The MMM ‘Water’ cabinet is themed around stories of water from the Stroud area – past and present – and the interrelation between geography, geology and place.
As visitors explore its drawers they discover a mixture of historic items, created curiosities and snippets of knowledge, memories and feelings about water and place. This cabinet marked the beginning of our experiment with playfully fusing fact and fiction in our heritage themed installations.
The beautiful mahogany cabinet which houses the miniature museum is on permanent loan from Museum in the Park. Together with Collections Officer Alexia Clark we selected items and images from museum collections, which have a connection with water, to be displayed in the cabinet.
It contains eight perspex-topped drawers that activate two vintage sound systems and internal lighting when opened. One of the drawers is a self-contained fishing game, which gives opportunity for visitors to trigger different sounds and stories as they fish.
The bottom two drawers invite visitor response: one is ready to display loaned or donated items, the other contains cards and a post box for thoughts, stories and memories.
Other feature drawers in the cabinet include a geology drawer, invention drawer, a drawer for local finds and an ‘unnatural history’ drawer.
‘The staff and volunteers at Gloucester Waterways Museum feel very privileged to have been given the chance to work with both Tara and Bart. The Friction Project provided a fantastic opportunity for the staff and volunteers of the museum to become actively engaged with contemporary art. Tara and Bart provided a hands on personalised journey from concept through to design and installation asking for feedback and participation at every stage. The final piece invited the viewer to learn a small part of our history and heritage through pictures, sound and movement and made the small part of what is a quiet museum, come alive!’
A recent evolution of the ‘Water’ cabinet sees the addition of an artist’s drawer which has featured a guest collaboration with local artist Anna Cady (LINK) on the theme of cochineal..
This piece has strong connections with Stroud and is quite compact and portable. We have taken the cabinet into schools to facilitate creative storytelling workshops, and it has been exhibited several times at the Museum in the Park and local charity events.
The cabinet was created as a collaborative exhibition piece, conceived in association with ‘Walking The Land’ (LINK) and Museum in the Park (LINK) and funded by the Cotswold Conservation Board.
In 2019 The ‘Water’ cabinet was exhibited as part of the Material Flow (LINK) event – linking heritage, water, landscape and place.