2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Growing the Cultural Landscape with Moor Stories.

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With Moor Stories on the verge of going live the team have been busy in generating content to go on the site. The content that will be available to look at, both online and via your mobile, will come from a variety of perspectives and highlights the diverse aims and results of the Moor Stories project. RAMM generated content will show information and some of the history of each parish on Dartmoor and details relating to objects that are connected with the physical and cultural landscape of the region. These locations, objects and information tied to them represent the factual element of the site, and aim to convey both an understanding of our material past and also a sense of context for the historical artefacts in the museum’s collection. This material will help users to learn more about the history of the moor and it is hoped it will encourage Dartmoor visitors and enthusiasts to generate their own content and share images, fact, information and stories related to Dartmoor’s historic and cultural landscape.

At another poinIMG_0560[1]t on the Moor Story spectrum, the workshop we conducted at St Leonards School earlier in the year produced a number of Moor Stories which will also be part of the launched product. Having taken a number of artefacts, images and sources of information to the school, the children wrote a collection of Moor Stories which were inspired by the day’s events. These works of junior literature mix the factual with the fictional and display how the children used their imagination and writing ability to make connections between the material we gave to them and their sense of the past. By using the tools provided we can see how the children viewed life on the moor and through storytelling reveals in their own words how people survived in the past, engaged with one another and how some of the material in the museum may have come to be there.

The nature of this material, both factual and fictional shows the benefits of merging the physical elements of our cultural landscape and the digital. Firstly, Moor Stories allows users to explore the past in context, by placing artefacts and historical information relevant to the places they originated from. The site and web app provides users with the opportunity to view stories relevant to the areas they either wish to visit or indeed are in themselves and this connected relationship allows us and our users to understand the cultural environment of the moor and to develop a stronger understanding of the purpose and relevance of the items displayed from the museum’s collections. Secondly, Moor Stories provides users with the opportunity to share their thoughts, knowledge and creativity with other visitors to the site and mobile content, and allows us to return to the old oral traditions of storytelling and the passing on of knowledge that are associated to the history of Dartmoor.

In all the project represents how digital technology can be used both physically and mentally in order to immerse oneself in the cultural landscape of an area of rich and varied histories and traditions. It also provides a connectedness between people, the museum and each other, and delivers the platform to create a digital record of a place through an interesting cultural mixture of knowledge, exploration and creativity.

Myself and the rest of the team look forward to seeing it grow.

Festival of Archaeology 2013 at RAMM

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Dartmoor in the museum

As part of the Festival of Archaeology we set up our Moor Stories roadshow in the courtyard at RAMM. We were alongside our colleagues from conservation who fascinated visitors with their work on finds from the Princesshay excavations. Normally conservation work in their labs but for Festival of Archaeology they set up a temporary lab in the museum.

Conservation demonstration in the Courtyard at RAMM

Conservation demonstration in the Courtyard at RAMM

We had plenty of visitors look at our finds from Dartmoor, and being in the museum we were able to display some different objects to the ones we showed at Bellever Day.

looking at finds in our handling collection

looking at finds in our handling collection

Stone, bone or ceramic?

Once again visitors of all ages enjoyed the sort the finds challenge! Our curator Tom devised this simple challenge. Visitors have to sort an assortment of bones, pottery and stones into the correct categories. There were some very speedy sorters that day!

Tom's sort out the finds challenge

Tom’s sort out the finds challenge

Getting feedback and spreading the word

Our visitors were very happy to look at the planned designs for the Moor Stories website and give their opinions. It was an even split between pages with a map of the parishes and pages without. Look for the final design in a future post!

Moor Stories at Bellever Day 2013

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Archaeology, history, heritage, crafts and stories

Bellever Day at the Postbridge Information Centre had plenty to offer visitors this year. Everything from make your own prehistoric pot to being a History Hunter!

We had a stand in the marquee and saw plenty of enthusiastic visitors over the course of the day. Lots of younger visitors enjoyed our object sorting challenge and visitors of all ages were pleased at being able to handle objects from our handling collection.

Lots of positive feedback on the new look for the website from Dartmoor National Park colleagues and visitors alike. We’re keenly anticipating seeing this in place now.

Moor Stories display at Bellever Day with Helen and Will

Moor Stories display at Bellever Day with Helen and Will

Good to see RAMM’s Major Partner Museum Plymouth was there too, with plenty of interest in their recent involvement in finds from Whitehorse Hill.