National Memory Local Story Schools Project

National Memory Local Story Schools Project

8th Jul 2013

The museum is currently taking part in a project with the National Portrait Gallery and a company called Media 19 called National Memory Local Story. The project is funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Arts Programme and gives young people the opportunity to learn about World War One. Other museums taking part are The National Museum of Scotland, The National Museum of Wales, The National Museum of Northern Ireland, The Redbridge Museum.

Museum staff and volunteers Michael Cornwell and Martyn McIntyre are working for two weeks with ten children from Avon College, Durrington and then two weeks with ten children from Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. We also have an artist in residence for the month, Henny Burnett. Artefacts, photos and archives from the museums’ collection are being used and the children are also learning about our catalogue system called MODES.

Project summary

National Memory Local Stories is a creative participation project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and led by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in partnership with Media 19 and five national and local area museums across the UK.  These are National Museums Northern Ireland, National Museums Scotland, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Redbridge Museum and The Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum.

This innovative project will explore how the discovery of locally relevant objects from museum collections, via creative digital media production workshops, can engage young people and artists in responding to significant moments in the history of the First World War.

As the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War approaches, the stories and knowledge of this conflict are no longer in living memory.  This contributes to the history being perceived as distant and disconnected from many individuals including young people. However, on examination the links are still there through personal stories, objects and museum collections. We are seeking to develop these local stories as a way into understanding the scale and impact of the First World War at the time and its ongoing legacy today, and in relation to current conflict throughout the world.

The use of anniversaries and centenaries by museums, galleries and heritage sites is a common device.  Through this project we aim to explore how to make these notable dates relevant to young people.  The results of this will not only link to the ongoing events surrounding the First World War centenary commemoration (2014 – 2018) but will be applicable to other such anniversaries for the National Portrait Gallery and the wider sector.