Last Friday I was joined by the Wallace Collection Ambassadors and Refugee Tour Guides meeting for their third day of training at the Wallace Collection.
Our Wallace Collection Ambassadors are a group of 16 individuals from a range of backgrounds who meet and work regularly with Wallace Collection staff. For the next nine months the Wallace Collection Ambassadors will learn about the Museum, it’s works of art, how to care for and display historical artefacts, different forms of display and exhibition interpretation, museum education, public programming and museum and exhibition marketing. In learning about these museological practices the Wallace Collection Ambassadors will become well-trained to work closely with the 60 adults, children and elderly people from Newham Family Learning Services, West Hampstead Women’s Group and Aania Women’s group to advise and assist the project participants in creating display, interpretation and marketing strategies for the intergenerational community exhibition. The Wallace Collection Ambassadors will also be able to guide project participants on how to plan and deliver accompanying school, family and adult activities. Additionally, the Wallace Collection Ambassadors will be trained to work closely with different staff departments in the Wallace Collection to inspire the Museum to explore new and different forms of exhibition interpretation, educational activities and marketing strategies to innovate the museum, making it more appealing to new and broader audiences.
Our Refugee Tour Guides are a group of 10 individuals, again from different backgrounds, who will also work closely with the Wallace Collection’s curators, education staff and guide lecturers for twelve months between February 2012 to February 2013 to learn about the Wallace Collection’s history, works of art, current and future vision. The Refuge Tour Guides will also work closely with the other project participants to learn about the making, themes and artwork displayed in the intergenerational community exhibition. Additionally, the Refugee Tour Guides will be trained by the Wallace Collection’s curators, education staff and guide lecturers in public speaking and will learn how to devise and deliver their own-guided tours of the Museum to the general public. During the display of the intergenerational community exhibition the Refugee Tour Guides will give their own guided tours of the exhibition and will link these tours to the rest of the Wallace Collection. Following the end of the exhibition the Refugee Tour Guides will give general ‘highlights’ tours of the Wallace Collection. These guided tours of the intergenerational community exhibition and of the Wallace Collection will reflect the personal preferences and interpretations of the Refugee Tour Guides as well as their own cultural heritage. The guided tours will therefore facilitate the Museum in offering alternative and culturally diverse interpretations of its collections which will appeal to a wider range of audiences and will hopefully encourage new groups to visit and enjoy the Museum.
During the training day on the 20th April the Wallace Collection Ambassadors and Refugee Tour Guides met with Sam Jennings from the Evelyn Old Field Unit to talk about volunteering opportunities with other organisations. The group then met with Jeremy Warren, Collections and Academic Director, to embark on a tour of the Museum’s works of art and sculpture collections. The group then split into two halves and the Wallace Collection Ambassadors met with Danielle Cunningham, Marking Officer, to discuss marketing opportunities and to brainstorm ideas on how the Wallace Collection can reach new audiences. Whilst this meeting was taking place the Refugee Tour Guides met with Jody Watson, a trained actress and drama freelancer, to undertake a practical workshop to explore and improve voice projection and techniques on how to present to large groups. Finally the group met with Helen Jacobs, Curator of French Decorative Arts, for a tour of the Wallace Collection’s furniture and porcelain collections.
Although the day was quite intense, the groups learnt a lot and enjoyed meeting with the Museum’s curators. Here are some pictures from the day;
During the marketing meeting with Danielle Cunningham and the Wallace Collection Ambassadors a lot of very interesting ideas were collected and discussed, here are some of them;
- The Wallace Collection Ambassadors should create different themed trails of the Wallace Collection to inspire new and repeating visitors to explore the Wallace Collection in new ways and from different angles. These could be written trails or virtual trails using QR codes. The Wallace Collection Ambassadors could even amend existing audio guides.
- Trails and audio guides could be uploaded to the Wallace Collection website for visitors and community groups to download for free.
- The Wallace Collection should encourage self-guided visits and activities from Community Groups and the Wallace Collection Ambassadors could help to create resources that would enable community groups to explore and enjoy the museum on their own and assist in marketing these resources and visits to different community groups.
- The Wallace Collection should act as a venue for concerts and meetings for community groups. To achieve this groups could explore the museum and create musical, dance or other artistic pieces in response to the Wallace Collection’s works of art and perform these pieces in the Museum to their friends, family and contacts.
- The Wallace Collection should advertise its workshops and facilities in local and community publications, forums, social networking sights and radio stations. To enable this marketing strategy, the Wallace Collection Ambassadors agreed to suggest and to approach appropriate organisations.
- The Wallace Collection should advertise its workshops and facilities in student and university publications, forums, social networking sights and radio stations. To enable this marketing strategy, the Wallace Collection Ambassadors agreed to suggest and to approach appropriate organisations and groups.
- The Wallace Collection should use its Community and Outreach programmes to market its facilities and collections to community groups. To achieve this freelancers could use handling resources and deliver art or discussion sessions to encourage community groups to visit the Wallace Collection either to attend special events such as ‘A day in the life of the 17th Century’ or on self-guided visits.
- The Wallace Collection could offer free and exclusive ‘Friends and Family’ previews of temporary exhibitions to community groups.
- The Wallace Collection Ambassadors could work on a Vivienne Westwood fashion show in which clothes inspired by items in the Wallace Collection could be exhibited and community, student and young people’s groups could be invited. The clothes could also be displayed in a temporary exhibition which the Wallace Collection Ambassadors could assist in developing and in marketing the exhibition to community and student groups.
The Wallace Collection Ambassadors could plan and deliver a community competition with a prize attached to entice people into the Wallace Collection. One competition could be a photography inspired competition in which groups or individuals could take photographs inspired by Wallace Collection themes and email their photos to the Wallace Collection. The Wallace Collection could fundraise for suitable prizes.