'To be Told'



The inspiration and premise behind ‘To Be Told’ came from a number of visits to the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) in my Lunch breaks whilst working over the summer.

The Pitt Rivers Museum was founded in 1884, when Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and anthropology gave his collection of nearly 20,000 objects to the university of Oxford. His gift was made on the condition that a museum would be built to house the objects and that they should be displayed by function or ‘type’ of object. The objects are grouped according to how they were made or used, rather than by cultural age or origin, so to show the progression and adjustment of human problem solving, creativity and skill within different cultures.

There is no set route to follow in the museum and it has maintained the historical style of display. Contemporary museums are now often saturated with touch screens, interactive games, moving image and sound accompanying historical artefacts to encourage ‘fun’ learning. I wanted to produce a book that highlights or comments upon how beneficial these traditional museums can be to both children and adults in our increasingly digital age.
I often saw schools visiting the museum, drawing and exploring the plethora of objects housed in the cabinets and in hundreds of drawers beneath them. Clearly inspired by everything around them.

This to me highlights how a simple way of display can be just as engaging as a touch screen and that upgrading is not always better. I intend to show how these museums allow room for ones imagination with each of the stories written in response to an artefact in the museum. Alongside are some questionnaires I handed out to people visiting the museum.

Thank you to everyone who wrote me a story!