• The Art of Science: Bringing back practical learning at the Polar Museum
    Artist educator Alice White has been working with the team at the Polar Museum to discover how the spirit of exploration connects artistic and scientific enquiry. The impulse to question, experiment, and communicate our knowledge and experience is shared by artists and scientists alike. This project aims to show that cross-disciplinary collaboration leads to greater understanding and new perspectives. Alice… Read full article
  • ‘Branch’ing out with Centre 33 Young Carers
    Centre 33 and the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) have a long-term partnership stretching back over ten years which enables young carers in the county to come together, have fun and creatively engage with our collections. During the summer young carers from the Centre joined us at the museums to discover how nature, and particularly trees, have inspired and been… Read full article
  • Decolonising the Archive: Cambridge Anthropology and Torres Strait Island Kastom
    A recent collaborative project to publish Recording Kastom: Alfred Haddon’s Journals from the Torres Strait and New Guinea, 1888 and 1898, highlights the far-reaching value of anthropological collections for ongoing research and community empowerment. Read on to find out how the process of publishing Haddon’s journals enabled us to better understand, activate and decolonize our collections. Alfred Haddon’s expeditions to… Read full article
  • Masks and Monsters: Decoding Anglo-Saxon Metalwork
    Do you ever feel like you’re being watched? A pair of eyes amongst the bracken, a shadowy silhouette in the moonlight, the Queen of England on your toast? The phenomenon is called pareidolia: the product of a paranoid brain. Human minds are constantly searching for patterns and meaning in the world around them; sometimes seeing a face in the trees… Read full article
  • Animal Adventurers: the game
    In January 2021 we were still working within the restrictions of the pandemic and our public programme was to remain online for a while longer. In search of new ways to engage with our family audiences, I looked to a familiar piece of software and some recent training to create an interactive online activity for young people and families. The… Read full article
  • Transforming Collections and Ourselves: introducing the MAA Stores Move
    How have you been? You doing OK? Things have been pretty wild here, in a panic-don’t-panic, start-stop kind of way. Last March we were selecting an incredible team of nine Collections Assistants from an extraordinary field of over 700 applicants to join the most ambitious project the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) has undertaken in at least a generation…. Read full article
  • 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 with the invaluable help of The Friends of the Fitzwilliam), 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