Newcastle’s Discovery Museum launches project to explore themes of empire and migration
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has been awarded £17,000 for a new research project at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle to explore how themes of empire, migration and life in Britain are represented in collections of the museum.
It will be led by a group of community representatives as part of a new pilot program run by National Museums Scotland and the National Maritime Museum in London. The project, called Exchange: Community-Driven Collections Research enabled the Discovery Museum to work with a community steering group, made up of people from African and Caribbean Diaspora community organizations from across the North East, focusing on an area of research inspired by the museum’s artifacts.
The funds are part of a grant awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to the National Museums of Scotland along with the National Maritime Museum. Funds have been distributed to UK galleries, libraries, archives and museums to work with South Asian, African and Caribbean diaspora communities to answer research questions identified by these community groups.
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The community group working with Discovery Museum will focus on inspiring Tyneside-linked women of color and Indian engagement. The pledge refers to the period of servitude of laborers from India to the British colonies in the 19th and early 20th centuries after the abolition of slavery.
Kylea Little, History Keeper at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “This significant and deeply personal contribution from the perspective of the Steering Group is a positive step towards recognizing the role of empire and migration to life in Britain to the History of the North East region. Weaving this knowledge into our understanding will allow us to present a more accurate version of the story.
Dr Beverley Prevatt Goldstein, steering group member, equality campaigner, academic, author and community facilitator, said: “We appreciate this opportunity to engage with each other and with the staff of Tyne & Wear Archives. & Museums on this empire and migration project to create a legacy that will represent, engage and educate our diverse communities across the North of England.We look forward to continuing our partnership to create lasting and positive change.
Other partner organizations include Scotland’s Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, Glasgow Life and David Livingstone Birthplace. In England they include the Museum of the Home, the National Museum of Royal Navy and the SS Great Britain.
Discovery Museum originated in Exhibition Park, Newcastle in 1934 as the Civic Museum of Science and Industry, the first science museum outside London. It was housed in the temporary pavilion built for the 1929 Exposition on the northeast coast. Discovery Museum revived in 1993 at Blandford House.
TWAM’s collections of objects at the Discovery Museum include objects from science and industry, maritime themes, social history, costumes and textiles. These objects represent the industrial, professional and family life of people in the Northeast and help tell stories about people from diverse communities.