Monday, 15 January 2018

A different view #69

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.

Title: Triangular combined salt and pepper pot
Designer: DesignWright
Manufacturer: Joseph Joseph
Object number: AIBDC : 009870

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 12 January 2018

Guess the Object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?

Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Museum Engagement In 2017

I’m the Museum Engagement Officer and during my short time in post in 2017 I have been a busy bee! I have delivered various engagement activities at the museum and in the community. I have also been planning for 2018.

Back in December 2017 E-J Scott, Lecturer (HE) – Fashion, Fashion Branding & Communication and Textiles arranged to bring 3 groups of first year BA (Hons) Textiles students to the museum. These sessions involved supporting E-J by introducing MoDiP and preparing the museum study space for the display of a selection of fashionable dress and accessories for the students to engage with. Students sat at tables or in front of mannequins. On each table there was a selection of objects ranging from a WW2 fashion-on-the-ration brightly coloured paisley blouse to a 1960s Mary Quant umbrella complete with daisy logos.

During the session students were asked to choose an item that appealed to them and were then given time to find out more about it by searching the online collection database. Some students then shared what they had found out about their chosen object with the group. They were then given independent time to investigate further, take photographs to use in their own work and to ask questions. The information they had collected would aid them to develop an understanding of the broader social and cultural contexts surrounding when the objects were produced and consumed. This material culture investigation increased the student’s confidence in using objects from the MoDiP collection - to conduct primary research. It also built their skills in the interpretation of research findings: directly employable when writing their first ever academic essay at university level, thus turning a daunting endeavour into an intriguing detective session!

First Year BA (Hons) Textiles AUB Students

I also introduced craft activities at lunch time to the museum. The first session delivered was a drop-in activity, Creative Christmas Cards. Students and staff from AUB came along to make a unique Christmas card using buttons made of plastic. If you missed out watch out for dates of activities in 2018!

Creative Christmas Cards 

Lastly, I planned and delivered two outreach sessions at St Luke’s Church of England Primary School (Infants Site), Winton, Bournemouth. I worked in collaboration with two teachers, Mrs Hurl and Mrs Stoddart, to plan sessions for both classes of Year 2, just before Christmas. These sessions were themed on toys (old and new), something familiar to the children. All the toys used in these sessions were a combination of objects from the new handling collection and the main MoDiP collection. The toys were all made of various different types of plastics. I was then able to introduce something unfamiliar to the children, material properties of plastics. 

First, I held up various words in front of the children, which were types of material properties, to see if they knew what the words were and what level of understanding they already had about the words. The children were able to explain what some of the material properties were and others were new words with new meanings which they had not come across before.

Then, I explained the types of material properties of plastics using various plastic objects to physically demonstrate: transparent, opaque, waterproof, strong, weak and flexible. The children were then asked to work in small teams to predict the material properties of the objects presented on the tables and then write down the actual results after physically examining the objects. Some children exceeded exceptions by being able to identify that quite a few objects presented on the tables had more than one material property. 

At the end of the session children were asked "Today I enjoyed.." responses were: touching the toys, I enjoyed investigating the objects and putting down the old pictures on the old pile. 

They were also asked "My favourite object was…" responses included: stretch Armstrong, the Lego, the hairdresser set, the baby doll that was fragile and the mad doll with the crazy hair.

Toys From The Handling Collection & Main Collection

If you are interested in collaborating with MoDiP to develop an engagement session please get in touch with me via e-mail on or calling 01202 363315.

Sarah Jane Stevens AMA, (Museum Engagement Officer

Monday, 8 January 2018

BXL photographic archive #0140

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows some table salt dispensers.

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 5 January 2018

PHS collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics house two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Plastics Historical Society.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.

Snake bracelet

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Symbiosis update

A Symbiosis project feedback form was distributed to the group of museums that attended the workshop at the London Transport Museum at the start of the year.

The standardised questionnaire is listed as well as a sample of responses :

How much time per day/week have you invested in engaging with industry?

Responses ranged from none through to one day per week. Our experience at MoDiP is that a lot of time, up to two days per week has to be put into the engagement process to develop meaningful leads and discussion with target organisations.

How have you engaged? Email, telephone or letter?

Engagement methods range from telephone or email or combination of both as we have used at MoDiP. One museum organisation used a letter with a poster sent to over 200 organisations.

Have you visited any companies following your engagement activity?

A number of organisations made no visits whilst some considered that they should have done. Some museums made visits to existing contacts whilst others have hosted visits to their museum. At MoDiP we have made visits to organisations that have expressed a real interest in working in collaboration with us.

How have companies responded to your initial engagement activity? Five is very positive, zero is very negative.

The response to this question was mostly positive, although one museum found the response to be quite negative. The response we have received at MoDiP has been a mainly positive 4.

Have any collaborative projects been generated via your engagement activity?

In many cases collaborative projects have been generated, however some museums have struggled to generate interest. Following an extensive engagement effort and contact made with over 50 organisations, MoDiP has secured a number of projects although these are generally small in scale due to a general reluctance by organisations to invest.

How many collaborative projects have been generated?

To date a total of 23 collaborative projects have been developed via engagement activity since the meeting at the London Transport Museum.
What have you learnt so far from your engagement activity?

A number of very interesting responses were received with regard to this question including:

“Maintaining relationships can be difficult”
“Need more face to face activity particularly after mailshot”
“Have to work hard to get companies on board”
“Something concrete is required to help potential partners visualise the offer”
“The shear amount of effort required to engage and build relationships”
“Relationships can take time to develop”

At MoDiP we have realised that a tremendous amount of time and effort is required in terms of engagement activity in order to generate leads and develop projects.

Would you be interested in attending a Masterclass event to be held in early March at the BPF in London? The Masterclass will review the activity undertaken with regard to the Symbiosis Project.

In total 9 museums have expressed an interest in attending the Masterclass that will be held at the BPF in March.

Jeremy Pingstone, Industry Consultant