My article `Letting stuff live’ has been published on the well-regarded and heavily-visited website The Museum of Marco Polo.
It’s a provocative think piece on what we are actually doing with stuff in museums – my answer is not enough. Marco Polo introduces it
`Caroline Ellis speaks up for objects, asking whether we should let them lead fuller lives in museums – and acknowledge the rich lives they led before they came to us.’
The Museum of Marco Polo is curated by writer Rachel Morris of designers Metaphor and is recommended for an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
It’s great to be back with the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery team. Plans for the new hub of museum, library, adult ed, tourism and community services are coming together quickly and I’m working with museum designers Metaphor. Tunbridge Wells’ excellent collections are going to populate the whole building, and I’m researching and writing lots of content on those collections for the project. Metaphor are turning the often surprising stories of Tunbridge Wells into a fresh and exciting way of enjoying all that stuff.
Many congratulations to friends and colleagues at the Silverstone Heritage Project, the BRDC Archive and Mather Design on their Stage 2 HLF pass. Plans are now moving quickly towards the Spring 2019 opening date for the Centre, not just building and fitting out, but gathering in those private collections that are such an important part of British racing heritage. More details at http://www.silverstone.co.uk/about/silverstone-heritage-experience/
I’ve been helping out the recently established KCCC Heritage Trust with curatorial advice on their collections. Care and cataloguing are the priorities and they have a great collection to share more widely. It was a privilege to handle material like the original 1876 scorebook for WG Grace’s 344 against Kent – the first ever score over 300 and his highest. There are many memories of the 1970s glory years to bring a tear to the eye of us Kent fans, but also an eye on contemporary collecting.
My latest research work at Silverstone has unearthed the story of Luffield Priory, the abbey complex on the site. It’s a fascinating tale of medieval life – and monastic misbehaviour – largely lost under the plough and the JCB but coming to life from the records and the digs. And I took an excursion into circus history to track down the elephant who visited the circuit in the 1950s!
I’m enjoying more work on the Silverstone Heritage Project, this time researching and writing up just about everything that’s happened at the circuit. It’s involved revisiting many years of watching sports with the F1 story, but new ground for me with motorcycles and production cars. This great picture is of Sheila Van Damme with her Sunbeam at Silverstone in about 1955. Her racing team partner was Stirling Moss.