During the Muse: Makers in Museums project 8 small independent museums across Devon and Somerset piloted a new approach to working with artists. The museums, predominantly run by volunteers, had not previously worked with an artist. Each museum was supported by their museum development officer, and local arts organisations Devon Guild of Craftsmen and Somerset Art Works. They each developed an artist-led project aimed at bringing new audiences to the museum, and helping local people engage with the collections in new ways.
As someone with a museums background, I found the experience of working with Somerset Art Works and Devon Guild of Craftsmen immensely rewarding. The expertise and networks of the two arts organisations enabled the museums to appoint high quality artists, whose practice and interests matched each museum’s aims and collection. Both the talent of the artists and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the museum volunteers led to the creation of inspiring and amazing work, and to different opportunities for engagement with the collections for museum audiences.
Community Heritage and Museums Development Officer, Somerset
The experiences of artists and museums in working together are explained in the following two films: