University of York: York residents invited to reveal their treasures for online museum

The Museum of Me is a joint initiative between the University of York and York Archaeological Trust, in which people can showcase a memento that they feel holds a link to the city for them.

Six roadshows will be staged in neighbourhood libraries during July and August. Students from the University, alongside staff from York Archaeological Trust, will be on hand to greet the owners and find out more about the items, and will photograph each one before uploading the ‘exhibit’ to a digital display. Each will be presented like a museum exhibit, with accompanying descriptions.

The project team are keen to welcome a wide variety of objects; these might be something like a commemorative mug from an event; a medal given in a local school; crockery or coins found by children in a garden; or simply a mysterious old object found while on a walk. The aim is to capture any and all of York’s past, from Viking times to the present day.

Emotional attachment

Professor Stephanie Wynne-Jones, from the University’s Department of Archaeology, hopes the Museum of Me project will encourage citizens to engage with York’s heritage in a new way.

She said: “We invest objects with a lot of emotion, and they are often a kind of shorthand for the whole world which they come from; whether that’s a room in your house, a Viking street or the Roman Empire! The only criteria is that the object has to symbolise something about York, and the person’s attachment to York.”

Experts from both the University of York and the York Archaeological Trust will be on hand to welcome the public at the roadshows.

Archaeological finds

Helen Harris, Head of Volunteering at York Archaeological Trust, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, said: “As well as encouraging people to bring in their own much-loved objects, the events will be a relaxed and fun opportunity to explore our existing collections, and to see some of the fascinating archaeological finds discovered in the city by the Trust.”

Prof Wynne-Jones adds: “We really hope that everyone will get involved. This is going to capture a lot of stories and unlock a lot of memories!”

YAT and the University of York hope to make the roadshows an annual event for residents to get more involved with their heritage and create their own content for museums and exhibitions of the future.

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