Communicating Archaeology – case studies for engaging with collections 5 Mar 2021

The Society for Museum Archaeology has published a new report ‘Communicating Archaeology’ offering case studies in how archaeological collections are used in museums, both for exhibitions, events and co-production with the public. Highlighted projects include:  

  • The Lost Landscapes project run by Museums Worcestershire, which through touring and static exhibitions, artwork, talks and workshops helped visitors to imagine the area 1000 generations before the present, and to link that enormous change to modern climate concerns.
  • Leeds Museums and Galleries ran a consultation ‘Should we display the dead?’ seeking public input into ethical discussion of if, when and how museums should hold human remains for display and/or research.
  • The work of the Access Advisory Group at the Horniman Museum on the redisplay of anthropology collections, both to make them more accessible to disabled people, and to acknowledge the presence of disabled people across all parts of history and prehistory.

Report editors Gail Boyle and Jenni Butterworth comment “these case studies are a celebration of creativity, whether that be in the face of Covid-19, the advent of new technologies or changing societal, professional and organisational attitudes. They demonstrate how archaeological collections… are at the forefront of proactively promoting change…Archaeology not only has the capacity to change the narrative about the way people think about the world but also the capacity to change the way they think about themselves.” Society for Museum Archaeology