Exercise 4.2 (Option 1): Research on museums (some as yet to be accessed on site)

The possibility of visiting museum’s and galleries becomes endless.  Due to travel limits, I am unable to attend some.  I may be able to visit more as my course progresses, yet for the sake of time for the course as a whole, I thought it best to write about a few of them now, along with a few other visits from local areas which currently do not house enough context to write a whole blog post on.

Manchester Museum

Here are a few shots which I have chosen from my research to illustrate their collections:

As I have yet to visit, I am not qualified to discuss the collection in depth; however I am interested in their curation style.

Their website mentions the concept of “thematic collections”, in other words grouping together objects on a common theme, not  in a date related way.  I.E. Butterflies in a glass case.

The museum seems to favour the old style of wooden planning drawers, obviously depending on the size and depth of the object.

This is something which I have observed in Scottish museums and in my local Hancock in Newcastle, thus I can visualise the size of these chests.

Some of the ideas presented here are possible to design at home; I.E. draws with segregation and common themes grouped together.  Glass cases more difficult, yet all can set off paths of thought.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

I have visited this museum on several occasions, yet have not been able to see every floor.

Here at a few images of the curation and display I have managed to observe over my past four visits:


Much of what I observed at the V and A was textile based.  Many glass cabinets with clear markings and labelling.  This helped to make the item to definition analysis quick and easy as a process.

untitled a Thematic collection is also observed during special events at the V and A.  Note this wedding Dress exhibition in 2014, where many styles were collated together on this common theme.

Discovery Museum

In Newcastle I also have access to this museum.  Tactile and hands on for both children and adults alike.  I was able to visit recently, thus can display a few images:

Discovery Museum is home to one of the finest collections of scientific and technical material outside of London as well as housing significant collections on maritime history, social history and regimental history.

For more than two centuries the developments in science, technology and industry pioneered or established in Tyne and Wear had a powerful influence worldwide.

Examples of world firsts include Charles Parson’s Turbinia, Joseph Swan’s lightbulb and Stephenson’s steam engines.

Turbinia takes pride of place in the museum, designed in 1894 by Tyneside engineer Charles Parsons, she was the world’s first ship to be powered by steam turbines and until 1899, was the fastest ship in the world reaching speeds of up to 34.5 knots.

Discovery also displays a replica of Swan’s first lightbulb, a number of models of Stephenson’s steam engines, ship models from the famous Tyne shipyards of Swan Hunter and a prototype of BAE Systems Challenger 2 tank which is displayed outside the museum.

They also so a service where you may “loan” a box of artefacts.  Something to think about in the future?

They also house The Tyne and Wear Archives, which you may pay to visit at £30.00 per hour:

tyne-wear-archives.jpg If I had a definite point of research, this could be something I plan to use.

Bowes Museum

Accessed recently:


This museum holds antique collections of lace and china, as well as many paintings.

During my past visit most recently, I was intrigued by the blue and white china collations.  Artists have been inspired by them and made modern collections based from the inspiration.  Note the image above with the cut out detail.

Summing up this small collection of research, note that many museums do have the same formulation of the way they display their own pieces.  The things I have come up against in the main are:

  • Roping to section off the public from the objects.
  • Glass vitrines
  • Large glass and Perspex boxes
  • Old planning chests (wooden)
  • Drawers, both modern and antique, housing sectioned off collections, such as butterflies and moths.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s