives there are very few live pests to worry about. A shiny new building with climate controlled strong rooms and carefully followed procedures mean only the most agile spider or fly can make it inside. But the conservator does deal with…

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A musical interlude

A really interesting article on balancing collections care and access from Worcestershire’s HLF Skills for the Future trainees.

Worcestershire's Treasures

I have a love-hate relationship with Regina Spektor’s 2012 song All the Rowboats. On the one hand, It is a cool song about museums and art galleries; on the other, it deals with a concept that cuts close to the bone for museum professionals. The song title refers to The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer that hangs the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the lyrics describe artefacts as imprisoned in museums:

First there’s lights out, then there’s lock up
Masterpieces serving maximum sentences
It’s their own fault for being timeless
There’s a price you pay and a consequence
All the galleries, the museums
Here’s your ticket, welcome to the tombs

And, one of the most galling images:

But the most special are the most lonely
God, I pity the violins
In glass coffins they keep coughing
They’ve forgotten, forgotten how to sing, how to sing

A recent event at at…

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Share with Warks & Stoke

Share with Warks & Stoke

@mdoness ... her blog

16th March in Warwick

Heritage and Culture Warwickshire and The Potteries Museum and Art Galleries, Stoke

Joint Best Practice Sharing Event, Monday 16th March,10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.,Market Hall Museum, Warwick


Following successful bids to Arts Council England’s (ACE) Strategic Fund in April 2014, Heritage and Culture Warwickshire (HCW) and the Potteries Museums have developed a peer challenge and support partnership, acting as ‘critical friends’ to support learning and sharing best practice. As a result the two organisations have put together a programme to share the outcomes that they have been able to achieve through their ACE funded projects.

The aim of the event is to provide delegates the opportunity to learn from the experiences gained by these organisations, and develop strategies to help develop organisational resilience.

Key speakers will be covering topics including sustainable financial models,fundraising and marketing strategies and interpreting exhibitions for touring,digitisation and product development.

To learn more and to register for the event please click here.

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What will it mean to be a curator of the future?

SAVE THE DATE – Free annual BM National Partnerships conference – 13 April 2015

The National Programmes Team will host a conference at the British Museum to explore ideas around the Curator of the Future on Monday 13 April 2015.

Further information will be circulated about the conference soon, but for now please save the date and circulate to colleagues you feel may be interested in attending and participating.

The landscape of the sector is changing and curatorial practice needs to be responsive, we want to open up a debate with museum professionals across the UK to question, what will it mean to be a curator of the future?

We will be circulating a call for papers in the coming weeks but we’d also be keen at this point to hear any ideas for presentations or suggestions for speakers you may have.

Topics for discussions are still in development and could be shaped by your ideas but will fit around 3 key themes:

  •  The Curatorial Survival Kit– what should be in the curatorial survival kit to thrive in the changing landscape?
  • A Brave New World– income generation and commercial activity, digital technology and online data. What are the impacts and opportunities for curatorial practice?
  • The Next Generation– traineeships and development programmes; academic partnerships and nurturing expertise.  How can we help support the current and future curatorial workforce?

The conference is open for delegates from across the UK to attend. To enable this, there will be some travel bursaries made available on a case by case basis.