Monday, January 30, 2017

Artist Commission - Wakefield Museum Learning Zone Display


Wakefield Council Museum Service has been successful in securing funding from Arts Council England for a project to commission an artist or cultural organisation to create an open display in Wakefield Museum’s Learning Zone. This display will contain objects from the museums extensive handling collection and will be co-curated in partnership with people who have not visited Wakefield Museum before.

We are looking for an artist to use our handling collections as inspiration to create a beautifully engaging display that incorporates the potential for visitors to interact with the display. Combining artistic practice, be it sculpture or multi-media or painting, with museum objects to wow, thrill and surprise our visitors.   Take this opportunity to amaze us with ideas that allow people to engage with museum collections in a different way.

Wakefield Council’s museum handling collection

Wakefield Council holds over 110,000 historic objects, which tell the stories of the people, places, events and activities of the residents of and visitors to the Wakefield District, from prehistoric times to the present day.  Part of the collection (around 4000 objects) is designated as a ‘handling collection’.  This has objects as diverse as a lion’s skull, a Victorian mouse trap, wind-up toys, household equipment and roman oil lamps.


The successful project will work to co-curate the display with people who have not visited Wakefield Museum before, bearing in mind the diverse nature of the Wakefield District and those people who may face barriers accessing the museum. It will be the responsibility of the selected artists / organisation to identify, recruit and liaise with this group of people.

Learning Zone

The Learning Zone is situated in Wakefield Library, in Wakefield One.  It is used by the Museums learning team to deliver learning sessions to a wide range of audiences.  The display will be placed by the glass wall linking the Learning Zone to the library so needs to be viewable from both sides, acting as a partial screen, and accessed from within the Learning Zone.  We expect the installation to project into the room no more than about 0.5m. An image of the space can be provided upon request.

Display Area: Learning Zone Windows

Project timetable:  Display to open by the end of June 2017.

Project budget: up to £2500

This budget covers fee and delivery of the following: 
  • Object selection (in conjunction with museum staff)
  • The  formation and construction of a visually interesting display using the selected museum objects (to include display materials)
  • Recruitment of and sessions working with your selected group
  • Graphic interpretation explaining the installation (text writing, proof reading, image selection and sourcing, graphic design and production)
  • Text and image selection for marketing material (marketing material will be created by Wakefield Council)
  • Regular updates of progress
  • Installation of display, staff briefing.
Object selection, text content, graphic design and display techniques to be signed off by Wakefield Council museum team.

Please note that in the interest of conservation you cannot:
  • Dismantle objects without agreement
  • Use non-conservation grade adhesives and fixings 
How to apply:

If you are interested in submitting a proposal please provide the following information:
  • An outline of your idea, including what group of people you will be working with and how you will recruit them to the project.
  • A breakdown of budget (including a clear indication of your fee).
  • A delivery timeline, featuring key dates for object selection, text writing, graphic design, production and installation.
  • An explanation as to how you would ensure the safe and appropriate display of the museum objects.
Email to  by 5pm on Friday 17 February

If you require further information about the project please contact Maya Harrison,, 01924 305350.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lots of exciting events!

We are very excited to have a wide range of events and activities coming up across the museums.

Our next is a talk on the intriguing mystery that is the Tanshelf pottery collection, now on display at Pontefract Museum.  On Thursday 19 January, you will be able to hear about the project from someone directly involved - Janet McNaught.

Families are spoiled for choice over the half term, with something different to do every day! A selection of what is on offer is available in our handy Activity Planner. 
Click on the image below to open!
Click on image to open the planner
Castleford is hosting it's popular Iron Age Day on Saturday 18 February, with fierce warrior face-painting, storytelling and crafts.
We are then really excited about a presentation and dinner being hosted in Create CafĂ© - next to the museum.  The ever-popular History Wardrobe will be performing one of their fabulous presentations - Jolly Hockey Sticks - about school days and school stories, followed by a tasty twist on a school dinner from Create.
It should be a fantastic evening!

- and that's all just for starters!

There's lots more listed in our What's On - from a butter and cheese making workshop for adults, to iPad animation sessions for families.  Do have a look at our What's On guide below - or pick one up from any of the museums.
Click on image to open!