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Outside The  Box  at  Reading  Museum     Reading  Museum’s  loan  service  is  one  of  the  largest  and  best  known  in  the  country.  The  collection   consists  of  20,000  objects  in  more  than  1,500  loan  boxes.      The  loan  service  is  not  a  new   phenomenon;  it  has  existed  since  1911  evolving  and  expanding  as  audiences  have  developed.     Neither  is  it  tokenistic,  the  boxes  contain  accessioned  objects,  not  copies  or  reproductions.     Reading  Museum  was  awarded  £957,000  by  HLF  to  extend  the  loan  service.    Outside  the  Box  was  a   four-­‐year  project  (completed  in  2009),  which  has  revitalised  and  extended  the  service  and  developed   it  into  a  unique  partnership  with  over  twenty  museums  and  heritage  organisations  across  Berkshire   and  Buckinghamshire.        Most  of  the  partner  organisations  are  not  in  a  position  to  administer  their   own  loans  service  and  so  this  project  has  enabled  partners  to  provide  maximum  access  to  their   collections  by  choosing  objects  to  go  in  the  loan  boxes  and  thereby  providing  access  to  things   formally  in  store  or  not  available  to  schools.       The  service  goes  to  schools,  colleges,  care  homes,  libraries,  and  local  community  groups  across  the   Thames  Valley.      Memory  boxes  are  used  by  doctors  at  Prospect  Park  Hospital  for  patients  with   memory  loss  and  dementia.    Over  115  primary  and  secondary  schools  use  boxes  for  10,000  classes  a   year.     Reading  Museum  believe  that  in  many  ways  the  loan  service  is  the  antithesis  of  the  public  view  of   museums  because  it  enables  the  public  to  get  close  to  collections  that  are  too  often  kept  in  store   through  necessity.  It  makes  mini  museums  all  over  Berkshire  and  Buckinghamshire.    People  that   encounter  these  high  quality  museum  objects  in  unexpected  locations  are  then  encouraged  to  visit   the  museums  themselves.     If  you  think  that  this  sounds  new  then  think  again.    Reading  Museum  has  their  business  head  well   and  truly  screwed  on.    Schools  can  sign  up  for  two  different  value  packages  at  either  £390  or  £540   per  annum  offering  a  pick  and  mix  between  a  specified  number  of  loan  boxes  and  site  visits  .    Viva   Reading,  the  corporate  member  scheme  secures  perks  and  privileges  to  companies  by  delivering   entertainment  and  events.    However,  it  also  offers  up  a  philanthropic  take  by  using  their  money  to   revitalising  and  refurbishing  the  loan  box  scheme  for  other  groups  benefit.     In  a  time  when  many  of  our  buildings  are  in  need  of  funding  to  repair  damaged  roofs  or  leaky   windows  this  approach  is  a  refreshing  way  forward  to  providing  public  engagement  with  collections.         Further  Information   Emma  Lee,  Learning  Development  Officer,  tel  0118  9373400,  email       The  Outside  the  Box  partners  are:   Berkshire  Archaeology   Berkshire  Aviation   Berkshire  Medical  Heritage  Centre   Berkshire  Record  Office   Bracknell  Forest  Leisure  Services   Buckinghamshire  County  Museum  

Eton College  Museums   Maidenhead  Heritage  Centre   Museum  of  English  Rural  Life   Reading  Football  Club     Royal  Berkshire  Yeomanry  Cavalry  Museum   Royal  Electrical  Mechanical  Engineers  Museum   Slough  Museum   Stanley  Spencer  Gallery   Thames  Valley  Police  Museum   Ure  Museum  of  Greek  Archaeology   West  Berkshire  Museum   Windsor  &  Maidenhead  Royal  Borough  Collection     Windsor  Castle   Wycombe  Museum    

NM Case Study Outside the Box at Reading Museum Service  

Reading Museum was awarded £957,000 by HLF to extend the loan service. Outside the Box was a four-year project (completed in 2009), which h...

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