Glasgow Museums Research Conference

On Friday I was through at the Burrell Collection for Glasgow Museums’ 4th Annual Research Conference. This is the first time I’d attended this event and was really looking forward to it. There were 15 speakers talking about the various pieces of research they’d undertaken in relation to the Glasgow Museums collections. For me, it was the variety of both the objects / collections being researched and the ways in which the research findings were being applied that made the day such an interesting one.

The highlights of the day for me were:
• Dr Shanan Tobe explaining how natural history specimens in the Glasgow Museums collections are providing mitochondrial DNA samples which can be used to combat wildlife crime.
• Aileen Strachan and Lyndsey Mackay introducing the Curious project, which researched the meaning that specific museum objects have for people, and involved the contributors in curating an exhibition. I missed this session at our Collaborating to Compete conference, so was glad for a second chance to hear about this project. It’s definitely made me want to check out the related exhibition at St Mungo Museum.
• Katie Bruce talking about the research discussion which has contributed to the development of the Atelier Public work which is part of the larger Playable Spaces initiative. It was really interesting to hear about how this initiative is “recognising play and creativity as something that happens in all the cracks and gaps of day-to-day life and in all the opportunities children and adults can carve out for themselves.”
• John Messner giving an insight into the research done in preparation for the new Riverside Museum. A broad approach was taken to the type of stories that could be told about the objects that would be on display, and items that might not previously have been linked with transport were added. For example, stories about the social side of using public transport in Glasgow to go to places such as a dancehall and exhibiting relevant clothing of the appropriate period.

Some of the research presented on was still in progress or about to enter a new stage, so if you missed out on this year’s conference, you might be able to catch up next time.

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