Meet the Collection: the journey so far

by Helen Young

Meet the Collection: Helen Young reflects on the project so far

I have been working with RGHT for 2 ½ years and have been delivering Meet the Collection (MtC) for around 6 months now (minus the current pause of course) and wanted to use this time to reflect on the journey so far. I began working on MtC back in spring-time last year and one of the first important tasks I had to complete was getting the units designed and built. Following the tender responses I and the RGHT team selected Qualia LTD based in Yorkshire as the best fit for the job, the initial designs were thoughtful, responded really well to my (extensive!) brief and gave the team and I a great visual for the project. I travelled up north when the build was nearly complete to meet the lovely team hard at work to get a better idea of size and what kind of objects I’d be able to take out and about with me. Once the units were finished and delivered safely to the Museum Collection & Archive space the collections team and I got to work filling up the spaces with lots of really interesting objects, artefacts and stories to share.

This project has been a really engaging way to share local history, shared heritage, hidden stories and above all to learn from those around us! I’ve been working in the Royal Borough of Greenwich for around 5 years now and thought I knew a lot about the area- but this project has really increased my knowledge of the borough’s history, landscape and the lesser-known historical treasures. Some of my favourite pop-up moments have centres around members of the community (strangers to each other prior to the project) working together to recall or find the location of a particular former pub, the changes of street names, and sharing stories of fleeing London as children during the war. Having the opportunity to facilitate a project that encourages so much intergenerational learning has been very heart warming and I can’t wait to get this project back out on the road again!

MtC formally began at Charlton House back in September 2019 just in time for Open House, since then I’ve been popping up all over the borough: Rothbury Hall with Emergency Exit Arts for Fun Palaces 2019, Eltham Library, St. Alfege Church, Thamesmead, Kidbrooke, Woolwich, St. Thomas Church, Severndroog Castle… We had a lot of dates booked in for Spring, all of which are postponed until June for the time being – as soon as we can, we’ll be back up and running again! If you would like us to visit your community centre, church, library, shop etc., do get in touch once lock-down is over!

Meet the Collection

A selection of objects excavated from Charlton village in the 1970s

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