As 2013 draws to a close, we’ve been talking about our highlights of the past year in museums. It’s been a busy year and hopefully you’ve shared a few of them with us!
Helen, Heritage Resources Development Officer for the John Gray Centre
1. Family History Day at the end of August was a wonderfully busy day, and the whole building bustled with activity. There was storytelling and battles and crafts for children, along with family history workshops and talks, behind the scenes tours and a chance to view some very special archives for adults. We’re looking forward to next year’s event already!
2. We also developed a ‘Talking Museum’ – an audio guide for visually impaired visitors – describing the displays in the permanent exhibition. All the work was done by volunteers, from researching the stories behind the objects to recording the finished scripts, and was a real pleasure to work on. They ended up creating a guide that is interesting for all visitors, regardless of whether they have a visual impairment or not. Why not pop in and try it? You can also listen to it online (www.johngraycentre.org).
Sarah, Museums Education Officer
1. Multi-Cultural Day at Prestongrange was bigger than ever this year, with around 1300 visitors, after us securing funding from the Big Lottery Fund to give it a Commonwealth theme. The Maasai Warriors were popular as ever, but I think Anasi, who opened and closed the event were my favourites as their performances in the sunshine just made the event really special.
2. Working with so many different school pupils across the year which I always really enjoy. We’ve had a range of pupils on work experience, some of whom are now pursuing a career in museums which is just fantastic that we’ve been able to help them on their way. I’ve also really enjoyed launching the pottery workshops at Prestongrange, learning how to use clay and seeing what pupils are able to produce! It’s also been great working with volunteers from Musselburgh Museum on school visits about the Battle of Pinkie.
Katherine, Exhibitions Officer
1. Entering the Powerhouse for the first time since the Bellany exhibition installation was completed and being struck by how fantastic and colourful and vibrant it was and how great it was to see the full height of the space used – we usually have colour just at the edges and down low.
2. The Greetings from Dunbar exhibition in Dunbar Town House and how good it was to work on an exhibition that was just meant to be and was fun. It was also really popular with visitors too.
Claire, Collections Officer
1.We recently had a crate made in which we can store the last bathing hut from North Berwick beach. This means that the parts of the hut are now stored to best practice and also that the crate can be moved around the museums store as needed, freeing up access.
2. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the Collections Volunteer team, the museums workroom has been reorganised to make a more efficient and conducive work environment. The entry book backlog has also been cleared and a huge dent has been made in the accessions backlog. Great stuff.
John Muir’s Birthplace staff
1. 2013 was the 10th anniversary of John Muir’s Birthplace. On the 23rd August the Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace held a Tea Party to celebrate this important landmark!
2. Lots of lovely comments from visitors throughout the year about the venue and staff, including these from our new Visitor Surveys:
•very interesting to find out about Yosemite NP. Staff very helpful and gave lots of information that was useful
•we were shocked that we knew so little of this man. The museum is a great tribute to this man
•Friendly welcome. Good shop for gifts.
•I was so impressed with the range of information and activities. I throughly enjoyed the interactive quizzes with my 6 and 10 year olds and it gave us plenty to talk about.
Dunbar Town House staff
1. We held 5 weddings this year in the Town House, all the Council Chamber on the top floor. It’s lovely for us to be able to be part of someone’s special day and staff enjoyed meeting the couples, families and friends involved. If you’d like to book your wedding for next year, get in touch!
2. We really enjoyed the Greetings from Dunbar exhibition this summer. Children loved finding all the animals hidden in the cases around the room. The puppet show also went down really well! Alot of visitors also reminisced about their memories of holidaying in Dunbar over the years.
Quonya, Visitor Services Officer (West)
1. The fantastic museum within the John Gray Centre was formally recognised by a 5 star grading from Visit Scotland. So much hard work was put into the museum’s creation that it’s lovely that people can see and appreciate it. This 2013 season, I don’t think the museum would have been the same without the fantastic staff who always offer a 5 star service. The Sunday activities for families have also been a particular highlight, drawing in families due to the creativity of each session.
2. It has been an eventful year at Prestongrange Museum! I smile everytime I see the spruced up Visitor Centre and I’m happy to say that thanks to the new damp proofing work, the Centre is no longer damp and walls have been restored. This year would not have been so successful without dedicated staff who put in so much time and energy doing everything from gardening to running events for toddlers!
Kate, Principal Museum Officer
1. The Coastal Communities Museum opening was a highlight for me, after seeing volunteers work together to deliver this fantastic community facility in North Berwick. After a really popular exhibition about golf over the summer, they currently have a new exhibition called A Winter Feast
2. The 3D scanning project, in which John Muir’s Birthplace was chosen as part of the ‘Scottish 10′. The building has been scanned and a 3D digital model will now be created, being used as part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations around John Muir. A fantastic project to be included in!
3. The range of events, exhibitions and projects across all 6 venues and the hard working staff and volunteers who do such a great job all year round to make sure our visitors have the best experience possible.
We’d also ALL like to include a highlight for us was seeing our Museums Officer Jo and her husband Steve welcome their new baby girl Martha into the world!
We hope you’ve enjoyed visiting us during 2013. We look forward to seeing you next year!