An Interview with the Guardian of the ‘Mighty Beasts’.

On a grey day in November, I visited Solent Sky Museum in Southampton. My mission was to interview the manager Steve Alcock to hear his experiences about running a museum and to gather advice that would be invaluable for anyone looking for clues on running their own museum or exhibition.

Those of us who had arrived early had already enjoyed a coffee and browsed the gift shop where there was a display of cards, postcards, model cars and airplanes. While I sat at a café table under the aircraft exhibits, I thought about the sights we would see on the tour. This, I anticipated, would fill in the gaps in my knowledge of this museum’s stories, and bring these huge metal beasts to life. We were greeted by a pleasantly cheerful and relaxed Steve Alcock, museum historian, for our tour of the Solent Sky Museum.Steve was a natural storyteller and the ‘cheeky chappy’ talk was reminiscent of the friendly banter I remember from Fords workers, or even my own grandfather, who liked to tell a tale or …

Trawling through archives: volunteer research team gets busy

The past few months have been busy at the TRANSITion Project as the project team and research volunteers trawled through local archives, libraries and online resources. We have been looking for information and audio-visual material to help tell the history of the former Ford site in a pop-up museum due in Spring 2018.

A behind-the-scenes visit to the archives of the National Motor Museum Beaulieu introduced the group to their vast collection of photographs, films, publications and ephemera.
Curator, Sarah Wyatt, explained the workings of the archive and showed examples of items relating to the motor industry in general, and Ford Motor Company history in particular. She demonstrated the different equipment required to play the older analogue formats of film and sound.
Visits to Eastleigh Museum and Hampshire Record Office produced some fascinating insights into the site's earlier history of aviation during the Second World War.
Settling down in the cinema at Wessex Film and So…

Taking the Floor at Ford: women in a man's world

Taking the Floor at Ford: In Conversation with Debbie Bacon and Lolly Gresty, former employees at Ford Transit Assembly Plant, Southampton, 23 October 2017. [This event was part of the SO: To Speak Festival]
I feel I’ve been very fortunate to have been brought up in a time when girls were allowed to do whatever they wanted basically.Just tap on the right door and make sure they let you in. And not give up.” [Debbie]
And she didn’t give up – not when she and her friends at school had to fight to be allowed to study technical drawing usually only offered to boys; not when Factories Act rules placed restrictions during her apprenticeship at Ford Dagenham; nor when she was faced with resentful male colleagues on becoming their supervisor. It was this resilience and determination that helped Debbie and other women like her to succeed in male-dominated workplaces in manufacturing and engineering.
These stories were the focus of our discussion at the packed-out event at Mettricks Old Town Caf…

FREELANCE BRIEF: Exhibition Design Consultant to provide training

FREELANCE BRIEF: Exhibition Design Consultant to provide training The Heritage Lottery funded project Transition from fields to Ford and beyond is seeking aFreelance Exhibition Design Consultant to provide two sessions of training to a team of volunteer curators whose task is to support professionals in designing and curating a pop-up museum exploring the changing uses of the former Ford site in Swaythling, Southampton.

Hands up if you could help create a Pop-Up Museum in Swaythling

We are seeking volunteers to help us create and deliver a pop-up museum launching in two cargo containers at a site in Swaythling in April 2018.

The Curation Team will meet on Tuesdays, 1-3pm at Swaythling Neighbourhood Centre from Tuesday 31 October

The Community Enterprise Team will meet on Thursdays, 4-6pm at the Round About cafe on Wide Lane, Swaythling from Thursday 2 November.

Volunteers in the curation team will plan and deliver the museum by:

Liaising with the exhibition design consultant to devise a plan for the museumresearching the history of the site in local archivesTranscribing recorded oral history interviewsListening to recorded interviews and selecting content for the museumSelecting and collating archive content for the museumWriting text panels and taking photos for film, website and printRunning the museum over 7 days in Easter 2018
Volunteers in the community enterprise team will plan and deliver the museum by:
Liaising with the steering team to devise a plan for t…

Down Memory Lane at Milestones Museum

Our final community coach trip of the summer was to Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. As before it was very popular and we had to get a bigger coach! Many of our regulars from previous trips to Watercress Line and National Motor Museum Beaulieu joined us again as we took a trip down memory lane. 

Run by Hampshire Cultural Trust, Milestones Museum is a huge, cavernous immersive space, which houses under its cover a re-created Victorian streetscape complete with a working/serving pub and a hugely popular sweet shop, among other things. 

Descending the stairs our group dispersed to try out the different displays and activities – exploring the shops, warehouses and businesses from a bygone era, checking out the Thornycrofts collection of vehicles, sharing reminiscences in the roomsets of past decades, or queuing up to stock up on favourite sweets or pints. 

The museum is a great introduction to the industrial and economic history of the Basingstoke and Hampshire areas: vehicles made by Thorn…