museumaker 2010

The museumaker programme closed in June 2011. No fresh material will be added. The domain registration expired in June 2013, so that information about the programme, the projects of its 16 partner museums and the legacy tools are available to enable the collaborative working it has pioneered to be taken forward. When the site's domain registration expired the new owner of this domain chose to keep an edited version of the archived content.

museumaker is a prestigious national project, involving sixteen museums across four participating regions.


museumaker is unlocking the creative potential of collections through imaginative interchanges between the heritage and contemporary craft sectors.

museumaker will run continuously until Spring 2011 with the first seven projects taking place over the Summer of 2010. Major events will take place in the four museumaker regions (East Midlands, London, South East and North East). museumaker is also organising a number of public lectures and workshops.

As well as offering new experiences for current museum visitors, museumaker will demonstrate innovative ways of developing audiences; especially children, families and young people. Each museum has commissioned one or more outstanding makers to create intriguing new work in response to the venue and its collections. A maker-led participatory project, engaging a wide range of visitors, will be integral to each programme. There are also opportunities for partner museums to develop new products for retail.

museumaker originated in the East Midlands and is a Renaissance East Midlands project.

museumaker is supported by Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and its programme Renaissance.

Along with The Shape of Things and Forming Ideas, museumaker is one of the three projects which comprise Forming the Future. This is the Arts Council England’s major strategic initiative which spans England and reaches out to international craft practice with the aim of taking contemporary craft forward strategically.


The Sixteen Partner Museums

1 Alford Manor
Susan Bradley
2 The Beaney Art Museum & Library
Laura Thomas
3 The Bowes Museum
Laura Baxter
4 The Geffrye Museum
Kei Ito
5 The Guildhall Museum, Rochester
Cathy Miles
6 Harley Museum & Gallery
Jane Wildgoose and Bompas & Parr
7 Kedleston Hall
Susie MacMurray
8 Killhope Lead Mining Museum
Steve Manthorp
9 The Lightbox, Woking
Richard Jackson
10 Middlesbrough Museum Service
Lin Cheung & Laura Potter and Ted Noten
11 Orleans House Gallery
Eleanor Pritchard
12 Royal Pavilion Brighton
Clare Twomey
13 University of Nottingham Museum
Lina Peterson
14 Valentine’s Mansion
Timorous Beasties
15 The Women’s Library
Nicola Malkin
16 Woodhorn, Northumberland Museum Archives
Rebecca Chitty and Jessamy Kelly


Laura Baxteris making A Garden of Lantern Birds at The Bowes Museum


30 October 2010 – January 2011

Laura Baxter will create a group of illuminated birds, inspired by details found in the Museum’s paintings, textiles and ceramic collection.

The Bowes Museum is housed in a spectacular Grade 1 listed ‘chateau”, purpose built by John and Josephine Bowes to house their stunning collection of fine and decorative arts. Between 1861-75 they amassed some 15,000 objects: furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items, covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. Prior to her marriage, Josephine had a successful career as an actress on the Paris stage, and she was particularly keen to nurture young, creative talent.

The Bowes have commissioned Laura Baxter to create a group of “lantern birds”: illuminated, laser-cut metal birds inspired by the many birds, featuring patterns from The Blackborne Lace Collection. Of different sizes and styles, some grouped together, others sitting alone, the lantern birds will be installed in the parterre in front of the Museum. As darkness falls, the birds, outlined in light, will appear as lace-like filigree lanterns, casting shadows and magically transforming the gardens. This installation allows Laura, who has developed a reputation for her exquisite jewellery and wall-pieces to work on a large scale in the outdoors, building on the success of her recent large scale commission at the Charles Rennie MackIntosh designed house, 78 Derngate, Northampton (

Take part: Laura Baxter will lead hands-on making workshops for young adults and their families. This programme is part of the Bowes current drive to actively engage younger audiences to enjoy the museum and its collections. There will be a chance to share the outcome of their making and Laura’s commission at this year’s Halloween Lantern Parade. Details of workshops and parade will be available later.

Before visiting any museumaker project, please contact the museum for visitor information and opening times.

Laura Baxter has 14 years’ experience as a jeweller, mepalsmith and lighting designer. She employs a wide variety of materials.



Nicola Malkin is making Crafted Footnotes at The Women's Library

museumaker: unlocking the creative potential of museum collections

28 October 2010-26 March 2011

Founded in 1926, The Women’s Library contains an acclaimed collection of 60,000 books and pamphlets, 3,000 periodic titles, 450 archival collections and 5,000 objects including banners and badges that celebrate and record women’s lives

The archive is a Designated Collection of national importance, sited just off Petticoat Lane on the site of a former East End washhouse. The Library is part of London Metropolitan University, and visiting the collections is free and open to everyone. There is a lively programme of exhibitions and events in the gallery space.

Nicola Malkin has created her own versions of domestic items, ranging in scale from the gigantic to the miniature. Her historical themes, all relating to women, are also documented in the Women’s Library: strength of character, equality, dignity and sisterhood; abortion, baby-snatching, wash houses and craft. Her objects, which include a giant bar of soap, a 3D poster and a cluster of ladybirds, will form a trail of ‘hidden stories’. They will be placed around the Library, in the foyer, on bookshelves and other furniture, with archive numbers that lead to the relevant sections of the archive. Nicola’s work will complement the Library’s major exhibition exploring the role of domestic craft.

Taking part: Nicola is currently working with the library to devise a series of interactive workshops to involve the Tower Hamlet community and students from London Met with her installation. Details about how to take part will be available shortly.



Richard Jackson is making Exchanging Luminance at The Lightbox

From 5 November 2010

Richard Jackson will create a permanent work that will draw people into the courtyard, and then into the Museum.

Opened just three years ago in 2007, the Lightbox is Woking’s exciting new gallery, museum and shop offering a focus for contemporary art, craft and design in the region. Designed by Marks Barfield Architect, also of the London Eye, the museum won the Art Fund Prize 2008. The building is home to the imaginatively interactive Woking Story and The Ingram Collection, an important collection of Modern and Contemporary British Art on long term loan. Two spacious galleries host a wide range of temporary exhibitions, including contemporary art and loans from major UK and overseas museums.

Richard Jackson has created a sculpture that will draw people into the courtyard, and then into the museum. This installation combines glass, stainless steel and LED lighting, which will enable its appearance to change, according to the light. The imagery in the glass is inspired by the essence of the building and its collections, a focus for art, craft and contemporary design, and will light up the garden on winter afternoons and summer evenings. Making Connections: Richard Jackson and Sally Fawkes, the first in a series of regional craft exhibitions at The Lightbox, has been staged to coincide with the unveiling of the installation.

Take part: Richard is working with the Lightbox on a workshop programme for a neigbouring special school and a day centre for the elderly. Following a visit to the museum, participants will explore ways of creating their own lit pieces. This community engagement programme contributes to the Lightbox’s substantial community engagement programme with local schools and organisations to bring the collections alive for residents – young and old alike.