Sorry, I forgot, then forgot what I forgot!

Been very busy since last post – so much for wanting to post weekly. Have to say middle aged forgetfulness is also responsible! Anyway what have we been up to? Well, first off we had a ‘Teaching With Objects’ Training Session in the museum lab. Last year I attended a workshop on this in Dundee. The project was SMC funded and, I must admit, I felt a bit out of place among all the professionals there but it was a fun day. At the beginning of the afternoon the group of volunteers were given a teabag and asked to tell me as much as they could about it. Then, working on the premise that they were not adults (not difficult for some) or had any idea what the object was, the volunteers were given various lamps/lights and then split into groups to come up with interpretations. I also produced an insert for the Friends’ welcome manuals. I think copies of the original guides, which are excellent, can still be obtained from the SMC.

Next up, four of us gave a guided tour of the museum to the local Townwomen’s Guild. So, 33 ladies of a certain age, descended on the museum after a supper at the nearby Chimes café. It was the largest group we newbie’s had shown round the museum but all went well and the ladies seemed to have a enjoyable night. They gave us a generous donation with the promise of more later when they do their annual charity give-away. The only drawback was my mother was one of the ladies, so not only had I to be on best behaviour but had to put up with some embarrassing comments (notably about the head of hair I had when younger) though this worked both ways! The night ended with a quiz and the give-away of our first Falconer Museum Tee Shirt.

This Tuesday saw a departure from our usual sessions when we all gathered in the museum to have a critical look at the displays, accompanied by Libraries and Museum Manager Alistair Campbell. We spent some two and a half hours looking closely at the cases and labels suggesting tweaks here and there and also came up with the decision to completely redo the descriptor and object labels. We know this means a lot of hard work has to be rewritten but its fair to say that the labels were done during a stressful period just before the museum re-opened. One good thing is that the volunteers have had plenty of practice dry-mounting the original labels so the new ones should be a breeze!

As well as all this we were heavily involved in a joint collaboration with Forres Library. Community Librarian Rebecca Bolton came up with the idea to do an exhibition and workshop on old Forres High Street in the Library. From our end, volunteers Ross and Vallie Dalziel came up with a list of High Street businesses from the 1940s and then after laying them out in a plan of the High Street, Jean Mortimer painted the plan up to make it look more user-friendly. We then put together a mini exhibition featuring objects you would have bought at the time and the visitors were asked to leave a note of shops and businesses they remembered. Two open days were held with about 70 people attending both days to talk about the High Street businesses they remembered. On the first day Graeme Wilson, Local Heritage Officer, gave a talk on the High Street and brought along many photos. Rebecca tells me that visitor numbers were up by 500 compared to the same period last year. Its been a great surprise, and pleasure, that an exhibition which really didn’t take very long to put together captured the imagination of a large proportion of the town. Many people commented that those who went to the Library would never have come into the Museum. A true comment but a tendency we must change.

Today, myself, Valerie and Rebecca took the exhibition to Cameron Court, a local care home where the residents gave us a warm welcome. We promised to go back and the residents want to come to the museum on one of their weekly bus trips. More success – and I have to say this type of outreach event I what I enjoy most.

Though I’m not going to use this blog to give away personal details I must tell you that we’ve bought a wii. The ‘Brain Academy’ game is great for helping with middle aged memory loss. I heartily recommend it to those of you suffering from the same affliction. (Mind you I’m also enjoying playing Lego Star Wars my nephew’s favourite game).
Until next time…..


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