Heritage Futures exhibition now open at the Manchester Museum
On 13th December, members of the Heritage Futures research team visited Manchester for the private view event of the Heritage Futures exhibition, which is now open to the public. Several hundred people attended the event, including members of the project’s 28 international partner organisations.
The night opened with remarks from Professor Esme Ward, Director of the Manchester Museum, Professor Roey Sweet, Director of Partnerships and Engagement at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and Professor Rodney Harrison, as principal academic consultant on the exhibition.
Curated by Henry McGhie (Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology at the Manchester Museum) in consultation with the Heritage Futures research team, the exhibition explores the relationship between heritage, waste, loss, and how the research programme’s four main themes can be used to involve people in actively imagining and beginning to create the future they desire for themselves and others. It not only presents aspects of the academic research Heritage Futures research programme, but also utilises these themes to reimagine the museum and its collections.
In addition to research materials, photographs, films produced by project researchers and interactive artworks inspired by “the Polar Tombola” by Nancy Campbell and “the Human Bower” by Shelley Castle from Encounters Arts, some of the “star” exhibits include:
- A Herdwick Sheep, a breed of domestic sheep “native” to the Lake District of Cumbria in North West England;
- Tiles produced by the Heritage Futures team for the 1 million year Memory of Mankind archive in Austria;
- A replica of the Golden Record that was sent on board the Voyager spacecraft in 1978, and which has now left the solar system with messages to other civilisations;
- Recently discovered species of insect, found in the Museum collection;
- A Wandering Albatross, the bird with the greatest wingspan of any living bird, reaching up to 3.5 metres (11.5 feet);
- Seeds from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a Heritage Futures Studio, an adjacent gallery exhibiting local work that engages with the themes of the project, and that provide opportunities for people to imagine, express, plan for and begin to create their own collective desired futures. The exhibition will run until Autumn 2021, and forms the centrepiece of the museum’s major two year redevelopment programme hello future.
Further information regarding the exhibition can be found on the Manchester Museum’s website.