You might have read our recent blog, keeping members of the public in the loop, about the collections from the former D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood (A New Home For Old Friends).
Well after continued efforts from the curatorial team and with help from colleagues from other museums in the East Midlands, we now have two lists: the first list is of objects staying at the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, and the second is objects we are seeking to place in a new home. It’s a bit like online dating for objects – can we find that perfect match?
I’m sure people will be glad to know that a fair number of the items from the former Heritage Centre will be transferred into one of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum’s collections, and we’re excited about these items staying with us.
As for the other items, the fact that they are not right for our collection does not take away the cultural value of the items themselves and we’re hopeful we can place them into new homes. Indeed some of the mining related items have already been snapped up by another museum, which we’re very excited about. We hope that we can match as many of the items as possible to other museums, where they can be used to share their stories of the past with a new set of visitors.
In case this seems all a bit abstract, we wanted to share with you one item that is staying with us at the museum, one item that is now looking for a new home, and our reasons for both decisions. Hopefully this will give a flavour of this project, and bring the objects to life.
Staying at the Museum
‘Button Hole Scissors’ c.1890.
This item is just the right period for the museum. We know that Mrs Lawrence and her daughters – as many women and girls at the time – would have been involved in sewing and making clothes and this will be a fabulous ‘mystery item’ for our school visits. I wonder how many 21st century boys and girls will guess correctly. (Don’t tell them but the curators had to look it up too!)
Looking for a New Home
Mining booklet from 1933 entitled Instructions for Samson chain coal cutter with electric motor, Manual 1.
The museum tells the story of Lawrence, particularly his early years in Eastwood (1885-1912) and therefore this item is well outside the scope of our collecting policy in terms of its date. The subject matter itself is also too technical for our story, and the curators happily admit to not having a clue how a ‘Samson chain coal cutter’ contributes to the history of coal but feel sure there are people out there that do! We are hoping it might find a home at a mining museum.
Museums are fascinating places to work in and this behind the scenes work all underpins the high quality exhibitions and tours that our visitors see. We want our visitors to have a great experience at our museum, so we must concentrate our efforts on the items that best to tell the wonderful story of D.H. Lawrence.
If anyone would like a copy of the full list of items please email firstname.lastname@example.org