Monday, July 1, 2013

Working with other local museums

Our staff have met up with some other museums in Wakefield to help out, share ideas and develop projects.

Curator John Whitaker and Local Studies Librarian Claire Pickering made a trip down to The Hepworth Wakefield to help them find out more about a mill building they are opening as a new exhibition space this summer.  The ground floor of the building on Wakefield waterfront which will be transformed into a gallery has a long history.
By looking through historic maps in the Local Studies Library we learned that the building (or at least versions of it) has been in use for at least 200 years. In the in the 1820s it is listed as Tootal's warehouse. Tootal was a corn factor (someone who traded in corn rather than produced it) so it probably stored corn. It became part of the Victorian Rutland Mills complex and was used in textile manufacture and was occupied by Patons and Baldwins from the 1920s. Textile firm Caddies Wainwrights took it over in the 1970s and it was part of the Arts Mill in the 1990s before becoming part of a major Waterfront Redevelopment scheme from 1997.  The Local Studies library has a wealth of information about Wakefield's buildings and businesses.

Local Studies Librarian Claire Pickering explores trade directories with Hepworth's Head of Communications and Marketing Hollie Latham
Cara Sutherland, the new curator at the Museum of Mental Health came to see us last week too. The museum, formally known as the Stephan Beaumont Museum  is currently being redeveloped and reorganised . The museum uses objects from Wakefield's West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, also known as Stanley Royd Hospital to explore our changing attitudes and treatments of mental illness. The collections, which include a padded cell, are very important and many objects were salvaged from the site before it was demolished and converted into apartments. Cara is very keen to get to grips the fantastic collections they have and get the museum refurbished and reopened.

Cara Sutherland next to Wakefield Museum's improving lives case which displays a sampler made by a patient at the asylum and a whistle used by one of its nurses.

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