31 January 2020
Posted by Adrian Harris
My first official day at Poole Museums began with a whirlwind tour directed by the welcoming and knowledgeable Rebecca. I had already spent an hour exploring the different floors and exhibits on my own, earwigging on visitors and school children bustling around the space, but it was great to have the official guided walk. We popped across to Scaplen’s Court, which isn’t presently open to the public, and absorbed the wonderful atmosphere and space in the historic building that once provided ale and rest to parliamentarian soldiers during the Civil War.
I then had the opportunity to hear about Poole Museums’ development plans, along with all the public events that go on all year round inside this vibrant heritage centre. I also had the chance to quiz my hosts on what sort of outcomes they were hoping to gain from my tenure as Writer in Residence. I was pleased to find that the team at Poole Museums are open to all of my outlandish suggestions and offered a very convivial arrangement where we can share all our thoughts and suggestions during this early stage of development in a free and open atmosphere of creativity.
One area of thought where we both heartily agreed was the importance of creating a space where children have an opportunity to play in the museum. We talked about the possibility of my suggested content working to connect areas of the collection, focusing on interactive pieces that engage and inform but also have a sense of fun.
So, our next steps will be to look at creating some interesting engagement workshops where we can collect opinions from different groups on what works for the visitors and what may not work so well. And of course, I will be mining them for ideas on what they would like to see or experience when they next visit, because this is what both the museum and myself hope to create: an experience that people will enjoy and want to share with friends and family time and time again.