Developing local narratives for objects in national collections: Lessons learned from the “Number Please? Working with the Enfield Exchange” project.
|Authors||Geoghegan, Hilary, McIlvenna, Kathleen and van der Vaart, Merel|
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.
|Keywords||Museums; Collaboration; Local narratives; National collections; Museum collections; Oral history; Public history|
|Journal||Curator: The Museum Journal|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1111/cura.12201|
|Web address (URL)||http://hdl.handle.net/10545/622352|
|Publication dates||19 Jun 2017|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||16 Mar 2018, 11:55|
Archived with thanks to Curator: The Museum Journal
|Contributors||Institute of Historical Research|
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