The Reap the Rewards programme is an amazing opportunity for individuals interested or involved in museum collections. Multiple venues throughout the country allows for a unique insight into regional variations on the theme of Agriculture and Rural Community. From water wheels to ploughs, education and policy to public venues and interpretative techniques, the programme offers a chance to network, ask questions, give feed-back and walk around museums across the UK.
Top Tips I have learnt from the seminar at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff:
Questions and images can be asked via the Rural Museum Network’s web-based discussion group for help with artefact identification and best practices.
RMN membership offers access to multiple Distributed National Collections for museums to share resources such as artefacts like tractors and images and toolboxes for planning or collections care management.
Identify what your museum’s or collection’s relevance is. Having a game plan in place will limit the amount of miscellaneous artefacts you have and assist with resource allocation issues.
I greatly enjoyed being able to see an alternative way of presenting similar artefacts and interacting with other museum professionals. My favourite part was seeing the interactive interpretations for often-times boringly presented artefacts, such as baskets and textiles. I highly recommend attending the seminar in a location you are unfamiliar with and allowing yourself the time to see the site and surrounding countryside.
Tamisan Latherow is a PhD student at the University of Reading, she is researching women’s participation in agriculture and the rural community in Britain between 1920-1960 at the Museum of English Rural Life. Previously a living history teacher and demonstrator as well as archivist at Heritage Village Living History Museum in Largo, Florida, USA working with teenage docents.