Thursday, 4 June 2020

Coins, fossils, toys, shells? Make your own museum!

Make your own museum

from your own small treasures

Over these weeks, in conjunction with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Stone and Water, I have been working on a series of posts inviting people to “Make Your own Museum” at home.


  • Do you collect small treasures?
  • Do you find fossils or stones or shells on walks
  • Do you pick up feathers and snail shells in your garden
  • Do you find old coins, toys, cogwheels, ribbons and shoelaces?
  • People collect all sorts of things!
  • Perhaps you have a collection of treasures that you cherish. Why not turn them into your own museum: store them, display them, write about them?


Recognising that many of us collect things: from the small and delicate (cowries, groatie buckies), to the living (are you a cat man, a dog woman, a rabbit boy? A runaway hamster girl? All of the above? Or just into unicorns?) to the large, the bulky, the awkward and the exciting; for those smaller bits that fall off the back of the bookcase and are never seen again, we are inviting you to create your own sort-of organised displays


Sort-of, because this will be your museum, personal, idiosyncratic, distinctive and as organised or disorganised as you want it to be (look at PittRivers Museum in Oxford for “the only sort-of organised personal collection that grew”. If you are a young person, don’t show your parents. They might panic)


Rather than doing all the posts again, this blog will be a signpost to point you to the different elements of the Museum for you to go adventuring in


a) Part 1: making display trays from old greetings cards

Blog of activity:

Youtube link: make your own museum part 1


b) Cabinets of Curiosity: gathering trays together into exciting cases:

Activity description:

There will be a museum blog and a youtube film


c) Guiding people through your wonders: labels, guidebooks and maps

 an activity post to follow, links will be posted here


d) Looking at your whole house as a museum? Try looking at this lovely blog for ideas: A New Direction



Buxton Festival Fringe

This Make Your own Museum sequence is also part of Buxton Festival Fringe’s 2020 online activities. As we cannot deliver hands-on, face-to-face activities in the Museum during this year’s Festival, this set of activities become part of our distanced gift to you all.

If you would like to explore what other gems the Fringe has to offer and to explore the socially distanced activities and performances that we are managing to deliver, visit the Fringe programme


Buxton Museum in the Fringe

We have another Buxton Museum/Creeping Toad event online: Lost Castles will help you create your own strange, wonderful, marvellous, storyful palace, castle, landscape, miniature and you could follow the activity in a film here

And yourselves?

If you make something, devise something, shape something, laugh a lot, why not tell us: send us a photo of your collected Cabinet or of the horror/delight/disgust of visitors to your museum, make a 1 minute tour of your museum on a phone and send that in as well if you want to

We cannot promise to publish everything but we would love to see hear and delight in your own creativity


Send photos etc to

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