Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Festival of Museums 2016 at The McManus - Dundee: A City of Innovation and Design 1920 - 1940

As some of you may or may not know, I work at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum as a visitor assistant. I've worked there for around six years and have worked at quite a few events that the museum has held over the years. I was very excited to be asked to help out with the social media side of things for the Festival of Museums event that was being held on Saturday the 14th of May. I love social media. I love apps. I love Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Periscope, Snapchat, Blogger and Facebook. I grew up with MySpace, DeviantArt, Livejournal and Bebo and I'm always on the look out for any new and interesting social media apps.

As well as social media being fun to take part in on a daily basis, it's also an incredibly helpful for helping connect with audiences far and wide. There are still people finding out about events through print but there is also a vast group of online users who tend to find out their info on the net. To help reach out to these people and involve them in events such as these, both those attending as well as those at home, a range of social media can be incredibly helpful bringing everyone together and getting everyone involved.

I helped film the event with Periscope, an app which lets you live stream, allowing people at home that couldn't make it to the event to join in an still be part of the amazing night. I also posted throughout the night to Instagram using the hashtag #FoM2016 If you're on Instagram or Twitter yourself, check out the hashtag to see images from the event as well as other venues taking part in this years Festival of Museums.

This year's McManus event was 'Dundee: A City of Innovation and Design 1920 - 1940'.  A great theme which encouraged some visitors to dress up in the style of this era. The night itself had such a buzz about it. The crowds gathered outside for the event to start at 7pm. The Dundee University swing dancers got everyone in the mood with their incredible dance moves before Oor Wullie himself greeted the crowd and welcomed them in to The McManus.

Upon entering the never ending crowd flowed through the building, being welcomed by staff either dressed in 1920 style clothing or in the very fetching Festival of Museums t-shirt I can be seen modelling above, complete with #FoM2016 on the back.  The cafe, where refreshments were available, was full of excited visitors, bloggers, and photographers and a group of dancers from Dundee Dance Studios entertained the crowds with some Can-Can dancing. The McManus 168 group were situated in the grand Gothic Hall, to answer any questions the visitors may have had and the Creative Learning Team entertained the families with fun activities such as making 1920s headbands and hats. Oor Wullie joined the crowds and made some new friends on the night.

The crowds wound up the grand stairs and into the Dundee and the World Gallery where the haunting and beautiful notes of Mongolian throat singing flowed out into the corridor.  The visitors stood transfixed, listening to the incredible performer, some with heads bowed comtemplativly , some sitting peacefully in the atmospheric gallery surrounded by objects from around the world, all silent taking in this wonderful performance. One of the McManus curators was also on hand to answer any questions people may have had about the Mongolian objects on display. So many people were eager to see the second performance later on in the evening.and find out more.

Further along the corridor there was a theatre set up showing footage from 'Dundee in the 1930s' from The National Library of Scotland. A rare opportunity to see Dundee in a totally different form.

Artists from Dundee Comics Creative Space and Treehouse Comics had the incredible task of drawing a large scale comic of the event. These guys are amazing to watch and visitors were able to see the comic coming to life over the course of the evening.  It was also great to see the artists sketching around the building throughout the event, allowing visitors to see them at work and hopefully inspiring some to give it a go themselves.  If people did start feeling creative there were some great activities to join in with in the Creative Learning Studio and there was lots to learn from the talks given by the group about the history of comic book creation.

Heading along visitors could drop in to see Charting New Waters, the newest exhibition in The McManus which includes DP&L ship models as well as the incredible paintings of the Antarctic by artist, Frances Walker. I very much urge you to head along and see this new exhibition which also includes other new acquisitions that have entered the collection.

A range of stunning 1920s outfits were on display in the grand Victoria Gallery. A wonderful opportunity to see these beautifully preserved pieces up close. From here visitors were then able to head down to the Landscape and Lives gallery to meet Harold Plenderleith who discussed the methods of conservation used to save artefacts in Tutankhamen's tomb, along with our own conservator discussing methods of plaiting. The visitors were keen to ask lots of questions and the two conservators were giving out intriguing facts all evening.

Finally, The Onion Club put on a fabulous performance for the crowds with their cabaret act, dancing, singing and feather boa ruffling! The amazing act had the crowd transfixed and raving about it for the rest of the evening.

In amongst all the events it was so great to see bloggers who had travelled from far and wide to join us in The McManus for the event and share their experiences through their own social media outlets.
It was a brilliant to be part of such a great night with a really great atmosphere.

I haven't included the photos I took for The McManus on Instagram as I'd love you to go and check them out yourself.  I've included the links to the various social media sites of the museum below so please do add them to keep up to date with what's on.

The McManus instagram - @mcmanusdundee
The McManus twitter - @McManusDundee
The McManus Facebook -


No comments:

Post a Comment