Over two weeks, the town of Berkeley was transformed into a museum where the community became temporary curators of their own past. The Town Museum project proved to be an effective way to bring archaeology into community life at Berkeley. The community were pleased to be so actively included within our research efforts and applauded the project vocally. Local businesses also saw the project and associated media coverage as a means to promote their business and support the local economy. The community also improved their knowledge of history, archaeology of their local area, and artefact analysis.
All stakeholders benefited from the project. Berkeley Castle were delighted to be able to share their history within the community, so as to enhance community relations, which is a priority for them. They also welcomed the possibility of increased publicity of their heritage site.The research efforts of the Department were showcased to great effect in a public venue.
Students developed an extensive range of transferable engagement-related skills, from communication to time management, and also enjoyed the experience. They valued the trust placed in them to lead the project and invested much personal time. Likewise, the community valued the trust given to them to become temporary curators of the artefacts.
The project outcomes and impacts are sustainable as they directly relate to the ongoing engagement efforts tied to the BCP. The BCP will continue for years to come, and students have a three year track record of electing to volunteer their own time to the Engagement Team efforts that sit alongside this, setting a precedent that is likely to continue. Talks are in place to identify funding streams to support her coordinator post for future years.Outcomes and impacts were publically shared via the BCP social media channels the University even covered the story in a press release: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2015/may/town-museum-project.html. Interest poured in from multiple directions online, and the Museums Association and Culture 24 also got in contact to cover the project.
The project serves as an adaptable example of good engagement practice that can be shared widely across the University and the wider HE sector, including subject areas beyond archaeology (e.g. Engineering, Geography).
Contact: Aisling Tierney firstname.lastname@example.org