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Collecting Corby: An engaging collections project

Text saying collecting Corby engaging collections work. Two images of two young women and a young man packing museum objects into boxes. One image of a box of papers.

Collecting Corby: An engaging collections project

Text saying collecting Corby engaging collections work. Two images of two young women and a young man packing museum objects into boxes. One image of a box of papers.

In October we worked with Corby Heritage Centre on a HLF funded collections project. The main aim of the project was to organise the Heritage Centre’s collection whilst creating an opportunity for public engagement. 

Our team of Heritage Assistants provided the capacity that Corby Heritage Centre needed to clean, pack and catalogue its collection. During the project, our Heritage Assistants learnt key collections management skills. The Heritage Centre’s volunteers also got involved in the project, learning best practice in cleaning, packing and cataloguing collections. Their new skills will inform their future work at the Heritage Centre and ensure that its collections are well managed.

Blue background with white text saying very interesting, this will help my student and demonstrate a new skill.

This collections project gave local people a chance to engage with Corby Heritage Centre’s collections, much of which is stored off-site. All of our work took place in Corby Cube, a public hub in Corby town centre which has a high footfall. The themes of the collections – the former steelworks, Corby Pole Fair (a unique tradition, the main event being a greasy pole topped with a ham!) and Roman archaeology – captured the interest of local people who were intrigued to see the objects and tell their own stories in connection with the town’s past. We encouraged local people to ‘get hands on’ with the collection by handling the objects themselves; many were reluctant to handle the objects (perhaps the result of a look, don’t touch mentality in museums) but were happy to chat and watch our team carry out collections work. Those who engaged with the collection expressed their interest in visiting the Heritage Centre to find out more about Corby’s past. The Heritage Centre even received a new donation of what is thought to be a former fairground ride!

Blue background with white text saying good to learn more about my community.

Culture Syndicates co-ordinated the project, constructing the funding bid, running and marketing the workshops and evaluating the project. If you have any ideas for collections projects that you would like to discuss with us, please get in touch.

Image overlaid with text. Image shows the hands of a man packing museum objects into a box. There is a pile of old recipe books next to the box. The text overlaid is white and reads: 1834 objects packed and catalogued; 178 people engaged; 588 Culture Syndicates hours; 91 volunteer hours; plus lots and lots of sheets of acid-free tissue.

To find out more about Corby Heritage Centre on its webpage: https://www.corby.gov.uk/heritage

See more of our collections projects here:

Rutland County Museum

British Homeopathic Association

By Natasha Clegg, Projects Officer

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