It’s been almost a year since we announced that our Stage 2 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund had been successful. We were faced with the both the joy and the horror of having to actually do the extensive list of work and activities that we’d set out in the bid!
After a slow start doing all the necessary recruiting, planning and procuring, things are really starting to gather pace. So it’s the perfect time to update all of our friends, partners and followers about where we’re at.
As some of you might know, the project has two goals – the refurbishment of the Wonders of the Peak gallery, and the extension of museum content online and into the landscape.
1. Wonders of the Peak
The old gallery is now officially closed and is currently being decanted into the Project Space. This means the collections are undergoing a rigorous process of condition checking, photography and packing.
Meanwhile we’re working with our partners and designers to agree the concept design for the all-new Wonders of the Peak. Curators are also getting in touch with partner museums and institutions about some star loan objects. In some cases this means bringing Derbyshire objects home for first time since their discovery.
As the gallery work progresses you can visit and talk us in the Project Space, which is now open, but there’s more on that below…
2. Digital Access
In the project bid we imagined two types of digital access. ‘Pocket Wonders’ were phone and tablet friendly and could be accessed from the landscape. ‘Armchair Wonders’ would be accessed from home, and give more depth and detail to the collections.
Working with our digital designer, it’s clear that our online solution will be much more flexible than the two choices outlined above. The ‘digital experience’ will be an intuitive website that gives you different levels and types of content based the your situation and preferences. For example, where are you? What type of device are you using? How much internet connectivity do you have? Have you visited before and, if so, what have you already told us interests you?
From this, and similar information, you will be able to find out about the collections you are interested in, and plan your own journey into the Derbyshire landscape.
This solution will offer both the ‘Pocket Wonder’ and ‘Armchair Wonder’ concepts we’d originally imagined, but also offer a whole ranges of experiences in between.
And yes, there will be downloadable content. If you’ve ever tried to use a mobile phone in Dovedale then you’ll know why this is so important…
But the online news doesn’t stop there. We’re also going to be launching and testing an online catalogue for our website. So everyone from the curious web surfer to academic researchers can search an ever-increasing collections database. As we iron out the creases, more and more data from our museum documentation database (Modes) will be available to search online, or be downloaded and used as open data (under a Creative Commons BY-NC license).
The Project Space
Finally, we can’t wait to welcome you to the Project Space, an area where visitors can see some of our amazing collections, find out more about the project, and meet the team face-to-face. We’re really interested to hear your views on a range of subjects and to get your feedback on the work we’re doing.
The Project Space will open to the public on 16 February, with free half-term family activities all week. It will be open until September 2017 – hosting a range of activities for you to join in with. Keep in touch with us through our Facebook or Twitter for more information, or sign up to our mailing list.
In the last 12 months we have recruited staff and volunteers and a team of specialists to help deliver the project. We are pleased to be working with:
Project Managers – Rex Proctor & Partners
Gallery Designers – Redman Design
Digital Designer – Ben Bedwell (Digital Economy Consultants Ltd, in partnership with the University of Nottingham Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub)
Copy Editor – Pete Brown
Project Evaluators – Innovate Educate
Marketing Plan – Jen Francis
Workshop Facilitator – Gordon Maclellan (Creeping Toad)
Artists in Residence – Kidology
Education Specialist – currently recruiting
HLF Monitor – Janince Bowman
HLF Mentor – Fiona Marshall
…as well as our many partners and supporters.