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Calling All Collectors

Lost & Found: Museums At Night

Written by . Published on May 20th 2013.

Calling All Collectors

A MYSTERY tour, a people’s museum, an exhibition in a night.

This May, Manchester takes part in Museums at Night. With Richard Wentworth leading proceedings, the city’s museums and galleries stage a series of events over two evenings that celebrate the depth and diversity, the weirdness and the wonderfulness of the things that people are compelled to collect.

Smelly things like mouldy banana skins are not welcome.

On Thursday 16 May, bring something curious to a collections booth at either Manchester Museum or Manchester Art Gallery, and in so doing create a people’s museum – your object will be “acquired” by the institution. Don’t bring your granny’s false teeth or anything else that might be needed, because you won’t be getting it back. If you want to bring something that is too tightly tied to your heartstrings to give away, remodel it clay, rework it out of buttons as photographs and representations of objects are all welcome too. Smelly things like mouldy banana skins are not welcome.

On the same evening, take a mystery bus tour of Manchester. You won’t know where you’re going or why; all you need to know is that your bus follows a circuitous route devised by the artist Richard Wentworth.

On Friday 17 May, see the fruits of your collective labour. Richard Wentworth creates an exhibition in a night at Whitworth Art Gallery; the objects donated the previous night will be the raw materials for Wentworth’s show here. Watch one of Britain’s most successful artists at work; see how he uses the raw materials you supplied and take advantage of the other music and performance that brings the Whitworth to life late into the night.

As part of the celebration of Museums at Night, Manchester Museum want you to share your pictures of the artefacts, objects or things that you collect. The museum’s collections are full of all sorts, insects to shabtis (figurines placed in tombs in Ancient Egypt who would do all the heavy lifting and manual labour in the afterlife) but everyone’s living rooms and lofts are full of the things they horde and collect, whether it be books, tins and stamps or furniture, comics and stickers.

Manchester Art Gallery

In May, Manchester’s museums and galleries are celebrating Museums at Night with a series of events focused on collecting and collections and they’d like to uncover the things that you collect or are inspired by when you visit their venue. Every day from Tuesday 30 April until Friday 18 May, Manchester Museum will Tweet and Instagram images of objects from their collection that the staff are particularly proud or fond of and they’d like you to join in.

To take part, just Tweet or Instagram an image of an object that you own, collect or that you’ve seen in a museum or gallery using the hashtag #lovecollecting and @MuseumsatNight. Explain what the object is, where it is and why you like it (There are a couple of examples up – find them using the #lovecollecting hashtag).

The best will be collated onto a Pinterest board, and two of those will win tickets to take a mystery bus tour of Manchester on Thursday 16 May 2013, a tour created by the artist Richard Wentworth especially for Museums at Night. You can also go in and donate an object to either Manchester Art Gallery or Manchester Museum on 16 May.

Museums at Night is a bit of a mystery but if you are a magpie at heart, you will be amongst other like-minded souls. Like them, you might collect things in order to make sense of the world – or find your place within it. You might be cynical. You might be curious. You may end up finding without searching.

Picture from the Mary Greg Collection of Handicrafts of Bygone Times, courtesy Manchester Art Gallery.

Photo by Ben Blackall.

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