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Google Cultural Institute Platform

As mentioned by Nick Poole on the museum computer group mailing list. Google has launched the Google Cultural Institute platform, that is designed to provide cultural institutions with tools to open up collections online to new audiences. The platform launches with online exhibits from 17 cultural heritage institutions from around the world.

Here is a short interview with the Google Institute Director Steve Crossan The interview also
contains details of how organisations can register their interest in
participating in the new platform. The Collections Trust will be working with the team at Google to look at how to ensure that the process of participating is as smooth and risk-free as possible.

More updates will be provided when available.


Free digital resources available

There are some great digital resources hosted on the EMMS website. If you click on digital then 2009 there is a simple guide to digitisation, a digital preservation guide and an e commerce guide. If you click on 2010 there is a guide to social media. These guides were funded by Renaissance East Midlands and created through the MuBu project.

Front cover of simple guide to digitisation










There are more digital resources in the Share Museums East Digital Bank. This collection of resources suggests ways museums can use digital technology to improve access to collections, and share them with new audiences. There are simple guides and useful links for using Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, for digitising collections, creating new content and on digital copyright. There is also an Audio Visual guide with information on how to create podcasts and videos. There are links to advice on building a digital strategy and evaluating your online presence.

Search the Culture Grid for objects from museums and libraries in the East Midlands. The search box can be found on the EMMS Homepage on the right hand side of the page.


Getting technical with films!

Here’s a film about Green’s Windmill – it wasn’t part of my project but I’m hoping to include this series of films on the resource for schools.


Green’s Windmill

Green's windmill in Sneinton, Nottingham
Green’s Windmill on a Crisp Winter’s Day

In addition to working directly for Renaissance East Midlands, I have also been working on an e-learning project for Green’s Windmill in Sneinton, Nottingham.  This resource is aimed at KS1 and 2 pupils and includes a video tour of the mill, with star appearances from 8 local school children from 3 different primary schools in Sneinton.  It also has information about the mill and how flour is made.  It has the story of the life George Green who lived there and became an important scientist and mathematician, and also  has interactive activities.  The site has been built on WordPress by Neil Beattie from ExpoDesign.


Rutland Railway Museum

View of locomotives at Rutland Railway Museum
Simon shows us the site

Sam and I had a lovely day out at Rutland Railway Museum last week.  Simon Layfield gave us a guided tour of the site with its array of proposed changes.  We had never been there before and were surprised to drive into what seemed like a building site, and we were later told that some people even refer to as a ‘scrap yard’.  How wrong could they be?

An amazing array of locomotive engines, a copy of an ironstone quarry based on the same geological features higher up the hill, workshops and sheds where work continues on restoring these amazing engines.  Some stunning nature trails with the opportunity for picnics.  Even some HLF funded toilets!  The story is a wonderful one of passionate volunteers and enthusiasts who are doing so much to reenergise a site and the local history and heritage of the surrounding area.

MuBu project has involved a series of films to be created about the site with local actors playing the lead roles of a new apprentice arriving at the works.  In addition to watching these and being very entertained (and learning a lot!), we also participated in a rebranding exercise based on some work that has been undertaken by Ketchup Marketing.

We had to think of some themes around re-naming the site, and come up with possible enticing new names – which also ‘do what they say on the tin’.  Watch this space…


Top blogs and MuBu!

Here we are at Highpoint Conference centre in Leicester with a group of people from various MuBu projects including Stories Home and DH Lawrence Heritage Trails.  We have looked at different blogs as examples of using lists of ‘top 10s’ which apparently get people hooked.  Have a look at  The Happiness Project and Marc and Angel Hack Life as examples of this.

A personal favourite of mine is an amazing project taking place at Manchester Art Gallery, around a little-known collection of social history items, the Mary Greg collection of ‘handicrafts of bygone times’.  Mary Mary Quite Contrary is a blog which, like this, also uses WordPress and is produced by passionate interpretation staff, artists, lecturers, students and all sorts of other interested people…

Anyway, back to the task in hand…


Guest blog spot

Hello, my name is Mandeep and I’m a Renaissance Museum Trainee.  I’ve been a trainee for about four months now and mainly work on MuBu.  Even though the main project I’m helping with is Digi-Dinos, I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to see what some of the other projects have been doing.

As part of my role I’m trying to gain as much knowledge of different museums and projects as possible.  So far it’s been really brilliant to see what some of the projects have been doing and the aims and methods of the projects vary quite a lot.  I’ve found that training workshops are valuable not only as a way of learning a formal skill, but also a great way of sharing progress and advice on project activities.

The last workshop I went to was about working with young people at the Sir John Moore Foundation, a lovely place to visit.  The trainer Madeleine Coburn helped us all to discuss various ways of engaging young and older people with heritage related projects. We were asked to put ourselves in the shoes of a person within the ages of fourteen and twenty-four.  I then had to explain that actually I didn’t need to imagine; I still fit in that category!

After an interesting day we were taken on an informal tour around the heritage centre by Linda Ruffle.  We were all so engrossed (and distracted by a little ghost) that we finished the day late but no-one seemed to mind.  On this traineeship I am learning a lot, like always write notes in a meeting and don’t forget your diary (however informal the meeting might seem).  More importantly I’ve learnt that it’s by attending things like workshops that project members can get advice and support that might be really useful.  Not to mention, a bit of giggle too!


More on website training

Today is the first day of the fourth set of training sessions offered to the MuBu projects. It’s a really great group – lots of enthusiasm. We’re based at People Development Works in Nottingham, an organisation that provides training and room hire in the peacefull setting of Colwick Park, right next to the river with narrow boats drifting past.

I’m getting rather used to this venue, it’s becoming a second and rather more swanky office for me. The staff here are really helpful. We found this facility by chance – searching for centrally located venues that could provide a computer suite with access to internets sites and no firewall to block social media access. A surprisingly difficult thing to find, but we’re really pleased that we did.

Rob’s doing a great job with the training and evaluation so far is very positive. Today the group are starting their first blog pages – creating the design and adding content, and linking through to Flickr and Twitter. We’re also having a look at what other’s have created on the site to get some ideas for our own projects. Participants have come from as far afield as Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire.


Creative writing

Following a meeting in the sunny courtyard of Nottingham Contemporary the team at Writing East Midlands are doing a call out for a MuBu creative writer. We hope to recruit someone to create new work inspired by some of the museums and collections involved in MuBu. Some work will be posted as ‘guest blogs’ – either audio recordings or text based, which will be on view within the project pages of MuBu. The project aims to provide museums with inspiring interpretation, and re-interpretation of their collections. We hope the writer will help to promote the project as a whole through social media networks.

Creative writing opportunity details.


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