Developing local narratives for objects in national collections: Lessons learned from the “Number Please? Working with the Enfield Exchange” project.

Journal article


Geoghegan, Hilary, McIlvenna, Kathleen and van der Vaart, Merel 2017. Developing local narratives for objects in national collections: Lessons learned from the “Number Please? Working with the Enfield Exchange” project. Curator: The Museum Journal. https://doi.org/10.1111/cura.12201
AuthorsGeoghegan, Hilary, McIlvenna, Kathleen and van der Vaart, Merel
Abstract

Museums of science, technology, and engineering are developing new ways of interpreting and displaying their collections. Increasingly objects are being placed within narratives of everyday use; the human side of technology. The focus of this article is a section of one of the last UK manual telephone switchboards, which was acquired by the Science Museum, London, following its decommissioning in 1960. This artifact offers a unique insight into a communication technology that relied extensively on female telephonists, a distinct way of understanding gender roles in the twentieth century. The authors explore strategies for developing local narratives for objects from national collections and reflect on lessons learned from a cross-institutional collaboration. This article highlights: the value of local historians, community events and oral histories to developing local narratives; how these activities informed understandings of the telephone switchboard; work life in the communications industry; the relationship between women and technology; and practical strategies that can enhance collections and museum practice through collaboration.

KeywordsMuseums; Collaboration; Local narratives; National collections; Museum collections; Oral history; Public history
Year2017
JournalCurator: The Museum Journal
PublisherWiley
ISSN00113069
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/cura.12201
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/622352
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
hdl:10545/622352
Publication dates19 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Mar 2018, 11:55
Rights

Archived with thanks to Curator: The Museum Journal

ContributorsInstitute of Historical Research
File
File
File Access Level
Open
File
File Access Level
Open
Permalink -

https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/924xz/developing-local-narratives-for-objects-in-national-collections-lessons-learned-from-the-number-please-working-with-the-enfield-exchange-project

Download files

  • 7
    total views
  • 3
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

The beating heart of the system: the health of postal workers in Victorian London
Brown, Douglas, Green, David, McIlvenna, Kathleen and Shelton, Nicola 2020. The beating heart of the system: the health of postal workers in Victorian London. Journal of Historical Geography. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2020.04.001
‘The postman wears out fast’: Retiring sick in London’s Victorian post office
Green, David, Brown, Douglas, McIlvenna, Kathleen and Shelton, Nicola 2019. ‘The postman wears out fast’: Retiring sick in London’s Victorian post office. The London Journal. 44 (3), pp. 180-205. https://doi.org/10.1080/03058034.2019.1662680
"The widows and orphans of servants are dying": The conflict of family in the design and application of nineteenth-century civil servant pensions
McIlvenna, Kathleen 2019. "The widows and orphans of servants are dying": The conflict of family in the design and application of nineteenth-century civil servant pensions. in: Palgrave Macmillan.
‘The natural foundation of perfect efficiency’: Medical services and the Victorian post office
McIlvenna, Kathleen, Brown, Douglas and Green, David R 2019. ‘The natural foundation of perfect efficiency’: Medical services and the Victorian post office. Social History of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hky123
Addressing ill health: Sickness and retirement in the Victorian post office
Green, David R, Brown, Douglas H L and McIlvenna, Kathleen 2018. Addressing ill health: Sickness and retirement in the Victorian post office. Social History of Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hky081