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Exciting behind-the-scenes work at Beacon Museum

Beacon staff at work during social distancing

WHILE the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven is closed to the public, behind the scenes work continues on exciting future projects.

Bears! – an interactive, family exhibition, wasn’t able to open as planned at Easter, but it is ready to go when lockdown ends. It will then run until a date in September.

The museum’s summer exhibition, Medieval Medicine, has been rescheduled to summer 2021.

Beacon Museum Director, Elizabeth Kwasnik, said: “We’ve built great working relationships with other museums over the years. That meant we could renegotiate the timings of both Bears! – with colleagues at the National Centre for Storytelling – and Medieval Medicine with the Jorvik museum.

“The programme after September currently remains unchanged, but we are confident we can adapt to whatever is required at the time. The team is committed to good communications with everyone we work with so, when we re-open, we can hit the  ground running.”

In the meantime a skeleton staff is completing the building checks, maintenance, security and environmental controls required at a complex building holding thousands of artefacts.

Staff are also remotely working on collections documentation, social media, exhibitions and research for future programming, funding and events. Online visitors can catch up with Baxter the Bear each week with a new learning video available on the museum’s Facebook page. The team is also now working to share elements from within the museum’s digital archive to wider audiences with rarely-seen images and artefacts featured each day.

Elizabeth added: “Work is continuing, with contractors, on an exciting new digitisation project, generously funded by the Rural Development Payments Agency and Sellafield Ltd. It will offer a range of new digital attractions over the next 18 months.

“Luckily, working with computer design boffins has allowed us to make progress with modernising the museum offer, even while we can’t be there. Our designers can do most of what they do from home, so we have been working on some really exciting new ways of interpreting local history.”

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