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More in this section Mobile Museum


The project will:

  • Enrich understanding of biocultural collections amongst a wide range of actual and potential users
  • Enable heritage professionals, collection managers and museum curators to develop new ways of engaging with their collections
  • Promote new approaches to the educational uses of collections through pilot museum projects in schools and the provision of learning resources

Beneficiaries beyond the academy will include:

  • Collection managers and heritage professionals
  • Museum curators and exhibitions staff
  • Representatives of source communities
  • Enthusiast historians and botanists
  • Educators in schools and museums
  • Pupils and students

As the project continues, we will be sharing:

Project events include:

  • Seminar series Collections in Circulation (Jan-May 2018)
  • Workshop – national [professional focus] (11 May 2018)
  • Conference – international [research focus] (9-10 May 2019)
  • Open House weekend at Kew (21-22 Sept 2019)
  • Specialist visits – collection tours at Kew
  • Specialist visits – to other collections
  • Displays at non-Kew events

The Mobile Museum project has three main strands of work related to education.

Firstly, we are undertaking research on the role of school museums in Victorian and Edwardian Britain, putting Kew’s role in the context of wider pedagogical developments. Kew sent biocultural specimens to around 700 schools in the period between 1877 and 1914, part of an initiative to promote object-based learning. Most of these schools were elementary (catering for ages 5-12) and state-funded. Three volumes of letters from these schools survive in the archives, in some cases with photographs of impressive botanical displays in schools..

Secondly, we are working within Kew’s Learning and Participation team on an exciting new initiative in object-based learning. This seeks to use a whole-school approach to construct temporary museums in two London primary schools, in which pupils and teachers will co-curate and use plant-based objects that are culturally significant for them. It will also support the creation of cross-curricular educational materials and a Teachers Handbook, Curating A School Museum (2019). For further details see the schools page.

Thirdly, the Mobile Museum project is providing training oportunities to University students. The project has supported student placements at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, involving object photography, archive transcription and collections-based research. The project is also associated with two PhD research projects, supported by the AHRC TECHNE Consortium under the NPIF scheme, looking at collections of paper and cinchona in Kew's Economic Botany Collection.









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