On 14 December we will be opening a new exhibition on our third floor; Heritage Futures explores the choices we make as individuals and organisations, about what to preserve – what is ‘important’? The exhibition builds on a 4-year long research project and will present international case studies alongside our own collections to prompt visitors to think about what can and should be kept to pass on to future generations, and what should be let go.
Through the research project, four key challenges have been identified as particularly important for those who work with heritage: profusion, diversity, transformation and uncertainty. While the exhibition will focus on these four challenges, we wanted to get to grips with these terms and unpick their meanings further and so we asked poet Chanje Kunda to come and help us to do this.
On 4 September, a group of Museum staff and volunteers spent an afternoon with Chanje. Dictionaries and thesauri in hand we set out on a creative quest to figure out what these words actually meant – “think scrabble meets Socrates”. For each word, we were given a short time to find and record as many meanings, definitions and synonyms as we could. After sharing our favourite or most interesting words, Chanje worked her magic and brought the words together to form a short piece of poetry.
This was a great starting point as we prepare for the Heritage Futures exhibition, and will no doubt inform our work on the programme of workshops and events that will be supporting the exhibition, so watch this space!