Abbey House – Community Gallery

June 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Jenny.Budd in Kirkstall Abbey | Kirkstall Matters | Our Community

UnknownAbbey House Museum aim to involve people more in the way we plan and design our exhibitions. We are planning to change the existing nursery room into a community-themed gallery, and we want your ideas about what it should look like, and the best ways to get a range of local people involved.   We will be putting all ideas submitted to public vote on the weekend of the Kirkstall Festival (13/07/13).

To join the conversation, email us at: with ‘community’ as the subject.

Or fill in your details on a ‘community gallery’ flyer and hand to a visitor assistant or pop it into our suggestion box in the museum hallway.

Kirkstall Abbey House Museum is undergoing some changes and wants to get more involved with the Kirkstall community. Kirkstall Matters speaks to their new Assistant Curator, Michael Wharton, to find out what will be happening and how we and the local community can help! Michael Wharton says: “I have recently been appointed as Assistant Community Curator at Abbey House Museum, which is a new role funded under the Arts Council’s Museums Major Partner programme.

“The aim of my role is to improve access and engagement at the museum, particularly by groups who do not currently make best use of us, and who are not well represented in our collection and our exhibitions.

“Abbey House has a proud tradition of reaching out and engaging with wide and diverse groups. However, we aim to do more, and are very keen to explore new and exciting ways in which we can make our service more relevant to the wider community.”

“Some of the ideas we are exploring to improve access and increase engagement are:

Community Gallery:  we have allocated an exhibition space at the museum to be developed in partnership with local community groups. To be involved in the discussion about this initiative, please email  with ‘community’ as the subject, telephone 0113 2305492 , or drop in  and ask for me, Michael.

New exhibitions:  we want to involve and include more local voices in the design and development of our general exhibitions. Our current big exhibition is ‘Fate and Fickle Fortune’ and our tentative theme for 2014 is ‘Yorkshire’. We want your input into these exhibitions to make sure we capture the local flavour of Kirkstall in what we do.

Oral histories:  we aim to record and capture more local stories, particularly from unsung community activists and from people who have settled in the area from overseas. If this is you or someone you know, please drop me a line or call up for a chat.

Self-guided tours:  we are exploring the possibility of developing a new range of tours for the museum and for Kirkstall Abbey which will be available for download onto visitors’ own mobile devices. Maybe you would like to be involved in the creation of a tour? If so, get in touch.

Community Events:  can Kirkstall Abbey be better used as a venue for community cultural events, public meetings, etc? We would like to hear your views and suggestions.

Outreach sessions:  I am happy to come and talk to local community groups about what the museum has to offer and how we aim to involve people in our service, and to bring small displays and handling items from our collection.

Inreach sessions:  if you or your group have particular needs and requirements, we are happy to arrange tours of the museum which are designed around your needs.

Partner displays:  we are happy to assist local groups to curate and display their own small exhibitions within their own sites.

Volunteering:  we hope to increase opportunities for volunteers to get involved in the work of the museum, including our community engagement work. This will be coordinated through the museum service’s central volunteer programme. Please get in touch to discuss opportunities.

Community archaeology:  we aim to organise archaeological digs around the Kirkstall area involving local groups and individuals, and to assist in the research, interpretation and exhibition of any items found. Please get in touch if you would like to know more or be involved.

The above plans are very much initial outline ideas and are not set in stone. We are very keen to hear ideas and suggestions from local community groups and individuals about how we can serve the community better; so if you have any thoughts please do get in touch.

Tel: 0113 2305492 (extension 31)


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