Seven heritage venues in and around Worcester provided placements for the trainees:
At the time of the project The Elgar Birthplace Museum was a small independent museum containing a unique and nationally important collection of manuscripts, letters, press cuttings, concert diaries, recordings and other items associated with the life, work and influences of Sir Edward Elgar. Through artefacts, exhibitions and archival material held in the modern Elgar Centre and atmospheric Birthplace Cottage, the Museum provides a fascinating insight into the life and music, family and friends, and musical inspirations of Sir Edward Elgar. More recently the Museum has been acquired by The National Trust.
Worcester’s two medical museums tell the story of the history of medicine in the city and beyond. The Infirmary Museum is an interactive exhibition at the University of Worcester’s City Campus, combining history, science, art and technology to explore medical stories of one of England’s oldest infirmaries. The George Marshall Medical Museum, based at the Charles Hastings Education Centre on the site of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, exhibits a fascinating collection of objects illustrating how medicine and healthcare have developed over the past 250 years.
The Hurd Library was created in 1781-2 by Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester, when he built an extension to Hartlebury Castle to house his large collection of books. It includes volumes from the libraries of Alexander Pope and William Warburton — Bishop of Gloucester and, in his time, an important and controversial scholarly figure — and over 100 books given to Bishop Hurd by King George III.
Hurd’s will left the books for the use of Bishops of Worcester, in perpetuity. Whilst many collections have been sold or dispersed, Hurd’s books remain together, on the shelves and in the room built specifically for them.
Royal Worcester’s history provides a unique picture of the development of industrial production in England over two and a half centuries. Porcelain was first manufactured in Worcester in 1751 and the Company quickly earned an unrivalled reputation for production of high quality tableware.
The factory museum collection was originally brought together to provide a source of inspiration for the factory workers and was opened to the public in 1879. The factory collections were combined with the private collections of C.W. Dyson Perrins (of the Worcestershire Sauce family) who created the Perrins Museum Trust in 1946 to protect them for future generations.
Today the Museum of Royal Worcester has three period galleries, an exhibition hall/ lecture theatre and shop. The collections are recognised by the Art Fund as being of exceptional importance and include over 8,000 items of porcelain dating from the start of production, pattern books, order books, employment records, copper plate engravings, photographs, film and an exceptional audio recording library which charts factory workers’ memories from the 1930’s to the end of production.
The University of Worcester Research Collections comprise both books and a variety of other materials on subjects relevant to the university’s particular specialisms.
A large range of material on childhood and children’s literature includes alphabet books, 19th century adventure stories, children’s toys, works by local authors, African children’s books and other stories for children from other cultures.
Material on the theme of design includes book covers, postcards and other ephemera, whilst historical material includes 18th century printed books, the archives of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society and the archives of a local business — Kay & Co.
Worcester Cathedral’s library and archive, founded in Anglo-Saxon times, is located in the Cathedral’s south aisle roof space. The medieval collection is one of the most important in any cathedral in the United Kingdom and used by international academics and students every year. It contains 298 medieval manuscripts including the famous Worcester Antiphoner, which is a music and service book from the early thirteenth century. There are also forty-five incunabula (medieval printed books) which belonged to the Benedictine monks of Worcester Cathedral and over 5,600 post-medieval books collected by the Dean and Chapter of the post-reformation Anglican cathedral. The manuscripts date from the Anglo-Saxon times to the dissolution of the monastery. The books are on a range of topics from theology through to natural history, science, law, military, and travel.
The cathedral archive contains around 19,000 documents, registers, letters, plans, and maps relating to the land, property and business of the cathedral from the medieval era to the present day. These documents are consulted by students and local or family history researchers every week.
“Worcester Cathedral Library has 7,000 books. I have relished the opportunity to work with a nationally important collection.” Tamsin Rowe, Cathedral Library trainee 2011- 2012
Worcester’s principal art gallery and museum hosts a unique programme of contemporary art exhibitions, as well as housing a historic picture collection and an intriguing selection of objects ranging from a 19th century chemist’s shop to the wonderful Regimental Museum. The Museum Services of Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council have provided a high standard of service to local residents and visitors for many years. Their collections are significant to the County but also in some cases are regionally and nationally important; they have been built up for almost 200 years and between them represent the collective memory and record of the people, landscape and habitats of Worcestershire. Over 100,000 people visit Museum Services public buildings every year to enjoy displays, exhibitions and a wide range of events and activities. In April 2010 the two museum services joined to form Museums Worcestershire, a management partnership between Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council overseen by a joint committee.
“The opportunity to curate a key exhibition at the gallery, Stanhope Forbes England, has been a fantastic educational and creative experience, from securing loans and insurance to planning the hang and interpretation.” Emalee Beddoes, Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum Trainee 2014 – 2015
Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service provides access to archive and archaeology resources to thousands of people each year, both remotely and on site at The Hive, Worcester. Here the records of thousands of years of Worcestershire history and archaeology are preserved and accessed, supported by expert staff, allowing customers to connect with the stories of Worcestershire people and places.
“Working with the Archive has enabled me to make links between real life events and items in the collection, bringing these out into the public spaces for visitors to enjoy.” Sarah Ganderton, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service trainee 2014-2015