The following blog post was written by our Collections Officer, Louise.
Our current exhibition is an eclectic mix of North Ayrshire’s history, with cases filled with objects from the North Ayrshire Collection.
I got really excited when we had a break in our busy programme to show off our own collection, as I haven’t had the opportunity to do this for a long time. Between buying in wonderful exhibitions such as Titanic- Honour and Glory¸ working with partners such as Dalgarven Mill’s Little Black Dress exhibition and exhibiting about historical North Ayrshire events, such as the first transatlantic radio transmission, and celebrating the achievements of our community heritage groups, such as our last exhibition working in partnership with the Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society, we haven’t had time to show off our own collection at all.
Firstly, I have to say that this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time working on an exhibition. I’ve really enjoyed the process of this one, and it grew as we went. The original concept for the exhibition was that I wanted to put out new acquisitions for people to see, fun, cool, historic things which often go straight to storage and don’t get seen for a long time if they don’t fit in with your themes. I also wanted to put out some of our unusual objects, beautiful objects.
The theme grew when, one day, I asked Leanna, our Visitor Services Assistant, what her favourite object in the collections is. Leanna has worked with the collections, cataloguing objects and working on displays. She came up with an answer that surprised me, something I wouldn’t have thought of, so I started asking all of our Team and our managers, our Executive Director and others what their favourites were, and everyone chose something really different. I loved how enthusiastic everyone was about something in the collection, and how seriously they thought about their answers.
So I decided to change tack slightly and make the favourite objects my starting point for the display, building themes around the Team’s favourite objects (although I’ve surely snuck a few extra favourites of mine in there). Building the Team’s favourites in has, I think, made the exhibition richer and appealing to a wider audience. Also, it has made me feel merely indulgent rather than entirely self indulgent when I see the exhibition we’ve produced.
We have objects covering such diverse themes and Provosts and Saltcoats jail, Technology and HMS Dasher, Betsy Miller and Andrew Goldie and an old favourite often mentioned by the public when they visit, the Victorian dresser from the old kitchen display. We have favourite object videos on our iPads and screens.
The process isn’t finished, the exhibition is running until April and I’ll be changing cases, videos and artwork regularly, it’ll evolve and grow as the months go on.
Please do pop in and see us and tell us what your favourite object from the display is and take a look. I hope it’s as much fun for you to look at as it has been for our Team to create. Keep an eye on our blog for information about our favourite objects and why we love them!
Read all about our latest exhibition, ‘New and Unusual‘ on our exhibition page HERE.
We are open 9:30am – 1pm & 2pm – 4:30pm, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday each week (and the last Saturday of every month).
You can plan your visit to North Ayrshire Heritage Centre on our visit page, HERE.