Last year as a WP award holder I was given the task of developing a resource which would aid the promotion of the University’s cultural assets (stemming from my experience and knowledge of working within the Secondary Education department at Manchester Museum). Initially the resource was to link both The Manchester Museum and The Whitworth Art Gallery, but after discussion with MM and WAG, it was decided that a combined resource would not be possible, given the differences of collections, methods and learning programmes.
I have thus developed a secondary resource for MM entitled Collection Wallets: five separate wallets containing information on the Natural Environments collections in the Museum: Zoology, Palaeontology, Mineralogy and Petrology, Entomology, and Botany.
The Wallets contain sourced images and written information on collections, including interview comments and statements from curators on their role in Museum and the uses of collections. The Wallets also contain copies of articles on the themes raised by the individual collections, and examples of literary or artistic work inspired by the different areas. To accompany the Wallets I have also developed five individual photo booklets, containing my own original photography of the ‘hidden’ collections in the stores and of the storage spaces.
The Collection Wallets and photo booklets are a flexible resource which can be used within outreach programmes or Widening Participation workshops, to introduce key themes and issues surrounding the existence and use of museums and galleries, and possible career and HE opportunities. The intention is to introduce students to material and images connected with the collections, and to challenge students and teachers to consider how the collections and spaces of the Museum can be utilised in relation to curriculum subjects. There is also the possibility of placing the Wallets online, so they are easily accessible as a school and WP resource. The Collection Wallets are currently being advertised to Manchester Schools, through Aimhigher.