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The People’s History Museum ‘Exploring the world changing events led by the working people of Britain’

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Welcome to

Museums and Galleries

Each issue will carry news stories and feature focuses.

Issue one so far includes a look at Green Museums How do we marry the past to its present environment. Facilities Management The care and up keep of the building. The MA Exhibition will be previewed With a list of exhibitors and stand number (let’s have yours if relevant) The Care and Conservation of Valuable Objects Who can we trust with our irreplaceable objects? Every Child and Youth Matters Based on the MLA report How do museums interact with group visits for educational purposes? What knowledge do individual museums offer to their community or are they just buildings with static untouchable objects? Case studies invited.

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Our Audience Breakdown by sector



Our Aim The aim of the magazine is to inform our readers:

1. WHAT the guardians of our heritage have to offer visitors.

2. HOW professionals and suppliers can serve the sector.

Contact for further information

Richard Shepherd Tel: 0161 232 1124 or 07913 740380 email:

Our Launch

3rd Floor Blenheim Court, Carrs Road, Cheadle, Cheshire, United Kingdom SK8 2LA

Launch of the magazine and website – complete with its comprehensive classified directory at the MA Manchester Conference and Exhibition – Oct 4th to 6th. We have a stand at the show and will be distributing copies of the magazine there. The Museums Association has banners on our website to facilitate instant and comprehensive information about their event for our websites visitors

Come and see us on stand 6.


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The People’s History ‘Exploring the world changing events led by the working people of Britain’ O The People’s History Museum focuses on an internationally important collection which includes the Labour Party archive, along with collections of the Trades Union Congress, Communist party of Great Britain, Suffragists and Suffragettes and the co-operative movement. The museum has one of the largest and most important banner collections in the world supported by in-house textile conservation expertise. The museum’s charter is to “explore the world changing events led by the working people of Britain” and this is achieved through, “collecting, conserving and safe guarding archives and the material culture of working people and their organisations” and interpreting the collection for the education and entertainment of as many people as possible through galleries, temporary exhibitions and events programmes and an education service for children and adults”.

The project In January 2004 Austin-Smith:Lord were appointed to lead a multidisciplinary design team to explore the possiblities for consolidation of the People’s History Museum’s two operational sites in Manchester into one location through an expansion of the existing Pump House Museum. Occupying the only one of three Edwardian hydraulic power stations to survive in the city, the Pump House is situated to the north west of the city centre, bordered by the River Irwell, Bridge Street West and the new multi-storey Civil Justice Centre on Gartside Street. This area forms the northern tip of the extensive redevelopment area in the city known as ‘Spinningfields’. This is an area of the city that has undergone a significant change of scale and importance which over the last few years has created over 2.5m sq ft of new commercial, retail and residential space. The availability of an area of city council owned land adjacent to the Pump House provided the opportunity for consolidating all the museum’s publilc facing activities onto one site through the provision of a new extension which would allow the expansion of permanent galleries and new 21st centuy facililties for the public. The site benefitted from a prominent riverside location at the Manchester/Salford border and, afforded space by both the river and the public piazza in front of the new Civil Justice Centre, had the potential for a dramatic ‘object’ building which could significantly improve the Museum’s presence in this key new area of the city. The Museum, which re-opened in February 2010, has been completely refurbished and extended to provide a fitting new home for a unique and nationally important collection. The new extension takes the form of a five-storey building, built into the site’s sloping, riverbank location and the site’s potential has been exploited by a bold and dramatic new presence

on this important city centre artery and gateway location. The fully glazed ground floor concourse is welcoming, allows deep views across the building and provides activity and interest at street level, an impression reinforced by a café terrace overlooking the river. It provides a generous space for new café, bar and dining facilities along with a new shop, reception and toilet facilities and most importantly encourages access along the concourse towards the original Pump House building. Two levels of climate controlled permanent galleries are provided at high level, accessed by a new lift and stair tower that celebrates the museum’s waterside setting. The top floor provides a large Conservation Studio for banners and textiles. A lower level, facing onto a riverside walkway accommodates a new archive (to BS5454:2000 standards) and a new Reading Room with river views. In developing a masterplan for the expanded museum the successful balance of use between new and old buildings was a key aim. Providing the majority of close conditioned space and visitor facilities in the new extension has allowed the sensitive restoration of the key spaces within the historic building. The Engine Hall has been stripped of its original shop and café intrusions to recover its dramatic volume and will now provide a multipurpose space for daylight tolerant exhibitions, education and conference events. A new expanded changing exhibition gallery has been provided at ground floor level, which can be linked flexibly with the Engine Hall and this has allowed the original form of the first floor ‘coal store’ to be recovered and used as a conference facility. The basement of the Pump House has been converted from gallery use to provide offices and the big windows to the river have been opened up to flood this space with daylight again. The need for close controlled, light-proof galleries has been exploited visually to mark the refurbished museum’s presence through strong sculptural form-making. The extension is unmistakably a new building yet it establishes a sympathetic relationship with the maturity of the Pump House through the tonality of the Cor-ten rainscreen cladding and the simple ‘tank-like’ massing. The design has achieved prominence without overbearing the original Pump House building, the transparency and ‘connectivity’ of the new entrance sequence ensures that the existing building is not marginalised, a dramatic high level bridge within the linking section of the building encourages a ‘promenade’ between new and old. R



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Museums Association Conference 2010 in Manchester n

The Museums Association has announced the full programme for its Annual Conference & Exhibition, which takes place this year in Manchester, from 4-6 October 2010 at Manchester Central Convention Complex. It is Europe’s biggest gathering of its kind for museum and gallery professionals. Manchester boasts some of the UK’s best museums and galleries outside the capital. The conference will include study tours of many of these, and major evening events at the newly-reopened Peoples’ History Museum and the new extension to the Museum of Science and Industry. The conference sees over fifty conference sessions as well as the Exhibition and its seminar programme (free to all), networking events, evening receptions, professional development surgeries and fringe events.

Conference themes this year: Working in partnership looks at why partnerships are all the rage and reveals the secrets of collaborative success. Showing off posits that the age of the blockbuster exhibition is dead and looks at how museums and galleries can encourage creativity and use collections to best effect when the hard times bite. Whose museum is it anyway? examines the benefits and barriers to public participation in museum decision making, and asks if it should be the ultimate goal of a museum to be a truly democratic organisation.

Keynotes speakers Neil MacGregor Director of the British Museum on the BM and BBC’s A History of the World in 100 Objects series and its legacy. Alex Poots Director of the Manchester International Festival will talk about leadership, creativity and taking radical risks. Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Culture will open the conference with an address. q • For more information see the Museums Association website

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3D Technologies R&D creates 3D solution for Piusa Sand Caves visitor center O

of a famous sculptor

3D museum

Piusa caves have emerged as a result of manual mining of glass-sand during 1922-1970 and represent a system of underground galleries with sandstone columns and vaulted ceilings. Since 1970 pit-mining was started. In 1950s hibernating bats were discovered in the caves. Since 1958 when bats became legally protected in Estonia, they have been counted here regularly. In 1981 caves came under protection rules for the Nature Reserve of Piusa Caves. The aim of the Reserve is to protect the biggest colony of bats in Baltic states and to preserve geologically interesting artificial object (caves). The caverns are closed for public due to threat of collapse and only a small secured fraction can be accessed. 3D Technologies R&D AS was established in 2006 by a group of skilled systems designers. Their ambition was to develop a standard Open Source platform 3DMLW for real-time rendering of 3D models in the web or desktop applications. Based on the platform our

Piusa caves as 3D computer model company has developed interactive applications – 3D Kiosk and 3D Wayfinder. 3D Kiosk software is designed for museums and showrooms to present objects as interactive real-time 3D models on touch-screen. 3D Wayfinder is an interactive three-dimensional wayfinding software for large public buildings. In 2010 our Open Source platform was chosen to create an interactive 3D model of Tallinn Old Town for the European Culture Capital 2011 – Tallinn. R


The 3D sculptures of Amandus Adamson are shown in 32” touchscreens which the visitors can use to browse through different works, zoom, scroll, rotate and read additional information. Each screen achieves a high quality resolution so that visitors can zoom in on even minor details. This interactivity helps people get a better idea of the sculptures than picture or video. Major works are also made as accurate as possible as they are presented in the image of the actual surroundings of their location, so the audience can see the real environment in which the sculpture is located. The 3D Kiosk is an application of 3D Technologies R&D to help museums exhibit collection items as real-time 3D models in interactive kiosks. The solution is customisable and the design, layout, and additional items can be modified in accordance with the wishes of the museum. Objects for displaying in 3D Kiosk can be digitised by laserscanning or modelled by using pictures and drawings. The solution improves the visitor experience and enables visitors to explore the complete range of an artist’s work. 3D also enables visitors to get a better understanding of each artwork and explore even the minor details. R

Bust sculpture of Amandus Adamson in 3D Kiosk


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Merlin conjour up the solution for Bressingham n

Bressingham Steam Museum & Gardens is located near Diss in Norfolk and combines over five miles of narrow-gauge steam railway with acres of beautifully kept gardens that offer something for all members of the family. They have been using Merlin Software Ltd since 2006. Here is what Alastair Baker of Bressingham Steam and Gardens had to say about Merlin. “Merlin Software has enabled us to efficiently collect Gift Aid at the point of entry to Bressingham Steam & Gardens for over four years now. The Trust’s decision to adopt Merlin was partly based on their ability to listen to our needs. “Initially the software was unable to produce tickets from our standard thermal receipt printers – a key demand we had in order to keep hardware costs down; not a problem – the software evolved to cope with our requirement. Merlin is now running on our previously existing hardware and we have, in stages, added new hardware as we have expanded. “The Trust here has opted for the 10% Day Membership route and Merlin is able to apply the additional charge to the gift aid customers automatically. As a Museum we have also chosen to have VAT exempt admission but we know Merlin can also cope with the main payment being VATable and the donation not. Customers just need to give us their Surname and Initial, House number or Name and Post Code, the software does the rest. When challenged, during recent visits from HMRC, we have been able to reprint the paperwork requested for each donor by retrieving the transactions instantly from Merlin. The coding within Merlin allows us to sell items with gift aid allowable and those not within the same sale, knowing that the claim will only be for allowable items, no intervention from the operator can possibly alter this. Gone are the days of retyping our claim every month, we simply print off the date ranges required and send them off. “We know that the gift aid system is subject to change and indeed we may change the type of gift aid scheme we offer the public, in the certain knowledge that the software can cope with whatever route we choose. “Merlin has a low entry cost compared to other available software and its ability to have more than one company’s set of data running on every terminal means that within seconds we can convert a till from being the charities admission system to our trading company’s souvenirs till, the monies and accounts being kept completely separate. In reality we even switch individual terminal’s usage depending on the peaks created by the time of day. “Merlin Software’s integrated credit card processing has made a significant saving to our business. As with many Museums, our entrances are many and varied depending on the time of year and demand and we have been able to do away with dedicated phone lines to every ticket point and bank terminal rental is a thing of the past. “With the retail insight Merlin has given us in the five seasons we have used it, the average spend per transaction in the shop has gone up 24%. Merlin has dealt with over 215,000 transactions across 3 companies and the software has never failed once. The data captured from Gift Aid has been instrumental in our marketing campaigns to bring in 26% more visitors in 2009 than when Merlin was installed in 2006. “Merlin Software’s staff are always on hand and you never feel like you are asking a daft question and the great thing for us is we can add programme modules when and where required. You know you have bought into a software system that evolves with you when you see your suggestions incorporated into the next release. We hope to be adding online ticket sales soon!” q


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