FRIENDS OF DISCOVERY MUSEUM; WHAT WE DID IN 2018
We are a group of people who meet every Tuesday to repair, clean and refurbish the artefacts, exhibits and interactives in the various galleries. We also assist the keepers with applications for grants to enhance the exhibitions. We hope to motorise and illuminate more exhibits this coming year now that the pressure of the Rocket exhibition is removed. Over the past few years our focus has changed from being a group who tried to raise money for museum funds, to a group who actively participate in the repair, restoration and cleaning of exhibits and artefact’s.
We welcome anyone who would like to join us, no specialist skills are required apart from enthusiasm, but we hope to share our skills and learn new ones; all ages are welcome !
This year we have concentrated on AV equipment and have worked on the displays in the Story of the Tyne gallery; we have also successfully reinstated 2 of the touch screen units associated with the Tyne map and the boat display case; the hoist exhibit has been repaired. The “Power from Poo” exhibit is now fully repaired and operational again.
In the working lives gallery we are still working on the Armstrong car display. The motor and gearbox are very badly worn and a replacement would be very expensive so we are looking at manufacturing our own gearbox with the skills that are available within the group. There is still a great deal of work to be done on many other displays.
We hope to be able to restore other touch screen units, possibly reprogramming them so they can be used in other areas. One of our members has configured an old PC LCD screen so it can be run with a simple Raspberry Pi computer and displays a 6 foil PowerPoint presentation as a “moving description card”. This should be a cheap way to upgrade the information on many exhibits.
With the knowledge available in our group we have also helped support other TWAM museums on their penny presses and interactives; they also help us with materials for our projects.
We find a great lack of data on exhibits and interactives that hinder our work; we could do with a central archive and archivist for this documentation and volunteers able to set it up.
Working through the volunteers section we hope to recruit more assistance this coming year, especially with IT/ Software skills; we will also be working with young people and hope to give them training in a variety of life skills.
On the social side of things we have arranged trips to various other museums in the area including Shildon Railway Museum, Reeth Dales Museum, etc. We are hoping to run more trips this coming year to industrial heritage sites and lead mining areas in our local area.
Ed Dinning, Chair of Friends Mar 2019