• Supporting local museums: a guide for limestone cleaning & care
    A lot of buildings and architectural features in and around Cambridge have historically been made of limestone as it was readily available and relatively easy to quarry and to carve. Today, some of these features and objects can be found in local museums, like for example, the sculptures at the Museum of Cambridge (shown above) that used to decorate the… Read full article
  • Delivering an Arts Award project for young parents remotely through the pandemic
    Every year the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) run a 10 week bronze arts award project with a young parents group from local charity Romsey Mill. Our 2020 project had to finish early due to the first lockdown and our 2021 project had to be adapted and re-planned in a week, after the country moved from the tiered system to… Read full article
  • Building relationships during the pandemic ~ blind and partially sighted people, creativity and museum collections
    In 2018, the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) extended the opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to engage with collections through a pilot creative workshop series . Proving instantly popular, this work has gone on to become a core part of the Museums public programme, both pre and during the Pandemic. Working very much in the frame of collaboration… Read full article
  • Plastics in Peril conference videos go live!
    What if a storage container could tell you when a museum object needed treatment? Why are so many toys sacrificed in the name of conservation? Should we clean plastics like we clean paintings? Is sustainable cold storage a pipe dream? How can we get the most from collections that are doomed from the start? These questions and many others were… Read full article
  • Making Art Together, Remotely
    Nathan Huxtable shares his experience here of developing and delivering a remotely delivered pilot art programme designed to engage the University of Cambridge Museums‘ (UCM) Portals to the World participants, people with a dementia diagnosis or cognitive impairment and their care partners. Nathan is the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Education Assistant and a practicing artist. In its tenth year, Portals is a partnership programme… Read full article
  • Postcards & Paintings at Playgroup
    In 2020, Playlanders was chosen as ‘Playgroup in Residence’ at the Fitzwilliam Museum. After the research residency came to a premature end due to coronavirus, staff at the museum and playgroup have continued to find ways to help the children build connections with art. In previous years Fitzwilliam Museum has enjoyed welcoming children from Playlanders on visits, not least during… Read full article
  • Inspiring first encounters
    The University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) have been working with Cambridge City Council’s Children and Young People’s Participation Service (ChYpPS) for many years, but this year we took our partnership to the next level. Susan Miller provides the lowdown on the UCM partnership with the ChYpPS team, and discusses its importance in helping us to reach families during this time… Read full article
  • Launching virtual school sessions in a pandemic
    We have worked hard at the Museum of Classical Archaeology to adapt and translate most of our usual, pre-covid educational activity to the digital realm. The biggest part of this adaptation was to launch virtual school sessions, offered to both primary schools and secondary schools. The result is schools from across the country being able to engage with the museum… Read full article
  • A six month snapshot
    Last month, we marked one year since the introduction of measures to limit the COVID-19 pandemic. Our last update was published in October 2020, just as the University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden (UCM) were prepared to be fully open to the public again for the first time in six months. A return to normality? Not quite. Our pandemic journey… Read full article
  • Free as a bird: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s, First Flight (2015)
    The sepia tone of the printing ink used in First Flight, a set of ten etchings of male heads recently acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum by British artist, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, brings to mind the rich warmth of an old master drawing or an old photograph. Disparate references and associations are common in Yiadom-Boakye’s work and such diversity – created in… Read full article
  • It’s good to talk
    The University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) pilot Community Panel aims to test a process to enable dialogue between the UCM and individuals from the community, bringing local voices and perspectives to the work we do as a consortium, and challenging our group ways of thinking and working. The concept of a UCM Community Panel was first developed way back in… Read full article
  • DataFest 2021
    What can data tell us about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the University of Cambridge Museums’ audiences? This question and more were explored by the University of Cambridge Museums Team at March’s Datafest. You can catch up on the series of bitesize talks and other resources here. QR Codes in Museums- the basics and latest findings, with Sarah… Read full article
  • Happy Ending for a Tale of Gothic Horror!
    It is always exciting to explore a collection which you have not seen before, and the library at Wisbech and Fenland Museum is a particularly rich source of fascination. Dr Suzanne Reynolds, Curator, and Edward Cheese, Conservator, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, were invited by Robert Bell, Acting Curator at Wisbech and Fenland Museum to carry out an initial assessment of… Read full article
  • Portals to the World: Museum of Classical Archaeology
    With their doors closed, staff at home and social distancing the new norm, how can and how are Museums continuing to play an active and relevant role in people’s lives? Justyna Ladosz shares her experience of developing and delivering a remote session designed to engage the University of Cambridge Museums‘ (UCM) Portals to the World participants; people with a dementia… Read full article
  • A new acquisition: Candy Lady by Shawanda Corbett
    The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of the Fitzwilliam Museum, including its ability to engage with contemporary artists and acquire new works by them for the core collection. However, the Museum has been able to acquire a pair of stoneware vessels, entitled Candy Lady, made last year by the artist Shawanda Corbett (b. 1989), a purchase generously funded by… Read full article
  • Working together in lockdown: Sawston Village College
    During lockdown the Whipple Museum of the History of Science has been working with the inclusion unit at Sawston Village College to create fun, interactive science lessons based on collections objects which can be delivered remotely. The sessions have encouraged pupils to take an enquiry-based approach to science and to use historic objects to find out about science both in… Read full article
  • Making a Masterpiece: Reza Aramesh’s Action 125
    I’m often asked how pieces of sculpture in the Fitzwilliam Museum were made, and so here’s an exclusive, step-by-step guide as to how Action 125: Tikrit city, Iraq. Monday, April 14, 2003 came into being. I’ve chosen to focus on this visually stunning piece of polychrome wood sculpture because we’ve just purchased unique version 3/3, the last of the three… Read full article
  • Women in the Sedgwick Museum Archives – A virtual exhibition
    Inspired by the fantastic ‘Wonderchicken’ exhibition, I set about pulling together facts, stories, and records to create a new virtual exhibition in Shorthand in 2020. This would look at women’s learning experiences and contribution to Geological science from 1885 until the First World War. This blog looks at the processes involved in creating a new virtual exhibition, and what the… Read full article
  • The Chemical Experimenter
    Various individuals influenced the Egyptian collections here at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). There are some very unusual characters – like the banjo playing Lady Meux – and there are some more reserved antiquarians and entrepreneurial collectors. They all, however, contributed to what we now see in the museum in one way or another. The Chemical Experimenter Joseph… Read full article
  • Portals to the World at the Museum of Zoology: plan B, a virtual course for adults with dementia and their care partners
    Sara Steele, Museum of Zoology Learning Assistant, shares her experience of developing and delivering a remote 4-week course designed to engage the University of Cambridge Museum’s Portals to the World participants; people with a dementia diagnosis or cognitive impairment and their care partners. In its tenth year, Portals is a partnership programme delivered with Dementia Compass and combines regular courses… Read full article
  • In My Mind’s Eye – Producing podcasts in lockdown
    The In My Mind’s Eye podcast series, is a response to the national closure of Museums and Art galleries during lockdown in Spring/Summer 2020. The Fitzwilliam Museum invited Ali Smith, Halima Cassell, Issam Kourbaj, Jackie Kay and Matt Smith to talk about how works of art continue to exist in our memories and imaginations even when we can no longer… Read full article