community cabinet

Are you looking for new ways to engage with your community?  Would you like to offer your volunteers a chance to learn more about curating displays? Are you interested in forming more sustainable relationships with local groups? Or with your current visitors?

As part of our Reaching Audiences strand of work, SHARE Museums East will be launching a new fund to support museums engage with their communities through a small-scale co-production project. Museums across the East of England region are invited to show expressions of interest for introducing (or enhancing) a ‘Community Cabinet’ as part of their permanent displays. In all, up to 10 grants will be made available.  If you are interested, please complete the expression of interest form by the 22nd November 2013.

The ‘Community Cabinet’ is an invitation to members of the public and community groups to co-curate a single, dedicated cabinet with objects of their own choice.  Objects may come from their own lives and ‘collections’; or participants may wish to explore the museum’s collections to pursue a particular subject of interest.  It is a chance for visitors to tell their own story, reveal hidden stories from within the museum or nurture a private passion and, in each case, learn about display and interpretation with the guidance of members of the museum staff.

The fund can be used to cover any aspect of the project, including for example the purchase of a new cabinet, exhibition costs, marketing resources and paid staff time.  If you already have a cabinet, you can still apply for a grant if you can show how it will improve or support the current resource.  The key criteria for the fund are that the museum can:

  • put forward a member of staff – volunteer or paid – to take overall responsibility for the project;
  • identify a publicity strategy to ensure a wide range of potential participants from the community can be reached;
  • demonstrate how the display will be advertised within the museum;
  • show how the cabinet and relationships with participants will be sustained into the future.

As a successful recipient of the grant, you will have considered how the cabinet will benefit your museum, especially in terms of your relationship with the communities you serve.  Each museum will have its own ideas. However, whilst putting together your application, you may like to look at how one example has been developed by the Museum of Cambridge.

Anyone interested should complete the expression of interest form below outlining what interests you about the Community Cabinet, what resources or training you foresee being needed to establish a cabinet, and any particular groups, individuals or partnerships you would seek to reach through the programme.   Interested museums will be invited to a training day which it will be necessary to attend prior to applying for the grant.

For further information about the grant programme, please contact the SHARE project officer, Joel Chalfen, on or 01603 229825.


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