Going behind the scenes at The Herbert
Looking at taxidermy in the stores.
The morning of 1 October was warm and bright as 23 Wikimedians from across the UK, local GLAM professionals, and others made their way to Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry for the first public event of the GLAM/HAGAM partnership. The day consisted of eight different tours, covering all areas of the museum, and talks by a WM-UK chapter board member and GLAM outreach ambassador. On his first day working for the chapter, Wikimedia UK CEO Jon Davies attended, splitting his time between the Backstage Pass and a Wikipedia stall at the Freshers' Fair at the nearby Warwick University.
Roger Bamkin (Victuallers) - chair of Wikimedia UK - and Erin Hollis, Herbert 2.0 Project Assistant and museum contact for the partnership, opened the day and introduced attendees to the museum and the project as a whole. Attendees then broke out into three groups for tours of areas including the History Centre and its archives, the on-site stores and the off-site store building at Whitefriars, a former friary. In addition, head conservationist Jill Green ran a session for Wikimedians in the conservation department, and curators ran a "collections in focus" session, looking at archaeology and artefacts found in the Coventry area.
Mike Peel's presentation discussed past GLAM collaboration, and its ins and outs.
Mike Peel (Mike Peel), Secretary of Wikimedia UK, gave the first presentation after lunch. Peel provided an introduction to the GLAM project for those not already acquainted with it and looked at previous partnerships in the UK and new developments in GLAM collaboration. His slides can be found on Commons.
Having spent this summer as Wikimedia Outreach Ambassador to Bristol-based website ARKive, Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing) gave the second presentation. Operated by the charity Wildscreen, ARKive curates film and images of endangered species, so that if they become extinct, there will at least be a well of high-quality media. They also write original text about these species, and have donated 200 such texts under an open license. Andy also talked about the Derby Museums' Wright Challenge and the impact of an article he began on the King of Rome, a racing pigeon from Derby. His slides are also online. It was during Peel's presentation that the first new article of the day was written, by Andy Mabbett; on Cash's, a local company who played an important part in the Coventry silk ribbon industry.
In the afternoon, the most popular tours were repeated and two more "Collections in focus" sessions on ribbons and silk pictures and the visual arts collection (including the paintings store). The last event of the day was an edit-a-thon. The session spawned many articles including one on the Coventry Sallet, a medieval helmet, plus another on St. Mary's Priory and Cathedral, as well as several improved articles.
The day ended with many attendees retiring to a pub to continue their discussions.
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