Hola, Em here!
Last week, all 7 trainees ventured up north to Liverpool, for various museum visits and the Museums Association Moving on Up conference at the famous Maritime Museum.
At 9:09 the Ipswich lot caught the train and were joined by the Colchester crew for the 4 hour journey to Liverpool. Upon arrival, we ate, checked into our hotel and finally got to visit the amazing and beautiful World Museum (which could be seen from our hotel windows!)
I think we all agreed that the World Museum was one of the coolest museums to visit, with its interactive and colourful displays, dramatic ceiling decorations, tactile Natural History department, aquarium and even a Planetarium 🙂 During our short but sweet visit, we explored the Bug House, with its display of live leaf-cutter ants climbing across a rope, watched the short film showing in the Planetarium and experienced the tasteful displays in the World Cultures gallery (before nearly getting locked in as the museum was about to close!)
The second day of the trip was conference day. After a quick stop for breakfast at McDonalds (classy we know) and a battle through high winds, sleet and a major downpour (whereby we narrowly missed being blown into the river!), we arrived at The Maritime Museum. We then embarked on a day packed with professional speakers, question times, presentations and networking with other museum workers. Speaking to, and mingling with new museum workers, as well as those who have worked in the sector for many years, was both interesting and exciting. It allowed us to hear the varied routes that can be taken when working in the museum world.
The push for social media throughout the day – from tweeting about the event, connecting with others on LinkedIn to talks on improving your social media presence – was something I thought to be really important. It reflected the changes that museums are currently having to go through in terms of interactivity and technology, and reinforced much of what we had recently explored during an online course: ‘Behind the scenes of The 21st Century Museum’ (Future Learn).
For our final day, Rachel (Project Development Officer) had arranged a personal tour of The Museum of Liverpool with Paul Gallagher, the Acting Senior Curator of Urban History. The setting of the museum was spectacular, overlooking the tranquil water of the Liverpool Docks and inside reflected the same beauty of the ‘Pool. From exhibitions of The Beatles and Liverpool Dock Workers, to the famous rival football clubs and stories from the public. Every gallery had a special sense of local importance, pride and culture running throughout, which was very refreshing, and even though we weren’t from Liverpool (besides Elisha!), the galleries were still relevant and interesting. They were displayed in a way that showcased Liverpudlian spirit and life, whilst being inclusive and accessible, which is something that Paul said was very important when they designed and created the displays.
Arguably, my favourite part of the Museum of Liverpool was the ‘Little Liverpool’ section. It was the most interactive, accessible and child-friendly museum gallery I’ve seen. From a dressing up corner to play with to the alphabet around the room (relating letters and words to museum objects or local culture) and water table to represent the docks; everything was catered to toddlers and young children accessing the museum in a well targeted manner. The drawings around the section were drawn by children, object text panels were written by children and a dedicated soft play area for babies and their parents added to the inclusivity of the area, all of which was very special.
Our time in Liverpool was great – meeting fellow museum workers, hearing from MA professionals and visiting some wonderful museum spaces to explore at how text, objects and interactivity can be utilised to better visitor experiences. I hope we get to go on more adventures soon. We’d be ‘made up’!