Home from the Sea at the Scottish Fisheries Museum

Home from the Sea is one of three exciting projects recently funded through the Iconic Artists in Iconic Places scheme. The project focuses on community curating and involves working closely with local residents of three historic streets in Cellardyke. I was really inspired by the idea that householders will choose key objects and photographs from the collections of the Scottish Fisheries museum for display and exhibition in their own homes.

This ‘museum through the streets of Cellardyke’ will be open for one special evening on 23rd March 2013. Beginning at the museum and ending at Cellardyke Harbour, this unique door-to-door exhibition will throw a different light on an intriguing series of objects and photographs.

Keen to find out more about the project and people involved, I got in contact with Simon Hayhow, the Director at the museum. Simon described how a series of research sessions were taking place, allowing local residences to explore the collections and learn more about history of the local area. Two residents of John Street, Tom Brown and Jill Calder, have kindly written about their experiences of the project so far:

For us, Home from the Sea started about three weeks ago when a flyer dropped through the door announcing the project and giving us a few details. We were intrigued. The house we live in shows signs of its former occupants throughout. We’ve done quite a lot of renovation work and every time you lift a carpet or strip a layer of wallpaper off more intriguing details are revealed, be it the (unremovable) marks of many years worth of linoleum going up the stairs or the marks of the old box beds on the floor boards. The house always seems to have a story to tell.

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John Street, Cellardyke
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Research session at the Scottish Fisheries Museum

We attended the first workshop yesterday – this was a mixture of talks on the project, the architecture and history of the buildings of Cellardyke and the collections of the Scottish Fisheries Museum and an introduction to the resources available in the museum library.  This was a great introduction and gave us the chance to get straight down to work though we quickly discovered it was a lot easier to find things if previous occupiers had an unusual (for Cellardyke) surname.

Following a quick look at the documents we brought by Robert Prescott, we have now discovered that one of the 1827 purchasers of the house, Mary Buick was present at the Battle of Copenhagen (she gave birth in the middle of it!) and by repute was also on HMS Victory at Trafalgar – it’s going to be really fascinating to see where the journey goes from here.

Home from the Sea is giving us the opportunity to research a topic in depth, and more than that to meet new people and make new connections with the museum and with our neighbours in Cellardyke. We are looking forward to seeing where this journey will take us and in finding appropriate objects and photographs for the final event.

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The Scottish Fisheries Museum by Sandy Stevenson on Flickr

 All that leaves me to add is good luck wishes to everyone involved in Home from the Sea. I look forward to hearing lots more stories like the ones from Tom and Jill, and attending the big opening night! 

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