‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ – come join us during February

Join Wikipedia in photographing and celebrating Britain’s cultural heritage in museums, galleries and archives nationwide

UK: ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ is a month-long  competition and series of events to be held in participating museums nationwide from 31 January 2010. People from all ages, backgrounds  and communities can take part in the competition, which encourages  the public to photograph the treasures of our nation’s museums and  galleries, actively involving them in digitally recording the  collections. All of the photos entered into the ‘Britain Loves  Wikipedia’ competition will be made available under a free license on  Wikimedia Commons, and can then be used to illustrate Wikipedia  articles.

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Chief Executive Roy Clare  said, “‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ provides a stimulating opportunity  for museums and Wikipedia to work more closely together for the  benefit of the public. This new collaboration enables museums to  bring their collections, scholarship and expertise even closer to  audiences in digital environments. Wikipedia provides a vivid forum  for engaging public interest in the stories within collections held  in museums across the country. MLA is very pleased to support this  initiative and welcomes the development of partnerships between  museums and Wikimedia.”

Chair of Wikimedia UK, Michael Peel, said, “Museum collections hold a  vast range of objects that have great cultural significance and  enhance our knowledge of our origins but are not as well covered on  Wikipedia as they deserve to be. With ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’, we  hope to increase the number of photographs on Wikipedia for the world  to share, enjoy and learn from.”

The celebration begins at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on  Sunday 31st January from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm in the Sackler Centre;  everyone is welcome to come along and take part. Short talks from the  Victoria and Albert Museum, Wikimedia UK and the Collections Trust  will take place at 11.30 am, accompanied by free tea, coffee, and  refreshments, with plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the  museum and photograph its collections!

Gail Durbin, Head of Online Museum at the Victoria and Albert Museum,  said, “Britain Loves Wikipedia is an innovative way for amateur (or  professional) photographers to make things in museums accessible to  more people. We are delighted to be hosting Britain’s photography  community at the kickoff event and look forward to seeing creative  new images of our objects.”

Britain Loves Wikipedia then continues with:

     * On the 6th/7th February, the Museum of Army Flying in Hampshire will be offering free entry to photographers as well as 
free tea or coffee, and will be allowing flash and tripod photography.
     * Nottingham Natural History Museum is hosting a “Britain Loves  Wikipedia Day” on 11 February, where they will be bringing out a  selection of biological and geological objects from their stores and  making them available for photography in the museum’s Great Hall  (situated in the main Wollaton Hall building.) Objects will include  examples of taxidermy (reptiles, birds, mammals) skeletal material,  and invertebrates from the biology collections, and various rocks,  minerals and fossils from the geology collections. Booking is essential.
     * The Manchester Museum is running “Darwin’s 201st Birthday Bash  Big Saturday” on 13 February (book ahead or on the day); as part of  this they will be making objects from their zoology, palaeontology,  entomology, botany and geology collections available for photography  in the Museum’s Resource Centre on the 3rd floor gallery.
     * John Muir’s Birthplace and Preston Grange Museum will strike a  romantic note for Valentines Day, hosting “East Lothian Photographers  LOVE Wikipedia!” These host museums are opening up specially for  photographers, and are providing a warm Scottish welcome with free  tea and coffee to all participants, as well as tours and guides  around the museums.
     * Mill Green Museum will be running “Mill Green Loves Wikipedia”  on the afternoon of 16 February – come along to explore the range of,  and changes in, the working days of local people.
     * Bedford Museum will be giving photographers the opportunity to  see behind the scenes at thir stores on the 18 February, including a  sneak preview their upcoming exhibition ‘Clocking-In’, an exhibition  of the working day. Places are limited; booking is essential.
     * On the 20th February, The British Postal Museum & Archive will  open the doors of its Museum Store in Debden, Essex to photographers. 
The British Postal Museum Store houses a variety of objects including letterboxes, telephone kiosks, postal vehicles, sorting machinery and  the desk of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the penny post).  Refreshments will be available to participants and flash photography and tripods are welcome.

Throughout February, you can visit the following museums to take part  in the Britain Loves Wikipedia competition:

     * Astley Hall, Chorley
     * Caithness Horizons, Thurso, Scotland
     * Ceredigion Museum, Wales
     * Horniman Museum, London
     * Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland
     * Museum of Army Flying, Stockbridge, Hampshire
     * National Football Museum, Preston
     * Old Operating Theatre, London
     * Royal Air Force Museum, London and Cosford.
     * Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum
     * ThinkTank Birmingham
     * Victoria and Albert Museum, London
     * Working Class Movement Library, Salford

Prizes include a WikiReader – a copy of the entire English Wikipedia  in your pocket. The best photograph from each RAF Museum site will  receive £100 worth of goods from the Museum’s shop. The best  photograph taken at The British Postal Museum & Archive’s Museum  Store will receive a trio of DVD box sets celebrating the work of the  acclaimed GPO Film Unit, valued at £75. More prizes will be announced  at the launch event on the 31st January.

Britain Loves Wikipedia is organized by Wikimedia UK in collaboration  with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Collections Trust,  Culture 24 and Museums Galleries Scotland.

Full information is  available at http://www.britainloveswikipedia.org/. An initial event  in February 2009 at the Victoria and Albert created over 300  photographs now available on Wikipedia. In June 2009, Wiki Loves Art  in The Netherlands created over 10,000 photographs taken at 46 Dutch  museums.



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