Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-gblv7 Total loading time: 0.231 Render date: 2022-05-24T09:42:41.231Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Chapter 2 - “A Hawk from a Handsaw”: Investigating Enthusiasm for Rural Hand Tools

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2020

Get access

Summary

Introduction

ONE OF THE rare negative TripAdvisor reviews for the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) complained that it contained just a “bunch of old tools,” which should be thrown in a skip. The author of the review argued that they had expected the Museum to be full of beautiful pieces of furniture and was disappointed by this less glamorous depiction of rural life. The need to balance an audience appetite for rural aesthetics with the complex multifaceted stories of the English countryside is something which shaped debate during the Museum's recent redisplay. As part of this redisplay, the MERL glazed its storage area to make it accessible to the public as part of the overall museum experience. Visitor feedback has been positive, but many have requested further information about stored objects that are now unfamiliar to most of the population. As a university museum, we also find that our students have trouble engaging with our more workaday items and gravitate towards decorative and domestic objects. Increasingly, we find that our visitors and future curators lack a first-hand understanding of the MERL's objects and issues. The obvious approach might be to turn our back on specialists, but it is argued here that engagement with people who “love” these collections might help us to engage wider audiences.

This chapter explores enthusiasm and expertise for hand tools and questions the place of the Museum of English Rural Life's collection of hand tools in that wider context. The issue of enthusiasm for historic hand tools in the UK is examined through site visits to the Tools and Trades History Society's (TATHS) Museum at Amberley and the Tools for Self Reliance workshop in the New Forest. This investigation of contemporary expertise and enthusiasm is brought together with the research already being undertaken regarding the history and future of the MERL. The chapter ends with an account of an intervention staged at the MERL to explore how expertise and enthusiasm might be transferred between generations. Research into enthusiasm notes the importance of studying networks (which might be in some ways virtual) and real-world spaces in which these individuals come together to share their enthusiasm.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×